The demand for golden visas and passports has confidently exceeded pandemic levels in Russia. The Prian company claims that in the first three months of this year, the interest of Russians in acquiring foreign real estate has grown by more than 80%.
According to analysts, such a sharp jump is associated with the desire to obtain citizenship, a residence permit or a visa in exchange for investment. Similar growth dynamics, writes GreekReporterobserved during the pandemic. In the context of closed borders in March-May 2020, the number of applications, for example, to Knight Frank increased by 20%. But now the trend is even more serious, says Polina Kuleshova, a representative of Henley & Partners:
“Unprecedented growth of some applications, questions and so on. But I must make a reservation: usually the deal cycle under the programs of the “golden visa” or “golden passport” is quite long. From interest to closing a case can take from 6 months to several years. When a person is faced, for example, with the need to choose real estate, with the inability to transfer money from one country to another, this makes certain adjustments. Of course, demand is significantly higher than during the pandemic. The middle class or people who have their own business in Russia, who want to keep it or increase it, want to receive such documents. I can’t say that the events of recent times have rejuvenated the audience in any noticeable way. Our clients are getting younger and the IT industry has become very popular lately. It is rather a trend of the last three years.”
Analytical data show that Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are the priority destinations for the relocation of wealthy Russians. In these countries, in exchange for obtaining a residence permit or citizenship, you need to invest $250,000 and $205,000 in real estate, respectively. It should be noted, says Paragon Advice Group partner Alexander Zakharov, that the choice of available “golden passports” for Russian citizens has been significantly reduced:
“If we talk about the most massive direction, it was quite easy to get the “golden visas” of the United Arab Emirates, taking into account the possibility of investing in real estate in the region of $205,000. The list of grounds for issuing a residence permit in Dubai has expanded. Many are attracted by the opportunity to obtain a residence permit in the former Soviet republics – Armenia and Uzbekistan. There is even a request for documents related to citizenship in the Central Asian republics. Many programs for Russian citizens have been suspended. The entire Caribbean region has temporarily banned the participation of Russians who do not have residence permits in third countries and who do not permanently reside abroad. If we are talking about the European direction, they were also completely deprived of such an opportunity, while Greece resumed the extension of the “golden visas”.
However, “golden passports” became inaccessible to Russian citizens in Portugal and Spain. But Turkey, as always, is “on top”. It is the only one close to EU a country that welcomes citizenship by investment, but… the authorities decided to increase the cost of participation in this program from $250,000 to $400,000. True, these rules have not yet come into force.
If we talk about passports, then, as practice shows, the most difficult issue for Russians to withdraw it from is obtaining so-called citizenship by repatriation. These are the programs of Italy, Romania, Greece and, earlier, Portugal.” A week ago, Cyprus was the first to officially begin the procedure for depriving Russians of the “golden passports” already issued. The media write that this measure will affect more than two dozen people, including four billionaires and their families.
As our publication wrote, European “golden” passports will soon become invalid. The European Union plans to abolish them by 2025. A decision has already been voted that it is time to put an end to the process of “selling” European citizenship to people from third countries. MEPs plan to abolish golden visas over the next three years, by 2025.