As eventful as 2023 was for investment migration, the beginning months of 2024 have already outpaced it. Major program changes, price increases, geopolitical intrigue, and new policies are redefining the entire citizenship by investment and Golden Visa landscape.

The first four months of 2024 have already started with a bang: 

  • Top officials from the EU met with their Caribbean counterparts to debate everything citizenship by investment-related – the consequences have been announced 
  • Rumors continue to surround Turkey’s potential price increase
  • Hungary’s latest power play
  • The reign of the Greek Golden Visa has officially ended
  • Another EU Golden Visa is gone

The year is still young, though, and more could happen. 

The only thing that is definite is that entrepreneurs and investors who miss these critically important upcoming deadlines could lose out permanently. 

Caribbean citizenship programs doubling prices

In late March 2024, four of the Caribbean Five citizenship by investment programs announced the formation of a program collective called their Memorandum of Agreement. 

The countries are:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • St. Kitts & Nevis

While St. Lucia has not yet joined the collective agreement, the government has stated that it may do so soon.

In mid-2023, St. Kitts & Nevis unexpectedly announced their decision to double the minimum investment requirement for their citizenship program—marking the first time one of the Caribbean Five countries broke away from the pricing average among the countries. 

The St. Kitts and Nevis’ program went from $125K to $250K, essentially, overnight.

Micheal Martin, the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) in St. Kitts & Nevis, said the government decided to raise the minimum investment after thoughtfully re-evaluating its program.

This sparked rumors within the industry that the remaining Caribbean countries would follow in St. Kitts & Nevis’ footsteps – a prediction made by Astons’ Caribbean expert, Alena Lesina, in a December webinar. 

That prediction has now been realized. 

The above-stated four Caribbean countries have agreed, inter alia, to a universal price floor of $200,000 – meaning they will all implement a minimum investment for the donation requirement of “at least” $200K.

This increase is to be implemented individually, but the deadline is”no later than 30 June 2024″.

The countries have also agreed to implement a more effective and strategic approach to due diligence and program transparency and to aggressively collect canceled passports.

The clock is ticking toward the “30 June 2024” deadline for investing under the current prices:

Hungary – The EU’s newest Golden Visa

Hungary is launching the EU’s newest Golden Visa – which is expected to be available by July 2024.

Hungary’s Guest Investor Visa was a surprise twist, given that the country’s old Golden Visa program was suspended nearly five years ago—even though it was a highly popular program.

That same excitement is starting to generate around their new Guest Investor Visa program. 

The new Hungary Golden Visa will be unique amongst its EU counterparts. It will provide a 10-year residency card and offer three unique real estate investment options, with a minimum investment threshold beginning at €250,000.

The reign of the Greece Golden Visa has ended

In 2023, Greece raised the real estate minimum investment amount in Thessaloniki, Varo, Santorini, Mykonos, and the majority of Athens from €250,000 to €500,000 – transforming the Greek Golden Visa program into a geographically-based two-tier investment program. 

Raising the prices in the most desirable investment areas didn’t happen overnight, as Greece’s government provided an original deadline and then later extended it.

Now, the Greek government is doing it again – sort of.

On 31 March 2024, the Greece Golden Visa was officially updated. The change is essentially within the existing framework but with some added elements:

  1. The lowest investment option has increased from €250K to €400K
  2. The highest investment tier increased from €500K to €800K
  3. The investment zones have changed; some areas that were €250K in 2023 [such as parts of Athens] are now €800K
  4. Golden Visa properties can no longer be used for the short-term rental market, i.e., AirBnB or VRBO type platforms [long-term traditional annual rental contracts are permitted]
  5. The total investment threshold must be made into a single property
  6. The property must be at least 120 sq. m.
  7. Investors who pay a 10% deposit can keep the 2023 investment prices up to the deadline 

While the official legislation took effect on 31 March 2024, as with the 2023 changes, there is a grace period – unlike in 2023, when the grace period was extended, the 2024 grace period has already been shortened.

Originally, the Greek government permitted investors to leverage the 2023 investment prices until the end of September 2024. 

However, it has now been announced that the new extension has been shortened by a month – the new deadline is now 31 August 2024.

For years, the Greece Golden Visa has been the #1 Golden Visa program in the world, as it offered:

  • A real estate investment into one of Europe’s hottest markets
  • The lowest investment threshold for an EU program
  • The most privacy-focused and least intrusive due diligence
  • EU residency in only a matter of months
  • The ultimate means for acquiring the highly-coveted EU Plan B

However, under the new design, the Greek Golden Visa is expected to be de-throned as the King of Golden Visas – the likely replacement …. Hungary.

Turkey citizenship program to increase price?

Rumors continue about another price hike for one of Europe’s most popular citizenship programs, The Turkey citizenship by investment program. 

