UK Revokes Visa-Free Access for Dominica

The United Kingdom has recently made a significant move in tightening its visa regime for citizens of Dominica, signaling growing concerns over the Caribbean island’s citizenship-by-investment program. This development reflects a broader scrutiny by both the UK and the European Union of the Caribbean second citizenship programs, particularly focusing on their due diligence processes.

Dominica’s Citizenship Program Under Scrutiny: Dominica has been particularly highlighted in this context. The island nation, known for its relatively affordable and quick citizenship-by-investment program, has come under fire for allegedly granting citizenship to a wide array of individuals, including those with questionable backgrounds. Concerns have been raised about the lack of rigorous vetting, leading to sanctioned individuals, and those with ties to countries like Iran and Russia, gaining Dominican citizenship.

UK’s Response: Ending Visa-Free Travel In response to these concerns, the UK has taken a decisive step by ending visa-free travel for Dominican citizens. This move comes despite previous assurances from the Dominican government regarding the integrity of their citizenship program. The UK’s decision is a clear indication of its dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs and a call for more stringent measures in vetting applicants.

EU’s Stance and Ultimatum: Similarly, the European Union is closely monitoring the situation. The EU has expressed its apprehensions about the potential security risks posed by the lack of thorough background checks in these citizenship programs. In a stern warning, the EU has given Dominica, along with other Caribbean nations offering similar programs, a one-year period to implement significant changes. Failure to comply could result in the EU revoking visa-free travel privileges for their citizens, a move that would have substantial implications for these countries.

The Future of Caribbean Citizenship Programs: The recent actions by the UK and the EU put a spotlight on the Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs, questioning their sustainability and future. These programs have been a significant source of revenue for many Caribbean islands, attracting a global clientele seeking a second passport for various reasons, including ease of travel and financial benefits.

However, the growing international concern over security and transparency is forcing these nations to reevaluate and potentially reform their citizenship programs. The focus is now on enhancing due diligence processes to ensure that only legitimate, law-abiding individuals are granted citizenship.

Implications for Investors and the Caribbean Nations: For investors considering Caribbean citizenship programs, these developments underscore the importance of understanding the evolving international landscape and potential future challenges. The tightening of visa regimes could affect the attractiveness of these passports, impacting their value proposition.

For the Caribbean nations, the pressure from the UK and EU presents both a challenge and an opportunity. While there is an immediate need to address the concerns raised, there is also an opportunity to strengthen their programs’ credibility and global standing by adopting more robust and transparent vetting processes.

In conclusion, the UK’s recent decision to end visa-free travel for Dominican citizens and the EU’s ultimatum represent a critical juncture for Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs. The coming year will be pivotal in determining the future direction of these programs, with significant implications for international mobility, security, and the economies of the Caribbean nations involved.

Important Changes to the Golden Visa in Portugal

Review Portugals Golden Visa

Potential Golden Visa applicants – the Portuguese Government is introducing some major changes to its Golden Visa programme (known in Portugal as ARI).

The new rules will limit the number of Golden Visas granted in the cities of Lisbon and Porto, as well as in other coastal areas, including the Algarve. This is because Portugal now wishes to encourage more foreign investment in its interior regions and the islands of Madeira and Açores.

These changes will start to come into effect on 1 July 2021, when they will be introduced in phases.

The decision to promote more foreign investment in low-density regions (particularly in the areas of urban requalification, cultural heritage, productive investment, activities of high environmental or social value and job creation) was approved within the scope of the Portuguese State Budget for 2020.  This has been on stand-by since the start of the pandemic, but the Portuguese Government has now decided to move forward, whilst still accepting applications to renew residence permits already granted.

Due to the current crisis and the importance of Golden Visa investments to the real estate market, the Government will introduce a transitional period to allow the sector to adapt, rather than launching the new criteria at the beginning of 2021 as originally intended.

Although the restriction of the Golden Visa to the interior of the country (or to low density real estate investments) begins in July 2021, it will not start immediately, but will be introduced gradually up until the end of 2022.

During the transitional period, those interested in obtaining residence permits in exchange for making investments in real estate in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon, Porto and the coast can continue to benefit from the current regime. However, the monetary requirements for access to Golden Visas will become progressively higher, and at the same time the possibility of applying to metropolitan and coastal areas will gradually be reduced. It has not yet been disclosed what the new investment amounts will be.

With this in mind, we strongly advise all potential Golden Visa applicants who wish to invest in Lisbon, Porto or the coast to make their Applications as quickly as possible, before the changes take place.

