Report on investor citizenship and residence schemes in the European Union

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2019) 12
Publication Date 23/01/2019
Content Type


Report presented on 23 January 2019 by the European Commission on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the European Union (EU).

Further information:

The Report emerges from a growing trend in investor citizenship ('golden passport') and investor residence ('golden visa') schemes, which aim to attract investment by granting investors citizenship or residence rights of the country concerned. Such schemes raised concerns about certain inherent risks, in particular as regards security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.

The European Commission announced in its 2017 Citizenship Report a report on national schemes granting Union citizenship to investors, describing the Commission’s action in this area and examining current national law and practices, and providing some guidance for Member States. To prepare this report, the Commission commissioned a study on the legislation and practice pertaining to citizenship and residence schemes in all relevant Member States.

This report covers both investor citizenship and residence schemes and identifies the key areas of concern and risks associated with granting citizenship of the Union or residence rights on the basis of an investment only. In particular, the report sets out the possible security gaps resulting from granting citizenship without prior residence, as well as risks of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion associated with citizenship or residence by investment. It also describes challenges with respect to the governance and transparency of such schemes, looks at how these might be addressed and provides a framework for improvement.

The report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document, which provides more detailed background information on investor citizenship and residence schemes.

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Commentary and Analysis
Transparency International: Press Release, 23.01.19: European Commission sees corruption risks but needs to get tougher on golden visas

Times of Malta, 22.01.19: Citizenship schemes pose ‘money laundering, corruption risks’
The Guardian, 22.01.19: 'Golden visa' schemes pose risk to EU security, Brussels to say
Cyprus Mail, 21.01.19: EU sees crime risks from Malta, Cyprus schemes to sell passports
EurActiv, 23.01.19: EU urges crackdown on ‘golden visas and passports’
The Economist, 24.01.19: Malta and Cyprus face growing pressure over money-laundering
OCCRP, 23.01.19: European Commission Calls for Tighter Controls on Golden Visas
Politico, 23.01.19: Commission raises concerns about ‘golden’ visa, passport schemes
The Sofia Globe, 23.01.19: European Commission concerned by Bulgaria’s ‘golden’ passports, residence visas
Deutsche Welle, 23.01.19: EU exhorts golden visa clampdown
Reuters, 23.01.19: EU warns of crime risks from governments' passports, visa sales

EUR-Lex: SWD(2019)5: Commission Staff Working Document accompanying COM(2019)12
European Commission: Press Release, 23.01.19: Commission reports on the risks of investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU and outlines steps to address them
European Commission: Q&A on the Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union
Remarks by Commissioner Věra Jourová and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on the occasion of the presentation of the investor citizenship and residence schemes report

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