Last reviewed on June 14, 2024

Golden Visa Programs

EU Golden Visas allow travelling visa-free across the Schengen Area states for up to 90 days out of 180 and creating a safe haven in Europe, while the UAE Golden Visa grants new business and lifestyle opportunities.

Golden Visas have a similar procedure for obtaining. Still, they vary in visa-free destinations, required expenses, citizenship prospects, and residence card renewal frequency.

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What is a Golden Visa?

A Golden Visa enables foreign investors to obtain temporary or permanent residency in a country in exchange for a significant investment. The word "golden" refers to the high value of the investment required.

Minimum investment depends on a Golden Visa country, ranging from €150,000 to millions.

Golden Visa programs give opportunities to relocate to a favourable jurisdiction or visit it occasionally — it is up to the Golden Visa holder’s wish. Residency in a foreign state guarantees legal rights, including the right to live, work, study, and receive healthcare there.

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In 2024, investors can get temporary or permanent residence permits in 21 states across the globe. The minimum investment amount varies from €150,000 in Malta to $800,000 in the USA

Who is a Golden Visa for?

1. Emerging countries nationals. As a rule, passports of such countries as India or China are regarded as not powerful because they provide visa-free access to a very limited number of countries. The standard of living, level of medicine, education, and general safety are usually low.

That’s why wealthy citizens look for opportunities to improve their quality of life by moving to another country and getting a second passport in the future.

2. Business owners. People doing business abroad and frequently visiting other countries can also benefit from having a Golden Visa.

Golden Visa holders are allowed to set up companies in the country of their residence permit, which expands their business opportunities and allows them to enter new markets.

After obtaining a residence permit by investment in an EU country, they can live there without restrictions and spend up to 90 days every half a year in other Schengen Area states without needing a visa.

3. US citizens. Although the US passport ranks 12th for freedom of movement and already grants visa-free access to the EU, Americans can get a Golden Visa to relocate and create a safe haven on another continent.

After getting a residence permit, they get an opportunity to work and do business in Europe, access the best world’s clinics, and obtain a second citizenship in future.

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We will develop an individual solution, select a country and status that will solve your problems, and accompany the entire process.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Head of the Austrian office

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9 benefits you can enjoy with your Golden Visa

The advantages of a Golden Visa depend on the country where you would like to apply for it. European Golden Visa countries offer a lot of expected benefits. In contrast, the UAE Golden Visa has its own, for example, tax optimisation and very beneficial conditions for staying in the country.

  • 1

    Moving to Europe

    A European residence permit or permanent residency 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.

  • 2

    Creating a safe haven

    An investor with a residence permit can enter the country anytime, even when entry may be denied to foreigners with valid visas. In case of unexpected circumstances in the home country, you will be able to leave it emergently without waiting for a visa to another country.

  • 3

    Travelling visa-free to the Schengen Area countries

    Investors with an EU residence permit can spend up to 90 days out of 180 in the Schengen Area countries without a visa. The time spent in the country issuing the residence permit is not taken into account during this period.

  • 4

    Obtaining European citizenship

    A citizenship application can be submitted after 5—10 years of residency. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy recognise dual citizenship.

  • 5

    Business opportunities

    Golden Visa holders can register companies in the country of residence. This simplifies doing business or expanding it, for example, entering new markets.

  • 6

    Access to European education

    Investors’ children can study at schools and universities in the country that issued the residence permit. The investor and their family become entitled to apply for scholarships and grants on the same conditions as citizens.

  • 7

    Right to seek treatment in foreign clinics

    All the investor’s family members included in the application have access to healthcare services in the country of residence.

    EU residents don’t need a medical visa to get treated in another Schengen state if the course of treatment won’t take longer than 90 days.

  • 8

    Tax optimisation

    The investor can become a tax resident after spending more than 183 days a year in the country of residence. It provides an opportunity to optimise taxes, as Golden Visa countries usually have preferential tax rates.

  • 9

    Initial investment returned

    Most residency by investment programs allow the initial investment to be returned after several years.

