Russia is a country that spans two continents, offering a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Its rich history, art, literature, and music have made a profound impact on the world. Additionally, Russia is home to a diverse and hospitable population, who take pride in their culture and traditions.
Russian Citizenship by Investment Overview
The Russian Golden Visa program was introduced at the start of 2023, offering a formal means of aligning with other nations that provide citizenship in exchange for specific investments. The program is primarily focused on drawing in high-caliber foreign investors to the country. It aims to encourage foreign business people to invest in Russia and gain citizenship in return. Essentially, the program is tailored to appeal to individuals seeking to expand their business operations within Russia while simultaneously securing Russian citizenship.
Investors can participate in the Russian Citizenship by Investment program with a minimum investment of 215,000 USD, which is required for investment in social projects across the country. However, the investment amount can be higher depending on the type of investment made. For instance, investing in real estate within the City of Moscow would require a higher investment amount of 715,000 USD. It is worth noting that real estate investment in other regions of the country such as the Far East and Moscow region is comparably less, requiring only 285,000 USD and 360,000 USD, respectively.
To qualify for this program, investors must meet certain criteria, such as having a minimum net worth of RUB 100 million (approximately $1.3 million) and investing at least RUB 10 million (approximately $135,000) in a Russian business or charity. They must also have a clean criminal record and meet other eligibility requirements.
Once the investment is made, the applicant must go through a rigorous vetting process, which includes background checks and interviews. If the applicant is approved, they will be granted a temporary residence permit, which is valid for three years. After living in Russia for at least one year, the investor may then apply for Russian citizenship. The entire process can take several years, but for those who are committed to investing in the Russian economy and becoming citizens of the country, it can be a worthwhile endeavor.
Russian Citizenship by Investment Key Benefits
By investing in the Russian Citizenship by Investment program, foreign investors can gain several key benefits, including:
1. Access to a wide range of investment options: The program offers a variety of investment options, starting from 215,000 USD for investment in social projects and going up to 715,000 USD for real estate investment in Moscow. This flexibility provides investors with ample choice when selecting the investment option that best suits their needs.
2. Residency for family members: In addition to the investor, the program offers residency to the investor’s family members, including their spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. This is a rare and lucrative benefit that sets the Russian program apart from many other similar programs.
3. Visa-free travel: Russian passport holders can enjoy visa-free travel to 78 countries, with an additional 24 countries offering visas upon arrival and 9 granting electronic visas. This provides Russian citizens with ease of travel and freedom to explore the world.
4. No restrictions on profit repatriation: There are no restrictions on repatriating profits, which can be highly beneficial for investors seeking to maximize their returns.
Investors have several options to obtain a residence permit in Russia by investment, each with its specific requirements:
- Ownership of a company: Applicants who are entrepreneurs and run their businesses might be eligible to move to Russia and get a residence permit under the program. To qualify for a residence permit using this method, the applicant has to increase the capital in the company by 15 million rubles if it’s a Russian company. If it’s a foreign company, the applicant should increase the capital in the company by 50 million rubles. The only other requirement is that the company must be operational for at least three years. However, it’s not clear whether this three-year period is before or after the issuance of the residence permit.
- Investment in a new business: Applicants should invest a minimum of 10 million rubles into the business and the business should hire at least 10 Russian citizens as employees. Based on these requirements, this is probably the most affordable way to obtain residency in Russia with the golden visa program.
- Investment in an existing business: The company must be in operation for at least three years. In addition, the company should pay taxes of 6 million rubles to the Russian government and employ at least 25 employees. Moreover, when using this option, the applicant does not have to become a shareholder of the company. However, it’s not clear whether this three-year period should elapse before the applicant’s application or after the issuance of the residence permit.
- Investment in government bonds: The applicant should hold government bonds to the value of 30 million rubles for at least three years before they can apply for the residence permit. This is the ideal option for investors who want to obtain a residence permit in Russia but without investing in a business or real estate.
- Investment in real estate: This option requires a minimum investment of at least 30 million rubles. The applicant should hold the property for at least three years before applying for a residence permit.
It is important to note that Russia’s golden visa program is a residence-by-investment program, not a citizenship-by-investment program. This means that the program provides the applicant with the opportunity to obtain residency in Russia based on the investment made in one of the categories above, but not citizenship. However, it is possible to apply for Russian citizenship through a fast-track naturalization program, but only after the applicant has been granted residency for a minimum of three years.
Process of Obtaining Russian Citizenship by Investment
- A business investment of around USD 600,000 or a business that generates at least USD 171,000 annually.
- Application for the Russian investment visa is made in person at the Federal Migration Agency in Russia.
- Lawyers can prepare the documents and explain the whole process.
- A business plan is necessary if applying for a Russian investor visa.
- The medical history of the applicant and information about the source of investments are required.
- Birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) must be presented. The process of obtaining this visa can take approximately 6 months.