Expats: buying your way out of Brexit

Added 30th June 2016

A number of European countries are offering citizenship for a price, as expats scramble to secure a future in the EU.

Expats: buying your way out of Brexit

Britain’s shock decision to leave the EU last week has led to many British expats living in Europe clambering to apply for citizenship in their host countries, either through marriage or long-term residency.

Ireland’s foreign ministry said it had received a significant rise in the number of Irish passport applications from the 250,000 Britons – the second largest population in Europe – living in the country.

Those for whom this is not an option are looking at other ways to preserve the status quo.


Spain, home to Europe’s largest population of British expats (c. 319,000), offers a ‘golden visa’ to those who spend more than €500,000 (£418,000, $555,000) on property in the country.


Malta offers a citizenship ‘of good standing’ to those who contribute €650,000 to a national fund, buy €150,000 in government bonds and invest €150,000 in Maltese property.

The smallest member of the EU, Malta host around 5,000 Brits.


Cyprus offers citizenship in less than six months to individuals who invest €5m, or €2.5m as part of a collective scheme. 

The country currently has more than 38,800 British national living there.


Greece offers right of residency plus Schengen visa privileges – the free movement within the EU member states – in return for €250,000 investment in property.


With over 24,000 Britain’s living in Belgium, the country requires people to have lived and worked in the country for over five years to be eligible for citizenship.

Applicants must also be able to speak one of the state’s official languages: Dutch, French, or German.

It has received a surge in citizenship requests from British expats looking for ways to remain in Brussels after Brexit. 

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About Author

Monira Matin

Senior Reporter

Monira joined International Adviser in March 2016 from Informa Global Markets where she worked as a eurobond reporter for over two years, covering fixed income markets. She has previously held a number of editorial positions covering politics, insurance and technology. Monira has a degree in Journalism and Economics from City University.


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