Transcript for Episode 377: Acquiring a Golden Visa

Category: Moving to France

[00:00:16] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 377, trois cent soixante dix sept. Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy, and news related to travel during the pandemic.

[00:00:39] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Jerry Morgan about getting a golden visa for Europe. It was a brief conversation, but I think it will be of interest to those of you who are looking for ways to move to Europe and to France by extension.

[00:00:54] Annie Sargent:

[00:00:54] Shorter episode this week and next

[00:00:54] Annie Sargent: If this is your first time listening, let me explain that the format of this episode is going to be different because I’ll do my personal update first and a lot is happening. And then you’ll hear about the golden visa. It’s also going to be a shorter episode than normal. And it’ll be short next week as well. I’m in Paris this week, working on some VoiceMap tours. And I have not spent any time on podcast production. So I have to keep this brief, but I do want to update you. A lot of things have happened this week. Some happy things and some upsetting things.

[00:01:27] Getting banned from YouTube

[00:01:27] Annie Sargent: Let me get the upsetting stuff out of the way right away. Somehow I got the YouTube channel connected to this podcast permanently deleted from YouTube. I know for a fact that I did not upload anything nasty, but I set up the Join Us in France, YouTube account years ago. And I hadn’t looked back since.

[00:01:49] Annie Sargent: It was on auto pilot, kind of, you know, with the podcast episode being uploaded automatically through Libsyn, the company that hosts the podcast files. And I, I uploaded the occasional video for patrons myself, but I wasn’t using it very much. I am assuming that someone hacked the account and uploaded some horrible stuff, which got me banned immediately and automatically,

[00:02:17] Annie Sargent: I don’t know this for a fact because YouTube has not answered my questions. They just say your channel is banned and here’s a link to a million, uh, forum pages and all sorts of things, but it’s not helpful. So I am assuming that I cannot recover the account and it’s sad because I had around a thousand subscribers, but it feels like a lost cause to me.

[00:02:41] Annie Sargent: And I honestly don’t have the time to troubleshoot this thing. Hopefully those subscribers will be patient and we’ll find the podcast through the normal means. Uh, which is the RSS feed. I will probably start a new YouTube channel and this time I will make sure the password that cannot be cracked, live and learn. I will let you know when it’s ready, but it will probably be a couple of weeks.

[00:03:07] Annie Sargent: And I am really grateful that I started a classic indie podcast based on an RSS feed and a podcast host that I pay a little bit of money every month and not simply a free YouTube channel. YouTube is a massive machine. A lot of stuff happens automatically with little chance to talk to a human and make things right. So if somebody who’s listening to me works for YouTube and you have suggestions for me, I’m all ears, but I’m kind of, I’m giving up on YouTube, honestly, because it’s just too big and too complicated.

[00:03:43] Updating my Ile de la Cite VoiceMap tour

[00:03:43] Annie Sargent: In much happier news. My first week in Paris has gone wonderfully well, I’ve gotten a lot done. I’ve updated the Ile de la Cite tour with VoiceMap, with, uh, all of the stuff that’s happening around Notre Dame. They’re reopening access to the cathedral. And I wanted to, uh, make that easier on the tour.

[00:04:04] New custom VoiceMap tour for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

[00:04:04] Annie Sargent: I’ve created a custom VoiceMap tour for the Mandarin Oriental hotel. And that tour includes the Tuileries gardens and the Louvre plus the Ile de la Cite tour. And I’m really proud of that tour. It’s fun. It’s lively. The route is great. It’s great tour. And you should take it.

[00:04:23] Not sure how to plan your trip to Paris? Follow my VoiceMap tours!

[00:04:23] Annie Sargent: There are a lot of people who listen to this podcast, looking for info on what to do and what to see when they visit Paris. They worry about a lot of things. There’s a lot of hand-wringing. Should I do this? Should I do that? What’s best. What’s a must see, is this really all it’s cracked up to be?

[00:04:41] Annie Sargent: Where are the great restaurants? Are we going to get lost? They have a million questions. And I understand because I also do itinerary reviews with people and it’s, it’s intimidating to go to a place for the first time, but here’s a hint. You could follow my tours and the job would be done.

