Residence permit
May 30, 2024
Reading Time: 6 min

How to get a residence permit in Europe by investing in real estate

Buying real estate is the fastest and shortest way to get a residence permit in some European countries. A residence permit in Europe opens up opportunities for visa-free travel, a comfortable life and business development.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Compared the conditions for buying real estate under investment programs

Buy property in Europe and get residency

How to get a residence permit in Europe by investing in real estate

It is possible to obtain a residence permit for buying real estate in several EU countries. Interest in a residence permit by investment is only growing from year to year. For example, 1,182 investors received a residence permit in Portugal and 845 received it in Spain in 2020.

Let’s talk about the current programs for obtaining a residence permit in Europe by investment and compare the conditions.

Where in Europe an investor can get a residence permit for the purchase of real estate

Only a few European countries have state programs that allow applicants to obtain a residence permit by investing in real estate. Such residence permits are often called golden visas: with each of them you can move freely within the Schengen area.

Furthermore, Investment programs are in effect in Spain, Portugal, Greece. In Malta, you can get a residence permit or permanent residence by investment.

Advantages of residence permit status in Europe:

  • A second home for family in a European country;

  • visa-free trips within the Schengen area with the possibility to stay in other countries for 90 days in half a year;

  • an account in a reliable European bank;

  • studying at top European universities;

  • treatment in the best clinics;

  • the prospect of obtaining EU citizenship.

The minimum amount of investment in real estate in European countries

Residence permit in Spain


Residence permit in Portugal

From €280,000 to €500,000 depending on the area and condition of the object

Residence permit in Greece

€250,000 to €500,000, depending on the number of participants

Residence permit in Malta

From €220,000 to €275,000 depending on the region

Permanent residence in Malta

From €300,000 to €350,000 depending on the region

How to get a residency for buying real estate

In order to obtain a residence permit for the purchase of real estate, the investor will need to pass Due Diligence, confirm the legality of income and compliance with the terms of the program.

Each country has its own requirements for minimum cost and location of the real estate objects. For example, Portugal wants to attract investments to remote areas of the country, so from 2022 it is not be possible to invest in Lisbon housing, Porto and other major resort cities.

In exchange for investment in real estate, a foreigner receives a residence permit in a European country under a simplified procedure.

es-flag Residence permit in Spain — investment from €500,000. To obtain a residence permit, it is required to buy any real estate available to foreigners. It can be sold after five years. The minimum investment amount is €500,000. You can purchase one or more items.

pt-flag Residence permit in Portugal — investment from €280,000. The residence permit program in Portugal is distinguished by flexible conditions for choosing an object. The purchase of modern real estate will cost at least €500,000.

If you invest in real estate older than 30 years in a region of cultural and historical heritage and participate in the reconstruction, the minimum amount is reduced to €280,000.

gr-flag Residence permit in Greece — investment from €250,000. To obtain a residence permit in Greece, you will need to invest in real estate from €250,000. You can buy any object in the primary or secondary market. If parents or grandchildren are included in the application, the minimum amount will increase to €500,000.

mt-flag Residence permit in Malta — investments from €220,000. Buying a home in Malta is an important condition for obtaining a residence permit. The minimum amount of investment is from €275,000 for properties in the central or northern part of Malta and from €220,000 for properties on the island of Gozo or in the south of the country.

You can rent housing for five years. At the same time, the minimum annual rent should be €8,750 for the south and Gozo or €9,600 for the north and center of the country.

The second part of the requirements is related to obtaining a special tax resident status in Malta. Malta has agreements on the avoidance of double taxation with other countries. Residents are required to pay income tax of 15% on income received in outside Malta, or a minimum of €15,000 per year. This is less than in many European countries.

mt-flag Permanent residence in Malta — investments from €300,000. The status of a permanent resident gives almost the same rights as citizenship of Malta, except for the ability to live indefinitely in the other countries, participate in elections and work in government agencies.

To obtain permanent residence, an investor buys a property worth €300,000 or more in the south of Malta or Gozo and €350,000 in other regions. After 5 years, the house can be sold.

Another option is available; rentals for the amount of €10,000 or €12,000 per year, depending on the area. You will need to rent the property for 5 years. Apartments can be changed, the main thing is that their cost fits the requirements.

The investor pays an administrative fee of €40,000, and also invests from €28,000 in a state fund and €2,000 in a non-state fund.

Automatically obtaining a passport after the status of permanent residence for investment will not work. Maltese citizenship is obtained by naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Compare of European programs providing a residence permit by investment in real estate

The programs differ not only the minimum amount of investment. For example, investors spend at least seven days a year in Portugal in order to maintain their residence permit. There is no such requirement in Malta but you can not live more than 183 days a year in any other country.

Many programs offer the participation of close relatives. This will require confirmation that they are financially dependent on the investor. In each case, the issue is considered individually: tuition or utility bills, registration at one address and an account statement with monthly receipts from the applicant may come up.


