EGYPT CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Overview Located on the northeast corner of Africa, but considered very Middle Eastern, Egypt is the second most populated country in the Middle East and Africa region, with the capital Cairo among the world’s most densely populated cities. Home to one of the world’s oldest and greatest civilisations, Egypt today is a cosmopolitan fusion of many cultures and traditions with a liberal attitude and friendliness towards foreigners. While hectic and chaotic, like many Middle Eastern places, the people here are genuinely warm, affectionate and trusting. Egypt does have a relatively young population with 37% under the age of 15, while Cairo has a big expat population with many from the US and Europe.
Health and education Education in Egypt is compulsory from ages 6-18, however the public education system is not of the best quality having been ranked 130th out of 137 countries by the World Bank in 2017. The country has upped its spending on education and health to 6% and 3%, respectively, of GDP in 2020-2021 with budgeted plans for six new technological universities and five non-profit government universities. Egypt does have however an extensive higher education system with nearly a third of all Egyptians going on to university – there are 17 public universities, 50+ public non-university institutions, 16 private universities and nearly 90 private higher institutions. While Egypt provides basic universal healthcare, the system is challenged particularly due to rising fertility rates and high levels of pollution with efforts being made to improve structural healthcare. There are many private healthcare providers.
Transport The country has a reliable bus service operable between most places and an excellent train service with the latter a good way to travel as it avoids traffic, an issue in Egypt’s main cities. Cairo also has a metro service, which is cheap and has extensive coverage, and tram service whilst Alexandria has trams. Taxis are cheap and plentiful (just hail one down) as are ride-hailing apps with Careem a popular choice. For long-distance internal travel, EgyptAir offers affordable and regular domestic flights while air-conditioned coaches are also good options. Thinking of hiring a car? You’ll need an International Driving Permit and driving here can be challenging with driving etiquette non-existent and with chaotic driving and speeding the norm.
Lifestyle According to the latest CBI Index 2021, Egypt achieved a perfect score for safety and this is backed up by the latest annual Gallup Global Law and Order poll ranking Egypt as the safest country in Africa, higher than both the UK and US. And Cairo has the lowest crime rate in the world for such a large city. Family is a focus here Egypt is affordable to live in with the main cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor awash with life and action 24/7. Muslim law is moderate here. The business week starts on a Saturday and breaks for the weekend on Wednesday. Souks (markets) are a central part of Egyptian life (Khan al Kahili is the main souk of Cairo) as are cafes where Egyptians love to sit, drink coffee or juice, chat and people-watch. Eating out at restaurants with family and friends is a regular activity too. One of the world’s oldest civilisations, Egypt is home to some incredible historic landmarks from the Pyramids of Giza to the City of the Dead and the Ramses II statue as well as seven UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites. Music, literature and film are big here with many festivals and traditions and movie-going popular as Egypt’s movie-making industry is one of the most active worldwide.
Climate Dominated by desert, Egypt is dry, humid and extremely hot in summer with highs of 35C while winters are mild with highs of 21C and very little rainfall.
Population 100.4 million
Languages Arabic is the official language of Egypt with various dialects spoken, though many Egyptians and especially younger ones speak and understand English and other European languages.
Religion The majority of the Egyptian population is Muslim (90%) with the remaining made up various Christian denominations.
Capital City Cairo
Currency The Egyptian pound is the official currency, but Euros, dollars and sterling notes are also accepted.
GDP per capita $3,586,97 (2020)
Economy Egypt is the only CBI industry country that witnessed positive GDP growth during the pandemic with 3.6% growth despite the adverse impact of the COVID–19 pandemic. In fact, Egypt’s economic growth has been strong and resilient since the economic reforms initiated in 2016. Most economic activity takes place along the Nile River Valley with tourism, agriculture and manufacturing key industries. The tourism sector accounts for about 5.5% of GDP and 9.5% of employment.
Did you know…? While Cairo has been Egypt’s capital for more than 1,000 years, the government is building a new capital some 45km to the east to help ease congestion in Cairo. The city is not yet named but will host the main government departments and ministries, as well as foreign embassies.
