Vyacheslav and Yuliya are a couple from Moscow. They have two children. Their son Eugene is 19 and their daughter Ekaterina is 9. Vyacheslav owns a big business. However, he started to feel concerned about the safety of his assets more than a year ago.
Prior to contacting Immigrant Invest
Like most of his friends, Vyacheslav became increasingly worried about the situation in his country. He understood that the business climate is deteriorating, there was not enough room for development and the economic and financial forecasts did not promise positive changes. His main concerns were focused on changes in tax legislation that could cause him to lose a significant part of his earnings.
While Vyacheslav was not devoid of patriotic feelings and was pained to watch the economic situation in Russia, he understood that the transfer of assets and businesses abroad was inevitable. It was the only way to retain his favorite company in which he invested the best years of his life and plenty of funds.
Some of the family friends have already obtained second citizenship, while some relocated abroad for permanent residence. After discussing the problems with his family, he decided to follow suit and start looking for the safety net.
Meeting the clients
Our first remote touchpoint with Vyacheslav and Yuliya took place on Facebook. They got interested in our publications and have already heard about investor programs of Hungary, Malta and Cyprus from their friends. It was exactly those three options that they have been considering.
Once we booked our meeting, the following goals have been clarified:
- possible safety net in case of deteriorating situation in the home country
- change of tax residence, if necessary
- freedom of traveling to various countries in the world
- an opportunity not to reside in the new country permanently upon obtaining second passports
- the need for Eugene to study in the UK without applying for a student visa
- taking a holiday at the family residence in Europe at any time of the year
We described all pros and cons of all three investor programs to Vyacheslav and Yuliya:
- permanent residence in Hungary
- citizenship of Malta
- citizenship of Cyprus
Permanent residence in Hungary
The program allowing to Vyacheslav and Yuliya to obtain permanent residence in Hungary was attractive in terms of time and finances. The Hungarian Government enables to receive a residence permit in just 3 weeks and a permanent residence permit in just 6 months. To do so, one needs to invest EUR 300,000 in government bonds.
Return on investment is 100%: the state guarantees the refund within 5 years. In other words, the family only spends on the application (which is EUR 60,000) and the purchase of property in Hungary (which is inexpensive).
Although attractive from the time and financial standpoints, Vyacheslav’s family could not go for this option.
What exactly did not fit in?
- Vyacheslav and Yuliya’s son Eugene turned 19, while only children under 18 years of age can participate in the program. Eugene could participate in the program only as an independent investor but not as a member of the family together with his parents.
- Hungarian permanent residence would not give them the opportunity to work outside the country. Vyacheslav and Yuliya are quite farsighted and they did not like the fact that their grandchildren would not be able to obtain permanent residence in Hungary as the investor's family members
- The family would be able to move freely only within the Schengen area. Meanwhile, Eugene was going to continue his education in the United Kingdom so that made Hungarian permanent residence an unacceptable option
Citizenship of Malta
Generally, Maltese citizenship satisfied Vyacheslav and Yuliya, despite the relative complexity of the program. The program offered three types of investment: real estate, contribution to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta and securities. Compared with Hungary, costs were much higher. For Vyacheslav’s family, the costs amounted to more than EUR 1.2 million.
However, this did not put him off given that the Maltese citizenship would provide access to all opportunities that were not available with the program of permanent residence in Hungary. In addition, the Maltese tax is considered to be the most optimal for businesses and Maltese passport allows one to travel more than 160 countries visa-free.
Still, we came to the conclusion that this option would not quite meet our client’s requirements.
What exactly did not fit in?
- Even for investors, the process of obtaining citizenship is quite long – more than 14 months
- Real estate and securities can be sold over time and the applicant can get a return on investment. However, EUR 650,000 contribution to the National Development and Social Fund is non-refundable
- In the mid-2000s, Vyacheslav worked for a company that became affected by the EU sanctions and he was not sure he would pass due diligence checks
A perfect solution: citizenship of Cyprus
Cypriot Investment Programme turned out to be the best option. Vyacheslav chose the destination already tested by many of his compatriots and obtained a citizenship of Cyprus. Despite the costs were even higher than in the case with Malta, the advantages of this program were extensive.
- Only 90 days needed for the registration
- Citizenship for the whole family of the investor including children under 28 years of age
- Upon obtaining Cypriot citizenship, investors can reside in any EU country
- Return on investment and a possibility of future profits
- Simple investment scheme
- Running business in Cyprus following transparent rules
- One of the most favorable tax systems in Europe
- No need to reside in Cyprus, know the language or pass history exams
- Visa-free access to 158 countries