Reuben is an entrepreneur who started his business in Lagos 15 years ago. Now Reuben’s company does not require his constant presence; he can manage the process remotely.
The investor has two children from his first marriage, aged 21 and 23. They are studying in the UK and Switzerland. With their second wife, Sintia, they have two children aged 8 and 6.
Despite living in developed Lagos, Reuben is not satisfied with some issues regarding kids' education, the opportunity to travel and making capital investments.
Why a family from Nigeria wanted to get status in Europe
Moving to a developed country. The businessman wants to move his family to a developed European country. Reuben looked for an alternative place of residence which, eventually, could become the family’s primary location.
Protecting assets. The client was looking for reliable sources for investing and protecting his savings with safe financial instruments.
Job prospects for children. Reuben hopes that relocation to one of the EU countries will open up ample employment prospects for his children.
First, the investor considered Switzerland, where his eldest son is studying, or Austria. Both countries offered residence permits with the possibility of obtaining citizenship in 6 to 10 years. However, he was unsure about these options as both Switzerland and Austria had strict quotas on issuing residence permits.
Most importantly, applying for residence permits in these countries requires candidates to reside there for at least 183 days a year. However, Reuben and Sintia were only somewhat familiar with the way of life in Switzerland and Austria and doubted they would like it. After all, there were only so many compatriots living there.
Choosing between two countries with citizenship programs
Considering the family’s requirements, we offered Reuben two options: Cyprus and Malta citizenship. Both options contained the following benefits:
- investment program conditions did not require the family to reside in a country for a certain period;
- with passports of one of these states, the family could choose to move to any EU country;
- citizenship is a life-long status that doesn’t require renewal every several years, like a residence permit.
Having thought about these opportunities, Reuben excluded Malta. The minimum investment was about €1.5 mln for a family of 2 adults and four kids, with €650,000 without the chance to return the money.
In addition, the investor would have to wait for his Maltese passport for at least 14 months. Meanwhile, Reuben wanted to have time to complete the application before the new school year started to ensure that children would not need to extend their visas.
Malta updated its citizenship law and closed the investment program in 2020
Since November 20th, 2020, there has been only one path to citizenship for investors — obtaining Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.
Therefore, the choice was made in favour of the Cyprus Investment Programme. To obtain Cyprus citizenship, Reuben should invest at least €2 million. Applicants could invest €500,000 in residential real estate, €400,000 in commercial real estate, and €1.6 million in a Cypriot company's shares.
The process of obtaining passports was 6—8 months. Applicants needed to visit the country two times.
Under program conditions, the investor should own an investment for 5 years. Then it could be sold, but the residential property with a total value of at least €500,000 should always remain in ownership.
Cyprus citizenship by investment program was closed on November 1st, 2020
The Cyprus Golden Visa is still available for investors. Under its conditions, non-EU citizens can obtain Cyprus permanent residence by investing at least €300,000 in real estate or securities.
A few factors affecting the family’s decision were also the many immigrants from African countries, the friendly attitude of locals, the pleasant atmosphere, the warm climate and the beautiful landscapes.
Besides, Cyprus was very popular among Ruben's acquaintances who received citizenship in the EU.
Purchasing a property in Cyprus
Our cooperation with Reuben started with his trip to Cyprus to inspect properties. The investor decided to buy residential real estate for at least €2 mln to participate in the citizenship program.
During our meeting, we discussed Reuben’s requirements towards properties and arranged viewings of the homes. Between inspections, our specialists introduced lawyers who advised Reuben on obtaining Cyprus citizenship.
Our company cooperates with large and reputable construction companies that have operated in Cyprus for 30—70 years and guarantees the integrity and transparency of the transactions.
Real Estate Chief Operations Officer, RICS certified professional
The client spent another week on the island to rest and get to know the local lifestyle peculiarities. We arranged his viewings of educational facilities in Limassol and Paphos to save time since he had to find a school for his two children.
