Travel free for up to 90 days in any 180 days in the Schengen countries with Golden Visa and set safe heaven in advance.
7 Golden Visas have a similar procedure of obtaining. Still, they also vary in the following criteria: visa-free destination list, investment cost, possibility to apply for citizenship in 5 years and frequency of the residence card renewal.Download complete guide
The meaning of Golden Visa is quite simple: it is a residency by investment program. In other words, it is one of the fastest ways for wealthy families to become legal residents of a foreign country.
Minimum investment depends on a Golden Visa country and ranges from €150,000 to millions.
Golden Visa programs give opportunities to relocate to a favourable jurisdiction or visit it rarely physically – it is up to the Golden Visa holder's wish. Holding residency in a foreign state guarantees legal rights, including the right to live, work, study, and receive healthcare there.
The advantages of a Golden Visa depend on the country where you would like to apply for it. Golden Visas of European countries have a lot of common benefits. In contrast, the UAE Golden Visa has its own – for example, tax optimisation and very beneficial conditions about staying in the country.
A residence permit or permanent residence allows you to live in the country of residence. At the same time, moving is a right, not an obligation: most programs do not require you to live in the country.
An investor with a residence permit can enter the country at any time, even when entry may be denied to foreigners with valid visas. The residency allows you to travel visa-free to the country at any time, including when a state of emergency is declared in your country of origin.
Investors with a Portugal, Greece, Spain, or Italy residence permit or Malta or Cyprus permanent residence can spend up to 90 days in any 180 days in the Schengen countries without a visa. The time spent in the country issuing the residence permit is not taken into account during this period.
An application for citizenship can be submitted after 5-10 years of residence. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, and Italy recognise dual citizenship.
Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, and Malta allow Golden Visa holders to register companies there. This simplifies conducting a business or expanding it, for example, entering new markets.
The children of investors residing in Europe can study at schools and universities in the country that issued the residence permit. All family members included in the application have access to high-quality medical services in European clinics.
An investor can take advantage of the country’s tax system by becoming a tax resident, starting a company, or using their preferential status to reduce their tax obligations legally.
Most residence permit programs by investment allow a significant part of the initial investment to be returned after the investor is granted permanent residence or citizenship. Usually, for this, the investor needs to live in the country for at least 5 years.
Our investment migration expert will analyse your case, and a Compliance Officer will conduct a preliminary Due Diligence check to estimate your chances to get the chosen Golden Visa.Get free consultation
6 EU countries offer the most favourable Golden Visa programs. Their conditions are similar but, in another way, vary for each country's minimum investment and residence requirements.
The Andorra Golden Visa can be obtained by investing €400,000. Residence permit holders can visit France and Spain without visas and get visas to the Schengen Area, the USA, Canada and other countries under a fast-track procedure. The Andorra Golden Visa is obtained mainly for tax benefits and as a «safe haven» in Europe.
Germany doesn’t have a Golden Visa program, but there is an opportunity to get a self-employment visa, which is also known as an «Entrepreneurial Visa» or «Visa for Setting Up a Business». If you are looking for an opportunity to run a business in Germany and move to the country in 6 to 8 months, it could be the way.
After five years as a Portuguese Golden Visa holder, the investor and their family can apply for permanent residence or citizenship. They are allowed but not required to live in Portugal: as long as they spend at least seven days a year in the country, their residence permit remains valid.
The status under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme is granted for life. The investor has to fulfil several investment conditions: buy or rent real estate, pay government fees and make a charitable donation. They must also confirm that they have a capital of €500,000.
The Greece Golden Visa Program requires the minimum amount of investment among the residence permit programs in the European Union. Moreover, the property can be rented out. After receiving permanent residence in five years, the investor can sell the property and get the permanent residence permit.
Cyprus Golden Visa holders may not pay taxes on global income, and the country has low income and property tax rates. The corporate tax rate is only 12.5%. After 5 years of living on the island in a soft Mediterranean climate next to the sea, a permanent resident can obtain Cyprus citizenship.
