Incoming Changes to Golden Visa and CBI Programs in 2023

When it comes to Residency and Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programs, the only constant is change. In today’s episode, we look at changes to some of the world’s leading Golden Visa and CBI Programs, starting in January 2023.

CBIs and Golden Visas: Key program changes expected in 2023

Residency and Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programs that offer applicants visa-free EU access have continued to take heat from Brussels throughout much of 2022:

  • The EU is dragging Malta to court over their CBI program (also known as the Malta Exceptional Investor Naturalization program)
  • Albania is getting stern criticism over their stated ambitions to launch a CBI (more on this below)…
  • And Vanuatu is still stuck in the naughty corner, without EU visa-free access, over alleged inadequate due diligence checks on their program.

But whether driven by EU pressure or other factors, numerous excellent residency and citizenship programs have either been shuttered in recent years, or became more restrictive:

  • Cyprus’ CBI program is gone for good.
  • Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa – same story.
  • Malaysia’s federal version of the My Second Home (MM2H) program came back ludicrously overpriced and restrictive (making the regional Sarawak MM2H as attractive as ever), while Turkey’s program pricing almost doubled.
  • Portugal’s Golden Visa program saw the minimum investment requirements for multiple investment options go up drastically, and the program conditions became more restrictive too…

So, with this trend in mind, let’s have a look at what changes you can expect to the investment migration landscape in 2023…

PROGRAMKEY INCOMING CHANGES
Greek Golden VisaAccording to a recent official announcement, the minimum investment amount for the Greek Golden Visa was set to increase from €250K to €500K on properties situated in Athens and Thessaloniki (and some surrounding suburbs).

Changes were to be “phased in” as of late January 2023…

However, according to one of our trusted providers on the ground in Thessaloniki, these changes have NOT been formally legislated, and no further announcements have taken place since.

Hence, this could also mean that the above increase:

  • Only takes effect later, OR
  • Doesn’t take effect at all…
St Lucia Citizenship By Investment ProgramSt Lucia’s highly popular Covid Relief Bond investment option, starting  at only $250K, is set to expire on December 31, 2022.

The program’s bond option will hence revert to $500K as of January 1, 2023. (The program’s donation options remain unaffected).

Portugal Golden Visa ProgramDespite some pretty ominous comments made by the Portuguese Prime Minister, no additional changes have been implemented to the Portuguese Golden Visa program (yet).

While we don’t expect anything too drastic to happen in the short term, we expect the Portuguese GV program – and many others – to get more expensive and/or more restrictive in future…

Montenegro Citizenship By Investment ProgramIf you haven’t applied for Montenegro’s CBI by now, chances are you’re going to miss the boat on this one.

After having extended the program for an additional year, the Montenegrin authorities have confirmed that their CBI will be shuttered for good as of December 31, 2022.

Which, in our opinion, is a great pity, given how relatively little traction the program achieved prior to its demise…

Five brand new CBI programs on the horizon – potentially

Armenia

Armenia, by the looks of things, is serious about launching a CBI program – possibly even before Christmas 2022.

And their key target market?

Affluent Russians, who are generally not able to apply for EU Golden Visas and CBI programs at present (outside of Grenada).

A raft of investment options priced from $100K to $1 million are presently being considered, including RE, fund and business investments, as well as government bonds.

The country isn’t a contender to join the EU (it drifted towards the Russian political bloc instead). It also doesn’t boast a great travel document (it earned a “C Grade” from us), but it might gain visa-free access to the Schengen area at some point in future.

(In the meanwhile, quite uniquely, their passport offers visa-free access to China and Russia.) 

And especially at the lower investment price points, this could make Armenia an interesting option…

El Salvador 

El Salvador’s much vaunted CBI program, replete with a “Volcano Bonds” investment option, has not been launched (yet).

We will keep an eye on this program and update our readers on any developments in 2023.

Suriname

While details are sparse, Suriname’s president confirmed that the country is investigating the possibility of launching a CBI.

While we’d welcome the launch of a South American CBI, we’re not holding our breath on this one just yet.

Albania

While the investment requirements for this slated program have not been announced, Albania is currently busy with the public tender processes to appoint an international promotion partner.

Predictably, the EU doesn’t appear to be enjoying this development.

Laos (proposed “honorary” CBI)

Laos clearly missed the memo regarding the pitfalls of “honorary” citizenship. (“Honorary” citizenship does not afford the holder the same rights as regular citizens under law. Vanuatu had to deal with years of criticism over this small but vital detail in their citizenship legislation.)

And unless you need to travel to Russia, their passport isn’t particularly compelling either. (It scores a woeful “D Grade” in the Sovereign Passport Ranking Index.)

The bottomline

As you can see from the above changes and emerging industry developments, investment migration remains in a constant state of flux going into 2023. And good options can disappear from the market virtually overnight.

The application processes for all of these programs take time, so if you’re set on taking advantage of any of them, apply sooner rather than later to avoid missing out.

Yours in freedom,

Sovereign Research

PS: Contemplating getting a Portuguese Golden Visa? Discover all of the coastal areas where you can still qualify by buying a residential property by joining Sovereign Confidential today.

PPS: If you’re ready to pull the trigger on either a Golden Visa or alternative Citizenship By Investment, be sure to join Total Access (TA) to take advantage of our deep service provider discounts – exclusively negotiated for our TA members.

For example: You could save up to $40,000 on getting St Kitts and Nevis citizenship as a family of four. That alone pays for your membership in Total Access.

To get notified the next time we open this exclusive membership program to new members, sign up to the TA Waitlist here.

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Andre Bothma

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