EU Members of Parliament call for a ban on “golden passports” and visas.

MEPs demanded the Commission to draft a legislative proposal to forbid the sale of European citizenship, a ban on "Golden Passports" and visas.

Wednesday, March 9, the European Parliament MEPs adopted an initiative report demanding the European Commission to forbid the “sale of European citizenship”, emphasizing the risk of wealthy Russians with ties to the Kremlin obtaining EU citizenship through the “back door”.


CBI programs are in effect in EU member states such as Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus. Bulgarian government intends to phase out the program, and the role of Cyprus offering “free rides” has come under discussion, recently. Cyprus said only the applications filed prior to November 2020 are being processed and they are being examined. A further 12 Residency by Investment schemes were rolled out by member states, and around 130,000 persons have benefitted from either, from 2011 to 2019.


Commodification of a right, against the “essence of EU Citizenship”.

Pointing out to the “objectionable” nature of Golden passports from an “ethical, legal and economic” point of view, and the abundance of security risks inherent to the schemes, the MEPs, concerned that EU citizenship is put out for sale, asked for EU-wide common rules to address problems linked to citizenship programs, to fight ML and corruption. The parliament emphasized citizenship treated as a commodity by member states “undermines” the essence of EU citizenship.


Problematic intermediaries

Background and security checks for Golden Passports and visas, as they are named, are conducted by non-state intermediaries, which can be opaque enough to escape the regulatory glance. With profits prioritized, and the standards not being met, this makes a dispersed system that allows individuals with liable backgrounds into the EU.



For the less risky “Residence by Investment” (RBI) schemes, sterner background checks will be in order (with scrutiny into the source of the applicant’s funds), as well as obligatory EU database checks, and vetting procedures. Reporting obligations will increase, and requirements for minimum physical residence and active involvement, quality added value and economic contribution will be observed.


“A back door into the EU” for those with dirty money.

EU Parliamentary Rapporteur called for a shutting of the programs “so that Russian oligarchs and other persons with dirty money stay out”, pointing out that the schemes provide a “back door into the EU for shady individuals”.