Currently there are only 8 countries in the world that offer Citizenship by Investment programs in the truest sense of the definition. Only two of these countries – Cyprus and Malta – offer such a program within Europe. Moldova plans to be the third.
According to a journal published on the Moldovan government website in October 2017, new regulations have already been set in place to launch the program, although recent updates are slow to materialize. A brief report from Publika last December stated that the government was still in the process of establishing areas of strategic investment to be made.
At the time of the program’s announcement, only 5.5% of businesses in Moldova were foreign-owned, and foreign investment in the country has been dropping each year. A recent US State Department report referred to Moldova’s business environment as “challenging”.
The government has put a new road-map in place as of June 2017 to spur on the economy’s recovery from the country’s 2014 banking crisis. The new Citizenship by Investment program could be a vehicle for some of that much-needed stimulus.
The latest details out of Moldova outline two different options for investment. The first is putting a minimum of €100,000 EUR into a sustainable development fund. The second route would be investing €250,000 EUR into “sectors of strategic development”. The sectors appropriate for investment have yet to be determined.
Additionally, applicants must show that they have no criminal record in any country, will not pose a risk to state security, and have a good financial reputation. They must also demonstrate knowledge of the Moldovan constitution and pledge to uphold it, something relatively uncharacteristic of the existing CBI countries.
Although Moldova is neither a member of the EU nor within the Schengen Zone, the country is privy to a treaty through the European Union Association Agreement. This allows any citizen of Moldova to travel visa-free within the EU and Schengen Zone.
The CBI program has yet to be enacted in any official capacity, and anyone considering a Moldovan passport should hold their breath until the next official press release.