As a Spanish Golden Visa holder, the investor and their family do not need to take language and cultural exams to obtain this type of residence permit for 5 years. Also, they are not required to spend time in Spain, and the law allows investment property to be rented out.
The Italian residence permit is issued for two years. It can then be extended for three years provided that the investment is maintained. Investors are not required to live in Italy if they do not want to obtain citizenship. Investors get citizenship by naturalisation under general conditions after 10 years of living in the country.
The UAE Golden Visa grants 10-year residence to investors and their families. It gives opportunities to optimise taxation and keep country residents’ benefits without the obligation to live in the UAE. For now, it can be obtained by the investment of AED 5 million in real estate or AED 10 million in a business or a deposit. The visa is valid for five to ten years.
In 2022, the new conditions have been approved by the government, with an investment amount of AED 2 million, no restrictions on the time of stay in other countries, and an opportunity to buy off-plan properties. However, the new rules are still clarified in the Dubai Land Department, so there’s no particular date for them to come into force.
Meanwhile, investors may obtain a UAE Residence visa by purchasing properties. The minimum investment amount is AED 750,000 for a 3-year visa and AED 2 million for a 5-year one.
Canada Golden Visa (Quebec Immigrant Investor Program) offers residency to wealthy business people worldwide if they contribute CAD 1,2 million. Investors, their spouses or common-law partners, and their minor children may get Canadian permanent residence.
The application intake is paused until April 1, 2023.
The USA Golden Visa (EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program) offers residency for investors and their families if they invest $800,000 into a company, creating at least ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. Investors’ spouses and children under 21 may also be included in the application.
Investors get a Green Card and may apply for US citizenship after five years of residence.
New Zealand Golden Visa could be obtained by investing between NZD 3 million and NZD 10 million, but this program closed on July 27, 2022. The new one is called an Active investor plus, and the minimum investment amount has been raised up to NZD 5 million.
Applicants may invest in businesses and some kinds of assets. Also, they are obliged to spend at least 177 days in four years in New Zealand.
The UK closed its Golden Visa program (Tier 1 Investor Visa) in February 2022. For now, investors have to choose one of the other routes to migrate to the UK, for example, running a business there.
You may apply for a Start-up Visa by opening a prospective company with an endorsement of an authorised body. This visa is valid for two years only, and extension is prohibited, but you can switch to an Innovator visa to stay longer.
If you want to run an innovative business in the UK, which differs from everything on the market, an Innovator visa may suit you. This visa is valid for three years, and you may extend it an unlimited number of times.
Andorra Golden Visa can be obtained by investing €400,000 in real estate, securities, business or a bank deposit. Residence permit holders can visit France and Spain without visas and get visas to the Schengen Area, the USA, Canada and other countries under a fast-track procedure.
Investors get residence permits in Andorra mainly for tax benefits and as a “safe haven” in Europe.
Switzerland residence permits can be issued to foreigners that have concluded a tax agreement with one of the cantons. According to this agreement, an HNWI pays an annual lump-sum tax, which is calculated individually according to their worldwide expenses and the canton’s requirements. Usually, it is ₣450,000 or more.
Swiss residence permit holders are obliged to spend 183+ days a year in the country. And they may apply for citizenship after ten years of residence.
Germany provides residence permits to foreigners who intend to start a business in the country or want to live there as financially independent persons. In the first case, one should provide a business plan and sufficient funds to open a company, and in the second case, proof of funds to support the family is required.
After three to five years of living in Germany, you may apply for permanent residency, and the minimum required period to apply for citizenship is six years. Germany doesn’t allow dual citizenship aside from some exceptions, so many expats choose permanent residence as a life-long status.
Ireland Golden Visa (The Immigrant Investor Programme) can be obtained for an investment of €400,000+. The lowest investment amount is required for a charitable donation; investment in a business or an investment fund is €1 million, and purchasing shares in a real estate investment fund requires €2 million. Each option, except donation, allows one to return the funds after three years.
The first residence permit is valid for two years, the second — for three years, and all the subsequent ones are for five years. To apply for citizenship, one must live in Ireland for at least five years.
