Savva & Associates Cyprus

The Evolution of Investment based Citizenship

The Evolution of Investment-Based Citizenship: Transitioning from Caribbean to EU Golden Visa Programs

In the realm of investment-based citizenship, Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs have long been favored by those seeking an additional passport. However, the shifting global landscape is now challenging their dominance. A critical juncture has arrived with the European Union’s potential move to end visa-free travel for Caribbean CBI holders, urging a reassessment of the sustainability of these programs.

In a notable development towards the end of 2023, reports emerged that the European Commission had communicated with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent & The Grenadines about the impending cancellation of visa-free access to the Schengen Area for Caribbean nations with CBI programs. European authorities stressed that this revocation is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Caribbean CBI nations have responded by initiating bilateral negotiations with European nations to circumvent this situation, highlighting growing concerns about the future of the Caribbean CBI industry.

Recent times have seen Caribbean CBI programs embroiled in various controversies and scandals, raising doubts about their efficacy. The looming loss of visa-free Schengen access notably jeopardizes the appeal and utility of Caribbean passports. Issues such as misuse and insufficient vetting have not only heightened security concerns but also cast doubts on the integrity of these programs, attracting increased attention from international entities like the EU.

This situation leads to a waning interest in Caribbean CBIs, shifting the focus towards the more reliable and beneficial EU Golden Visa programs. Distinguished from their Caribbean counterparts, EU Golden Visas provide more than mere travel benefits – they offer a gateway to life in Europe, underpinned by the region’s stability, security, and prosperity.

The EU Golden Visa programs are distinguished by several key features:

1. **Credibility and Stability**: The rigorous due diligence of EU member states bolsters the integrity of their Golden Visa programs, which is essential in an era where transparency and legitimacy are crucial.

2. **EU Protections Access**: EU Golden Visa holders enjoy the rights and protections of EU residents, including access to top-tier healthcare, education, and legal systems.

3. **Diverse Investment Opportunities**: The EU’s dynamic market offers varied investment options, allowing investors to contribute to and benefit from its economic growth.

4. **Path to Long-term Residency and Citizenship**: Beyond a travel document, EU residency can lead to citizenship, offering a stable and integrated future in Europe.

In the evolving landscape of European residency and citizenship programs, Cyprus, Greece, and Malta’s Golden Visa programs have risen to prominence, offering distinct advantages and specific investment requirements that cater to a variety of investor needs:

1. **Cyprus Golden Visa Program**:
– Real Estate Investment**: Requires a minimum investment of €300,000 in new property from a developer, providing a tangible asset and potential for return.
– Investment Flexibility**: Offers options in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations.
– Family Inclusion**: Includes family members, extending benefits to immediate relatives.
– Additional Costs and Benefits**: Investors should consider VAT and other fees, which vary by property and location.
Schengen Zone access: while Cyprus is not a Schengen Zone member, a Cyprus permanent residency permit enables easy acquisition of a Greek one or two-year visa for Schengen Zone access, a little-known advantage.
– Minimal Stay Requirement**: Requires just one day of stay every two years.

2. **Greece Golden Visa Program**:
– **Affordable Investment**: Minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate outside city centers, and €500,000 within central areas and main tourist islands.
– **Real Estate Diversity**: Includes both urban and holiday destinations.
– **Schengen Zone Access**: Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
– **No Residency Requirement**: No minimum stay is mandated in Greece.

3. **Malta Residency and Visa Program (MRVP)**:
– **EU Residency**: Offers residency within the EU.
– **Investment Options**: Includes government bonds and real estate, with a typical investment involving contributions to a national development fund, government bonds, and property purchases or leases in Malta.
– **Healthcare Access**: Provides access to Malta’s high-standard healthcare system.

With distinct advantages and varied investment requirements, these programs from Cyprus, Greece, and Malta, are increasingly sought after by individuals looking for EU residency options. The Cyprus and Greece programs are notable for their real estate investment opportunities and inclusive family policies. Greece additionally stands out for its affordability and no residency requirement. Malta provides EU residency with a variety of flexible investment options and access to high-quality healthcare.

In summary, the shift in the CBI landscape indicates a trend towards more stable and credible solutions. With their comprehensive benefits and stringent standards, EU Golden Visa programs are becoming the preferred choice for astute investors. As Caribbean CBIs face challenges, the EU presents a secure and prosperous alternative for the future.


For comprehensive insights and guidance, we invite you to reach out to our team at:

Charles Savva

Managing Director


[email protected]

+357 22516671


Mina Pieri

Senior Manager


[email protected]

+357 22510207


Christos Tsaousis

Senior Manager


[email protected]

+357 22510206


We look forward to addressing your questions and providing the necessary guidance for your business needs.