Top 7 Countries for European Residence by Investment

Top 7 Countries for European Residence by Investment
Top 7 Countries for European Residence by Investment

With an EU residence permit and European permanent residence, you can travel to the Schengen countries, receive tax benefits and establish a business, not to mention additional access to quality medicine and a prestigious education.

A residence permit by investment in the EU is a resident status in exchange for contributing to a country’s economy, e.g. you can buy stocks and bonds. Additionally, a residence permit in Europe can be obtained when buying real estate: this article will highlight the best places to invest in real estate in order for you to become an EU resident. There are such investment programs in Malta, Portugal, Greece and Spain. In Austria and Switzerland, the status is granted only to financially independent people. This means that before applying, you need to have a guaranteed source of income which will be enough to support the whole family.

In this article, the advantages and disadvantages of a residence permit in several countries will also be explained.

Residence permit by investment in Portugal

€250,000
investment
Visa-free Schengen
7 days a year
in Portugal

With a residence permit in Portugal, you can travel to Schengen countries without a visa, get a European diploma and keep your savings in a European bank. In addition, the investor’s income earned outside Portugal will not be taxed for the first ten years. It is possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years.

Portugal Residence Permit by investment in real estate in 2021
Portugal is located in the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula; it is the westernmost state in continental Europe. In the photo, the old town of Ribeira and the Duero River is shot from a bird's eye view

To get a residence permit in Portugal, you can get a job in a local company, become a student at a Portuguese educational institution or marry a citizen of the country. But the fastest and easiest way to get a residence permit is to take part in the investment program.

A residence permit in Portugal by investment is usually issued in six months. Investors do not need to take a language proficiency test. They are not required to live in Portugal permanently — it is enough to spend seven days a year in the country. You can choose any investment program:

  • buy a property worth €500,000;
  • invest €350,000 in historic buildings — objects of cultural heritage — and restore them;
  • buy shares of Portuguese companies for €1,000,000;
  • invest at least €350,000 in research and development projects;
  • invest at least €250,000 in the restoration and preservation of the national cultural heritage;
  • purchase shares in investment funds for at least €500,000;
  • open a company and create at least ten jobs.

Who can get a residence permit in Portugal with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse Officially registered marriage
Children under 26 Financially dependent on the main applicant and registered at the same address. Also, children must study at a university and not be married
Parents over 65 Financially dependent on the main applicant

Residence permit by investment in Malta

Investment of €31,000
Visa-free Schengen
Citizenship in 1 year

A residence permit in Malta opens up cosmopolitan opportunities for the investor like travel without visas to Schengen countries, an account in a European bank, doing business and tax optimization. It is necessary to renew the status every year, and it is possible to apply for the citizenship of Malta in a year or three years.

Malta Residence Permit by investment in 2021
Mellieha in Malta. A panoramic view of the famous Popeye village in Ankor Bay at sunset

A residence permit by investment is issued in just three months. It can include family members as well as service personnel.

To participate in the program, you need to buy or rent property in Malta. The minimum rental price is €9,600 per year, purchases — €275,000. In the south of Malta and on the island of Gozo, the minimum is slightly lower at €8,750 for rental housing per year and €220,000 to purchase.

There are additional costs:

  • administration fee — €6,000;
  • medical insurance at approximately €500 per year;
  • tax — €15,000 per year.

Who can get a residence permit in Malta with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse Officially registered marriage
Children under 18 No mandatory requirements
Children under 25 Financially dependent on the main applicant
Brothers, sisters and direct relatives of spouses Financially dependent on the main applicant
Service staff Working with the applicant for two years prior to the submitted application

Permanent residence by investment in Malta

From € 80,000 costs
Visa-free Schengen
Accounts in European banks

With permanent residence in Malta, you can travel without a visa to the Schengen countries to do business in Europe, optimize taxes and open an account within a European bank. The resident’s family can access high—quality medicine and the children can study at a prestigious European university. It is not necessary to live in Malta to know the language or history at this stage.

Permanent Residence in Malta by investment in 2021
Malta is a small island state in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily. Only 440 thousand people live here. In the photo, the fortress city of Valletta, the capital of Malta

Permanent residence in Malta is issued in five to six months for the whole family and is preserved for life. To do this, you need to fulfill four conditions of the program:

  1. Rent or buy real estate. Rent will cost €10,000 per year and purchase of at least €300,000.
  2. Make a non—refundable government contribution of €28,000 when buying a home and €58,000 when renting.
  3. Pay a one—time administration fee of €40,000.
  4. Confirm annual income of at least €500,000, of which €150,000 are financial assets.

After five years, you can terminate the lease and sell the property.

