Alsu and Samir are citizens of Azerbaijan, but since 2002 they have been permanently living in Kazakhstan. Alsu also conducts business in the United Arab Emirates where she received the status of a tax resident. The family traveled to Europe several times a year for business, vacation and to visit their son who is studyng in Germany with a student permit.
However, due to the pandemic, the family lost their freedom of movement. The Schengen countries closed their borders and stopped issuing visas. We will tell you how the lawyers of Immigrant Invest helped the heroes to become Maltese residents and save €200,000 through participation in the program.
Backstory: what connected the family with three countries
Be in Azerbaijan. The couple were born and raised in Azerbaijan. The parents of Samir and Alsu still live in Baku. The couple go visit them at least three times a year.
Live in Kazakhstan. In September 2002, Samir and Alsu de-registered from their apartment in Baku and moved with their children to Alma-Ata. They bought a house, received residence permits in Kazakhstan, where they have been living permanently since then. The son of the couple, Tair, is studying at the Heidelberg University in Germany with a student residence permit.
Doing business in the UAE. In 2018, Alsu registered a company in the UAE that invests in financial instruments in the markets of the Emirates and the United States.
Alsu is a UAE tax resident. She also received an Emirates ID, a resident identity card that grants access to government and domestic banking services. Alsu spends a couple of months a year in the UAE traveling for business and lives with her family in Kazakhstan for the rest of her time.
Why do spouses need residency in the European Union
Before the pandemic, Samir and Alsu went to visit their son in Germany every couple of months. The couple also preferred to spend their holidays in Europe. In summer, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, in winter, on ski resorts in the Alps.
The couple had to obtain Schengen visas for each trip. Neither Azerbaijani citizenship nor the status of a Kazakhstan resident could give the right to visa-free entry to the Schengen states.
In 2020, the consulates of European countries in Kazakhstan suspended the issuance of Schengen visas due to the coronavirus pandemic. But even with a valid visa, it was allowed to leave Kazakhstan only for a good reason: for urgent business matters, for study or medical treatment.
Son Tair had to return home to Kazakhstan as students were transferred to remote education due to quarantine in Germany. He also could not extend the student residence permit for the next academic year as the residence permit is issued to students who study full-time at the university. At the time of distance learning, student residence permits were not issued.
Alsu and Samir thought about how to travel to the Schengen area even during a pandemic. From the article Immigrant Invest, the spouses learned about European countries that issue a residence permit for investment.
We like living in Kazakhstan, but now we are like birds in a cage. We can neither go out for business, nor have a rest. Our son needs to study and he wants to stay in Germany after graduation. The eldest daughter was going to go to graduate university abroad but due to the pandemic, all plans have gone down the drain.
What programs were suitable for investors
On the 12th of August, 2020, the spouses turned to Immigrant Invest to choose an investment program for a residence permit in the European Union.
Five EU states issue residence permits for investment: Malta, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Cyprus. The programs of these countries were suitable for solving the problems of Samir and Alsu: to obtain freedom of visa-free travel for themselves and their children, followed by the simplification of paperwork for study and the subsequent search for work abroad.
EU residence permit and permanent residence by investment programs
under the old rules
Why Samir and Alsu chose permanent residence in Malta
The couple initially became interested in the residence permit program in Malta as it is the most inexpensive option. However, under the terms of the program, participants must live in the country for at least 183 days a year. Moreover, the investor must become a tax resident of Malta and pay income tax annually.
Alsu did not want to change her tax residency. Moving to another country with the whole family was also not included in the plans of the couple.
The family chose another Maltese program of permanent residence by investment. Three factors influenced the decision.
Investment option. Under the Maltese permanent residence program, investors had to fulfill three conditions:
- Pay a one-time administration fee of €40,000.
- Buy or rent a home. Renting a home in Malta is 30 times cheaper than buying. You need to rent a house for an amount of €10,000 per year, and the minimum cost of real estate for buying under the program is €300,000.Other European residence permit programs only offer the purchase of a home. In Greece, you need to invest in real estate from €250,000, in Spain and Portugal — from €500,000.
- Buy government bonds for €250,000. Alsu had been doing business in the international securities market for many years, so she was not embarrassed by the condition. Moreover, government bonds are returnable investments. Under the terms of the program, the investor owns them for five years, after which he has the right to redeem the bonds and return the money invested.
The condition of living in Malta. A participant in the permanent residence program in Malta is not required to Malta immigration, living in the country either before, or after obtaining resident status. The investor will be able to use the permanent residence card exclusively as a travel document for traveling within the Schengen area.
Validity period of the residence permit. A temporary residence permit in the EU is issued for a year or two years and it must be renewed. A permanent residence permit is issued for life, only the permanent residence card needs to be renewed every five years.
The investor receives an unlimited naturalization certificate along with a permanent residence card. If the investor complies with the conditions of the program, Malta Migration Service will renew the permanent residence card based on the certificate. There is no need to re-collect all documents for obtaining a resident status.
