A new contender in the Citizenship by Investment space
Egypt has had a citizenship by investment program for a while, but it was murky and unappealing.
However, the government has just made a big announcement. You can now buy ANY real estate in Egypt, to the tune of $300,000 and obtain citizenship for yourself, your children under the age of 21, and up to four wives.
Look, I’m not here to say that the Egyptian passport is a great travel document – it’s absolutely not.
But, from a geopolitical hedging point of view, getting an Egyptian passport is very interesting, seeing that Egypt is being admitted into BRICS.
Real estate in Egypt also happens to be dirt cheap. You can buy off-plan apartments, in nice developments with swimming pools, gyms, etc for as low as $750 per m2 in the country’s New Administrative Capital.
I had a chat with Hany who, with his team of Cairo-based lawyers, helps people process and obtain Egyptian citizenship.
I am going to Egypt in November
As soon as I heard this I booked a flight to Cairo. I want to go meet key stakeholders on the ground and have a look at the sort of real estate investments one can make to qualify for this BRICS passport.
If you don’t want to wait for my trip there, feel free to get in touch with Hany and his team and find out more information about the Egyptian citizenship by investment program here.
To a World of Opportunities,
The Wandering Investor.
Other articles on Egypt:
- Making a Real Estate Investment in Cairo, Egypt – a contrarian play
- Why the Egyptian Citizenship by Investment? Deep dive with the Egyptian government.
Services in Egypt:
Other ways to get Golden Visas and Citizenships by Investment:
- High ROI Real Estate for investing in the Greece Golden Visa
- Fastest way to get Permanent Residency in Malta
- Be careful when you buy a passport in the Caribbean
- Best Deal for the Citizenship by Investment in Turkey
- How to obtain Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment
- Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment
- St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment
If you want to read more such articles on other real estate markets in the world, go to the bottom of my International Real Estate Services page.
If you want to discuss your internationalization and diversification plans, book a consulting session or send me an email.
Transcript of “BREAKING NEWS on the Egypt Citizenship by Investment: all Real Estate now allowed”
LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. So today, we will be discussing breaking news that are very, very interesting concerning the Egyptian Citizenship By Investment Program. So Hany has a whole team of lawyers and agents based out of Cairo that help people obtain citizenship by investment in Egypt. Hany, how are you?
HANY: I’m good, I’m good. Thank you for having me today. And I hope I will be answering all of your questions and do a good explanation for you guys.
2023 changes to the Egypt Citizenship by Investment program
LADISLAS MAURICE: Perfect. So can you tell us the breaking news?
HANY: Okay, so the breaking news is that now it’s official that everyone can buy from any developer, any private owner, any property they want. It was just for the government-approved products, now it’s for all the real estate developers, they can sell, any private property owner they can sell. So it’s pretty much like the Turkish program, let’s put it this way. So we are now in direct competition with the Turkish program.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. And this is really huge, because going from a program where you had to invest $300,000 in specific projects and now essentially you can invest $300,000 in any Egyptian real estate, whether with developers, any developer, including big developers like Orascom, that are known internationally, or even on the secondary markets, anywhere in the country, on the Red Sea, in Alexandria, in Cairo in the new capital, $300,000 and that gets you citizenship for you, your spouse, and your underage children. Correct?
Which dependents can be included in the Egypt citizenship by investment program?
HANY: No, it will get you for the main applicant and the children or the dependents below the age of 21. As for the spouse, she gets it after two years from maintaining her residency permit with the husband.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. Does she have to live in Egypt?
HANY: No, no, just to maintain the marriage basically. So that’s the only requirement. We can help with both process. So with the citizenship, with the residency, we do both.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And the children, also two years or children immediately?
HANY: Immediately, they get it along with the main applicant. So if they are below the age of 21, then they get it immediately.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Cool, cool. Okay, very interesting. And also, the Egyptian program is quite peculiar in the sense that you can have a few wives, correct, qualify?
HANY: If the applicant is Muslim, then according to the law, they are allowed to have multiple wives, up to four basically. So according to the Sharia law.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. So again, this is quite unique and quite interesting. So–
HANY: Yes, but if I may, this is very popular in the Middle East. So we already have clients who have multiple wives, so it’s important for them. So people from Yemen, particularly, or Sudan, or from other Arab countries, it’s normal for them to have multiple spouse.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So look, before the program was not that interesting, but now it’s starting to seriously compete with the Turkish Citizenship By Investment Program. I’ll do, later, some analysis of comparing the pros and cons of both, because they’re both quite different, ultimately, what they offer.
Due diligence for the Egypt Citizenship by Investment
LADISLAS MAURICE: But can you tell us in terms of due diligence, what sort of paperwork applicants would have to give to get the citizenship?
