The EU citizenship gives businesses a platform for easier, faster and more profitable international trade. A citizenship-by-investment program can be your ticket into the EU.
EU citizenship unlocks the full business freedoms of operating within an EU country. An EU citizenship also entitles you to live and travel freely throughout Europe, which makes the mechanics of doing business considerably easier.
What’s the fastest way to attain EU citizenship?
Having found out that second citizenship is the right path for any business, we will explore the fastest way to get EU citizenship.
Spain: Residency in three months; EU citizenship in ten years
You can secure a Spanish Golden Visa in two to three months for an investment of EUR 500,000 in the real estate sector. You can also invest in a business in Spain, but only if your investment creates jobs, has a socio-economic impact or contributes significantly to scientific or technological innovation.
This Golden Visa, however, lasts one year. Therefore, at a later stage, you must upgrade your golden visa to a long-term residency permit. And after a total of ten years of permanent residence, you can apply for citizenship-by-naturalisation.
More than 12,500 foreign companies do business in Spain – including 70 of the Forbes 100. Spain is considered as the fifth largest economy in the EU and has both a thriving export and domestic market for potential business investors to exploit.
Portugal: Residency in two months; citizenship in six years
Portuguese residency can be obtained quickly – within two months. The required minimum investment is EUR 350,000 in real estate.
The applicant can then apply for citizenship-by-naturalisation after six years, as long as the applicant has maintained his residency during that time by spending only one week per year in Portugal.
Portugal is considered as one of the most beneficial tax environments for international business investors, with various tax exemptions available on foreign-source income, including capital gains.
Malta: Residency in three months; EU citizenship in 15 months
Malta has been an EU member country since 2004. It launched the Malta Visa and Residence Program (MRVP) in 2015. This program gives investors permanent residency rights in only three months.
One of the best business benefits of Malta citizenship by investment program is the ability to apply for various tax incentives subsequently. Malta offers broad exemptions and creates multiple loopholes that can be very tax-friendly for investors. For instance, Maltese residents pay no tax on foreign-source capital gains. Malta also holds over 70 international double tax treaties and has preferential schemes available for residents. Applicants are requested to make a total investment of EUR 580,000 to secure residency through the MRVP.
Then, the Maltese Individual Investor Program (IIP) enables you to secure citizenship for an investment of EUR 650,000. The process takes around 15 months, and you must have been a resident for one year before starting your citizenship application.
Cyprus: EU Citizenship in 90 days only
The Cyprus citizenship by Investment program is by far the fastest way into Europe. You could have your new passport in-hand within three months – and everything that comes with it. The Cypriot economy returned to pre-crisis growth a couple of years ago and had since established itself as a well-known centre for trade. The GDP value of Cyprus represents 0.03 per cent of the world economy.
Having joined the EU nation in 2004, Cyprus offers an attractive gateway to the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Persian Gulf. It has the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU at 12.5%. Applicants also enjoy various tax exemptions, in addition to preferential trade terms within the EU.
To sum up, applicants are looking at a refundable investment of EUR 2m to secure their lifetime citizenship here, with options to invest in real estate, business or financial assets.
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