Tamer Ulay

Tamer is an European Immigration Law Specialist and has extensive knowledge of European Golden Visa and Second Citizenship Programmes. He is mainly responsible for Golden Visa and citizenship programmes for Cyprus, Malta and Portugal. He regularly travels to these countries to oversee and guide our clients’ applications first hand.

Chinese investors are seeking new investment opportunities in Portugal under the Golden Visa programme

Chinese investors are seeking new investment opportunities in Portugal under the Golden Visa programme
The exponential awareness of Portugal’s Golden Visa programme has increased the number of investors, specifically Chinese investors, who are flocking to secure the best international investments in addition to safeguarding their family’s future.
Statistics from SEFSTAT reveal that an overall 480,300 worldwide nationals applied to Portugal’s Golden Visa programme between June 2017 – June 2018 with 25,377 of these main applicants coming from both Hong Kong and China. This recent survey confirms that when combined, nationals from Hong Kong and China are one of the leading national groups to apply under Portugal’s Golden Visa programme, running close behind Brasil and other South American countries.
With flexible and accessible investment opportunities, Portugal has become one of the most popular Golden Visa programme in the market. With a minimum investment of €280,000 in real estate, applicants and their family members can obtain a residency permit to Portugal that enables them to live, work and attend educational institutions. Benefits also include no extra tax on income both in Portugal and in the applicant’s home country, visa-free travel to the Schengen countries, no residential requirement and if the investment is in property, applicants have the option to rent it out. The highlight of applying under Portugal’s Golden Visa programme is that applicants and their dependants can obtain a permanent visa within 5 years and citizenship status within a year thereafter.
For more finite details and to explore the opportunities of investing in Portugal, please feel free to contact one of our representatives on 0207 799 1606 or alternatively, email

Portugal’s changes to rental income tax

With the new state budget proposed by the Portuguese Government for the year 2019[1], the taxes for all rents received through rental agreements for residential purposes have undergone some changes. Such changes could see the previous rate of the 28% of income tax being reduced to the following:

– Rental agreements with a minimum period of at least 2 years and up to 5 years may see a reduction to 26%. Please note that per every renewal of a rental agreement, the tax reduces by 2%. The income rate, however, can only be limited to 14% and can go no lower;

– Rental agreements with a minimum duration of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years may see a reduction to 23%. With such rental agreements, for every renewal the tax reduces by 5%, but will go no lower than a 14% rate;

– Rental agreements with a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years may see a reduction to 14%. In this case, it is not possible to reduce the tax any further;

– Rental agreements with 20 years+ may see a reduction below 14% to 10%. In such cases, there is no possibility to reduce the tax any further.

For all the above rental agreements, it is key that the landlord must effectively communicate when the agreement(s) have been signed and pay the respective stamp duty (10% of the monthly rent to be paid by the tenant) to the local tax office. From the moment that the registration of the rental agreement is concluded as mentioned, the tax rate of each invoice is to be issued by the landlord to the tenant with the automated tax reduction.

The primary reason that the Portuguese Government have taken such measures is to promote the residential renting market for Portuguese nationals and reduce the amount of properties for the short-term rental market.

Recent updates to Portugal’s Golden Visa

Review Portugals Golden Visa

The ARI (Residence Authorization for Investment activity) or as it is more widely known as the Golden Visa, launched to grant non-EU citizens with the opportunity of acquiring a temporary residence permit through adhering to one of the following investments in Portugal:

1)A capital transfer of €1million;
2)Creation of 10 new job posts:
3)Real estate acquisition for the sum of over €500,000 for a property that was built within the last 30 years;
4)Real estate acquisition for the sum of over €350,000 for a property that falls under all the following categories – if it was built over 30 years ago, situated in a densely populated urban area and that the investor intends to refurbish the property;
5) An investment of €250,000 in artistic productions;
6) An investment of €350,000 in funds for participation units – similar to shares – that invest at least 60% of the capital in Portuguese companies; or 7) An investment of €350,000 in a company that creates or maintains, at least, 5 job posts.

