What’s an Immigrant Investor Program?
Investment Visa Programs, also known as Immigration by Investment programs (residency and citizenship), or sometimes an Entrepreneur Visa, are government programs created to stimulate economic activity in their country through the attraction of investment capital and entrepreneurial talent.
In return, they allow foreign investors to gain a residence visa and potentially, a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship.
- Purpose of Investment Visa Programs: Government initiatives to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurial talent by offering residence visas and potential pathways to permanent residency or citizenship.
- Examples of Programs: Golden Visas in Europe, Eb-2 in the U.S., Canada Start-up visa, and residency programs in countries like South Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean.
- Eligibility and Conditions: Varying criteria, including substantial capital investment, maintenance period, educational/work qualifications, health checks, and clean criminal records.
- Benefits: Residency, permanent residency, or citizenship with associated rights such as work, study, and travel. Additional advantages include access to healthcare, education, potential tax benefits, and business opportunities.
- Citizenship Programs and Specialized Visas: Citizenship programs offer direct or residency-based paths. Entrepreneur Visas involve external funding, and Golden Visas in Europe provide residency leading to permanent residency or citizenship. Expert advice, especially from immigration lawyers, is crucial for decision-making.
Examples of Immigrant Investment Programs
Some examples of a few popular immigration by investment programs are the Golden Visas in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, and other European countries that offers European Investment Visa such as France, the U.K ; In North-America there is the Eb-2 investment visas in the United States and the Canadian investment visa (Canada Start-up visa program);
Other countries with residency by investment programs are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore. For Citizenship by investment Turkiye offers an interesting investment program.
In the Caribbeans, several countries, including Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, provide citizenship programs. Additionally, Vanuatu in pacific region provides similar citizenship programs.
Below we will cover all the key information on immigrant investor programs for those who are interested in them.
Eligibility and Conditions of Investor Visa Programs
The eligibility and requirements of programs vary between the countries and programs, but they often involve four key features:
- A substantial capital investment (minimum amount varies). The investor may need to maintain that investment for a certain amount of time.Investment options may include real estate, government bonds, bank deposits, approved capital investment funds, local companies, national development funds, and designated public works programs, for example.
- Requisite qualifications. This might entail a level of education, appropriate work experience and/or language skills.
- Particularly Entrepreneur Visa types may have a series of conditions relating to business plans, commercial support, and research.
- Lastly, certain programs may require proof of good health for the applicant and any dependents included, as well as a clean criminal record and evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents.
The Key Benefits of Immigrant Investor Programs are:
- In return for the investment and other criteria, they offer one or several of:
- residency for a length of time
- permanent residency
- or citizenship.That in turn usually entails several other benefits, such as:
- Rights to live, work, or study in the new host country.
- Mobility – The granting of Citizenship subsequently permits the obtention of a valid travel document, the passport being the most common example. The obtention of a new nationality can dramatically improve the ability to travel since some countries can have visa-free travel agreements with 180 countries or more. For many, this doubles the number of countries they can visit with the minimum amount of hassle.Even Residency status can help with increased travel in some regions. Residency in most European countries gives access to the whole of the Schengen zone for 90 days in every 180.
- Citizenship or residency status can grant access to hospitals and education, as well as other support infrastructure at dramatically subsidised rates for outstanding services.
- It may offer a more tax friendly regime. This is a complex subject, and securing yourself with expert advice is highly recommended. This can range from tax incentives for business start-ups and investors, to tax systems with no personal income or company tax, no inheritance, capital gains, or gift taxes. It varies enormously with each jurisdiction.
- Business Advantages include access to global markets, preferential support for new investors, special advantages in local business operations, and the like.
- Opportunities for yourself and family – the new host country may offer a different lifestyle with greater personal freedom, a rich history and culture, better weather, or a lovely natural environment.
- Subject to additional costs and restrictions, many programs offer the inclusion of a spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings.
Generally, a citizenship status offers more extensive advantages over a residency status. Through immigration by investment programs, there are two paths to citizenship – the first is a direct pathway, some of the oldest programs are the 5 Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programs; or via a residency by investment program – many of the European residency by investment programs can lead to qualification for citizenship after 5 to 7 years, for instance.
An Entrepreneur Visa versus other programs
Entrepreneur Visas usually require funding which comes from a source other than the applicant, that is to say, an outside investor. This is usually an established commercial entity that can act as an advisor or incubator, will sponsor the applicant’s business venture, supplying documentation to this effect, and assessing their business plan.
Golden Visa Programs
Many people who wish to enjoy the European lifestyle with warm southern weather, history, culture, and cuisine are taking advantage of European Golden Visas that grant Residency Visas for several years. These residency programs and visas can eventually lead to permanent residency or citizenship.
Expert Advice on Immigration by Investment
Whichever immigration by investment program interests you, please do get expert advice. Your choice in an immigrant investor program is critical to your future, therefore it is highly recommended to first speak with immigration lawyers who have the necessary details and insights.
Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a multinational law firm with over 30 years of experience in immigration and business law. For more information, To schedule a free consultation, you can reach them at [email protected].