A ‘golden visa’ refers to a permanent residency that can be obtained through investment. This investment is most likely to be in the form of a property purchase or a government contribution.
The most popular golden visa permanent residency programs, come from European countries such as Spain, Greece and Portugal. Although investors do not immediately qualify for citizenship in these countries, after a given period of time there is the possibility to apply, providing that the investor meets the specified criteria. This may be maintenance of a property of a certain value, a language test or a minimum amount of time they would have been required to reside in the country. With a permanent residency in a European country there is free travel throughout the Schengen zone.
Each country sets their own specific policies for investors to obtain their permanent residency and therefore there is quite a large variance in investment amount, length of time to achieve citizenship and residency requirement for each program.
The Portugal golden visa is the most popular due to its minimum stay requirements – only 7 days for the first year and 15 days for each of the next two years. Investment starts at €350,000 for properties over 30 years, or €500,000 for modern properties and developments and the permanent residency can be issued in as little as 5 months. Citizenship can be applied for after 6 years.
The Greece golden visa can be achieved very quickly, in as little as 45 days. It grants a five-year residency permit which also gives visa free access to Schengen countries in return for a real estate investment of €250,000. The real estate investment can be anywhere on the Greek mainland or the islands. Any number of commercial or residential properties can be purchased to reach to the €250,000 investment threshold. Furthermore, joint buyers are allowed to combine their investments into one property. The downside to this program is that in order to be eligible for citizenship, the investor must actually reside
The Spanish Golden Visa can be achieved with an investment of €500,000 into Spanish real estate. Residency is also extended to family members – namely children, spouse and other dependent family members. After 5 years, golden visa holders will be able to apply for permanent residency. It is also worth noting that in the 10th year of residency in Spain, you will be eligible for Spanish and EU citizenship, subject to a basic Spanish language test. To be eligible for permanent residency and citizenship, you must have spent at least 183 days per year in Spain for the last 5 or 10 years – this residency programme therefore suits individuals and families who have the desire to move to this historical, cultural and vibrant country.
Faqs about Golden Visa citizenship and passport