Recently the Regulative
Decree, n. º 84/2008, that was released as of 05 November – which establishes
the procedures that are to be followed in obtaining this residence permit – has reformed. Various new rules have been introduced to comply with the new kinds of investments:

Regarding the investment in real estate for the minimum sum of €350,000, having the property built over 30 years old and so forth, the applicant now requires to present a document evidencing that the property was built over 30 years ago or alternatively, present a declaration from a Portuguese City Hall stating that the property is situated in an densely populated urban area. In addition, a mandatory document is required to prove that the property is either undergoing refurbishment or will undergo future refurbishments;

The opportunity to make the investment through the acquisition of participation units. This investment option results in the investor presenting a compulsory certificate of ownership to the participation units (similar to shares) along with a declaration stating that the funds invested of at least 60% are to be invested into Portuguese companies. Furthermore, this particular investment option is to generate profits with the funds invested. The necessary documents to instruct the Golden Visa request must be obtained within the management entity of the Fund;

SEF have also released further options to make investments through the following activities: (i) the raise of the share capital of a pre-existent company or acquiring the share capital of a previous partner in addition to the creation of at least 5 new job posts or to retain 5 current employees; (ii) to incorporate a company where the share capital is to be at least the €350,000 in addition to hiring 5 employees. As a requirement for this investment route, the investor is to submit proof of this investment with the company certificate as well as the agreement related with the shares acquisition; or

The investor can choose another route to investment (for example, the transfer of €1 million to a bank account in Portugal) to be held there for the 5-year visa period during the temporary residence permit by changing their investment option. Nevertheless, the new investment must total to the exact amount as the original investment made prior.

Other investment add-ons

In some cases, the total amount of investment could be reduced by 20% if the investor chooses a location that is low income or not densely populated.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our team in Portugal:

Marina Andrade, Country Manager/Lawyer
Leite de Campos, Lawyer

Role/policy changes in Coates Global Lisbon Office

Coates Global are proud to announce three key changes in our Lisbon office: the appointment of Portuguese legal specialist Prof Dr Marina Andrade, the introduction of a guarantee of all client questions being answered within two working days and the implementation of more-transparent pricing.

As part of our continuous improvement and expansion efforts, we sought to add a highly qualified expert in Portuguese immigration law to our team. Prof Dr Marina Andrade will oversee the implementation of our new guarantee and our revised fee structure, as well as maintain our high customer service standards.

Our new, clearer fee structure is fully compliant with the EU directive on transparency in the pricing of legal services. Coupled with our new guarantee of answering all client questions within two working days, this will enhance our offering to both individual and corporate clients.

Dr. Marina Andrade brings a wealth of experience in immigration law: after graduating from the Law College of the Portuguese Catholic University, she worked as an independent attorney helping individual clients with their residence permits and tourist visas. She has also advised the Portuguese government and public authorities on the country’s Golden Visa programme and has worked as a law professor at several educational institutions in Portugal and at the Brazilian Institution of Law.

In addition to being a member of several international associations, such as Associação Luso-Brasileira de Direito Comparado, she has published many articles in Portuguese newspapers and magazines, including the article “The Portuguese Golden Visa Program” on World.Tax (
Moreover, she has appeared on Portuguese TV programmes as an immigration law expert.

She is thus well equipped to handle many immigration matters, including:
• Golden Visa applications for main investors and family reunifications;
• Residence visas and permit requests – all types;
• Tourist/Schengen visas;
• Renewal requests;
• Appeals of immigration decisions;
• Citizenship applications;
• Residence registry certificates – for EU citizens who intend to reside in Portugal for more than three month.

Her wider expertise includes real estate issues, specifically:
• Preparation and management of due diligence for properties to be acquired by Golden Visa investors;
• Analysis and preparation of memorandums for such properties;
• Preparation of reservation agreements, sale promissory agreements and final deeds;
• Preparation of rental agreements (and registration of the agreements with the tax authorities);
• Registration of properties with the Property Registry Office, the tax authorities and utility companies; and
• Issuing of notifications to pay the taxes associated with property acquisitions in Portugal.

Prof. Dr. Marina Andrade commented: “With a focus on ethics, quality, compliance and technical excellence, I am confident that I can continue Coates Global’s delivery of outstanding customer service to a wide range of clients on matters relating to Portuguese immigration.”

We welcome Prof. Dr. Marina Andrade as an important member of our new immigration team in Lisbon.


Monaco Residence by Investment programme unveiled

There are numerous advantages to relocating to Monaco, which include both individual and business benefits. The Principality offers incomparable and extremely stable benefits to its residents and citizens due to its outstanding financial capabilities.
Even though the Principality of Monaco is the world’s second smallest country, it is considered one of the most advanced. With its world-class healthcare, education and entertainment, it ranks first in the world for quality of lifestyle and first for GDP per capita.

Advantages of Moving to Monaco:

Monaco, although not part of the European Union, still gives freedom of movement to its people within the Schengen area (countries, such as Germany, France, Spain and Greece). The country is known as a tax-free haven, only paying tax to France as it provides the national security of the country with the French Armed Forces.

