February 28, 2022
Reading Time: 4 min

Programs of residence permit and citizenship by investment in the European Union are suspended for Russians

Participation in European residence permit and citizenship programs will be impossible for investors from Russia due to the sanctions imposed on Russian banks. We recommend waiting at least a week — we will keep you informed of the development of the situation.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

Citizenship and residence permit in the European Union by investment: applications of Russians are temporarily not considered

Programs of residence permit and citizenship by investment in the European Union are suspended for Russians

The leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, The Great Britain, Canada and the United States have issued a joint statement that they would impose sanctions on Russia and its state-owned companies. Sanctions are introduced gradually. The country leaders agreed on the following:

1. Disconnect individual Russian banks from SWIFT the international system for the transfer of financial information. With the help of SWIFT, banks transmit transaction messages to each other in the form of unified codes via secure channels. Then, based on these codes, clients' funds transfer accordingly.

At the moment the representatives of the system are consulting with the European Union about who should be included in the shutdown list.

About 11,000 financial institutions from 200 countries are connected to the system. Russia is one of the most active participants. After the shutdown of Russia, it will be necessary to look for an alternative way to transfer information to foreign banks. The interaction of Russian companies with counterparties will not stop, just transactions will take a longer time.

2. Freeze the assets of the Russian Central Bank, in order to prevent the Bank of Russia from using its own international reserves to dampen the impact of Western sanctions. For example, EU sanctions will freeze about half of Russia’s financial reserves, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

3. Limit the possibility of Russians participating in investment programs. The statement is about the countries that signed it — the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the EU states. Not all countries have made official publications yet.

Portugal has already suspended consideration of applications for a residence permit for investment from Russians. This was announced by Augusto Santos Silva, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal. The suspension period has not been specified.

Greece has also published the announcement on the website of the Ministry of Immigration that Russians cannot yet apply for or extend a residence permit for investment.

4. Launch a transatlantic task force. It will monitor the implementation of financial sanctions: identify and freeze the assets of individuals and companies that are under sanctions and in the countries that signed the statement.

Elena Ruda

Elena Ruda,

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

Sanctions were imposed against the largest banks in Russia. For example, the Central Bank, Sberbank, VTB, Promsvyazbank, Vnesheconombank, Sovcombank, Gazprombank, Novikombank and others. Also, the Russians will not yet be able to keep more than €100,000 on an account in European banks.

The UK has set a limit of £50,000. Those who want to participate in EU investment programs, we kindly ask you to wait a bit. The sanctions list is being updated, the terms of transfers may change.

We monitor the situation and immediately report changes in the conditions of investment programs. What we can say for sure is that investment programs from the Caribbean and Vanuatu are now available to Russians. Investors from Russia can make transfers in dollars, including those under citizenship or residence permit programs.

Why is it impossible to take part in investment programs if they have not been suspended?

In case if not all European countries suspend the consideration of applications for residence permit or citizenship programs, then the Russians will still not be able to participate in them yet. The reason is that sanctions restrict currency transfers to foreign banks.

Sanctions against the Russian banking sector have already been introduced by the EU states, Great Britain, the USA, Canada and Japan. Every day there is new information — other countries may join the sanctions.

About 70% of the Russian banking services market and key state-owned companies will fall under the sanctions, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

An alternative for investors is not yet available EU investment programs

Investment programs operate not only in Europe. Obtaining a second citizenship is also offered by Vanuatu and the Caribbean states — Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis. The minimum investment starts from $100,000 and depends on the country.

Countries with investment programs

Country and status

Minimal investment

From $100,000

From $100,000

From $130,000

From $150,000

From $150,000

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

Caribbean countries allow Russians to take part in investment programs. However they have strengthened the compliance: Due Diligence will be carried out even more thoroughly and will begin already at the stage of transferring funds for due diligence. Investors will be able to obtain Caribbean citizenship only through a licensed agent — a company that has its own Compliance division. Immigrant Invest is the only company in the industry that has this division.

Immigrant Invest — a licensed agent who helps to obtain a second citizenship in the Caribbean or Vanuatu. If you want to get a second citizenship, feel free to contact our investment program experts for more information.