Citizenship of Cyprus or Malta: what to choose right now
The upcoming changes in the procedure for obtaining citizenship of Cyprus and the harsh rhetoric of European officials about issuing passports make us think about what programs there are and how they work. The specialists of Rentsale compared the current conditions for obtaining citizenship in both countries and noted the main nuances that are important for applicants.
Today in the EU there are two actively working programs where you can get a passport for investments: Cyprus and Maltese. They are somewhat similar, but there are fundamental differences.
Fact 1. Programs work, citizenship receive
Malta Citizenship Investment Program – MIIP (Malta Individual Investor Program) – the only one that received approval from the European Commission. Launched in the spring of 2014, it allowed more than € 1 billion to be attracted to the country’s economy. It could have been more if it had not been for a relatively high failure rate.
The Cyprus program has been working since 2013 and has attracted more than € 5 billion during this time. The most important thing to know about it: during the past year and a half, its tightening has been going on in several stages. The latter led to a series of changes that should take effect in mid-May.
Yulia Titova, CEO of Rentsale: “Until recently, the Cyprus program was relatively loyal to applicants. Although applicants were evaluated no less thoroughly than in Malta. The percentage of refusals in Cyprus is traditionally lower, since applicants are usually very seriously checked before the official appeal. Anyway, the most important thing is that both programs work. And quite productive. ”
During the program, the Maltese authorities approved 833 candidates from 1,431 applicants (the main applicants without family members), this is the data of the Maltese Department for the regulation of the program of individual investors by mid-2018. But the main limitation for today is that the Malta authorities plan to issue no more than 1,800 “investment” passports. Organization officials suggest that the limit will be selected within three years.
A limit of a different kind was established in Cyprus in 2018 – now the authorities of the country can issue passports to no more than 700 main applicants per year. However, in fact, this limit was never chosen before: usually no more than 500 people received citizenship on the island per year.
Julia Titova: “The Cyprus program is more popular than the Maltese one. There are many reasons for this, including the apparent popularity of Cyprus as a tourist and business destination. According to official statistics, the passport of Cyprus has received almost twice as many key applicants than in Malta. ”
The threshold for entry into the passport program in Malta is twice lower than in Cyprus. True, there is an important “but” that stops many investors. For obtaining the citizenship of Malta, the total expenses will amount to about € 1 million, but most of this amount is non-refundable: € 650 thousand. The investor “donates” to the Malta National Development Fund.
In Cyprus, the estimated cost of a family wishing to get a passport will be more than € 2 million (including taxes, etc.), but until May 2019 there was no return on investment at all. From mid-May, mandatory non-refundable payments will be introduced – € 150 thousand.
All the details about the changes in the Cyprus program, read here.
Elizaveta Borisova, Deputy General Director of Rentsale: “For those who want to invest, real estate investments are more understandable than donations to the state. A Cyprus passport program implies the purchase of one or several real estate objects with a total value of € 2 million. You can, if you wish, rent a property and sell it in three years (according to the new rules after five years), while retaining one property of at least € 500,000 in as a personal residence. Thus, with a successful investment in liquid projects under construction or in the reconstruction of a house, it would theoretically be possible, by selling it, to return all invested funds.
Other applicants simply acquire a personal residence in Cyprus – a villa or a luxury apartment where they plan to rest or live permanently in the future. For this category, the question of resale and rental is irrelevant in principle.
The Maltese Program is a pure passport. As a rule, none of the investors is going to visit Malta, let alone live there permanently. ”
All costs that have to incur in Malta, can be divided into two parts.
The first part is the payment for the services of an accredited agency, the cost of issuing a resident card, fees for checking the applicant’s credibility, etc. Government fees will be € 18 thousand for the main applicant and € 6.5 thousand for the spouse, adult child, parents the main applicant, € 4,5 thousand – for a minor child. Registration of the resident card will cost € 5,0 thousand from the main applicant, at € 1,0 thousand from the spouse and children.