[00:05:01] Ile de la Cité, Le Marais, Saint Germain des Prés, and Montmartre with Latin Quarter to come soon

[00:05:01] Annie Sargent: I’ve done four VoiceMap tours so far: Ile de la Cité, Le Marais, Saint Germain des Prés, and Montmartre. All are iconic and wonderful neighborhoods of Paris. The tours sell well, they get great reviews and there’s a fifth soon to be published. The Latin Quarter.

[00:05:19] The easiest way to see a lot of Paris quickly

[00:05:19] Annie Sargent: If you did a tour every morning. Say you have a week in Paris. If you did one of my tours every morning in five days, you would see more of Paris than people who’ve been bumbling around Paris for 10 trips, 20 trips.

[00:05:35] Annie Sargent: I swear to God, these people have no idea what they’re doing. You do the tour in the morning, I take you to all the right places. Then you have a nice meal for lunch, and I do recommend restaurants in the tour. And also you walk by the restaurants in the tour. So you can just stop by and say, Hey, can I have a table for later?

[00:05:55] Annie Sargent: You know, that’s the French way to do things. Uh, then maybe you visit a museum in the afternoon or maybe a couple of wonderful neighborhood churches. You stay in that neighborhood all day, and then you have a nice dinner in the area and it’s a wrap. It’s so simple.

[00:06:10] The easiest way to visit Paris: follow someone who knows Paris!

[00:06:10] Annie Sargent: It’s not even expensive and you will not spend your life in the Paris Metro, because you need one ticket in the morning to get to the start of the tour. And one ticket in the evening to get back to your hotel. I cannot make it any simpler than that. I’m sorry. Nobody can. So that’s just how it is. So. And if you get the tours through https://joinusinfrance.com/boutique, you can even get a discount if you get more than one tour. So, but you can get them from directly from the VoiceMap app as well.

[00:06:40] Annie Sargent: It’s up to you anyway. Uh, I’ve made it simple, so sure. I enjoy doing the itinerary reviews for people. And I love talking to them about their worries about their trip and answer their questions and all of that, but a lot of those things are already answered in the VoiceMap tours.

[00:07:00] Staying at the Mandarin Oriental Paris

[00:07:00] Annie Sargent: Another happy thing this week was that the Mandarin Oriental hotel gave me a complimentary room for one night while I was working on their tour.

[00:07:08] Annie Sargent: I hadn’t ever stayed at a hotel at this price point. It’s about $1,500 per night, actually, maybe it’s 1500 euros per night anyway. Um, and I must admit it was fantastic.

[00:07:20] Annie Sargent: The location cannot be beat in Paris. It’s between Place de la Concorde and La Madeleine so much is within walking distance. My room was so quiet. I couldn’t even tell that the heater was on. I mean, seriously not even the sound of fans moving the air around and yet the temperature control was spot on. It was a beautiful, fancy bathroom, incredibly comfortable bed, linens from heaven. I mean, perfection.

[00:07:49] Annie Sargent: Plugs everywhere, you need them in the room. USB slots everywhere where I could charge my stuff. I didn’t have to bring a converter or anything. It was all provided, uh, a TV that could also turn into a computer monitor. A fruit basket, amazing chocolate Lovelock’s. So I’m not in favor of Lovelock’s, but the chocolate lock they provided was absolutely divine.

[00:08:13] Annie Sargent: And I ate it. Um, at least 10 people welcomed me and asked if I needed anything like perhaps une flute de champagne or some other kind of drink. Uh, lots of glass bottles of Evian in the room, which is good, that it was glass because that recyclable. Handwritten notes of welcome by two people that I didn’t know from Adam, but it made me feel special.

[00:08:37] Annie Sargent: Uh, the room is large. It was about eight meters by eight meters. I don’t know what’s that in feet like 20 feet by 20 feet or something, uh, with a good size desk that I used plenty because I was there to work a wonderful breakfast the next morning.

[00:08:51] No coffee creamer in France!