Two weeks later, our client revisited Cyprus with his wife. They had to determine the place of residence. Reuben could not decide which house was better, the one nestled in the hillside or by the sea. He also wanted to make sure that Sintia liked the country.
Had Sintia refused to live there, Reuben would buy a few houses to rent. It was optional to reside in Cyprus to do so. Local construction companies sign the contract with the facility's owner and are fully responsible for managing the property. Reuben could receive his 3—5% annual rental income to cover maintenance expenses.
It was not an easy choice for a family since each property option had pros and cons. In the end, it was a compromise solution: the couple bought a house they would live in by the hillside and an apartment by the sea to rent out.
The family will decide how they want to arrange their lives later. Stay in Cyprus to sell the apartments and leave a house worth €500,000 for further accommodation or move to another European country, sell the house and leave the apartments by the sea to keep getting rental income.
Reuben bought a similar villa and apartment in Limassol
Cyprus citizenship obtaining process
Reuben received Cyprus citizenship in just 8 months. Under the Cyprus investment program, children of any age can apply for a passport after their parents' application approval.
Immigrant Invest specialists conducted Due Diligence, referring to Reuben’s company and personal data. They didn’t discover any circumstances that could negatively influence obtaining citizenship.
Reuben came to Cyprus with a Schengen visa to buy investment real estate. Immigrant Invest helped organise Reuben’s trip to Cyprus: flights, accommodation and transfers.
+ 2 weeks
Collecting documents for a residence permit and citizenship
Reuben provided Immigrant Invest with a minimum set of documents. We took care of translations, apostille and filling out the forms.
The list of documents was the following:
- A copy of the passport.
- A certificate of no criminal record from Nigeria.
- A letter on behalf of the investor or his representative that briefly explains the origin of the investment.
- The investor’s birth certificate.
- 2 passport photos.
- Detailed autobiography.
- Marriage certificate.
- Children’s birth certificates.
- Children’s passports.
- Certificates of study at the university.
- Children’s photos.
Minus advance payment, Ruben transferred:
- €394,800 for a villa and €7,996 of the state fee, and
- €1,945,000 for an apartment with €39,000 of the state fee.
After selecting a property, Reuben signed a purchase contract. The payment specified in the contract is transferred to the escrow account, which can only be accessed upon getting your lawyer’s approval.
Applying for a residence permit and citizenship, €4,000 — state fee for the main applicant and the spouse
Once the investments were accepted, Immigrant Invest lawyers submitted them to the Ministry of the Interior of Cyprus, which issued a favourable decision in two weeks. The Immigrant Invest lawyer applied to the Immigration Authority of Cyprus after receiving a set of ready-made documents and forms from Reuben.
A residence permit card was sent to the Immigrant Invest office.
After obtaining a residence permit, the state checks the documents for issuing a passport. After 6 months, Reuben and Sintia received a positive response to his application.
The next day, Immigrant Invest lawyers submitted documents from Reuben’s kids. Under the investment program’s conditions, the Due Diligence term for minors children was reduced to 2 months.
The approval process for minors was faster and took 2 months. We received a positive response after 6 months for the older Reuben’s children.
How is Reuben’s life advanced after relocation to Cyprus?
At the end of summer, the couple with two younger children moved to Cyprus, and the older children left for university. They no longer need their student visas.
Reuben received a passport that allowed him to be a full member of the European community and have the widest range of opportunities and rights in Europe. He can easily choose a country of residence in Europe and open new branches for his business in any EU country.
Reuben's children are also full European Community citizens thanks to a Cypriot passport. After graduating, they can choose a university and get a prestigious job.
What benefits did Reuben’s family enjoy after obtaining Cyprus citizenship:
- Could live only in Nigeria → Can choose where to live among 27 EU states.
- Children had to renew student visas → With Cyprus passports, they study in European schools and universities without visas and residency permits.
- Was not confident investing in African assets → Can choose safe investment options and open accounts in reliable European banks.