HANY: The list of required documents is pretty much standard. So the marriage certificate, birth certificate, something called the movement certificate, which is like the applicant has to announce where he was in the last five years, basically, which countries did he visit in the last five years. We have the client do that.
LADISLAS MAURICE: I would not enjoy filling that one out. [laughs]
HANY: It depends from one country to another. And if you don’t, our office help you do that. So it’s one of the services that we provide. So, this is one of the things that are required. Also, the clean criminal record from the country of origin and as well as if you stayed in the last five years in another country and you have an active residency in another country, then you need to provide also a clean criminal record from this country. If you have residency in Egypt, if you have properties or you have something in Egypt that you own, then you need to declare whatever you have in Egypt.
Also, you need to declare if you have multiple nationalities. So if you have two other nationalities or three other nationalities, Egypt allow multiple nationalities. So you can have dual nationality or triple nationality. It’s fine. However, you need just to declare.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay.
HANY: The rest is just a simple application form. Let’s call it simple compared to the Caribbean, let’s say.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool.
HANY: But we do it.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, good. So it seems easier than the Caribbean, but it seems more bureaucratic than the Turkish overall.
HANY: Yeah. Also the due diligence is done within the government organizations. So they don’t give it to third party, basically. It’s done in-house.
No military service in Egypt for new citizens
LADISLAS MAURICE: So one of the questions that people often have with regards to Egypt is military service.
HANY: Okay, for dual nationalities, they do not serve in the military. So they get an exemption. If the applicant is between the age, or the one who’s going to get the citizenship, between the age of 16 to 30, we apply for them as having a dual nationality, and they get exempted within 12 to 16 weeks, basically. So it’s becoming more easier process. So no one from the ones who are applying for the citizenship through investment is going to be in the military service.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Nor their children?
HANY: No, no, no, no. No.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. And so what happens, does the citizenship– Yes, you wanted to say something?
HANY: Yes, as long as they maintain another citizenship, then anyone who has dual citizenship is applicable, they can apply for exemption.
A citizenship that goes down the generations
LADISLAS MAURICE: Clear. Thank you. And does this citizenship go down the generations, like the Turkish one and unlike the Caribbean ones?
HANY: Yes, yes, it’s automatic. It’s an automatic one.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so automatic. So for example, let’s say, I become Egyptian, I have a kid in, like, seven years’ time, I’ve never lived in Egypt. My wife is not Egyptian. And let’s say, I live in Brazil. I just go to the Egyptian embassy in Brasilia, and then register the kid there. The kid is Egyptian.
HANY: Yes, exactly.
LADISLAS MAURICE: And then if the kid does the same thing, again, never lived in Egypt, again, doesn’t marry an Egyptian, still so it goes down the generations?
HANY: Same thing. And now if the father or the mother, any one of them Egyptian, then the kid automatically gets the Egyptian citizenship if he applies or she applies for the kid in whatever embassy outside of Egypt.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Okay, this is very compelling, because a lot of the Caribbean citizenships essentially after the second generation, third generation, it just stops if kids are not born on these islands, and each time you have to pay heavy fees, special fees, because you weren’t a normal citizen, you’re a citizen that bought the passport, so extra fees, etc. So for Egypt, none of that. Just like the Turkish citizenship, it’s a lot cleaner, it’s a lot more of a real citizenship. So this is–
HANY: Genuine one.
Real estate market landscape in Egypt
LADISLAS MAURICE: Yes, it’s genuine. Yeah. This is good. Cool. So Hany, so part of your team are agents who work directly with developers and the secondary market. So can you tell us a little bit about the landscape in terms of real estate in Egypt, what sort of opportunities there are for people?
HANY: Okay, so if you are looking for something that will get you rental income in dollars, let’s put it this way, then you will have to go to the touristic cities. So something like the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, those cities, the properties over there is easy to rent in dollars, because, obviously, the ones who are going there and renting the properties are basically tourists. And if you’re looking for something that is long-term, then you go to Cairo or the main cities, basically.
Now for the real estate, it differs from one place to another. It differs if you are buying in a brand name, like if you’re buying in a hotel chain, let’s say, like the W, the Marriott, one of those chains, because there are some developers and some developments that are offering such kind of products. And in this case, you’re paying prices like international prices. And there are some local developers who are selling some local properties. Of course, it’s going to be less in price than those done by international brands.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, because you can get nice developments in the new administrative capital, so the huge new capital city that Egypt is buying for, like, $700 a square meter, you can get relatively nice buildings with swimming pools, the whole deal, private parking, blah, blah. So for people who want to buy value, even if the rental yields, I mean, they’re pretty unknown there in the new administrative capital, I’m not sure they’re great, but if you want to buy value and get a lot of real estate for $300,000, like, new off plan, you can do that. You can probably end up with like 400 square meters of apartments in the new capital city, which would mean four apartments with like three bedrooms and like nice developments.