A specific list of requirements for applicants depends on the program you choose. But there are some general points in all Golden Visas terms.
Investors should comply with the following requirements to get a Golden Visa card:
Some countries have other demands: for example, an applicant should not have any debts in Portugal to get its Golden Visas card. Also, in most cases, one should have rented or own housing in the country to apply for a residence permit.
Every Golden Visa program has its application procedure, but some steps are standard. Usually, an applicant should fulfil the chosen investment condition, for example, buy a property or open a business, collect all the required documents and apply for a residence permit.
A government unit or agency responsible for the program conducts Due Diligence and decides whether to issue a Golden Visas card or not.
The first step for a successful application is a choice of an agent, a consulting company that helps investors get residency. With Immigrant Invest, you’ll get a personal approach to your case and assistance at every stage, from the collection of documents to Golden Visas card renewals.
Which Golden Visa to choose depends on your goals, budget and plans for obtaining citizenship in the future. See comparison in our short lists below, which could help you narrow down your options.
Travel visa-free to the Schengen countries for 90 days in any 180 days
Subject to maintaining the residence permit or permanent residence and passing the required exams
A Golden Visa is a residency by investment program. In other words, it is one of the fastest ways for wealthy families to become legal residents of a foreign country.
The advantages of a Golden Visa depend on the country where you would like to apply for it. Golden Visas of European countries have a lot of common benefits, such as visa-free traveling to the Schengen area and an opportunity to get it for all family members.
In contrast, the UAE Golden Visa has its own benefits — for example, tax optimisation and very favourable conditions about staying in the country.
6 EU countries offer the most favourable Golden Visa programs. Their conditions are similar but, in another way, vary for each country’s minimum investment and residence requirements.
The Andorra Golden Visa can be obtained by investing €400,000 mainly for tax benefits and as a «safe haven» in Europe.
The UAE Golden Visa enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100% ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. These visas will be issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.
European Golden Visa programs can be granted to:
The UAE Golden Visa can be granted to investors, entrepreneurs, people with specialised talents, researchers in various fields of science and knowledge, and bright students with promising scientific capabilities.
Participation of family members varies from a program to program. In most of the cases a Golden Visa can be granted to spouses, children up to 18 years old and parents, in some cases – to children over 18 years old, siblings and grandparents.
Buying real estate: €250,000
Purchasing units in investment funds: €300,000
Investing in business: €250,000
Placing a deposit in a bank in the country: €400,000
Purchasing government bonds: €2,000,000
To qualify for the 5-year UAE Golden Visa, you have to invest at least AED 5 million. To qualify for the 10-year UAE Golden Visa, you have to invest at least AED 10 million.
3 European countries offer minimum investment of €250,000:
The validity period of a Golden Visa depends on the country. For example, in Portugal, a residence permit by investment is valid for 1—2 years; in Greece, the document must be renewed every five years.
Also, the obtained status is essential. Usually, temporary residence permits are valid for 1—3 years, and a permanent residence card may be renewed less frequently. For example, in Cyprus, a permanent residence card is issued indefinitely.
Yes, most Golden Visas allow one to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. To get a passport, an investor should reside in the country for several years, learn its language, and integrate into local society.
The most convenient way to citizenship for investors is offered in Portugal. The Golden Visa holders must maintain their residency for five years, meaning they should spend seven days in the country every year. In other countries, living there for most of the year is required, and the period of residence for applying for citizenship can be 7—10 years.
Some countries close their residency and citizenship-by-investment programs due to inner reasons, and others — under the pressure of external regulators.
The UK closed its Tier 1 Investor Visa in 2022. The government appealed to the assumption that unreliable investors could have received a visa if the program had continued to operate.
Cyprus closed its citizenship by investment program in November 2020 due to violating the procedures. And at the end of 2022, Montenegro will stop its citizenship by investment program because it may cause a delay in the country’s accession to the European Union.
A program’s closure doesn’t mean that all the applicants won’t get their residence permits. As a rule, program units continue to consider the applications already submitted.
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