In the Reader Mailbox series, we publicly answer reader questions that may be of general interest to a wider audience.
A reader asks: “Do you have an overview of which programs worldwide require investments in e.g. government bonds or similar portfolio investments?“
To answer the question, let’s first clarify the premises.
First, we will include not only the programs that require bond or portfolio investments – which only a handful of programs do – but also those that list such investments as an option.
Second, we will interpret “similar portfolio investments” as corporate bonds or equity stakes in private-sector companies (publicly traded or not).
Third, while investments in real estate are technically private sector equity investments, we will consider this asset class separate for the purposes of this discussion.
The following programs require/allow for investment in bonds and/or equity (government and/or corporate):
Residence by investment programs
- UK Tier 1 Investor
Share or bond investments are both permissible but only in private-sector companies. Gilts (UK government bonds) were discontinued as an option following the latest program reforms in 2019.
- The US EB-5 Program
Private-sector equity only. Although many regional centers talk of “loan repayments”, the USCIS strictly defines qualifying investments as equity investments. The confusion arises because EB-5 projects are usually financed with loans from a regional center company, which in turn is the entity that has issued equity stakes to EB-5 applicants. In cases where EB-5 applicants wish to directly finance a project, this must invariably come in the form of equity rather than debt.
- Spain’s Golden Visa
Both equity and bonds qualify, both in the public and private sectors.
- Portugal’s Golden Visa
There’s no bond investment option, but shares in private sector companies qualify
- Malta Residency Visa Programme (MRVP)
“Government stock” (essentially, government bonds) or any other debt or equity securities listed on the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange.
- Latvia Golden Visa
Government bond investments or equity stakes in private companies (publicly traded or not) are among the options.
- Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme (IIIP)
Equity stakes in private companies, both listed and unlisted ones, are eligible. There was a bond option in the past, but this has been discontinued.
- Greece Golden Visa
Both debt and equity investments are eligible, in both the public and private sectors.
- Italy Investor Visa Program
Bond investments (government only) and equity in private companies are acceptable.
- Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP)
This program requires an investment in government bonds.
- New Zealand Investor Visa
Both of the program’s two categories offer the option to invest in bonds and shares, both in the public and private sectors.
- Australia Significant Investor Visa
Equity and bond investments both qualify, but only in private-sector companies.
Citizenship by investment programs
- Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program
Like the Greek residence program, the Cyprus CIP is highly flexible in terms of qualifying asset classes and allows for the acquisition of both equity and bonds, in both the public and private sectors.
- Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)
This program mandates an investment in “government stock”, which aren’t actually stocks at all and are more appropriately thought of as government bonds.
- Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Programme
The Saint Lucia CIP has a (not very popular) $500,000 government bond investment option.
- The Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme
This CIP gives applicants the option to make a private placement in a government-approved local business.
- The Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program
This CIP allows for investment in government bonds and private-sector real estate investment funds.
Did we forget to include any programs or make some other mistake? While we are knowledgeable, we are not omniscient or infallible, so please don’t hesitate to point out to us anything that needs correcting by emailing the editor on firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from the Reader Mailbox series:
- Reader Mailbox #2: Which Residence and Citizenship Programs Allow Financing?
- Reader Mailbox #3: Why Isn’t Latin America a Bigger Market for Investment Migration?
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.