Golden Visas

European Golden Visas, often referred to as residency by investment programs, allow investors from all over the world to obtain residency rights in that specific country. These lucrative programs require an upfront investment and a thorough application process, but when approved, investors can enjoy a long list of benefits from obtaining a European golden visa.

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Donation from€250,000

Real estate from€250,000

Processing time:From 2 months

Visa-free Schengen:Yes

Keep in mind that residency by investment programs differ from citizenship by investment programs. While citizenship programs offer an immediate path to citizenship in a second country for each applicant, golden visa programs do not. There are still viable paths to citizenship available, but the process is a bit more complex than in citizenship programs. Nonetheless, golden visas still come with the right to visit, live, work, study, and retire in the European Union.

Our Golden Visa & Citizenship by Investment Factsheet

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The process to apply for European golden visas can be lengthy and complex, but with the help of an experienced agent, applicants will be able to navigate every step of the way with ease. If individuals are considering pursuing residency by investment, a lot of factors come into play. Our aim is to break down the process as a whole, helping each applicant choose the country and investment option that is right for their personal situation.

The four countries that we work with in the EU that offer European golden visas are Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Latvia. Each one of these countries has a unique story and provides its residents with a healthy, happy lifestyle. Though it is up to the applicants to decide whether or not they want to live in their golden visa country
full-time, there are a plethora of benefits either way.

Family with EU Golden Visas

Golden Visa Overview by Country

Global Residence Index partners with four different golden visa programs: in Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Latvia. While each program differs, they share many common threads and process steps. Let’s dive into each program to understand the basics surrounding the program and break down the critical details applicants want to know.

Portugal GOLDEN VISA

Portugal offers its residents a laid-back lifestyle in one of the most beautiful European countries. The application process for Portugal’s golden visa allows investors to choose from one of 7 investment options.

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Donation from €250,000

Real estate from €280,000

Time to citizenship: 3-4 Months

Visa-free Schengen: Yes

For the Portugal Golden Visa, the base investment amounts range from €250,000 to €1,500,000, depending on the selected investment option. Investors can choose between purchasing real estate, investing in investment funds, donating to arts and culture funds, investing in research, making a capital transfer, or completing a business investment.

The biggest perk that comes with this particular golden visa is that it allows residents to apply for citizenship after only 5 years of holding the temporary resident status. Additionally, investors are not required to live in Portugal full-time to be eligible for citizenship. All other countries have a longer timeline and require applicants to spend the majority of their time in the country.

Spain GOLDEN VISA

Spain has always been focused on ensuring its citizens are happy, well cared for, and able to pursue their professional endeavors. With a golden visa from Spain, investors can live and work in Spain, enjoy visa-free travel, and access unparallel healthcare services.

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Donation from €1,000,000

Real estate from €500,000

Time to citizenship: 3-4 Months

Visa-free Schengen: Yes

Offering multiple investment options such as purchasing real estate, making a bank deposit, and many more, every applicant can find the perfect path for their situation. Base costs range from €500,000 to €2,000,000.

Obtaining residency by investment in Spain requires the applicant to already be in Spain, so this is a great option for applicants who are looking to move to the country and call it home.

Greece GOLDEN VISA

Recognized on the global scale as an extremely safe country, Greece welcomes newcomers with open arms, ready to feed them delicious food and guide them to some of the world’s best beaches.

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Donation from €400,000

Real estate from €250,000

Time to citizenship: 3-4 Months

Visa-free Schengen: Yes

With similar investment types as other golden visa programs, the base costs in Greece range from €250,000 to €500,000.

One of the unique benefits of the Greece Golden Visa is that its holders can obtain a special tax status that only requires them to pay a flat tax annually of €100,000, avoiding the normal 45% tax on income that they would otherwise face. For high-net-worth individuals, this tax benefit can be the difference between keeping hundreds of thousands of euros more.

Latvia GOLDEN VISA

The trailblazer of golden visa programs, Latvia has seen a steady stream of applicants take advantage of its program since 2010. The residency by investment program helped revitalize the economy of Latvia, bringing in over €1.5 billion in foreign funds since its inception.

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Donation from €50,000

Real estate from €250,000

Time to citizenship: 3-4 Months

Visa-free Schengen: Yes

Investors can choose between five different investment types, ranging from €50,000 to €280,000.

Latvia is a very small country with a lot of green space for its residents. This is a great program for nature lovers who want to have easy access to the outdoors, a great standard of living, and enjoy learning about the history that exists around them.

Why Countries Offer
Golden Visas

The first member of the European Union to offer a European golden visa was Latvia. It started the program as a means to bring in foreign direct investment, create more jobs, and boost the Latvian economy. After showcasing success year over year, the three other countries followed closely behind in opening similar programs.

Each country’s reasoning for starting the program may vary slightly, but at its core, residency by investment is designed to benefit investors and current residents of the target country equally.

Golden Visa Application Process

Residency by Investment
Eligibility Requirements

Investors that are over the age of 18, have a clean criminal record and can prove sufficient income are welcome to apply for the golden visa program in any of the four countries listed above. However, it does not stop there. Investors can include their family members on the application as long as those family members fall into one of the following categories:

SPOUSE

DEPENDENT
CHILDREN

DEPENDENT
PARENTS

Each person listed on one application will need to follow all of the application steps, provide requested documentation, and submit biometric data before being able to receive a golden visa.

Benefits of European Golden Visa Programs

While each program offers a unique list of benefits that must be weighed by investors, there are a few common threads across the golden visa programs that make them very enticing for individuals and families alike. Some of the most popular program benefits are:

Woman holding Passport

Travel Benefits

By securing a European golden visa, investors are able to move freely through the Schengen Zone without being required to obtain additional travel visas. This is a massive benefit because visa-free travel can be challenging for citizens of certain countries and having the option to travel with ease can make a massive difference in a person’s life.