[00:08:51] Annie Sargent: Well, okay. Okay. The detox shot one lady brought me. It was really nasty because I’m not into detox anything, but, uh, and another thing that wasn’t so good in the room, they had nice bags of tea, uh, different teas and a Nespresso machine, which was great, but there was a packet of creamers, something or other, it was French brand thing, and it was really nasty. Um, and let me tell you if the Mandarin Oriental cannot get coffee creamer, you know, that coffee creamer is not to be found in France because they have everything else. I lived to tell the tale of coffee without creamer, but, um, yeah, don’t count on coffee creamer in France. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience.

[00:09:39] Annie Sargent: I will walk the tour with a member of their management staff next week, and I hope they love my tour and hire me to do another because I will probably never spend that kind of money on a hotel room, myself. This was a big treat.

[00:09:54] Thank you Facebook group moderators!

[00:09:54] Annie Sargent: The other treats for this week is that I got to meet Jennifer Gruenke I’m sorry, Jennifer I can’t say your name. Who is one of the Facebook moderators. She just moved to Paris. She’s a wonderful young person full of life energy. It was wonderful. We went to the Musee de l’architecture on the Trocadero together. Lovely place, by the way. Um, and thank you, thank you for all you do for the group, Jennifer. And not just Jennifer, all the moderators of the group do such a wonderful job and they save me so much time. So thank you so much. Also hanging out with Patricia is always wonderful and she knows Paris so well. She’s incredible. I explored new places and new restaurants in Paris. I shared some videos with patrons and donors, but I’ll talk about those, on.

[00:10:40] Annie Sargent:

[00:10:40] About church bells in Paris

[00:10:40] Annie Sargent: Other episodes when there’s more time, but there’s one question I want to answer. Amber Brown, who is a patron. And I actually met her in person when, uh, I was visiting a family in Utah, uh, in December. She asked if the church bells ring in Paris and I don’t think that’s ever come up on the podcast.

[00:11:00] Annie Sargent: So I want to answer it here. Paris is a big city with a lot of churches and very few churches ring the bells, unless it’s a special occasion or it would be horribly noisy, uh, Notre Dame was, the exception. And I assume that Saint Sulpice, uh, rings the bells through the day now, uh, until Notre Dame opens again, but do not expect church bells in Paris, unless there’s a wedding or a funeral or something special going on. Even in French villages, it’s not a given that the bells will ring in my little village in the Southwest of France.

[00:11:36] Annie Sargent: We had bells that rang 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM on the hour. But when I started thinking about it, I thought, oh, something must have happened because I haven’t heard the bells. Oh a long time now. So something must have gotten broken or somebody complained. I don’t know. But anyway, even in villages, it’s not a given that the bells are going to ring, you know, Uh, nobody relies on trich bells to tell the time anymore.

[00:12:03] Annie Sargent: And things have changed a lot. And honestly, if you live next to a church, it’s a pain to have it go off because it’s awfully loud. So anyway, so that’s about church bells in France.

[00:12:16] Annie Sargent: Overall. It’s been a wonderful week in Paris and I have another week coming up other than this YouTube kerfuffle. But even that it was upsetting.

[00:12:25] Annie Sargent: I must admit it was very upsetting. I, um, I don’t cry a lot, but this was like frustrating because I couldn’t figure it out. And, uh, it was really upsetting. Anyway. Um, I’ll get over it. I’ll figure out a way to do this better so that the stupid spammers don’t get through. Uh, I have four days to finish the Latin quarter VoiceMap tour. It can be done and it will be done.

[00:12:56] Annie’s an empty nester now

[00:12:56] Annie Sargent: Oh. And my daughter moved to her very own apartment. Uh, yesterday it’s 40 minutes from where we live and she will start paying her own bills and everything. And I am a proud mama. She’s not quite 24, she already has a master’s degree, she has her own place. I am a very proud mama and I’m really glad that she’s not going very far so we’ll, we’ll get to enjoy her company frequently. So now I’m an empty nester. I told you it’s been a big week!

