Golden Visa helps individuals get an additional residency or citizenship in a foreign country. Based on either investment, donation, or government contributions, Golden Visa programs attract high-net-worth individuals.
A main attraction of Golden Visa is the freedom of movement. Most countries that offer Golden Visa promise visa-free travel to an array of countries. Another attraction is the education opportunities for families with children. Many individuals apply for Golden Visa programs because of uncertainty in their home country. Finally, an attractive financial return is another motivation for investors to apply for a Golden Visa.
In this guide, you’ll get to know more about the Golden Visa, which countries offer it, and how you can get one.
What Is a Golden Visa
Golden Visa is a permit that allows individuals and their dependent family members to get residency in a country. Today many European countries offer Golden Visa programs to individuals who are looking to get residency, and eventually even citizenship.
Although the required investment amounts vary, Golden Visa schemes are typically based on real estate acquisition, investment fund subscription, capital transfer, or donation. Once you decide on your investment type, you can start your application process as the main applicant.
Most Golden Visa programs allow family inclusion which means that you’re able to include your immediate family members. Some countries also allow the inclusion of grandparents and parents-in-law.
What makes the Golden Visa so attractive is that it doesn’t require you to move to the country you’re getting a Golden Visa from. If you have business interests in your home country and are planning to get a Golden Visa just as a “Plan B”, note that you can keep your status only by visiting the country on a required frequency.
Golden Visa schemes might lead to citizenship depending on the country’s residency requirements. In some countries, it’s five years. In some, you might be eligible only after 10 years of full-time residency.
Golden Visa Program Requirements
Countries with a Golden Visa scheme have their own set of requirements. However, there are some basic requirements such as:
- Having a clean criminal record
- Proving that you’ll use your own funds to make the investment
- Keeping the investment for a certain period of time (time may vary depending on the country)
- Demonstrating that you’ve acquired your funds legally
Some countries might require you to show that you have a certain amount of net worth, separate from the amount you’re going to invest.
How To Get a Golden Visa
The first step in the Golden Visa application is to decide on your investment criteria. While real estate acquisition is the most popular route, the capital transfer is getting a lot of attention, too. Some Golden Visa schemes also include options such as fund investment, job creation, and donation.
Once you decide on your investment criteria, you can start your application. The processing time for a Golden Visa is two to nine months.
If you’re planning to make a Golden Visa application, it’s wise to speak to professionals before you commit any funds or make an investment.
Countries That Offer Golden Visas
Today many countries in Europe offer Golden Visa programs. Visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone, access to the EU market, and quality education services make European Golden Visa programs very popular.
Below we’ve listed some European countries that offer Golden Visa, a residency in return for investment.
Portugal is the first country that comes to mind when talking about Golden Visa. The country is the favorite of investors, families, and businessmen with its safe atmosphere, stable economy, and various investment options.
Portugal offers Golden Visa by four different investment option alternatives:
- Real Estate Investment: You can qualify for a Golden Visa in Portugal if you invest a minimum of €500,000 in a real estate property. This amount may drop to €350,000 or to €280,000 on certain conditions, such as investing in a low-density area and buying a house with the condition to renovate it.
- Fund Investment: You can get Portugal Golden Visa with a €350,000 investment in qualifying funds.
- Capital Transfer: Another option is the capital transfer of €1 million to Portugal.
- Job Creation: You can also be eligible for a Portugal Golden Visa if you create job opportunities in the Portuguese market either by creating a new business or investing in an existing one.
With your Portugal Golden Visa, you can travel within the Schengen Zone visa-free. One other benefit of Portugal Golden Visa is that you can keep your permit only by staying in the country for seven days on average per year.
You might be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years. With this feature, the program stands out as one of the easiest citizenship routes in Europe.
Greece Golden Visa is another popular residency by investment program. With the lowest investment threshold in Europe, Greece attracts many expats from all over the world. The country’s climate, laid-back lifestyle, and central location make it an attractive investment point.
Greece offers Golden Visa by different investment options:
- Real Estate Investment: If you buy real estate in Greece, worth a minimum of €250,000, you can qualify for a Greek Golden Visa.
- Capital Transfer: Another option is €400,000 investment for bonds or shares of real estate investment companies in Greece.
One of the advantages of the program is that there is no stay requirement. This means that you can maintain your status even if you don’t stay in Greece. Greece government also allows individuals to apply remotely which becomes a huge relief for people with busy agendas.
Malta is another popular country among individuals who are looking for residency in Europe. With its stable political climate, positive economic outlook, and favorable location, it’s a perfect place both for families and investors. The program focuses on real estate investments, either by acquisition or leasing.
With Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP), Malta offers two different investment options for Golden Visa:
- Real Estate Acquisition: If you wish to proceed with real estate acquisition, you can buy a residential property in Malta for €350,000. The amount drops to €300,000 for the South of Malta and Gozo.
- Property Leasing: Malta also offers a property leasing option that allows investors to rent a residential property in Malta for €12,000 per annum. The lease agreement is required to be made for five years. For properties in the South of Malta and Gozo, this amount is €10,000.
Apart from the investment, the program also requires government contributions, administrative fees, and donations.
These fees include:
- Administrative fee payment of €40,000
- Government contribution of €28,000 in case of property acquisition
- Government contribution of €58,000 in case of property lease
- Donation €2,000 to a local philanthropic organization
Once your application is completed you’re going to get a residence permit valid for five years. A huge benefit of the program is that there is no stay requirement.
Spain is among Golden Visa countries. The country offers residency in return for investment. Thanks to its rich culture, business opportunities, and quality of life, Spain is a primary choice for many individuals who are looking for residency in an EU country.
Spain offers Golden Visa by different investment options:
- Real Estate Investment: You can qualify for Spain Golden Visa if you buy a property with a minimum value of €500,000.
- Fund Investment: Another popular option is to invest €1 million in investment funds.
Spain Golden Visa is also available by job creation, investment in Spanish public debt, or bank deposits.
With your Spain Golden Visa card, you can travel within the Schengen zone without the need for an additional visa. The program doesn’t impose any stay requirements, either.