Social Services with Citizenship by Investment

Access to Social Programs

European Union member countries are notorious for emphasizing great healthcare and education systems, and by becoming a resident of one of these countries, investors will be able to access the quality social programs provided by that country. For instance, Portugal was ranked third by the World Healthcare Organization for medical innovation and patient care, and their medical system is nearly free!

EU Access for Living and Working

Path to EU Citizenship

As mentioned, residency by investment programs are not the same as citizenship by investment programs, but they do provide a path to citizenship. Obtaining citizenship within the European Union is incredibly difficult for foreigners, but with a golden visa in hand, it becomes possible.

Business Opportunities

Business and Work Benefits

Once a golden visa is approved, investors are able to work and conduct business in that specific country, which can open up a wide array of professional opportunities across many industries. There are also tax incentives in some countries, allowing investors to face lower tax rates than they would elsewhere.

Common Investment Types

Before submitting application documents, applicants are required to complete specific investment requirements, choosing from a list of investment options provided by each country. While none of the investment routes look exactly the same from country to country, there are common investment types offered by most countries that have golden visa programs. Remember that specific price details and special regulations will vary by country, so be sure to review our country-specific pages for that information.

Golden Visa Through
Real Estate Investment

By far the most popular investment option across the board is purchasing real estate. Because many investors choose to relocate or have a second home in the country they obtain residency by investment in, logically, this option makes sense. Being able to purchase a residence and have that purchase go toward fulfilling the requirements for a golden visa program is a win-win.

Additionally, investing in real estate usually offers a return on investment. For most programs, the investor can choose to sell the property after five years of ownership. Though this option is widely used, it may come with some additional fees or taxes because of the nature of the investment.

Business Investment

To inject money into existing businesses or invigorate an economy with a new business, obtaining a golden visa through a business investment is also an option. This option will have regulations on how big of an investment applicants must make to qualify, and often that depends on the nature and size of the company an applicant is choosing to invest in.

If an applicant decides to register a new business in the target country, the rules focus largely on how many jobs that business creates for current residents or citizens. This option is a great illustration of how governments ensure that their citizens are also benefiting from these programs.

Bank Deposit

With a large enough bank transfer to a golden visa country, applicants can become eligible to start the application process. This is a qualifying investment option as long as the transfer amount is large enough to satisfy requirements and stays in the account for a certain amount of time as defined by each country.

Government Bonds

Another common method of fulfilling investment requirements is by investing in government bonds. These bonds have to be specifically selected to qualify and the applicant must invest the minimum required amount in order to complete this portion of the application process.

Each investment option will likely require additional costs and fees on top of a baseline investment, so applicants need to read through the detailed requirements carefully. As an example, most of the countries require each person listed on the application to obtain health insurance and pay a residence permit card fee before finalizing the process.

Visa-free travel
with a Golden Visa

The golden visa provides visa-free access to all countries in the European Schengen zone, including Italy, Switzerland, France, and many others:

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Sweden

Switzerland

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Furthermore, the golden visa makes it significantly easier to obtain tourist visas to the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries.

The Path to European Citizenship

Obtaining European citizenship can be incredibly difficult, but with a golden visa, it is very much possible. The path to citizenship actually looks fairly uniform from country to country, though there are some slight variations.

At a high level, the countries require applicants to complete the application process for the residency by investment program and secure a golden visa. Though there is no residency requirement to maintain the validity of most golden visas, investors usually need to reside in the country full-time in order to work towards full citizenship.

However, Portugal has some notable exceptions to this. In Portugal, golden visa holders can apply for citizenship after 5 years of residency. To maintain the Golden Visa residency, the holder has to stay in the country for at least 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the following two-year periods.

Applicants must be able to pass language tests, historical tests, and cultural tests pertaining to the information of the country they are seeking citizenship in. If passed, citizenship will be granted, and the individual can enjoy the many benefits that come with European citizenship. The path is not short or easy, but it is doable with a bit of regard for the fine print and some patience.

A family with Golden Visas that lead to citizenship
Mark Damsgaard

Head of Client Advisory

Portrait Photo with Passports

The Role of Global
Residence Index

Our team of competent agents has extensive knowledge in navigating residency by investment programs.

We work with clients from all over the world, assess their individual situations, and help them secure the golden visa of their choosing.

Every potential problem or issue that could arise during the process is something we have seen and resolved before, so we are confident we can provide every applicant with a smooth, pain-free application experience.

8+

years of experience

10+

team of experts

99%

approval rate

500+

passports issued

Apply with Ease

The general application process requires investors to fulfill the investment before applying, work with a licensed agent to submit all required documents, and get fingerprinted before being granted their golden visas. Our team can help each applicant navigate the nuances of every application process. We have mastered each process so well that our clients are free from stress and can feel confident in their application.

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Let us help you!

As a trusted golden visa agent, our team is authorized to facilitate your application process, assess the ideal investment option for your unique situation, and keep you in compliance every step of the way. Our personalized investment migration consulting is your one-stop shop for obtaining a second citizenship or new residency. Fill out our contact form to get started with a complimentary consultation today.

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What to expect during your free golden visa consultation?

We proudly offer free consultations to interested applicants.
Here is what you can expect from your free consultation with our advisory team:

1

By the end of the consultation, you will know if you’re eligible to apply so you don't spend time and money investigating yourself

2

We will answer any specific questions you have about the program and application process

3

Our advisory team will explain every step of the process in detail so you know what to expect

4

We’ll help you understand the best investment option for you