Christian Kälin, founder of Henley & Partners, talks about the booming investment migration industry and his company’s involvement with the newly launched Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment program.
Moldova Investment Immigration Programs Overview
The republic of Moldova is presenting another option to increase global mobility for investors: its first citizenship-by-investment (CBI) program. The landlocked Eastern European country will be providing one of the cheapest pathways to Europe through its Regulation on Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. With a minimum non-refundable contribution of 100,000 euros to a sustainable development fund, qualifying investors, together with their spouses, dependent children and parents, can be granted Moldovan citizenship and passports that would enable them to travel visa-free to all Schengen Area countries. A second option for investors who seek potential returns on their investment is investing a minimum of 250,000 euros in strategic development areas defined by the government.
HOW TO APPLY
The program is relatively affordable compared with other CBI offerings in Europe. The Moldovan government has introduced a strict due-diligence processes to select the most qualified candidates. Every applicant’s financial situation, reputation, criminal records and other factors will be scrutinized by government-contracted due-diligence agencies. The due-diligence procedure applies equally to every dependent older than 16.
The required investment funds, if choosing the Public Investment Funds for Sustainable Development donation route, must be paid in Moldovan leu, Swiss francs, euros or U.S. dollars.
All candidates are required to file their applications in the Moldovan language to a commission comprised of representatives from major governmental bodies of Moldova. Documents written in other languages will need to be translated and notarized. The submitted materials should include proof confirming that the basic investment conditions have been fulfilled, and in case of an investment in the strategic development areas, that the investment plan is reliable and would be maintained for at least five years.
In addition to the initial vetting process conducted upon the filing of the application, under the investment route the commission would monitor the investment activities throughout the required five-year period. The progress or status of the investment will be assessed at the end of each calendar year and the fulfillment of the investment plan. The stipulated 250,000 euros will also be verified at the end of the five-year period.
Moldovan passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 121 destinations around the world, including a maximum stay of 90 days in all 26 countries within the Schengen Area. Moldovan citizens can also travel to Russia and Turkey without applying for a visa. Moldova is not a member of the European Union but has entered into an association agreement with the EU and is aiming for membership.
Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Moldova used to be the largest wine producer in the region. Its fine tradition of winemaking has extended into the 21st century, with 367,000 acres of vineyards and an estimated annual export of 67 million bottles.
Moldova’s continental climate not only promotes the growth of a large variety of grapes, but also helps create a charming countryside of sunny plateaus and green plains that attract travelers every year.
The official language of Moldova is Moldovan, which is considered the same as Romanian but profoundly influenced by Russian expressions.
Citizenship By Investment
Moldova offers two investment routes under its CBI program: a donation-based contribution or a financial investment into a strategic development area within the republic.
The donation route involves putting money into the Public Investment Funds for Sustainable Development, a straightforward and efficient option. The minimum contribution for a single applicant is 100,000 euros, plus a government fee of 5,000 euros. If applying as a couple, the amount increases to 115,000 euros, with a government fee of 7,500 euros. A family of four (two adults and two dependent children) must make a donation of 145,000 euros and pay a government fee of 9,500 euros. For a family of five or more, a donation of 155,000 euros is required, with additional application fees of 1,000 euros for each dependent child and 5,000 euros for each dependent parent.
Under the investment route, investors would be able to choose between the following two strategic development areas to qualify for a Moldovan passport:
- Investing in one or more real estate properties with a total market value of at least 250,000 euros, and maintaining the investment for a minimum of five years.
- Buying state-issued securities worth at least 250,000 euros, with a minimum holding period of five years.
In addition to the baseline investment, applicants must also pay government fees: 5,000 euros for the principal applicant, 2,500 euros for the spouse, 1,000 euros for each dependent child and 5,000 euros for each dependent parent.
Due-diligence fees are charged to both routes: 6,000 euros for the principal applicant and 5,000 euros for the spouse, each dependent child of over 16 years old, and each dependent parent. Upon approval, biometric passport fees would also be collected.
All investors must be at least 18 years old to apply as a principal applicant. The program defines a dependent child as the child of the applicant who is no older than 29. A dependent parent should be at least 55 years old and can be related to either the main applicant or the spouse.