A lot of global citizens are attracted to the many opportunities the European Union offers. Golden Visa programs operated by some European countries are one particular way to help you get citizenship in the EU.
A Golden Visa is an immigration route by making an investment in a specific country that offers you and your family a temporary residency permit. Those with a Golden Visa in the EU can continue to renew as long as they keep their investment, or until they qualify for permanent residency. In general, the programs require either a capital transfer, investing in a local company, real estate acquisition, or a charitable donation that benefits the host country.
Basic requirements for EU Golden Visas:
Here are some most common requirements to apply for a Golden Visa in the EU:
● You must be a non-EU citizen who is at least 18 years old
● You must own and have proof of the funds you’re going to invest
● The funds must be proved to be from a legal source
● There should be no criminal record on you or your family
● You must have resources to sustain yourself and your family for the time you plan to live in the EU country
● A valid health insurance
Note: The specific requirements vary according to various countries.
The Golden Visa program was launched in Spain in 2013. After obtaining the visa, you can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after ten years. To apply for citizenship, you need to spend majority of your time in Spain during the 10-year period.
Investment options for Spanish Golden Visa:
● Make an investment of €500,000 or more in real estate
● €2 million in Spanish government bonds
● €1 million in bank deposits in a Spanish bank, or invest into a business
The residency by investment program launched in 2012 is one of the most popular Golden Visas in Europe. It gives an opportunity to apply for citizenship or permanent residency after five years of getting your first residency card. The difference from the Spanish program is the very minimal stay requirement, you only have to spend on average seven days in the country.
Most popular routes to Portuguese Golden Visa:
● Real estate purchase starting from €280,000
● Making a €500,000 investment in an investment fund
The Greece Golden Visa has increased in popularity in recent years. There is no minimum stay requirement for residency. However, if you want to get a citizenship after 10 years, you’ll have to spend minimum 183 days in the country and become a tax resident for at least seven years. You’ll also have to pass a citizenship test.
● A minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate
● Capital transfer of €400,000
Ireland is a popular choice because of its stable economy, technological advancements and better career options. However, the capital contribution needs to be at least €500,000 to get a Golden Visa, and there is no real estate purchase option. Additionally, your net worth needs to be at least €2,000,000.
After living in Ireland at least for five years, paying taxes and passing the test, you can get a citizenship. However, the investment only needs to be kept for 3 years. If permanent residency is your goal, then you only need to spend one day per calendar year in Ireland.
To get the Golden Visa to Italy, you’ll have to make a donation or invest minimum €500,000 in an Italian company, or €250,000 if the company is a start-up. Similarly to the Irish program, you can’t acquire this visa via real estate purchase. Alternatively, you can make a €1,000,000 donation towards education, research, arts, or heritage preservation.
This visa programme has a ten years citizenship requirement. After five years, you and your family can apply for permanent residency in Italy, and there is no need to keep the investment further from this point.
The Malta Golden Visa has two main routes through real estate: either buying or long-term renting property for a period of five years. The price depends on location, but the purchase price needs to be at least €300,000 and rent at least €10,000. Malta also offers attractive tax system.
Something to consider on top of the investment is high administrative fees in Malta. There’s one-time fee of €40,000 to Maltese government that everyone needs to pay, plus €28,000 when purchasing property, or €58,000 for renting.
Malta also offers a so-called Golden Passport program, where you can apply for citizenship after two or even one year by making an investment into national developement fund. For this, the investment amount is at least double starting from €600,000
There are more Golden Visa programs in Europe, but these have been the most favored ones offering permanent residency or citizenship options for nationalities outside the EU.