In 2023, the Turkish government increased the minimum real estate investment from $250,000 to $400,000, but recent reports suggest that the program may be in for another $200,000 increase, bringing the minimum up to $600,000.

While the Turkish government has yet to comment officially on the matter or issue any definitive statements, another price hike aligns with its recent strategies and policy changes.

This is a very time-sensitive issue for investors, as the Turkish government hasn’t been as generous as other countries when it comes to grace periods when implementing price increases. Decision-making is quick, and the application of new regulations is almost immediate, so investors who have been considering the Turkish program or simply European citizenship should act fast. 

2024 may be the end of visa-free travel for non-EU citizens and residents

Over the past decade, global mobility rights have been under constant attack, and passports that were once considered the most powerful in the world [such as the US and UK passports] have not ranked in the Top 15 since 2020.

The world’s most powerful passports continue to be in the EU and Asia.

And the EU’s passports are about to obliterate the rankings.

A significant paradigm shift will occur between 2024 and the end of 2025: the end of genuine visa-free access rights.

The US already operates its extremely restrictive ESTA eVisa/pre-entry approval requirement. 

Now, the UK and the EU are implementing their own – the ETA and ETIAS, respectively.

For the EU, ETIAS will not change anything for travelers who currently require a visa to enter the Schengen Zone.

However, freedom of access will end for travelers who are currently visa-free to the Schengen Zone—the so-called 90-day rule.

The ETIAS pre-entry approval will be required for all travelers who currently enjoy the free entry 90-days in/90-days out system. 

The only exemptions to ETIAS will be for travelers with either EU citizenship or legal residency. 

Thus, in this case, an EU Golden Visa will be more powerful than some countries passports. 

Spain to end its Golden Visa

On 8 April 2024, Spain stunned the EU and the real estate and investment worlds by announcing the end of their Golden Visa program.

Though technically, the Spain Golden Visa program offers three distinct investment options:

  • Real estate from €500K
  • Capital transfer from €1 million
  • Business investment from €1 million

The real estate option was by far the most popular and, in the opinion of most experts, the only real viable investment channel in the program.

The announcement by Spain’s Prime Minister specifically addresses the termination of the real estate option, but by all accounts, that is enough to kill the entire program.

Spain is undoubtedly one of the Top 3 destinations in Europe for both HNW expats and wealthy travelers – which made the Spanish Golden Visa a highly sought-after channel for investment diversification and lifestyle security.

Spain is following Portugal’s example last year, which removed the real estate option from its Golden Visa program and revamped the Private Equity Fund option as its replacement.

The Portugal Golden Visa Private Equity Fund option has been generating unpredictable interest and has become one of the most desirable EU programs. 

No official deadline for the Spain Golden Visa has been provided, nor have any further details been provided about whether Spain will implement a replacement option for the real estate channel.

A new era of investment migration – In the 21st century, self-sovereignty is the only currency that matters

Second citizenship, second passports, and alternative residencies are no longer simply documents that are mere status symbols.

Investment migration programs – citizenship by investment and Golden Visas – offer [among so much more]:

  • Legal alternative identities
  • The ability to bank globally
  • Access to offshore banking with citizenship protections
  • Privacy and security to travel due to the increased nature of having your movements tracked by unfriendly regimes
  • Genuine global mobility without having to submit your personal information to government databases 
  • Visa-free movement without having to inform governments of your vacation or business itinerary
  • A mechanism for creating generational wealth and security
  • The only real-world Plan B that will actually work

Entrepreneurs, investors, and families who tie their own and their families’ livelihoods to a single political infrastructure are sacrificing the full degree of their own freedom and the full range of their capabilities.

In today’s world, citizenship and residency are a currency – with it, you can afford the right to live your life your way:

  • Access to medical rights and procedures
  • Currency diversification, where investors do not incur losses from conversions
  • A genuine global presence through real estate investments
  • Legal rights of access to diverse markets
  • Real tax optimization opportunities
  • Lifestyle security
  • Being your family’s legacy
  • The ultimate retirement planning and strategy
  • Choose the community that represents your values
  • The best Plan B money can buy

Borders are as much about keeping people in as they are about keeping people out – and both represent the same degree of control over an individual’s life.

Self-sovereignty is the only way people elevate themselves and their families above and beyond the legislative measures to keep them down. 

Astons – On the frontlines of change and self-sovereignty

Investment migration is an investment field with unparalleled ROI, and as with all sound investing, partnering with an industry leader is the key.

As leaders in our field, we know what is happening and can expect what is to come. This allows us to provide our clients with the best services at the opportune moments to maximize their benefits.

2024 is a window of opportunity—but it is closing fast. Schedule a Free Confidential and Comprehensive Consultation with Astons’ experts today.