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Residence and Citizenship Planning
30/06/2015

In most countries tax regulations are becoming more stringent by increasing the level of taxes and by reinforcing all legislation which purpose is to fight against tax evasion. This new situation drives more and more tax payers to leave there home country to establish residency elsewhere and look for a new citizenship.

Besides these tax aspects, the choice of a new residence and /or citizenship can be motivated by a better quality of life for your family, an ease of travel, or even political aspects especially for those living in jurisdictions where there is governmental or economic insecurity.

Depending on your objectives various countries offers programs that could allow you fulfilling one or more of your goals. One of these countries is Monaco.

Monaco is an attractive location for internationally based individuals and families, entrepreneurs and sportspeople wishing to manage their family affairs and business in an attractive European location.

BECOMING MONACO RESIDENT AND/OR CITIZEN

Monaco residency

The fiscal environment in Monaco offers residents the opportunity for financial planning, that may not be not available in other jurisdictions, indeed residents are not subject to tax in Monaco on their worldwide income, capital gains or subject to an annual wealth tax on the value of their global assets. Furthermore, while inheritance and gift tax is levied, it does not apply to the donor’s spouse and children.

To become Monaco resident the applicant must provide various documents regarding his identity, an evidence of his accommodation in Monaco, proof of income, and proof that he has not been convicted of a criminal offence.

The applicant will then be invited to attend a formal interview and, if all is in order, the resident’s card is then issued. The procedure usually takes about 6-8 weeks.

For the first three years of residence the resident’s card must be renewed annually, thereafter every third year, until after twelve year’s residence, when the card must then be renewed every tenth year.

Applicants from outside of the EEA must first apply for a long stay visa to the French Consulate. This normally takes approximately two to three months.

Monaco citizenship

Monaco citizenship is difficult to obtain. Those seeking to become Monegasque citizens via naturalisation require sending their request directly to the Prince and reside in Monaco for a minimum of 10 continuous years at the time of making the application (this period may be reduced by decision of the Prince).

It should be noted that Monaco does not allow multiple citizenships.

Obtaining Monaco residency can be easy if all conditions are fulfilled, but obtaining Monaco citizenship can take time and is not granted as it is subject to the Prince’s decision. Because of this situation it can be interesting combining a Monaco Residency with another citizenship.

You will find hereafter a summary of the major citizenship programs now available.

CITIZENSHIP PROGRAMS

Malta citizenship

The Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) requires a person to make an economic contribution and showing ties to the country. In exchange, and subject to a specific procedure, the candidates and their families can be full Maltese citizen.

Obtaining Maltese citizenship is a fast process: it takes 3-4 months.  This EU Passport gives right to live and work anywhere in Schengen Area* and gives visa-free access to more than 160 countries including the USA.

To qualify for citizenship, the candidate must be over 18, comply with all the following cumulative application conditions.

1/ Make a non-refundable contribution of 650,000 € (an additional contribution of 25,000 € for the spouse and per child under age). Specificities exist for children between 18 and 26 years old and parents over 55 financially dependent on the main applicant.

2/ Either purchase of a residential property in Malta with a minimum price of 350,000 € or sign a lease in a residential property with a rent of at least 16,000 € per annum, both being held for five years.

3/ Invest 150,000 € in a prescribed investment held for five years, and benefit from a global health insurance cover.

The applicant must prove that he has been a legal resident of Malta for a period of at least 12 months, preceding the issuance of the naturalisation certificate.

Malta does not require you to stay a minimum number of days in the country.

Antigua and Barbuda citizenship

The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Program also requires the applicant to make an economic contribution to the country.

Antigua & Barbuda passport provides visa free access to approximately 130 countries including Canada, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and the European Schengen Area States.

This citizenship by Investment program requires only 5 days of physical presence during the initial 5 year period.

To qualify for citizenship, the primary candidate must be over 18 years, meet the application requirements and select one of the following three paths:

Investment in officially approved real estate with a value of at least US$ 400,000.

Business investment: Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) should approve a business whether existing or proposed. The amount of the business investment is of at least US$ 1.5 million.

Contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) of a minimum non-refundable amount of USD 200,000

There are no restrictions on dual citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.

Cyprus citizenship

Cyprus Citizenship by Investment is available to investors pursuant to the "Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors in Cyprus by Exception".  In virtue of this scheme, the Cyprus Council of Ministers may grant citizenship by naturalization to foreigners. Additionally, the law provides for the granting of the Cypriot citizenship to the spouse as well as financially dependent adult children of the investor.

Obtaining Cyprus citizenship is a fast process: it takes 3-4 months.  This passport allows visa free travel to over 150 countries including Europe and Canada.

To sum up, you can qualify by investing at least €5m in Cyprus in the following types of investments : Property (but not undeveloped land), Cypriot businesses or companies, bonds, securities, debentures and investment or participation in public works,

In the three first the investments have to be maintained for three years. Where the investment is in shares or bonds, the value of the investment must stay above €5m for the entire three years. I

In addition, the investor must own a private residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase cost of which must exceed the amount of €500.000 plus VAT and must be fully paid.

AN ALTERNATIVE RESIDENCY: THE UNITED KINGDOM

The United Kingdom also has is residency program called Tier 1 (Investor) visa which is designed for high net worth individuals who want to relocate themselves and their family to the UK. Only a few hundred of these visas are granted per year.

Within three months of entry to the UK, the candidate is only required to make an investment of at least GBP 2 million which must be maintained throughout the period until permanent residence is achieved.

The investor must invest in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active UK companies. Money should be disposable in the UK or held outside the UK and be freely transferable to the UK and convertible to sterling.

The initial visa is valid for three years and at its expiry the UK government can grant a two year extension if the applicant has maintained the required investment throughout the term.

On completion of five years of unremitting legal residence, the investor may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR). To obtain ILR the investor should demonstrate that he legally spent a continuous period of five years in the UK (three or two years for 5 or 10 Million investments). Obtaining this ILR is one of the conditions to obtain the British Citizenship by naturalisation for non EEA nationals.

It is very important to note that the residence requirement for becoming a British citizen is very different to that which has to be met when applying for indefinite leave to remain : whilst a Tier 1 (investor) migrant can spend abroad up to 180 days out of every 12 month period, when it comes to applying for British citizenship, they must not have spent abroad more than 450 days during the 5 year qualifying period, and no more than 90 days during the final 12 months of this.

Other noticeable programs:

Besides these major programs, other countries offer residence programs with various scopes that could fit to your need. We can mention for example:

The Portuguese “Golden Residence Visa”, which requires a minimum investment: EUR 500,000

The Turks and Caicos (TCI) “Investment based Permanent Residency” Program, which is not significantly different from the neighboring country’s economic citizenship programs, but TCI offers permanent residency certificate (PRC) and not passport.

The Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program (BGIIP) is based on the Canadian immigrant investor model which allows high net worth individuals and their families to obtain Bulgarian permanent residence status with all the advantages of a European Union permanent residence.

Similar investment programs exist for obtaining a second citizenship (for example : Austria, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, etc…).

Rosemont Consulting provides a qualified expertise not solely for a choice of residency but applying for a new citizenship.

 


* Austria Belgium Czech republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain  Sweden Switzerland Liechtenstein


Cecile Acolas

For further information on Rosemont Consulting SARL and services provided please visit www.rosemont.mc
 
Please do not hesitate to contact Cecile Acolas at c.acolas@rosemont.mc for queries on these topics.

This article is published in MONACO БИЗНЕС (Monaco Business) Magazine