[00:13:28] Annie Sargent: And now on with my conversation about getting a golden visa for Europe. And if you think it’s silly for me to publish this, since few people are rich enough to do this, I would like to point out that there’s plenty of episodes about how to visit Paris on a budget. So it’s only fair.

[00:13:44]

[00:13:44] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Mr. Morgan, and welcome to Join Us in France. I’m very happy to have you to tell us a little bit about your services. You are the president of a company called Merkan Group. Is that right?

[00:14:13] Jerry Morgan: That’s correct.

[00:14:14] Merkan Group helping high net worth individuals gain residency in Portugal and Europe

[00:14:14] Annie Sargent: Okay. Well, I’m not going to try and explain what you do. You tell us what you do.

[00:14:19] Jerry Morgan: Okay. Well, what we do is we’ve been in business since 1989. And what we do is we help high net worth individuals, become eligible or to secure citizenship or second or a permanent residence in countries, either Canada, United States and presently Portugal, which gives you access to the European union.

[00:14:40] Jerry Morgan: Wow. So a lot of my listeners would be interested in that, obviously, because a lot of people who listen to me would like to move to Europe.

[00:14:47] Jerry Morgan: Well, we’ve focused on Portugal. There’s a number of ways to go to Europe, but we feel Portugal offers the easiest way to get to secure a citizenship a second passport. And it’s probably the best value one in terms of investment purposes. The way the program works is you can either invest 350,000 euros in investing in an urban center or 280,000 euros in a rural environment.

[00:15:13] Annie Sargent: And what sort of investment are you talking about? Like, do you buy, you buy a restaurant, you buy a business? What?

[00:15:21] Jerry Morgan: Well, you can invest in a property, but we’re a one-stop shop. So what we’ve done is we’ve structured hotels, where a number of investors will invest in a hotel, let’s say Marriott or Hilton. And, uh, and as a group, they’ll invest that. The way it’s structured. You invest that in once you secure your citizenship, then we buy back the investment. So it’s all bundled together in a very simple and easy package for investors.

[00:15:47] Annie Sargent: I see what you’re doing. Okay. Okay. And, uh, so this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this. Because I haven’t had to look into this I’m French born and I became an American later in life. And I know that for French people who want to become Americans, there’s a similar sort of program where you can invest in businesses in America. So this is a normal kind of procedure.

[00:16:09] Getting a Golden Visa

[00:16:09] Jerry Morgan: That’s correct. Actually, it’s quite simple. You make the investment. Okay. Uh, the application will take about eight to 12 months to get approved and you get what’s called the golden visa and golden visa gives you the right to travel throughout the Schengen region and to live and work in Portugal. So the first golden visa is good for two years.

[00:16:30] From Golden Visa to Citizenship: a Long Process

[00:16:30] Jerry Morgan: And during those two years, you just need to spend 14 days in Portugal. Then you get another golden visa for another two years. And again, you need to spend 14 days in Portugal. Then in the fifth year, once you spend seven days in Portugal and you pass a beginners Portuguese exam, you become eligible to apply for citizenship. takes about 10 to 12 months.

[00:16:55] Jerry Morgan: And once we become a citizen, if you know, as a European citizens, you can live in any country. So in France is where you want to go. This is a nice, easy way to get to get there.

[00:17:05] Does this process ever fail?

[00:17:05] Annie Sargent: Yeah, it takes a while. Does it ever fail?

[00:17:07] Jerry Morgan: No, because the criteria is really simply just an investment. And under this program, you can bring your, your dependent children and you can even bring both sets of parents that they’re dependent upon you. So you can bring quite a large group with you.

[00:17:20] Annie Sargent: Wow. So what sort of people are your customers who’s interested in this in America or is it Canadians as well as the people from all over the world? Or is it mostly Americans?

[00:17:31] Jerry Morgan: Actually, we get cut through some 50 countries around the world. Now in the last year we found a huge increase in America. It seems, you know, America has come from almost no interest to being our number one customer for, for Portugal program is from America now. So you have for a variety of reasons, but it’s huge interest from America right now.

[00:17:51] Annie Sargent: Right. And so it must come and go, depending on the winds I guess.

