There are two ways to attract foreign investors.
There are four countries that excel in attracting foreign investors to Europe: Portugal, Spain, Malta, Greece and Spain. These countries all offer attractive tax incentives which make them appealing to international investors.
While Portugal, Spain and Greece clearly chose the Golden Visa route (residency permit form), Malta chose the citizenship-by-investment path.
What is the difference between these two ways to attract foreign investment?
We will compare the two types and give you two examples to help you understand them. We chose to go with Malta and Greece because they have different types of programs.
Two Mediterranean countries, Malta and Greece, are located off the coasts of Turkey and Italy respectively. These countries are well-known for their stunning beaches and warm climate. This makes them ideal destinations for tourists. Investors can also visit the country. Since the Maltese government began to grant residency permits and, more recently, citizenship to foreigners who wish to invest in the country, this has been the case for many decades.
In 2013, the Greek government followed suit and offers benefits today through its new golden visa program.
Are you looking for residency status? You can get Malta citizenship through an investment program
Investors have the chance to become Maltese citizens through the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program. It’s unique in that it combines both of these options.
Investors have three options to apply for Malta citizenship by investment program, also known as Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment process – CES).
Transferring directly money equal or greater than 600,000.00 euros or 750,000,000.
Real estate investment projects with a minimum of EUR700,000. This property must be maintained for five year. A residential lease is also available for an annual rent of EUR16,000.
Donations of a minimum EUR10,000 to charitable organizations approved by the government
All interested applicants must submit an online application and provide documents to prove their identity and financial status. After approval, applicants are issued a permanent residence card that has a validity of 36 months. You have the opportunity to apply for naturalization and malta citizenship during this period.
Greece competing for Golden Visa residence status
We’ve seen that there are four European countries competing to attract foreign investors to their residence permit status. Portugal, Spain, and Greece are all candidates for residence permit status.
How does the so-called Golden Visa program (like the one in Greece) compare to the more complicated citizenship by investment offered by Malta?
The Greek Golden Visa program was launched in 2013 and allows non-EU/EEA citizens, as well as their families, to obtain permanent residence permits in Greece.
Although it does not offer citizenship directly like the Maltese program it still has many benefits.
It is the lowest in real estate property investment (real estate property investment of at least EUR250,000) when compared to the Portuguese. It’s 3x lower than the malta program.
Possibility to rent the property
Residence permits can be extended to the entire family (a key factor for investors).
Reduced taxes in Double Taxation Scheme (57 countries are included in the agreement).
Other benefits, such as access to education, healthcare, and visa-free travel, are also available, but these are comparable to those offered by other European countries.
Malta vs. Greece: Which Programs are More Attractive to Investors?
Every investor and their families have different needs. These programs are designed to attract foreign investment.
A direct route to citizenship may be ideal for non-EU foreign investors who are looking for a second passport. However, some investors don’t have the funds to apply for this path.
This is why the greek golden visa program might be better for you to obtain a residency and then a citizenship status.
It is a good idea to contact specialist immigration firms who can help you understand the details of each program and which one is best for your family.
One thing is certain. These programs are becoming more popular in Europe. While there are concerns about tax evasion, not so clear residency and citizenship status, it seems that they can be an attractive alternative for those who wish to invest abroad.