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Education in the EU and Switzerland

Investors with second citizenship freely enter the Schengen countries while their children study there without student visas and get admission to foreign universities on preferential terms.

Learn how to choose a status for a child to study in the EU or Switzerland.

With Malta citizenship

Investments: €690,000+
Obtaining period: 1 or 3 years

Education opportunities. Maltese citizens can live and study in any EU country, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein. Holding a Maltese passport, a child doesn’t need a student visa and can transfer to another European university and build a career in any European country.

Non-EU citizens have to pay more for education in the region’s institutions. Besides, there are quotas in universities for international students. Thus, Malta citizenship makes it easier to enroll in a university and save on tuition fees.

How to move to another EU country. A Maltese citizen can come to another EU country and stay there for the period of study if they meet the following requirements:

  1. Admission to a university is completed.
  2. A future student has enough money to live in the country without government support.
  3. A future student has health insurance with full coverage.

In this case, there is no need for a student visa or permission for relocation.

After spending three months in the country of study, the student needs to register there. The procedure is straightforward: apply to a local government body and provide documents proving admission to a university, sources of income for living in the country and insurance. In return, the student gets a document confirming their right to stay in the country.

How to get a passport. Foreigners obtain Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment. This path implies naturalisation: first, an investor gets a residence permit. After a year or three years of residency, they may apply for citizenship. 

The minimum investment sum is €690,000. A spouse, children under 29 and parents and grandparents over 55, can get citizenship with the main applicant. 

With a European residence permit

Investments: €150,000+
Obtaining period: 2+ months

Education opportunities. A residence permit from a European country like Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Austria, or Switzerland makes it possible to live and enrol in a university in the country of residence. This option is suitable if a child has already chosen a university: for example, if they want to apply to a Portuguese university

How to move to another EU country. One needs to get a national D visa before studying in a European country. A D visa application requires confirmation of admission to a school or university, enough money to live in the country, and health insurance. The complete list of required documents and conditions depends on the country.

A residence permit or permanent residence doesn’t provide benefits for relocation to another EU country if obtained by investment. To simplify the relocation process, one needs a pan-European permanent residence. The main condition for its obtainment is permanent living in the selected country for at least five years.

How to get a residence permit. Portugal, Greece or Spain residence permits and Malta or Cyprus permanent residence can be obtained by investment. These statuses don’t imply continuous living in the country: it’s usually enough to come for several days a year to maintain residency.

Adult children can get residence permits by investment with their parents. For example, Greece residence permits are available for children under 21; in Portugal, the age limit is 26; Malta has no age restrictions. However, adult children can participate in investment programs if unmarried and financially dependent on their parents.

Some countries like Austria and Switzerland offer residence permits to financially independent persons. The application can include only minors under 18. If a child is over 18, they have to get a residence permit as an independent applicant. 

The residence permit for financially independent persons usually requires a holder to live more than 183 days in the country without the right to work there.

Terms and conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Europe

Status and countryInvestments and obtaining periodOpportunities for studying abroadMandatory residing in the country

Portugal residence permit
8+ months
Living and studying in Portugal, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area7 days a year

Greece residence permit

5+ months
Living and studying in Greece, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area— 

Malta permanent residence
If renting a property for 5 years

4+ months — application processing time
Living and studying in Malta, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area— 

Cyprus permanent residence

3+ months
Living and studying in Cyprus Visit the country at least once every two years

Spain residence permit

2—3 months
Living and studying in Spain, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area— 

Portugal D7 Visa
No investment requirements; the applicant proves they have enough money to live in Portugal

2+ months
Living and studying in Portugal, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area6+ months a year

Austria residence permit for financially independent persons
No investment requirements; the applicant proves they have enough money to live in Austria

3+ months
Living and studying in Austria, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area6+ months a year

Switzerland residence permit for financially independent persons
₣450,000+ as a lump-sum tax

6+ months
Living and studying in Switzerland, visa-free travelling across the Schengen Area6+ months a year

Permanent residence and citizenship can be obtained after several tears of living in the country with a residence permit. Terms and conditions depend on the country. 

Thus, investors apply for Portugal permanent residence or citizenship five years after getting a residence permit without the requirement to live in the country for all of this time. In Greece, a resident must live in the county for at least seven years before applying for citizenship: five years with a residence permit and two more years with permanent residence.  

Any EU passport provides the same education opportunities as Malta citizenship.

With Caribbean citizenship

Investments: $100,000+
Obtaining period: 1+ months

Education opportunities. Caribbean citizens can visit the Schengen countries for 90 days out of 180. Thus, a child can take short-term courses and come to a European country visa-free to choose a university. Parents will be able to see their children anytime without needing visas.

How to come to a Schengen country to study at school or university. One has to get a student visa on a general basis to study in Europe. A Caribbean passport doesn't provide benefits for obtaining student visas.

How to get a passport. Five Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia

The investment sum depends on the program, but the minimum is $100,000. All Caribbean investment programs provide opportunities to return the invested money in several years, for example, when purchasing real estate or government bonds.

Investors get their second Caribbean passport within 2 to 6 months. All procedures are remote.

Frequently asked questions

Is Europe good for education?

Yes, it is. For example, the QS World University Rankings include 480 European higher education institutions at the global top, which is a third of all universities in the ranking. 

Diplomas of European universities are accepted worldwide. Thus, such an education can pave the way to a successful career in any selected country.

Is education free in Europe?

Education in public schools and universities is free for EU citizens and residents. Even if there is a tuition fee, it will be lower than for non-EU citizens.

Which country is No.1 for education?

According to the 2022 Best Countries for Education rankings, the best education system is in the USA. In Europe, the leader is the UK, which ranks second in the overall ranking. The top 10 also includes Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

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Zlata Erlach, Caribbean Investment Program Expert
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