The European Union (EU) has recently established new guidelines for countries offering citizenship by investment (CBI) programs, with the aim of enhancing safety and security.
During a meeting held between leaders of Caribbean countries and EU officials in Brussels, Belgium, the EU Commission emphasized the importance of protecting the European region as a top priority.
To ensure the robust implementation of these practices, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, will lead an oversight committee responsible for monitoring the operations of third-nation CBI programs over a six-month period.
The EU’s stringent guidelines, proposed for adoption by nations offering CBI programs, are as follows:
- Implement robust due diligence
Each applicant must undergo comprehensive due diligence conducted by reputable and legal international firms based in top-tier countries like the EU, US, or UK. This process aims to mitigate risks related to fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities that may threaten the EU or any other nation.
- Implement mandatory interviews
All CBI applicants are required to undergo mandatory interviews, either conducted through a trusted online platform or in person (if feasible). These interviews serve to gain a deeper understanding of the investor’s intentions and motivations for seeking alternative citizenship, enhancing the overall application process.
- Enhance security measures
Official documents related to alternative citizenship or passports must not be sent to investors or new citizens through mail after citizenship is granted. This measure aims to protect sensitive information from potential theft, loss, or fraud.
- Increase investment thresholds
The EU recommends raising the minimum investment amount to US$200,000 for single applicants using the donation option and US$400,000 for real estate investment options. This increase ensures that only high net worth individuals with a significant capacity to contribute to the host nation’s economy are attracted to the CBI programs.
- Investment must reach the host country
Countries offering CBI programs must closely monitor the flow of funds and adhere to stringent money laundering processes. The investment funds must be directly transferred to the host nation and not diverted into accounts in any other country, ensuring transparency and legitimate usage of funds.
- Abolish promotional material of passports
All promotional materials that highlight the benefits of visa-free access to the EU or other countries must be repealed. This shift in focus aims to promote ethical and legal obligations rather than solely investing in alternative citizenship for global mobility advantages.
The EU’s guidance seeks to maintain the integrity of CBI programs by emphasizing due diligence, rigorous handling of citizenship documents, and stringent investment procedures. The specialized oversight committee led by Ylva Johansson will ensure that these programs align with the specified principles and work to eliminate any potential misuse or abuse.
By adhering to these principles, countries offering CBI programs can demonstrate exceptional standards and comply with international laws, safeguarding the EU and its citizens. The EU’s recommendations serve as guiding parameters for promoting stringent measures that strike a balance between economic advantages and ethical responsibilities.