Common investment options to get EU Golden Visas

Possible options that investors can choose to obtain an EU Golden Visa depend on the country. However, in general, all options can be divided into several groups:

  1. Real estate. Usually, investors are allowed to purchase commercial or residential property. In some countries such as Greece and Spain, the property can be rented out and generate income. After several years, the property can be sold, and the investment returned.

  2. Financial instruments. Options under this group include purchasing stocks, investment fund units, or government bonds. After several years, the securities can be sold, and the investment is returned.

  3. Business investment. Some options for business investments include setting up a new company in the country, investing capital in the existing business or an innovative startup.

  4. Charitable donation. Such options are non-refundable, and the invested capital can be used to support arts, research, and culture.

EU golden passport

Seven EU countries offer the best Golden Visa programs in Europe. Their conditions are similar but, in another way, vary for each country’s minimum investment and residency requirements.

Country

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Portugal

Acquired status

Residence permit

Min investment

€250,000

Obtaining timeframe

12+ months

Residing requirements

7 days per annum

Country

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Malta

Acquired status

Permanent residency

Min investment

€150,000

Obtaining timeframe

6+ months

Residing requirements

None

Country

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Greece

Acquired status

Residence permit

Min investment

€250,000

Obtaining timeframe

4+ months

Residing requirements

None

Country

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Cyprus

Acquired status

Permanent residency

Min investment

€300,000

Obtaining timeframe

9+ months

Residing requirements

Visit every 2 years

Country

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Spain

Acquired status

Residence permit

Min investment

€500,000

Obtaining timeframe

5+ months

Residing requirements

None

Country

it-flag

Italy

Acquired status

Residence permit

Min investment

€250,000

Obtaining timeframe

4+ months

Residing requirements

None

Country

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Hungary

Acquired status

Residence permit

Min investment

€250,000

Obtaining timeframe

Several months

Residing requirements

Unknown

Most countries allow investors to obtain a residence permit. The residence permit validity period is limited to several years. To extend the status, the investor usually has to meet certain conditions, for example, to keep their investments.

Permanent residency that can be obtained under the Malta Permanent Residence Program or Cyprus Golden Visa program is granted for life. Investors do not have to extend the status. However, they must confirm meeting the program conditions during the first 5 years in Malta.

The family can obtain a residence permit or permanent residency with the investor. Under all the programs, the investor can add a spouse and dependent children to the application.

Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, and Malta also allow dependent parents to be included.

Travel opportunities. All the countries’ residency, except for Cyprus, provide visa-free access to the Schengen Area, meaning investors and their family members will be allowed to visit any Schengen country without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days out of 180.

Uncover the privileges granted by Golden Visas to their holders

Golden Visas in EU countries

pt-flag Portugal Golden Visa

Golden Visa holders 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.

After five years as a Golden Visa holder, the investor and their family can apply for Portugal permanent residency or citizenship.

Full program conditions

€250,000+

Supporting arts and restoring cultural heritage

€500,000+

Purchase of investment fund units

+3 more options in a guide

mt-flag Malta Permanent Residence Programme

The investor has to fulfil several investment conditions: buy or rent real estate in the country, pay government fees, and make a charitable donation. They must also confirm a capital of €500,000, including at least €150,000 of liquid financial assets.

The permanent residence card is to be renewed every 5 years. The Residency Malta Agency carries out an annual check for the first five years to ensure the investor still meets the conditions.

Full program conditions

€300,000+

Residential property purchase in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo

€350,000+

Residential property purchase in the north or centre of Malta

+3 conditions in a guide

gr-flag Greece Golden Visa

The Greece Golden Visa Program has one of the lowest investment requirements in the European Union. However, it’ll change in 2024: the investment threshold for purchasing real estate will rise to €400,000—800,000 on September 1st, 2024.

The investment property is available for long-term leasing. But maintaining residency requires keeping the property in ownership.

Full program conditions

€250,000+

Residential or commercial property purchase

+5 more options in a guide

cy-flag Cyprus Golden Visa

Cyprus permanent residency by investment is granted for life. However, to maintain the status, the investor has to visit the island every 2 years and renew a permanent residence card every ten years.

A permanent resident can obtain Cyprus citizenship after 7 years of living on the island in a soft Mediterranean climate next to the sea.

