Europe has several competitive citizenship by investment programs. Deciding on a program as the best option is quite hard. There are many different variables that affect the comparison. To tighten the circle, the most important aspects for investors should be considered as determinant factors.
In this article, two of the best programs around that offer EU citizenship are compared. Two Mediterranean countries –Cyprus and Malta- offer great citizenship by investment programs. Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program offers a high standard of living in a clean, safe and healthy environment. Malta Citizenship by Investment Program, on the other hand, has a vibrant history with a significant number of historic sites. Here are several variables to keep in mind about these two great countries.
Cyprus: To benefit from the quickest and most assured path to European citizenship, applicants may choose to invest €2.0 million in real estate in Cyprus. Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program offers EU citizenship within 6 months of application. Second passport from Cyprus allows its holder to work, travel, study and live in anywhere in EU. Visa-free travel to countries like Germany, France and UK attracts investors from everywhere. Moreover, the investment made through Cyprus CIP can be reduced down after 3 years to just €500,000.
Malta: Malta Citizenship by Investment Program is a scheme aimed at high net worth individuals. Also known as Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), the scheme requires a considerable investment. To benefit from this program, applicants must make a minimum contribution of €650,000 to the national development fund set up by the government. They must also, invest €150,000 in government approved financial instruments and commit to a residence in Malta for a minimum of 5 years. The property value for purchased real estate needs to be a minimum €350,000. After one year of residency, naturalisation and Maltese passport are granted to the applicant. This means EU citizenship and availability of living, studying and working anywhere in the EU.
Both Malta and Cyprus are Mediterranean countries. So, they are quite similar regarding weather. Being a bit more to the south, Cyprus is a little warmer than Malta. Only difference between Cyprus and Malta in terms of climate is the number of rainy days every year. Annual rainfall in Malta is nearly double that of Cyprus. Even though rain and wind can be a bad thing sometimes, it also means more greenery and more local fruits and vegetables.
Cyprus is also one of the very few places in the world where it is possible to swim and ski in the same time of the year. People can head to the top of the Troodos Mountain in Cyprus and experience thick snow while being able to swim and sunbathe down in Limassol.
Cost of Living
In terms of daily cost of living, Malta is cheaper than Cyprus. For instance, it is quite usual to pay $1.31 for a cappuccino in Malta. Yet in Cyprus, the usual price for a cup of coffee is around 5 dollars.
Still, other expenses like buying a car is significantly more expensive in Malta, due to the heavy taxation. Similarly, rental accommodation tends to be more expensive in Malta when its sought-after areas are compared to Cyprus’. Understandably, these kind of bigger expenses tend to consume a bigger chunk off of the budget. So, unless the daily costs are exaggerated, one’s monthly expenses will be lower in Cyprus.
As such, unless you’re partying every weekend or drinking 10 cups of coffee per day, your general monthly expenses will likely be a bit lower in Cyprus.
Cyprus’ size is considerably larger than Malta. Thus, the beaches in Cyprus are larger and more than Malta’s beaches in number. Cyprus’ beaches stretch along its long coasts from city centres to the outskirts. Therefore it is always possible to find a place that is calm and quiet. Malta in this category is a bit behind. Malta has plethora of beaches, but most of them are small and rocky. So, they tend to get crowded easily.
Both Malta and Cyprus are former British colonies and therefore English is widely spoken in both countries. However, English is an official language in Malta, whereas in Cyprus it is not. Cyprus’ official languages are Greek and Turkish. Yet it does not create a big difference because Cyprus’ English proficiency is almost as good as Malta.
Still, English is an official language in Malta. This means that nearly all official communication – be it with banks, the government, or any other sector– can always be done in English. Also, most instructions and forms are provided either in English or both English and Maltese. In Cyprus, on the other hand, it is very usual to find forms that are purely in Greek. By this factor, unless the investor speaks Greek, Malta is much more comfortable.