On 14 March 2020, the government of Egypt published Parliament Law No. 190, (established in the year 2019), regarding obtaining the Egyptian citizenship through investment. The Egyptian government has established a specialized unit within the office of the Prime Minister, to oversee the entire process of the country’s citizenship by investment program (CIP).
This program is similar to other CIPs across the globe in that there is no residency requirement but also that certain documents and a payment of US$10,000 in government fees are required to start the process.
The list of required documents needed to apply for Egyptian citizenship includes, but is not limited to, the personal documents of the main applicant, spouse(s), and dependents. The main applicant must provide a clean criminal record and a comprehensive medical report, as well as other documentation related to proof of wealth and source of funds.
The new law lists five different investment options and the associated investment amounts required. In accordance with the regulations established by the Central Bank of Egypt, all investments must be funded by capital transferred from abroad. The transfers should be made in US Dollars.
A. Real Estate Investment Option: The investor can purchase one property or more, that must be from a government-owned project, with a minimum investment of US$500,000.
B. Company Establishment Option: An investor may choose to establish a new company in Egypt or invest in a previously established company in Egypt. This option requires a new minimum investment of US$400,000 and the investor must have at least a 40% stake in the company. This is in accordance with the rules and regulations stated in Investment Law No. 72, established in 2017.
C. Donation Option: The investor is required to make a non-refundable contribution to the CIU account in the Central Bank of Egypt, with US$250,000.
If the investor wishes, he may also apply using the Central Bank of Egypt deposit investment program. This program requires the applicant to make one of the following bank deposits:
D. Make a bank deposit of US$750,000, refundable after 5 years, in the Egyptian local currency, without interest.
E. Make a bank deposit of US$1 million, refundable after 3 years, in the Egyptian local currency, without interest.
Q&A with the Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit
Last week, we contacted the still-establishing Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit, whose official website will be live within a month or two, to obtain answers to central questions regarding the program:
Is it possible to do transfer the investment funds from abroad?
The transfer must be made from abroad. Funds transferred from within the country are not accepted.
Can the applicant’s relatives or friends complete the payment on their behalf from abroad?
Can the transfer be made from a business bank account abroad or must it be made from a personal bank account?
Both are accepted.
Is there an expiry date by which the program will close?
What is the estimated processing time to get the certificates of citizenship and passports?
On average, the whole process should take from 6 to 9 months.
What is the payment sequence for the application? Does the investor pay the required amount first or finish the application and document preparation first?
At first, all required documents are submitted along with the receipt of payment of US$10,000, nonrefundable, for governmental fees. Only once the applicant has received the initial approval are they required to pay the remainder of the required funds.
Does everyone in the family obtain the citizenship at the same time?
The main applicant and minor children below the age of 21 obtain the citizenship at the same time and the spouse after two years.
If the investor obtains citizenship, will they have to renounce their nationality of origin?
No, Egypt recognizes the right to dual nationality.
Bank Deposit Investment Option: Is it possible to take out a loan using the bank deposit as collateral?
Yes, it is possible, but only through a special arrangement with commercial banks.
Once the bank deposit hold period is complete, is it possible to receive the return in USD or in a currency other than the local currency?
No, it will only be issued in the Egyptian local currency.
What about the currency exchange rate?
The prevailing exchange rate will either be the rate at the time of the initiation of the deposit – or – the exchange rate at the time of the holding period completion. Whichever rate is lowest at the time of the deposit withdrawal, will be the rate used in the transaction.
What if the investor does not wish to continue with their bank deposit investment? Is there any sort of penalty?
No, but if the investor has already obtained Egyptian citizenship, they will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.
Real Estate Investment Option: Is it possible to purchase a plot of land, or is it only built property?
Both are acceptable as long as it’s government-owned.
Should the property be a completed project or is it acceptable to be under construction?
Both options are acceptable, but they must be one of the government-owned projects. It can be a shop, factory, apartment, etc.
If the investor chooses to purchase a property, can it be paid in installments?
In order to be eligible to apply, it is required that the minimum investment amount of US$500,000 be paid in full. If the property’s price is over US$500,000, the applicant can pay the extra amount in installments.
Is there any specific location in which the property should be located?
No, not as long as the property is located in a government-owned real estate project.
Is the sales contract sufficient evidence to prove payment of the funds required?
No, there must also be proof of a bank transfer, made from abroad.
Does the applicant have the right to sell the property?
In order to obtain citizenship, the property must be held for a period of 5 years. After 5 years, the investor has the right to sell the property.
What if the investor wishes to sell their property/land before the 5 years are complete?
If the investor has already obtained Egyptian citizenship, they will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.
Company Investment Option: Is it a must to establish a new company or is it possible to apply by injecting US$400,000 into an already established company?
Both. The applicant has the choice to invest in a previously established company or to establish a new company. The one requirement in both cases is that the applicant must make a minimum investment of US$400,000 and own at least 40% of the shares in the company.
Is it required to have an Egyptian partner in the company?
Can the funds be used in establishing the company or should it be deposited in the company’s bank account as disposable cash for 5 years?
It should be deposited in the company’s bank account and can be used as funds for the company for a minimum of 5 years.
If the company declares bankruptcy within those 5 years, the investor will be required to transition to the Donation Option, by making a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 in order to maintain their Egyptian citizenship.
Applicants with an active Egyptian residency: What is the processing time of the application for an investor who already has residency in Egypt for more than 3 years or 5 years?
Applicants who have residency in Egypt will get a faster reply than the average waiting time for an applicant from abroad.
Does the previously established residency of the investor have an impact on the processing time of their application?
It should be noted that the timely manner in which the applicant collects their documentation will, in turn, impact the speed of the processing period.
FAQs Related to the main applicant and his family: Can the Egyptian nationality obtained through investment be inherited?
Yes, it can.
What if the main applicant has more than one spouse?
Any official spouse of the main applicant can be included in the application, and they will obtain Egyptian citizenship 2 years after the main applicant.
Are there any countries whose citizens cannot apply for Egyptian citizenship?
While citizens from all countries can apply for the Egyptian CIP, the government has the right to deny or reject any application at its sole discretion without disclosing the reasoning behind the rejection.
Can parents and/or siblings be included in the application?
If the son(s) of the main applicant obtain citizenship, will they have to enlist in the Egyptian military?
Is there a maximum age for dependent children to be included in the application?
Yes, 21 years old and not married.