Full program conditions

€300,000+

Purchase of a new residential or any commercial property

+2 more options in a guide

es-flag Spain Golden Visa

The investor and their family do not need to take language and cultural exams to obtain a Spain Golden Visa. Also, they are not required to reside or spend time in Spain, and the law allows investment property to be rented out.

The permanent residency can be obtained after 5 years of living in Spain. In five more years, the investor can apply for citizenship.

Full program conditions

€500,000+

Purchase of residential or commercial property

+5 more options in a guide

it-flag Italy Golden Visa

The Italy residence permit is issued for two years. It can then be extended for three years if the investment is maintained.

Investors are not required to live in Italy if they do not want to obtain citizenship. Golden Visa holders get citizenship by naturalisation under general conditions after 10 years of living in the country.

Full program conditions

€250,000+

Investment in innovative startups

€500,000+

Equity investment in a limited company

+2 more options in a guide

hu-flag Hungary Golden Visa

The Hungarian government is relaunching a Golden Visa Program on July 1st, 2024. The residence permit for investors will be valid for 10 years.

The applicant will initially get a 6-month Guest Investor Visa. The visa holder will have 93 calendar days after the first entry to Hungary to fulfil the investment condition and apply for a residence permit.

Full program conditions

€250,000+

Purchase of units in a real estate investment fund

€500,000+

Purchase of a residential property, available since January 1st, 2025

+1 more option in a guide

au-flag

Austria doesn’t have a Golden Visa program but grants residence permits to financially independent people.

Applicants prove a stable income from foreign sources, owned or rented housing in Austria, and proficiency in German. The expenses for obtaining Austria residency start at €100,000, and residents are obliged to spend at least 183 days a year in the country.


be-flag

Belgium’s Investor Visa allows getting a residence permit in one of the most robust EU countries. Applicants can choose from three options: to set up an international holding structure, invest in an existing Belgian company, or invest in a foreign company through a holding company set up in Belgium.

The minimum investment amount is not regulated, but the suggested capital typically hovers around €300,000.

A residence permit is granted for 1 year and can be renewed annually. After three years of permanent living in the country, the investor becomes eligible to apply for permanent residency.


de-flag

Germany doesn’t have a Golden Visa program. Still, residence permits can be obtained by 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. The second case requires proof of funds to support the family.

You may apply for permanent residency after three to five years of living in Germany. The minimum required period to apply for citizenship is six years.

Besides some exceptions, Germany doesn’t allow dual citizenship, so many expats choose permanent residence as a life-long status.


nl-flag

The Netherlands grants Golden Visas to investors who contribute at least €1,250,000 to the country’s economy and can prove that their investment provides non-financial added value, such as creating at least 10 new jobs in 5 years or stimulating innovation.

The residence permit is granted for 3 years with an opportunity to extend it for another 5 years. After getting the status, the investor and family members included in the application must move to the Netherlands. Otherwise, the residence permit will be revoked.


ie-flag

Ireland’s Golden Visa under the Immigrant Investor Programme can be obtained for an investment of at least €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.


lu-flag

In Luxembourg, wealthy foreigners are granted Golden Visas for investments ranging from €500,000 to €2,000,000. Options include investing in an existing or a new company, contributing to family wealth management funds, private equity, or venture capital funds, or depositing.

The residence permit requires the investor to live in the country and is to be renewed every three years. After five years of residing in the country, the investor can apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

price

Total comparison of EU Golden Visa programs

  • Cost calculation

  • Family members participation

  • Investment options comparison

  • Benefits of each Golden Visa

PDF, 36 pages, 12 MB

Other countries that grant Golden Visas

ae-flag UAE Golden Visa

The UAE grants investors and their families 2- or 10-year residence visas, providing opportunities to optimise taxation and keep country residents’ benefits without the obligation to live in the UAE. There are also no restrictions on the time of stay in other countries.

Investors may buy properties in special Freehold Zones and use mortgages to purchase properties.

Full program conditions

AED 750,000+

Purchase of real estate for a 2-year residence permit

+1 more option in a guide

us-flag US EB-5 Visa

The USA Golden Visa, or an EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program, offers residency for investors and their families if they invest $800,000+ into a company, creating at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

The application may also include investors’ spouses and children under 21.

