What Is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is a citizenship by investment or residency by investment program. It is directed to wealthy foreign nationals who want to acquire residency in a certain country by investing a substantial amount of money or by purchasing a property.
If you apply for a Golden Visa, you and your immediate family members (spouse and children) will receive residence permits which can be renewed indefinitely as long as you maintain the investment.
In most cases, there is little to no requirement to actually be present in the country that issued the Golden Visa. This means that you do not need to relocate to another country unless you want to.
However, if you wish to get permanent residence or citizenship by investment, most countries will require actual residency for about five to ten years.
A Golden Visa for an EU country is particularly desirable as it allows the holder (and their family members) freedom of movement throughout the entire Schengen Zone. If the Golden Visa eventually leads to EU citizenship, then the resulting passport will offer visa-free travel to over a hundred countries in the world, depending on the issuing State.
Can You Get EU Permanent Residence by Investment?
Yes, you can get permanent residency by investment in an EU country.
Once you get a permanent residence permit, it is usually automatically renewable, although some specifics will depend on the issuing country.
You will still have to renew the residence permit, but not actually apply for a new one – similar to an ID card.
Can You Get Citizenship by Investment in the EU?
Citizenship is not guaranteed if you receive a Golden Visa. In order to receive citizenship in a certain EU State via a Golden Visa, you must spend a specific amount of time actually living there. Requirements for citizenship by investment depend on each State separately, but you are usually looking at about ten years of continuous residency.
Some countries will offer citizenship after a shorter period of time (such as Greece, after seven years) or even without any stay requirements at all. In Portugal, you would need to spend a minimum of seven days for the first year, then no less than 14 days each subsequent two-year period (this is called the stay requirement).
How Much Investment Is Required for a Golden Visa?
The amount of money you have to invest to be eligible for a Golden Visa depends on the country.
Some countries, such as Spain, Portugal, or Greece offer residence by investing in real estate, companies, government bonds, or certain industries in the country. In these cases, the amount of money required for investments usually does not exceed €500,000.
On the other hand, there are EU countries such as Switzerland, Italy, and Austria which require a much more active investment method, such as creating job opportunities. Investment requirements in these countries are higher.
Can You Get a Loan to Pay for a Golden Visa?
No, you cannot. If you intend to make an investment as a means of obtaining residency, you will need to prove that the money being invested is actually in your name, so no loans are allowed.
However, if you intend to purchase a property, a mortgage may be allowed, depending on the country. You still have to pay the minimum amount of money required upfront, and for anything over the minimum required amount, you can get a mortgage or loan. But remember, the exact rules change from country to country, so this may not always be true.
Requirements for Obtaining a Golden Visa
The eligibility requirements for a Golden Visa are different from country to country, but in general, you will have to prove the following:
- That you own the money intended for investment
- That the money was acquired legally
- That you have no history of criminal records
- That you can sustain yourself and family members for the period of time you intend to live there.
Which EU Countries Offer a Golden Visa?
EU countries offering Golden Visa programmes are:
Do Countries Outside EU Offer Golden Visas?
Yes, several countries outside the European Union also offer Golden Visas. This includes:
Antigua and Barbuda
Kitts and Nevis
The United States of America
Which golden visa has the lowest investment requirement?
The cheapest ways to acquire EU residency are as follows:
- Greece – from €250,000 (£214,000)
- Montenegro – from €250,000 (£214,000)
- Portugal – from €350,000 (£300,000) until January 2022
- Spain – from €500,000 (£429,000)
Contact VISA LOUNGE Global Immigration to discuss your eligibility for a golden visa and immigration to Europe or other countries outside the European Union.