Its vital location means that it can provide easy and quick movement to other huge business hubs including London, Paris, Geneva and Zurich. To add, the city-state has a safe and stable backbone to set-up and operate potential businesses in.

The political stability also means the foreigners living in Monaco are safe and share the high quality of life alongside its citizens – with the world’s longest average life expectancy of 89.5 years. The nation has been tax-free since 1870, showing no signs of bringing back a taxation system in the near future.

The country also has one of the most renowned beaches in the Mediterranean Sea; full of palm trees and beautiful temperatures, hitting an average of 27 degrees in the summer. The country hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix that entertains millions across the globe. It is famous for its successful football team, AS Monaco, which participates in the top league for France.

Residency and Requirements

There are two steps and a few requirements to achieve residency and future citizenship in Monaco. Firstly, a minimum of €1.5million is needed to start the process. €1million must be retained in a Monacan recognised bank, and at least €500,000 must go towards purchasing a property

To acquire full citizenship in Monaco, applicants MUST fulfil all requirements:

– Completed 10 years of residency
– Have no military service in another country, including conscription
– Are required to renounce any current citizenship(s) due to their strict policy against dual citizenship

Further information will be announced in the future.

Recent changes to the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP)

Girne ( Kyrenia ), North Cyprus

Recent changes have been made to the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP) in an effort to further regulate, protect and secure its permanence within the market. The Cyprus Council of Ministers approved revisions to the programme on 13 February 2019. With such amendments set in place, the aim is to provide for social contribution within Cyprus as well as contribute to the research and development of the programme; and country. Please see below the following amendments for the CIP: Applicants must be in possession of a Schengen visa when applying.

Applicants who have previously been rejected by another EU country shall be automatically disqualified from the CIP;
– Rather than having the investment retained for a minimum of 3 years following the date of naturalisation, it has now been extended and must be maintained for 5 years.
– The investor, during this 5-year-period, will be able to change his investment, provided that the Ministry of Finance has granted consent for such change;
– The option to invest in government bonds will no longer be available, however, shipping will be included in the investment sectors;
– Properties under construction will now need a mandatory planning permit;
– A donation of €75,000 will be a mandatory requirement that will go towards research and development;
– Due diligence and background checks on each applicant will be carried on by a specialised foreign firm – the firm has not been hired yet.

The official CIP criteria is due to be published and Coates Global will keep you updated with more news once information has been released.

UK Residency via TIER 1 Investor Visa ‘Surprise’ Suspension

UK Residency via TIER 1 Investor Visa ‘Surprise’ Suspension

After its introduction in 2008, the Tier 1 Investor Visa which is often referred to as the UK Golden Visa or the “gold-plated” visa, is being suspended as of midnight on Friday 7<sup>th</sup>December 2018.

The visa scheme was set in place to encourage affluent people from outside of the EU to invest in the UK. This was a fast-track solution being offered to foreign investors who were interested in settling in the UK.

UK Ministers decision to impose this drastic halt on the visa scheme is part of a “crackdown on financial crime” i.e. money laundering.

The programme gave investors who bought the visa for £2 million, indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK However, concerns arose where the scheme had traces of being used as a means of money laundering.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced that “the suspension would come into effect at midnight on Friday” as “we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system”. She went on to say that, “that is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”

The “gold-plated” visa suspension will end after an audit process is introduced, ministers say.

Word has it that as of next year, independent, regulated auditors will assess applicants’ financial and business interests as well as checking that they have had control of these funds for a minimum of at least two years, the Home Office said – compared to what the scheme previously required, which was that applicants had to have a UK bank account and were of “good character”.

In 2017, over 1,000 Tier 1 visas were issued with the highest investors coming from China and Russia. Under the programme, successful candidates were eligible to have visas that lasted three years and four months, with two-year extensions available.

By 2011, the government anticipated that the Tier 1 visa would attract the “brightest and best” due to allowing investors the option to bring forward the date at which they could apply for settled status. This would amount to them spending, on average, £10 million in the UK to cut the wait by two years.

The <a href=””>Migration Advisory Committee</a>, however, said in 2014 that “the scheme brought little economic benefit for British citizens because most applicants were buying gilts to qualify” – meaning that they were effectively loaning the government money, rather than investing in the UK.

So, what will be the future for the “gold-plated” UK visa?

The Home Office revealed that there will be a planned provision for ‘pooled investments – supported by the government,’ to support projects with a “clear economic benefit to the UK” such as backing up small and medium-sized businesses.