May 19, 2023

No More Golden Passports?


No More Golden Passports?
Annulled Maltese passports. Dans, Wikimedia Commons.

Wealthy Russians have historically taken advantage of citizenship-for-investment policies. However, Malta and Cyprus have recently annulled dozens of "golden passports" of EU-sanctioned Russian nationals and their families. Options for EU citizenship for Russians are disappearing.

Malta and Cyprus' “golden passports” have long been controversial. After the invasion of Ukraine, the EU asked both countries to deny Russians and Belorussians a path to naturalization via investments and to revoke passports given to investors from these countries. Der Spiegel reported that European Parliament member Moritz Körner solicited Malta to revoke the citizenships of two sanctioned Russians. The deputy also asked Cyprus to annul nine Kremlin-allies' passports and 34 people associated with them. Körner said that these passport holders should “feel the consequences” for enriching themselves off the Kremlin.

Russians have how turned to Vanuatu, whose visa is waived for the Schengen area, for alternative citizenship via investment. Yet Vanuatu is now at risk of losing its visa-free status for its "golden passports" policy.

Malta and Cyrpus have benefited from their passport policies, with Cyprus reporting that between 2007-2020 their citizenship-for-investment made gains of 9.7 billion euros. However, not all hope is lost, since a record number of Americans have begun to apply for such citizenship.

 

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