Investors get a Green Card and may apply for US citizenship after five years of residency.

Full program conditions

$800,000+

Business investments

+3 more options in a guide

ca-flag

Canada’s Golden Visa under the 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.


nz-flag

New Zealand Golden Visa could be obtained by investing NZD 3 million to NZD 10 million, but this program closed on July 27th, 2022. The new one is Active Investor Plus, and the minimum investment amount has been raised 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.


ad-flag

Andorra’s Golden Visa can be obtained by investing €600,000 in real estate. 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.


ch-flag

Switzerland residence permits can be issued to foreigners who have concluded a tax agreement with one of the cantons. According to this agreement, an investor pays an annual lump-sum tax 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. After ten years of residence, they may apply for citizenship.


mc-flag

Monaco’s Golden Visa is available to foreigners deemed “a good fit” for the Principality, i.e., those who can afford life in this city-state. To qualify, the applicant has to rent or purchase real estate and demonstrate financial self-sufficiency. The latter can be done by depositing at least €500,000 in a bank account.

The Golden Visa processing time usually takes around 3 months; the visa is valid for one year.

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Cancelled Golden Visa programs

gb-flag

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 Startup Visa by opening a prospective company with the 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 unlimited times.


hu-flag

Hungary offered a Permanent Residency by Investment Program that was launched in 2013. Under the program, investors were required to make a minimum investment of €300,000 in government bonds. In return, the main applicant, along with their family members, could obtain permanent residency in Hungary.

The program was closed in March 2017 following criticism and concerns about transparency and security risks.

The Hungarian Government has developed a new Golden Visa programme set to launch in July 2024. However, it will grant not permanent but temporary residency for 10 years.


cy-flag

Cyprus operated its Citizenship by Investment programme since 2013. Under the program conditions, applicants invested €2 million in real estate, government bonds, alternative investment funds, or businesses in Cyprus. The main applicant obtained EU golden passports for the whole family, including parents.

The CBI program was closed in November 2020 due to violations in procedures and was replaced by the Cyprus Permanent Residence program.


me-flag

Montenegro granted golden passports to investors from January 2019 until January 2023. To qualify, investors had to fulfil two financial conditions: they made a non-refundable contribution of €200,000 and purchased a share of over €250,000 in a government-approved real estate project.

At the end of 2022, Montenegro cancelled the program because it might have caused a delay in the country’s accession to the European Union.

Caribbean passport by investment: is it a Golden Visa or not?

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis allow investors from all over the world to participate in citizenship by investment programs. Sometimes, these programs are called “the Caribbean Golden Visas”, but such a designation is incorrect.

Typically, a Golden Visa means a residence permit by investment. But when it comes to the Caribbean countries, investors are granted citizenship, not residency. Thus, it is more correct to refer to Caribbean countries as “golden passport countries”.

The minimum investment amount for obtaining citizenship in the Caribbean is $100,000. Under the Memorandum of Agreement, signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada, the minimum investment amount for all the programs will increase to $200,000 by June 30th, 2024. St Lucia is also planning to sign the Memorandum and change the investment requirements accordingly.

Each program offers several options. For example, to get a Grenada passport by investment, one can contribute $150,000+ to a state fund or invest $220,000+ in a government-approved real estate project.

If an investor chooses to purchase real estate, they can sell their share in 3—7 years and partially return the money spent on participation in the citizenship program.

The Caribbean passport by investment allows its holder to travel visa-free to 140+ countries, including the UK and the entire Schengen Area, get a long-term US visitor visa and use other benefits.

Golden Visas requirements for applicants

A specific list of requirements for applicants depends on the program you choose. However, there are some general points in all Golden Visa terms.

Investors should comply with the following requirements to get a Golden Visa card:

  • be over 18 years old;

  • own money for investment earned not in the country of the program they apply for;

  • have no criminal record or prosecution;

  • be able to prove the legality of income;

  • not be under sanctions;

  • have health insurance.

Some countries have other demands: for example, an applicant should not have any debts in Portugal to get a Golden Visa card. Also, in most cases, one should have rented or own housing in the country to apply for a residence permit.

How to apply for a Golden Visa?