Who can get permanent residence in Malta with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse Officially registered marriage
Children under 29 Financially dependent on the main applicant. An adult child must not work and be married at the time of application
Parents over 55 Financially dependent on the main applicant
Grandchildren Financially dependent on the main applicant
Grandparents over 55 Documented kinship
Future daughter—in—law / son—in—law of the investor Can receive a permanent residence card in Malta at any time after meeting the requirements of the program

Residence permit in Austria

Minimum cost of €100,000
Visa-free Schengen
High standard of living

Austria attracts investors with economic and political stability due to the possibility of visa—free travel to the Schengen countries, prestigious education, high—quality medicine and the prospects for obtaining citizenship of an EU country. Moreover, Vienna, the capital of Austria, has been ranked first in the renowned Mercer World Quality of Life Ranking for eight consecutive years.

Residence Permit in Austria for financially independent people in 2021
Austria is located in the center of Europe and covers most of the Eastern Alps. The photo shows the historic city of Salzburg and the Salzach River

There are no investment programs in Austria. The state makes it possible to obtain a residence permit only for financially independent people. This means that the applicant does not invest in the economy of the state, but provides for himself and his family members. Simultaneously, neither the investor nor his family members can work in Austria.

Quotas for a residence permit in Austria
Austria has quotas for financially independent people — 450 quotas per year. One quota is one family member. In order to get a quota in time, it is important to prepare a package of documents in advance without a single mistake and submit an application on the first working day of the year in Austria.

How to get a quota in 2022 👉

Status in Austria is issued in three to six months. To obtain it, you need to:

  1. Confirm the monthly income, which is enough to support a family, housing and a car. For example, a married couple should receive about €7,000 per month or €70,000 per year.
  2. Buy or rent a home in Austria.
  3. Get medical insurance.
  4. Know German at A1 level.
  5. After obtaining a residence permit, stay in Austria for at least 183 days a year.

The first time a residence permit is issued for a year, it is extended for another year and then for another three years. In this case, each time, you would need to confirm income.

After five years, you can apply for permanent residence status, and after six to ten years — receive citizenship, which is inherited.


Together with the investor, a spouse and children under 18 can participate in the program.

Residence permit by investment in Greece

Investment of €250,000
Visa—free Schengen
After 7 years, you can obtain citizenship if you learn the language

Travel to Schengen countries without visas, a European bank account, warm climate, sea and Greek citizenship in seven years — these are the reasons why investors choose a residence permit in Greece.

Greece residence permit by investment in 2021
Greece is a country in Southern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. The country is washed by the waters of the Aegean Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea in the west, and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. In the photo is the island of Santorini

A residence permit in Greece is issued in just three months. To obtain it, you need to choose an investment option:

  • buy or rent real estate for at least €250,000;
  • buy Greek securities or bonds for at least €400,000;
  • open a deposit in a Greek bank for at least €400,000.

There are also additional costs:

  • state fee — €2000
  • medical insurance — €300
  • issuing a residence permit card — €16

In Greece, you can live immediately after submitting an application, without waiting for the assignment of resident status. The investor receives a certificate with which he can stay in the country for a year or until a residence permit card is issued.

Resident status is issued for five years and is renewed every five years. It is not necessary to live in Greece for this, but it is important to preserve assets like real estate, stocks or a bank deposit.

In order to obtain a Greek passport in the future, you need to maintain a resident status for seven years, live in the country and pass an exam on knowledge of language, culture and history.

Who can get a residence permit in Greece with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse Financially dependent on the main applicant
Partner concluded civil marriage agreement in Greece and financial dependence on the main applicant
Children under 21 Financially dependent from the main applicant. The status can be extended up to 24 years
Parents Financially dependent on the main applicant

Residence permit by investment in Spain

Investments from €500,000
Visa-free Schengen
Citizenship in 10 years

Investors have been choosing a residence permit in Spain because of the opportunity to travel to the Schengen countries without visas, obtain status for all family members and buy real estate in a beautiful country with a mild climate.

Residence permit in Spain by investment in 2021
Spain is a country located in the southwest of Europe. It occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula as well as the Balearic, Pitius Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The photo was taken in Madrid, the capital of Spain

A residence permit for investments in Spain is issued in three months and for two years. It needs to be renewed after five years. But there is an important caveat: Spain does not allow second citizenship, with the exception of only a few countries in Latin America. This means that you will have to renounce your previous citizenship, however, this is one the easiest ways to get permanent residence in Europe. Full-fledged Spanish citizenship can be obtained only after ten years.

You can choose any of the investment options:

  • purchase real estate in the amount of €500,000;
  • invest €1,000,000 in shares of Spanish companies;
  • open a bank deposit for the amount of €1,000,000 or more;
  • buy government bonds for the amount of €2,000,000 or more;
  • open and run a business with an investment volume of €1,000,000.