Processing time

Who can be included in the application

Mandatory residing in the country

pt-flag Portugal

6 to 8 months

Spouse, children under 26 years old, parents

7 days a year

gr-flag Greece

1 month

Spouse, children under 21 years old. Parents with an increase in an investment sum

mt-flag Malta

3 to 4 months

Spouse, children under 25 years old, parents over 55 years old

The applicant can not spend more than 183 days a year outside Malta

mt-flag Permanent residence in Malta

2 to 3 months

Spouse, children under 27 years, parents over 55 years old, grandchildren

es-flag Spain

2 to 3 months

Spouse, children and parents

Steps to get a residence permit by investment in the EU 

Each program has its own peculiarities, but in general, the procedure consists of predictable stages: Due Diligence, selection of the property, collecting documents, buying a home, and applying for a residence permit.

Preliminary Due Diligence. We conduct an internal check on compliance with the requirements of different countries. We help to choose the right program to minimize the risk of rejection.

Selection of real estate. We offer real estate options depending on the client’s goals. Immigrant Invest works directly with developers in Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

Collection and submission of documents. We collect and translate the necessary documents, notarize and put an apostille to confirm their authenticity.

Trip to the country. After preliminary approval of real estate options, we organize a trip to the country so that the client can see the house or apartment by himself. We also help to open a bank account for the transfer of investments and payment of administrative fees.

Buying a property. We accompany the transaction from start to finish. We check the legal purity of the object and certify the necessary forms and documents.

Submission of documents. Accompanied by a local lawyer, the client submits biometric data for a residence permit card. After that Immigrant Invest submits documents to public services.

Obtaining a residence permit card. On average, the application is processed for two months. If there are a lot of applications, the period can stretch up to three or four months.

It is not necessary to fly into the country. The Immigrant Invest lawyer will act by proxy: he will receive the documents and hand them over to the client in a convenient way.


A residence permit by investment in real estate speeds up the path to Portuguese citizenship. The apartments in this residential complex in the center of Lisbon cost from €500,000

Prospects for European citizenship

A residence permit by investment could be the first step towards EU citizenship for the whole family at a minimal cost. This does not apply to the citizenship of Malta, which is granted for the exceptional services by direct investment.

The easiest and fastest way is to get a Portuguese passport: five years after the residence permit, you can apply for citizenship of the country. In other countries, the term is from seven years, as in Greece.

Lawyers of Immigrant Invest will give you detailed advice on all programs and help you make the right choice.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Practical Guide

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Frequently asked questions

  • In which EU countries can I get a residence permit for the purchase of real estate?

    In the European Union, a residence permit by investment in real estate is provided by Greece, Portugal and Spain. To obtain a residence permit, you must purchase an object that meets the requirements of the investment program. In Portugal, you need to buy property worth at least €280,000 and own it for at least 5 years. A residence permit in Malta under the Malta Global Residence Program can be issued if three conditions are met, one of which is the rental or purchase of real estate. The minimum purchase price of a home must be €220,000. The program is suitable for those who plan to reside in Malta and want to optimize taxation.

  • What benefits do the residence permit programs in Europe provide?

    A residence permit in an EU country gives a foreigner the rights and benefits of a resident:

    1. Quick entry to any EU country, even with closed borders.

    2. Visa-free travel to the countries of the Schengen area.

    3. Living and doing business in the country of residence permit.

    4. Services of EU banks as you can open accounts and make currency transactions.

    5. Living in a country with quality healthcare.

    6. Education for children in the best schools and universities of the country of residence permit.

    7. The ability to quickly obtain a student residence permit for studying in the EU countries, the UK.

    8. Opportunity to obtain EU citizenship. For example, if you have obtained a Portugal residence permit by investment, you will be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years.

  • What kind of real estate do I need to buy to obtain a residence permit in the EU by investment?

    To obtain a residence permit in an EU country, you can not buy any real estate. It must comply with the requirements of the state investment program. The main criterion for buying real estate is the value of the object:

    1. From €350,000 in Portugal for a property that is located in areas of renovation or was built more than 30 years ago;

    2. From €500,000 in Portugal for modern real estate. Housing can be purchased in the interior regions, in Madeira or the Azores.

    3. From 250,000 in Greece for any property in the country.

    4. From 220,000 for real estate on the island of Gozo or the south of Malta, from 275,000 € in any other region of the country.

  • What are the differences between the conditions for obtaining an investment residence permit in the EU countries?

    Key parameters of investment programs are their cost, terms of registration of status, and requirements for stay. More than half of investors are thinking about the prospect of citizenship. But, in our experience, all investors firstly evaluate 2 parameters: the period for obtaining a residence permit and the amount of investment. For convenience, we have presented the information in a table. Differences between the EU residence permit by investment programs