EGYPT CBI PROGRAMME
- Established 2020
- Minimum outlay $250,000
- Processing time 6-9 months
- Residency or travel requirements One pre-visit
- Freedom of movement 51 countries
- Investment Options 4
Overview The latest Programme on the CBI block, unveiled just as the pandemic hit in March 2020, Egypt’s debut Citizenship by Investment programme offers four investment pathways to gaining an Egyptian second passport including via both donation and investment. Making its debut in the recently-released 2021 CBI Index, Egypt’s CBI Programme ranked 10th out of 14 with total percentage points of 55% and placing before Bulgaria, Austria, Jordan and Cambodia. Offering a low minimum investment and low residency requirements, the programme is being run by the CBI unit, part of the government office, while due diligence is undertaken by the FRA and General Intelligence Service.
Best for Ease of application and low residence requirements and for obtaining the E-2 visa to the US (along with Grenada and Turkey).
Pros Being in the Middle East, this offers a third option (the first two Jordan and Turkey) for Middle East citizens and/or Muslims to gain citizenship in a regional country and where Arabic is spoken and Islam is widespread. Processing times are some of the quickest at 6-9 months and it’s pretty straightforward requiring applicants to make just one trip to Egypt, and the investment cost is pretty good with its most affordable option a US$250,000 donation. There’s no need for applicants to undertake an interview or take a test with processing straightforward. Family-friendly, the programme is inclusive of children up to the age of 21 (as long as unmarried) and provides eligibility to apply for an E-2 visa to the US making it just one of three CBI Programmes (Grenada and Turkey) to allow dual citizens the ability to work and live in the US. GDP growth rate in Egypt has been the most positive of all the countries at 3.6% offering CBI Programmes having weathered the Covid-19 storm better than most.
Cons Though family-friendly, it takes two years for the spouses of the applicant to obtain citizenship and that is from the date of citizenship of the main applicant, which in itself takes 6-9 months. Strength of Egypt’s passport is lower than most other countries offering citizenship by investment except that of Jordan ranking 96/109. Due diligence is not undertaken by a third independent party. A payment of US$10,000 in government fees is required to get the ball rolling.
Ease of processing Takes between 6-9 months to gain citizenship, though would be quicker for applicants who have residency in Egypt, and according to the 2021 CBI Index, the process is straightforward and without mandatory interviews or tests to be undertaken. There is however a requirement to make just one trip to Egypt in order to complete the procedures to obtain a National ID Card prior to citizenship. Due diligence includes applicant biometrics and clean police records with checks undertaken by three Egyptian government agencies, but not by any third-party specialist company.
Freedom of movement Visa-free travel to 51 countries, the same as Jordan’s passport, marking Egypt’s passport as 96th (out of 109) according to Henley’s Passport Index Q3 2021. However, it does offer access to more countries than the passports of Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Libya and Lebanon, and provides a more stable economy and political landscape and so likely to make it an in-demand acquisition for citizens of those nations.
Investment options 4
EGYPT CBI INVESTMENTS
Option 1: Donation Make a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 to the CIU account at the Central Bank of Egypt.
Option 2: Real Estate The investor can make a minimum investment of US$500,000 in one or more properties (or plot of land) from a government-approved real estate project. The property must be held for a period of five years to obtain citizenship, after which it can be sold.
Option 3: Company Establishment Establish a new company in Egypt or invest in a previously established company in Egypt with the minimum investment of US$400,000. The investor must have at least a 40% stake in the company.
Option 4: Deposit investment program The investor can also use the Central Bank of Egypt deposit investment programme and make one of two bank deposits: either of US$750,000 refundable after 5 years, or of US$1m refundable after three years. Both should be paid in Egyptian currency and without interest.
EGYPT CBI RANKINGS
Passport Ranking (Henley Passport Index 2021) 96 / 116
CBI Programme Ranking (CBI Index 2021, Financial Times) 55% / 10th out of 14 countries
Ease of doing business Ranking (Doing Business 2020, The World Bank) 114 / 190
Economic Freedom (2020 Index of Economic Freedom) 130 / 178