After five years, you can sell real estate and shares, whilst withdrawing money from the deposit.

Who can get a residence permit in Spain with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse No prerequisites
Children under 18 No prerequisites
Children under 26 Financially dependent on the main applicant

Residence permit in Switzerland

Minimum costs —
₣450,000 per year
Visa-free Schengen
Citizenship
in 12 years

Investors choose Switzerland for political and economic stability, the ability to travel to the Schengen countries without visas and get citizenship after twelve years.

Residence permit in Switzerland for financially independent people in 2021
Switzerland is located at the crossroads of Western, Central and Southern Europe. It shares borders with Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. In the photo is the capital city of Bern

The residence permit in Switzerland offers the status only to financially independent people. That is, you do not need to invest, the main thing is to provide for yourself and your family members. However, you cannot work in Switzerland. The income must come from outside the country.

Residence permit status in Switzerland can be obtained in six months. To do this, you need to select a canton and confirm an agreement with its administration on the payment of the annual lump-sum tax. The approximate minimum amount is ₣450,000 per year.

Residence permit in Switzerland is issued for a year and is renewed annually. The main thing is to pay tax and prove income.

Who can obtain a residence permit in Switzerland with an investor

Family members 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Conditions ⚙️
Spouse No prerequisites
Children under 18 No prerequisites
Children over 18 You must apply for a residence permit as a separate applicant
Parents You need to apply for a residence permit as an individual applicant

Which country to choose

If it is important to subsequently obtain citizenship, it is worth considering Portugal and Malta. Portugal does not require long-term residence — only seven days a year.

If a high standard of living, high-quality medicine and a prestigious education for children stand as important values, then a residence permit in Austria, Portugal or Switzerland is most suitable.

If you do not need to live or come to a specific country, but want to travel without visas to the Schengen countries, a residence permit in Malta or Greece will do.

A residence permit in Spain is convenient because you can apply for a status immediately for the whole family. But in this case, you will have to give up your current citizenship.

Residency by investment can be obtained in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Malta when buying real estate.

Peculiarities of a residence permit and permanent residence programs

Country Investment / expenses amounts Benefits Perspective of citizenship
Permanent residence in Malta From €112,000 Travel without visas to Schengen countries;
doing business in Europe;
tax optimization;
an account with a European bank;
high-quality medicine and prestigious education
No, but the status of permanent residence remains for life
Residence permit in Malta From €31,000 Travel without visas to Schengen countries;
doing business in Europe;
tax optimization;
an account with a European bank;
high-quality medicine and prestigious education
After 1—3 years
Residence permit in Portugal From €250,000 Visa-free travel to Schengen countries;
the opportunity to get a European diploma;
an account with a European bank;
income earned outside Portugal will not be taxed in the first ten years
After 5 years
Residence permit in Austria €100,000 Visa—free travel to Schengen countries;
economic and political stability;
prestigious education;
high-quality medicine
After 6—10 years
Residence permit in Greece From €250,000 Travel without visas to Schengen countries;
an account with a European bank;
warm climate and sea
After 7 years
Residence permit in Spain From €500,000 Visa—free travel to Schengen countries;
status for all family members
After 10 years
Residence permit in Switzerland ₣450,000 per year Travel without visas to Schengen countries;
political and economic stability
After 12 years

Frequently Asked Questions

To obtain a residence permit in Malta, you need to buy or rent property in the country. The minimum rental price is €9,600 per year and purchases at €275,000. In the south of Malta and on the island of Gozo, the minimum is slightly lower: €8,750 for rental housing per year and € 20,000 for a purchase.

About the residence permit in Malta read more in the article.

To obtain permanent residence in Malta, you need to buy or rent real estate in the country. Rent will cost €10,000 per year, and purchase — at least €300,000. In addition, there are administrative fees — see the article for details.

To obtain a residence permit in Portugal, you can choose any investment option:

  • buy a property worth from €500,000;
  • invest €350,000 in historic buildings — objects of cultural heritage and restore them;
  • buy shares of Portuguese companies for €1,000,000.

There are also other investment options — we will tell you more about them in the article.

To obtain a residence permit in Austria, you need to be financially independent and be ready to confirm your monthly income, which is enough to support a family, housing and a car. Additionally, you need to take out health insurance and know German at the A1 level.

Read more about all the conditions for a residence permit in Austria in the article.

To obtain a residence permit in Greece, you need to choose an investment option:

  • buy or rent real estate from €250,000;
  • buy Greek securities or bonds from €400,000;
  • open a deposit in a Greek bank from €400,000.

Read more about each investment option in the article.

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