On May 8, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 264, creating Part III of Chapter 692 (692.201-692.205) of the Florida Statutes “Conveyances to Foreign Entities”. This new law goes into effect on July 1, 2023 and places substantial prohibitions on foreign citizens and entities from certain foreign countries from purchasing property within Florida.
The “foreign countries of concern” under the new law include the following:
- The People’s Republic of China,
- The Russian Federation,
- The Islamic Republic of Iran,
- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,
- The Republic of Cuba,
- The Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro, or
- The Syrian Arab Republic; and
- Any agency of or any other entity of significant control of such foreign country of concern
A “foreign principal” is defined under the new law as a government or any official of the government, political party or member of a political party, business entity or partnership of a foreign country of concern or any person who is domiciled in a foreign country of concern who is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States. A “foreign principal” is also defined as any person or entity under one of the above classifications having a controlling interest in a partnership or any other business entity formed for the purpose of owning real property in this state.
Under the new law, “foreign principals” of “foreign countries of concern” may not own or acquire “agricultural land”; or real property on or within 10 miles of any “military installation” or “critical infrastructure facility,” as defined under the statute, which includes airports and seaports among other categories. There are more severe restrictions for foreign principals from the People’s Republic of China in that the prohibition extends to all lands in the State of Florida not just the categories mentioned above.
There are limited exceptions as to the applicability of the law which include certain residential real property and if the foreign principal’s interest in any prohibited land is considered a de minimus or indirect interest. A foreign person who is a natural person (not an entity) may purchase one residential real property that is up to 2 acres in size so long as the parcel is not on or within 5 miles of any “military installation”, the person has a current verified US Visa that is not limited to authorizing tourist based travel or official documentation confirming that the person has been granted asylum in the US and such visa or documentation authorizes the person to be legally present within this state and the purchase is in the name of the person who holds such visa or official documentation.
NOTE: Pursuant to the new law, as of July 1, 2023 all purchasers of real estate in Florida will be required to sign an Affidavit attesting to the fact that they are not a “foreign principal” from a “foreign country of concern” who is restricted from acquiring property in Florida under the statute. The new law also implements registration requirements for foreign principals who already own prohibited land acquired prior to July 1, 2023.
*This article is intended as a general overview of the new law and shall not be relied upon as legal advice. We urge any potential purchasers who may be affected to seek the independent advice of counsel.