[00:17:57] Acquiring a second passport

[00:17:57] Jerry Morgan: Well, you have different kinds of people. You have some people that want to retire in Europe. And they’re planning ahead for retirement. So, you know, they feel they’ll need a passport. Uh, you have those that are maybe uncomfortable with the political environment right now in the United States that are looking to secure a second passport, and then you have some of those that just think carry the second password is kind of an interesting sort of thing and something they’d like to aquire.

[00:18:22] Annie Sargent: Very interesting. So, so how many people have gone through this process with your services so far?

[00:18:29] Jerry Morgan: We’ve done over 500 families right now. And last year was our biggest year. And this year will be even bigger, uh, more and more interest, especially from America again, and even from Canada.

[00:18:43] Annie Sargent: That’s interesting. So, technically speaking, they don’t really have to be in Portugal that much, unless they want to be, I mean, you were saying they have.

[00:18:55] Jerry Morgan: That’s the easy part about it. You don’t have to be there. You can be there, but you don’t have to. A lot of people are planning ahead for their retirement and where they plan to spend more time there. But in the meantime, what they’re doing is just building up. Th the process towards a citizenship and a passport.

[00:19:12] Developing projects in Portugal

[00:19:12] Annie Sargent: Right. And your company, I assume you make your money on the investment or is there a set fee?

[00:19:22] Jerry Morgan: No, we’re the developers. So we develop projects where people can invest in. So we’ve done 10 projects now in Portugal. Uh, most of them hotels, uh, branded hotel. And in fact, you know, we have another three new products coming up in the next month. So we continue to add projects for people to invest in.

[00:19:42] Annie Sargent:

[00:19:42] How to get in touch with Jerry

[00:19:42] Annie Sargent: All right. Well, that sounds really interesting. And obviously not something I was familiar with before. If people want to reach you, what’s the best way to get in touch with you. If they have more questions.

[00:19:53] Jerry Morgan: Well, what they can do, I’ll give you my email address and people can just send me an email. I’d be happy to provide them

[00:19:58] Marker[00:19:58] Marker

[00:19:58] Jerry Morgan: with more information about the different projects or the program.

[00:20:02] Annie Sargent: Excellent. Well, I’ll put it. I’ll put a link to that. Is, is it your JMorgan@merkan.com?

[00:20:09] Jerry Morgan: That’s correct.

[00:20:10] Annie Sargent: So I’ll just put a link to that in the show notes for this episode and people can, can reach you. Yeah. It’s, it’s fascinating. And it is, it’s funny because I grew up not wanting particularly to have a second passport, but I must admit that I keep telling my daughter, for example, you know, that she has a great edge because she has both a French passport and an American passport. She could, uh, and she’s a software developer, so she could, you know, work anywhere really

[00:20:42] Jerry Morgan: Yeah, there’s a lot of advantages with having a second password. Uh, it just creates so much more freedom and mobility.

[00:20:49] Annie Sargent: Right. Although these days of COVID, it’s hard to get around, even with the proper passports right now in France, you have to have a good reason to come into France. Even if you have the passport (this is not true in Feb 2022 when I am releasing this episode)..

[00:21:01] Jerry Morgan: There are lots of challenges these days. That’s for sure.

[00:21:04] Annie Sargent: That hopefully that’s not going to last too much longer.

[00:21:07] Jerry Morgan: We all hope so.

[00:21:09] Annie Sargent: Well, thank you. Go

[00:21:10] Jerry Morgan: Thank you Annie is, was just nice talking to.

[00:21:13] Annie Sargent: Very nice talking to you too. And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s a fascinating part of, uh, the international life that I, I am discovering . Thank you, Mr. Morgan.

[00:21:23] Jerry Morgan: Thank you. You have a good day!

[00:21:24] Annie Sargent: Now Au revoir !

[00:21:25] Jerry Morgan: Okay au revoir !

[00:21:26] Copyright

[00:21:26] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France travel podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and copyright 2022. By addicted to France. It is released under a creative commons attribution. Non-commercial no derivatives license. .

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Category: Moving to France