Every Golden Visa program has its application procedure, but some steps are standard. Usually, an applicant should fulfil the chosen investment condition, such as buying a property or opening a business, collecting all the required documents, and applying for a residence permit.

A government unit or agency responsible for the program conducts Due Diligence and decides whether to issue a Golden Visa card.

1

Turning to a licensed agent

The licensed agent’s help is a must under most Golden Visa Programs, as governments usually accept applications only through such designated agents, not from investors directly.

When contacting a licensed agent, you discuss your case with investment migration experts, undergo preliminary Due Diligence, and sign a Services Agreement.

Immigrant Invest is a licenced agent of government-approved investment programs in the EU and the Caribbean. We accompany our customers, from choosing the program that best suits their needs to obtain the status and a Golden Visa card renewal.

2

Choosing an investment option

Investors usually buy real estate to get Golden Visas. This option is available in Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Hungary, and the UAE. In Malta, having purchased or rented housing is one of the mandatory conditions.

Immigrant Invest has a database of real estate projects in different countries from reliable developers. The property experts help in selecting real estate and concluding the deal.

Portugal, Italy, and the USA don’t accept real estate as an investment for a Golden Visa. Investors purchase fund units or support businesses there.

3

Preparation of documents

Immigrant Invest lawyers compile a list of documents depending on the chosen country and investment option, including but not limited to:

  • a valid passport;

  • a certificate of no criminal records;

  • birth certificates;

  • a marriage certificate, if applies;

  • proof of funds and their legitimacy;

  • a CV;

  • health insurance.

The investor collects the originals and passes them to the lawyers, who arrange translation and notarization of copies.

4

Applying for a Golden Visa

The documents are submitted to the country’s migration service or a specially designated program agency.

In some countries, an attorney can make the application by proxy, but personal attendance might be required. For example, the investor must be in Spain when applying for a Golden Visa, entering the country in advance on a Schengen Visa, if required.

5

Due Diligence

Due Diligence is the critical step of every Golden Visa program. Its results define whether the applicant will get a residence permit. The rejection may lead to the impossibility of participating in similar programs.

The designated migration authority checks the applicant’s eligibility for a Golden Visa. Besides, they confirm the legitimacy of the investor’s fund and income sources and the absence of criminal records, prosecutions, visa denials, and sanctions.

Due Diligence usually takes several weeks to be completed.

Evaluate your chances to pass Due Diligence →

6

Getting a residence permit card

If Due Diligence is passed and the application is approved, the investor visits the migration service for fingerprinting and taking photos for their residence permit card.

The residence permit is issued 2—4 weeks later. It can be collected personally from the migration service, by an attorney by proxy, or received by mail to the registered address in the country.

7

Renewal of the residence permit card

Depending on the country and the program, investors renew their residence permits 1—10 years later. Keeping residency might require holding the initial investment and proving compliance with the program conditions.

The investor usually collects the same documents as for the first residence permit and re-submits fingerprints. In some countries, proof of mandatory residing must be demonstrated.

Which country is best for a Golden Visa? 

Which Golden Visa to choose depends on your goals, budget, and plans for obtaining citizenship in future. See the Golden Visa comparison in our shortlists below, which could help you narrow down your options.

Visa-free destinations

Travel visa-free to the Schengen countries for 90 days in any 180 days

Lower cost

The minimum investment amount for a single applicant, subject to government fees

  • 🇲🇹 Malta — €150,000

  • 🇬🇷 Greece — €250,000

  • 🇦🇪 UAE — $204,000

Quicker path to citizenship

Subject to maintaining the residence permit and passing the required exams

Infrequent renewal of the residence card

Renew a residence permit or permanent residence card every five years or not renew at all

price

Total comparison of EU Golden Visa programs

  • Cost calculation

  • Family members participation

  • Investment options comparison

  • Benefits of each Golden Visa

PDF, 36 pages, 12 MB

Answers to frequently asked questions

  • What is a Golden Visa?

    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.

  • What are the benefits of Golden Visas?

    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 travel 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 favourable conditions for staying in the country.

  • Which countries offer Golden Visas?

    Seven EU countries — Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Italy, Hungary, and Cyprus — offer the most favourable Golden Visas in Europe. Their conditions are similar but, in another way, vary for each country’s minimum investment and residence requirements.