What documents were needed to participate in the program
In August 2020, the spouses entered into an agreement with Immigrant Invest to go through with the Malta pr process participating in the Malta Residence & Visa Program.
Alsu became the investor and main applicant for the program. The couple decided to get permanent residence in Malta together with their children: daughter Nafisa and son Tair. Both children are adults. Under the terms of the program, children over 18 years of age can participate if they are not married and financially dependent on their parents. Nafisa and Tair met these conditions.
When the program department receives an investor's application, it first checks the participants for their trustworthiness. In order to be verified, the applicants prove their identity. The investor provides information on income and confirms its legality.
The investor also confirms that he has money to participate in the program and live in Malta. He must have assets in the amount of €500,000 or more.
Documents prepared by lawyers for the family
|Income and asset data|
Lawyers filled out government forms, application forms and certified copies of documents with a notary. It took about a month to prepare the documents.
Alsu paid the Due Diligence fee of €5,500. The attorneys attached the receipt of payment to the application and submitted it to the Malta program department.
Investment conditions change and their implementation
An investor goes through five stages after applying for participation in the permanent residence program in Malta:
Due Diligence took six months. Lawyers received a notification from the program department on the 16th of March, 2021: Alsu's application was approved. The family had to pass biometrics and fulfill the investment conditions.
Submitting biometrics in Malta. In March 2021, family members were in possession of valid Schengen visas. An invitation to take biometrics from the program department is a valid reason to travel. Therefore, the couple and their children were able to fly to Malta to be fingerprinted.
Fulfillment of investment conditions. On the 29th of March, 2021, the new conditions for the permanent residence program in Malta came into force. The country's government allowed investors to choose between participation in the program according to the old rules or the refusal to purchase government bonds.
By the end of March 2021, Alsu received approval from the department but had not yet managed to redeem the government bond. Therefore, she decided to take advantage of the situation and invest under the new conditions. So the family's expenses were cut almost three times.
Family expenses for participation in the program
|Investment||Under the old rules||Under the new rules|
|Purchase of government bonds||€250,000||No|
|Rental housing in Malta||€12,000 per annum||€12,000 per annum|
The real estate experts of Immigrant Invest helped Alsu and Samir to rent a house in Malta. They selected several options and conducted an online display of the homes for the family to choose from. The couple liked the apartment in the coastal town of Marsascala.
The five-storey residential complex consists of 14 apartments: maisonettes, apartments and a penthouses. The three-bedroom apartment is located on the fourth floor. There is an elevator in the building.
The open-plan apartment includes a living room, dining room and a kitchen. The living room has access to a spacious veranda overlooking the city.
The apartments are fully furnished, with air conditioning and high speed internet. You can park your car in the parking lot on site.
Immigrant Invest lawyers helped Alsu to conclude a lease agreement remotely. She paid the rent for the year in advance and transferred the remaining payment details from the program department.
On the 8th of April, 2021, lawyers received a final approval from the program department. A week later, Alsu and Samir received naturalization certificates and permanent residence cards by mail.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of the Malta permanent residence program.
In January 2021, we learned that the government will change the terms of the program. At that time, we did not know whether investors who had already submitted applications but had not yet bought government bonds would be allowed to choose the terms.
When the new rules came into effect, we agreed to change the terms with the department. At the same time, no additional documents or payments were required from the investor. Also, changing the investment option allowed the family to significantly save on participation in the program.
Head of the Maltese office, lawyer in international and economic law
Benefits that the family received thanks to permanent residence in Malta
A residence permit in Malta gives spouses and their children the right to travel within the Schengen area without a visa. Staying in any country in the region for up to 90 days in a half-year is allowed. Visiting Malta at any time is an open opportunity to those with a residence permit even if the border is closed to foreigners.
Alsu and Samir are planning to travel to Marsascala in the summer to relax on the Mediterranean coast. Together, with the children, as Tair and Nafisa can also go to the country of residence anytime.
Tair plans to stay in Germany after graduation. As a citizen of Azerbaijan, he will receive a special residence permit for a year and a half to find a job in the country. In case of failure, such a residence permit cannot be extended.
As a Maltese resident, Tair will not be limited in time to find a job. Tair’s plans include Immigration to Malta and travelling to Germany for interviews, then independently draw up documents in order to live and work in the country of future employment. Otherwise, he would have to involve the employer in the process, and the employer would have to explain to the migration service why he did not hire a local resident. Malta permanent residence allows you to avoid such problems when finding employment in the European Union.
The Investors' daughter Nafisa wants to go to graduate school in France. With a Malta permanent residence, she will be able to obtain a student residence permit immediately in the country of study. She no longer needs to first apply to the consulate in Kazakhstan and wait for a visa for several months.
The children of the investors started thinking about obtaining citizenship of Malta in the future. They will be able to apply for citizenship according to the general rules of naturalization. To do this, they need to live in Malta for at least five years and pass an exam on knowledge of the history and culture of the country. Together with citizenship, they will receive the freedom to live, study, work and do business in any EU country without restrictions and additional documents.