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Golden Visa Program in Europe – what are the rules?

What is Golden Visa Program?

If you want to make Europe your home, you have many ways to do that. In this article, we will tell you how to become European citizen via investment. This is called Golden Visa Program.

The „Golden Visa” is a residence permit that gives the owner a chance to live in the territory of the country and work towards citizenship in line with the country’s regular naturalisation timeline. It is an investment program where a person starts the investment in the country and gets advantageous treatment at the time of the immigration process.

What makes the Golden Visa so special? It removes all the other requirements that country have for immigrants to get citizenship. You don’t need to have a job offer, start a company or be married with citizen of that country. Having that kind of visa has a lot of advantages. Some of the benefits of citizenship are visa-free travel, access to markets, transportation and business facilities, a civil society with modern services and infrastructure. „Golden Visa” programs are the most fast for obtaining the residency and citizenship by making economic contribution to the country.

What countries are offering a „Golden Visas Program”?

You can get „Golden Visa” for example in Portugal, Spain, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus or Malta.

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Portugal

Portugal is a safe country with a great and affordable quality of life, good healthcare, education and the best climate in continental Europe. The Portuguese Golden Visa program is very popular on the world because have a lot of advantages. 

This programme allows investors to freely work, live, and study in the whole Schengen area. Also, the great benefit is that they can apply for Portuguese passport after 5 years. Investors can add their family members to applications as dependents. It is easy to apply for family reunification to include all your dependent family members. There is no need for relocation, you just have to stay seven days per year in Portugal and 14 days during the next two years

To qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa Program:

• Invest a minimum of €500,000 in real estate,

• Transfer €1m in capital,

• Create minimum10 jobs in the country,

• Invest a minimum of €500,000 in small and medium-sized companies,

• Invest a minimum of €350,000 in scientific investigation,

• Invest a minimum of €250,000 for artistic or cultural activities,

Spain

To get residence in Spain with your family, you will need an investment of €500,000 in real estate. That kind of visa can be renewed every 2 years. It is also possible to get permanent residency after 5 years and citizenship after 10 years. You don’t have to live in Spain to renew residency visa permit. The applicants will also need a clear criminal record, medical insurance and economic means to cover any stay in Spain.

Spain’s Golden Visa program allows non-EU applicants, and their families, access across Europe’s Schengen Area. They can travel through all of Europe. A Golden Visa gives you chance to live and work in Spain.

Latvia

The Latvian scheme competes with Portugal and Spain for issuing over 10,000 golden visas every year. Most of the residents in Latvia speak Russian and Latvia is a popular destination for Russians seeking investor visas, residency and citizenship in Europe.

According to Migration office of Latvia, The Latvian golden visa scheme requires:

  • €250,000 real estate investment or,
  • €250,000 in Government bonds

What you can get?

  • Permanent residency after five years (resident requirements)
  • Easy travel in Schengen region
  • No residency requirements for visa
  • Full family residency

Applicants can apply for citizenship in Latvia after 10 years of residence.

Greece

Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa is developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living and a part of EU and Schengen area. Greece has a 10 million population with unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power.

The Golden Visa Programme in Greece has seen rapid growth since 2014. A large number of international investors see Europe as a region with potential.

Currently Greece only has EUR 250,000 property investment option.

Benefits:

  • Permanent residence permit for investor and family
  • Greek citizenship after 7 years of legal living
  • Greece has 7th powerful passport with visa free travel to 183 countries

The draft of the Ministry of Economy and Development for Greek golden visa scheme is expected to be voted on new amendments to expand the scheme with more investment options. Investors who wants to get long term five-year residence permits in Greece with their families will have following options:

  • Greek Government bonds for €800,000 locked for five years
  • Bonds or shares of real estate investment companies – €400,000 for three years
  • Bank Deposits in Greece – €400,000

Cyprus

Cyprus is a big tourist destination with a population of 1.1 million is a high-income economy with very high Human Development Index. Cyprus offers two golden visa programs through real estate investment. One for permanent residency and one for citizenship. The two Cypriot immigration investment schemes are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit and second passport.

  • Permanent residence scheme (EUR 300,000 in real estate)
  • Citizenship by investment scheme (EUR 2 million in real estate or government bonds)
  • Start-up visa scheme
  • Cypriot has 15th powerful passport in the world with visa free access to 173 nations (Canada, UK, EU etc.)

Investors who spend at least €2 million can be granted a Cypriot passport that allows them to live and work in any EU country and conduct business with Cyprus’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

The Cyprus citizenship program has been recently ranked among the five best in the world. Successful applicants get the right to live, study and work in Cyprus, as well as in all 28 countries that are members of the European Union.

Benefits:

  • Freely travel, work and residence within the European Union.
  • Considers an applicant’s family (spouse of the applicant, children under the age of 18, and adult dependents).
  • No physical residency requirements, before or after obtaining citizenship.
  • Visa-free travel to the entire EU, and over 50 non-EU destinations.
  • Notably high approval rate, and relatively easy application process.
  • Approvals within 3 months after application.

Malta

Malta is visited by three times more tourists than its residents. With low crime rates, fantastic education, and world-class standard health care, Malta is your gateway to free European travel.

Requirements:

The Malta Citizenship Investment Scheme known as the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP). Individual investors must make a minimum contribution of €650,000 to the national development fund set up by the government, invest €150,000 in government approved financial instruments and commit to a residence in Malta for a minimum of 5 years.

The property value for purchased real estate needs to be a minimum €350,000. Each family member also has to contribute a sum to the development fund of €25,000 each.

The benefits after one year’s residency are citizenship and a Maltese second passport. This in turn grants European citizenship and the ability to live, work and study anywhere in the EU.

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Author: The Migration Bureau

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