HANY: Exactly. This is actually, what you’re saying is absolutely correct. What’s happening is that some people, and especially for the citizenship applicants, they go for the new administrative capital. And the average prices can go between something like $650 per square meter up to $1,500, depending on the finishing quality, the location, and who’s the developer and doing what. Some of the developments, by the way, are already ready to move in. So it’s not all off plan, some of them already made the construction. Also, the nice thing about this specific part of the city is that the government is enforcing the construction progress and enforcing the developers there to do the developments exactly in time, to make the quality exactly as they mentioned before. So I will be very confident investing over there.
Again, the Red Sea is an opportunity, North Coast is also an opportunity. But it will depend why the applicant is buying. Is he going to live? Is he going to put his kids in school? If he’s going to just rent and leave it? So we like to have like a little chat with the applicant, see what they are looking for exactly, and then we recommend. Some of the people with something that has a very high appreciation after few years, not necessarily now they’re going to get like rental income. So I would definitely go for the new administrative capital because the prices can go double or triple, actually, in five years.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, a double would absolutely not be unreasonable for the new capital. And what I like about it is that all these developments are being bought by locals. So it’s not like in Turkey where you had a whole industry of agents and like immigration people that were selling these really bad developments in the outskirts of Istanbul for like crazy prices. These buildings were literally made just to sell citizenship and giving massive margins to salespeople.
In your case, Hany, you can work directly with the big developers, Orascom, for example, that has an international reputation with projects all over the Gulf, even in Europe, etc. And it’s just list price. You go in there, Hany gets you the list price, you pay the normal price that Egyptians pay, you’re not overpaying. So this is very, very compelling from that point of view.
HANY: It’s actually very genuine. The pricing is very genuine, the market is very, very genuine. So we have this, you know, Egypt is like 105 million now. And the population is increasing, and the economy is increasing in a genuine way. So it’s not like we are overpricing the product so that foreigners can buy. No. It’s the same, you’re Egyptian, non-Egyptian, the price is the same, no change whatsoever. So I think it’s more secure and more safe to say that the numbers are, like, there is no overpricing in the numbers.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Look, when you take a step back, you go to the new administrative capital, which is the new capital city of a country of 105 million people, Egypt is building this new capital city because Cairo is just bursting with people and they need better infrastructure, better everything. And you can buy there for, let’s say, $1,000 if you go for like the better, better developers with a good reputation, $1,000 a square meter. I mean, and you have to keep that for five years, and then you’re a citizen, and then that goes down the generations. It’s not a bad deal.
Now, look, is the Egyptian passport great? No. It’s good for travel in Africa, actually, gets you visa-free or visa on arrival to quite a few African countries that, on a Western passport, you don’t have access to. But it’s very interesting diversification. It’s a BRICS passport. I mean, the country does have its downsides, the economy, a little bit iffy right now, etc. But again, you’re paying just $1,000 a square meter for brand new real estate, with swimming pools, with everything, all the amenities, the luxuries, all that.
HANY: Yeah, exactly.
LADISLAS MAURICE: So you get value.
HANY: Also, some of the countries they have some restrictions on their banks in like opening Visa or MasterCard, for example, sanction countries. So it’s better for them to have another identity, they can open in foreign banks that are based in Egypt. So this also can help them. And another thing, if you have an office in Egypt, it’s better for you to afford the labor and everything. So I think it’s a good deal. You’re basically getting another citizenship with less cost than the Turkish one. I’m not saying that it’s–
LADISLAS MAURICE: The fees are higher. The fees are higher, to be fair, because you have to pay the government $10,000, right?
HANY: That’s true.
LADISLAS MAURICE: And then your fees as well, another 10K?
LADISLAS MAURICE: So it’s a bit more than Turkey in terms of fees.
HANY: But in total, you’re paying less and you’re getting, after five years, you sell, probably you’ll double your money. So even with the currency fluctuation, even with this, still, you are making a very good deal.
LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Look, I find this very interesting, Hany. We were having a chat before this call. I’m going to go to Cairo, meet with Hany, the team, we’re going to go have a look at developments together, analyze this program in greater detail. So I am going to Cairo in November. I’m going to go there for about a week. And we’re going to dig into details. So in the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about the Citizenship By Investment in Egypt, Hany’s team to send you examples of developments, have a chat with you, etc., there is a link below. You can get in touch directly with them and someone from his team will get in touch with you.
Hany, thank you very much for your time today.
HANY: It was my pleasure. Thank you very much. And I hope I was helpful in my presentation. Thank you very much.