MENAPolicy Updates

Egypt Opens Private Property Market to Citizenship by Investment, in Challenge to Turkey

Hany Mostafa Moawad

In a strategic move aimed at bolstering foreign investments and driving economic growth, the Egyptian government has unveiled a groundbreaking decision that promises to reshape the landscape of real estate investment and citizenship acquisition in the country.

Effective immediately, applicants for the country’s citizenship by investment program may acquire properties not only from government projects – as had been the case – but also from private property developers and individual owners. This expansion of eligibility criteria opens up new avenues for prospective citizens keen on securing Egyptian citizenship through real estate investments.

Before discussing the specific requirements and documentation necessary to navigate this new path to Egyptian citizenship, it’s essential to note the initial steps in this process:

Before doing anything else, obtain a file number

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The applicant must obtain a file number from the Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) before engaging in property-related activities or bank transfers. Any transactions initiated before obtaining a file number will not count toward the citizenship application.

After securing a file number, the applicant can proceed with the investment or wait to receive the approval in principle. Investing immediately after obtaining a file number can expedite the final approval process compared to waiting for secondary approval after investing. Note that each approval phase typically takes between 3 and 6 months.

With these preliminary steps clarified, let’s consider the essential documents and steps applicants must adhere to when opting for this property-based route to citizenship:

Step-by-step guide to qualifying for Egyptian citizenship through real estate investments

  1. Property Purchase Contract
    Applicants must submit a copy of the property purchase contract, meticulously outlining the specifics of the property transaction.
  2. Property License or Building Permit
    In cases where the property is still under construction, applicants must provide a copy of the property license or building permit to validate its legality and ensure adherence to construction regulations.
  3. Utility Bill (if applicable)
    Should the property already be in use, complete with utility services like water and electricity, applicants may be asked to furnish utility bills as supplementary documentation.
  4. US$300,000 Transfer Proof
    A pivotal financial prerequisite for this citizenship option necessitates providing irrefutable evidence of a US$300,000 transfer. This transfer can be executed through a bank transfer or by passing through one of the customs ports spanning land, sea, or air borders. Subsequently, the applicant must dutifully deposit the specified amount into a designated bank account.
  5. Five-Year Property Ownership Declaration
    To guarantee the property’s retention for a substantial period, applicants must declare their unwavering commitment not to sell the property for a minimum of five years from the date of acquisition.
  6. Property Registration Evidence
    Finally, applicants must produce compelling evidence affirming the property’s registration in the Real Estate Registry or its oversight by one of the state-owned authorities, firmly establishing its legal status.
  7. Investment Payment Terms
    Applicants have the option to pay for the real estate investment over one year from the date of receiving the primary approval. However, note that citizenship will only be granted upon proof of a US$300,000 investment.

Of particular significance is that this decision places the Egyptian citizenship program in direct competition with its Turkish counterpart. The required investment is now significantly lower, at US$300,000, compared to the Turkish program’s $400,000 threshold. This competitive edge is likely to attract a wave of international investors.

Moreover, the Egyptian real estate landscape is set to witness a paradigm shift as nearly every real estate developer in the country gears up to recalibrate their marketing strategies to include the promotion of citizenship through real estate investment. This transformation is expected to usher in a new era of real estate investment and development in Egypt, enticing investors worldwide.

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Hany Mostafa Moawad AuthorParticipant
Managing Director , Prime Properties Egypt

Hany Mostafa Moawad is the Managing Director of Cairo-based Prime Properties Egypt.

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