    The UAE Golden Visa is granted for 2 or 10 years for the purchase of real estate that costs AED 750,000 and AED 2,000,000, respectively.

    The US EB‑5 Immigrant Investor visa is granted to foreigners who invest at least $800,000 in the US economy and create at least 10 jobs for qualified US workers.

    The Andorra Golden Visa can be obtained by investing €600,000 mainly for tax benefits and as a "safe haven" in Europe.

  • Who can apply for a Golden Visa?

    European Golden Visa programs can be granted to:

    • Non-EU citizen

    • Over 18 years old

    • No criminal record

    • Income from a proven legal source

    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.

  • Which family members can obtain Golden Visas together with the investor?

    Participation of family members varies from program to program. In most cases, a Golden Visa can be granted to spouses, children up to 18 years old, and parents, and in some cases, to children over 18 years old, siblings, and grandparents.

    Download our detailed guide to see the opportunities for family members’ participation.

  • What are the investment options to obtain a Golden Visa?

    The set of investment options varies from country to country but typically includes the following:

    • buying or renting real estate;

    • purchasing investment fund units or government bonds;

    • investing in a business;

    • making a deposit in a bank in the country;

    • making a charitable donation.

  • How much does a Golden Visa cost in the UAE?

    To qualify for the 2-year UAE Golden Visa, you have to invest at least AED 750,000. To qualify for the 10-year UAE Golden Visa, you have to invest at least AED 2 million.

  • Which country has the cheapest Golden Visa?

    Four European countries offer a minimum investment of €250,000:

    🇵🇹 Portugal

    🇬🇷 Greece

    🇮🇹 Italy

    🇭🇺 Hungary

  • How long is a Golden Visa valid?

    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 renewed every ten years.

  • Do Golden Visas lead to citizenship?

    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 for investors to obtain citizenship 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.

  • What were Golden Visa programs cancelled?

    Some countries close their residency and citizenship by investment programs for internal 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. At the end of 2022, Montenegro stopped its citizenship by investment program because it might 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.

  • Are there Golden Visa programs in the Caribbean countries?

    Caribbean countries are usually regarded as golden passport countries because they grant investors citizenship, not residency. The term “Golden Visa” is typically used for residency-by-investment programs, so calling Caribbean passports by investment “Golden Visas” is not entirely correct.

    Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis are the countries allowing investors to acquire citizenship. The minimum investment amount is $100,000, and the usual period to obtain a passport is several months.

  • What are the Golden Visas drawbacks?

    Despite the benefits of Golden Visas, there might be some drawbacks. For example, in countries like the Netherlands or Switzerland, the investor has to move to the country to maintain the status.

    In some cases, the application processing can take several years. For example, this is relevant for the US EB‑5 visa, which usually takes more than 5 years to obtain.

  • Who is eligible for a Golden Visa?

    Specific requirements for applicants depend on the chosen residency by investment program. However, some general conditions are similar in all programs:

    • being over 18 years old;

    • owning money for investment earned not in the country of the program they apply for;

    • having no criminal record or prosecution;

    • being able to prove the legality of income.

  • Can you get a Golden Visa for free?

    No, Golden Visas are granted to foreigners who invest their capital in the country. In such a way, governments stimulate their economies in return for residence permits.

  • Who can qualify for a Golden Visa?

    Generally, Golden Visa programs presume that participants meet the following requirements:

    • are over 18;

    • have sufficient funds for investment;

    • have a clean criminal record;

    • earn income from a legitimate source;

    • have health insurance.

    Additional conditions may include acquiring or renting property in the country, not being under sanction, or having no visa rejections in the past.

  • Where is it easiest to obtain a Golden Visa?

    The best Golden Visa countries in Europe include Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, and Hungary. Minimum investment amounts start at €250,000.

    Depending on the program, candidates can choose from various investment options, including property purchase, investment in securities and business, and charitable donation.

    Greece and Italy allow acquiring residency in four months and do not require Golden Visa holders to reside in the country to maintain the status.

    In Malta and Cyprus, investors can obtain permanent residency without the need to first hold a temporary residence permit.

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Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

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