With the sharp rise in demand for residency permits and second citizenship in 2021, a great deal of focus has been given to the investment migration industry. This has invariably led to some notable changes to our leading global residency and citizenship programs in 2022.
Montenegro Extends Its Citizenship Program
The Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program was launched in 2019 and was scheduled to end on December 31st, 2021. However, the Montenegrin Cabinet has taken the decision to extend the program for an additional year with changes implemented to the program’s terms.
- Investors must provide the government with a bank guarantee of 50% of the investment.
- There won’t be any new approvals of development projects during the period and investors need to buy real estate from the government’s existing list of approved projects.
- The non-refundable contribution to the government has doubled on January 1st, 2022. Citizenship applicants are now required to contribute €100,000 to the national budget and another €100,000 to the regional development fund. The investment structure for the government-approved real estate project will remain unchanged.
The last-minute extension of the program was intended to ensure sufficient funding is available for all development projects to be completed by the end of 2022 due to the increase in applications during the pandemic.
St Lucia Extends COVID-19 Relief Bond
An extension of one year to the Special Covid-19 Relief Bond has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in St Lucia. It was introduced in May 2020 to raise additional government revenue during the pandemic and gives potential investors a chance to qualify for citizenship for themselves and their family members.
Investors looking to obtain St Lucia citizenship under the non-interest bearing – Relief Bonds option will be able to make a minimum investment of US$250,000 for a family up to four. This is a substantial decrease from the investment requirement of US$500,000 mandated for its original government bonds option.
The bonds need to be held by the investor for 5 to 7 years and can be redeemed after the holding period.
- Sole applicant – 5 years
- Applicant with 1 qualifying dependent – 6 years
- Applicant with up to 4 qualifying dependents – 7 years
Originally set to expire by December 31st 2021, the COVID-19 Relief Bond option will remain eligible for applicants till December 31st 2022.
St Kitts & Nevis Introduces Alternative Investment Option
St Kitts and Nevis have introduced a third form of investment under the Citizenship by Investment Program called the Alternative Investment Option.
The AIO gives investors the opportunity to invest in potential projects listed by the government or by private companies with access to financing. Once the project has been completed and operational for a certain period of time, it must be turned over to the Government.
AIO is divided into two categories:
Public Good Project Developer (PGPD) – Projects fully funded by the PGPD with a minimum investment of US$175,000. After completion of the project, the government retains ownership of the asset .
Private Enterprise Developer (PED) – Projects built or funded by privately-owned companies with a minimum investment of US$200,000.
Note: The limited-time offer on the affordable donation-based citizenship by investment for families up to four in St Kitts and Nevis expired on December 31st, 2021. From January 2022, the donation for a family of four will rise back up to US$195,000.
Portugal’s Golden Visa in 2022
Portugal’s government has confirmed that the country’s Golden Visa Program will be subject to several new changes, starting from January 1st 2022, to boost interest in the country’s low-density areas.
The income generated by the Golden Visa program has produced uneven growth in the metropolitan property market leading to new measures being implemented to diversify investments to the interior regions of the country.
As a result of the new regulations, applicants who intend to invest in real estate for the Golden Visa program are no longer allowed to choose popular metropolitan areas like Lisbon and Porto as territories eligible to purchase residential and rehabilitation properties.
Only the inland and low-density areas are eligible for investment. Commercial property investments will still qualify in any part of Portugal, and this includes the metropolitan locations as well.
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