European Union (EU) passports are among the most powerful in the world, having the highest standard of benefits, unrestricted right to live, retire, work, study and do business in all the EU membership countries. However, before enjoying all these benefits, one must first acquire EU citizenship status. Some would choose Non-lucrative visa or long-stay visa over citizenship by investment and golden visa programs. Key benefits of EU passports include the following:
> Freely travel throughout the 28 EU nations and Schengen states
> Free and/or reduced tuition costs at schools & universities
> Universal health care coverage with European health insurance card
> Consular protection & protected under GDPR privacy laws
> Purchase Protected by health and safety laws in Europe
> Attractive tax incentive schemes, taxation privacy
Statistics show growing number of immigrants are choosing Non-lucrative visa or long-stay visa over citizenship by investment and golden visa programs in Europe. These non-lucrative resident permits or long-stay visas, are non-investment immigration programs, targeted people who wish to retire or reside in the country for an extended period of time. Options to obtain permanent residency status and citizenship are welcomed, as long as these visa holders are to guaranteed not to work in the designated country.
In comparison, the citizenship by investment programs (CIP) in Malta or Cyprus would allow applicant be granted with EU citizenship directly within 6-18 months’ time. These programs usually involve significantly larger amount of investment fund at about 1-2 million euro; The golden visas are investment scheme visas, would usually require for fund investment or real-estate purchase worth of 280k to 500k Euro. Golden visa holders must also go through language test and meet basic physical residential requirement to be entitle to PR status or citizenship.
Requirements of Non-Lucrative Resident Permits / Long-Stay Visas
As of 2019, the top 5 popular programs under of non-lucrative or long-stay visa schemes within the European Union are ranked as following: France, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus. Above programs general processing time are at 3-8 months, and Cyprus would take between 12-18 months. The general requirement included asset proof of USD 700k and stable foreign evidence of financial resources of USD 2,300 / month. If family or dependents application are applicable, such financial resources requirement would be increase by 15-25% per additional applicant.
Additionally, applicants must be aware that detail requirements are different by country. For Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus, applicant must provide address proof in their application; France, on the other hand, allow applicants to exempt from such requirement by providing sufficient asset proof.
Similar to golden visas in the investment scheme, visa holders will first receive a renewable long-stay visa last between 1-2 years (5 years for Cyprus applicants), then non-lucrative visa holders must meet specific requirements to be granted with Permanent Status or Citizenship of Europe.
Generally, requirements for naturalization and acquiring permanent status includes physical residential proof as well as basic language ability proof at primary school level. And for retiring applicants who plans their immigration for identity planning or education planning purposes, it is worth noting that entrepreneurship / business investment is allowed only in Spain, Portugal and France while holding long-stay visas.
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