Golden Visa Programs

Several countries around the world offer residency by investment or citizenship by investment programs. Each country requires different investment types and amounts. The final decision is yours, depending on your preferences. 

Today, countries like Portugal, Greece, and Spain offer Golden Visa programs providing residency. Countries like Malta, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, or Dominica offer similar programs like Golden Visa. They offer programs which lead to citizenship directly.

Thousands of investors have obtained EU residency or other residency rights thanks to these programs.

In this article, you can find the benefits, requirements, and steps to get a Golden Visa.

What Is a Golden Visa?

A Golden Visa is a residence permit granted to investors and their family members. You can get a Golden Visa in exchange for a qualified investment. You can even apply for citizenship in some countries at the end of a certain period. 

Various investment types are available in Golden Visa programs. The most common options are real estate investment, investment fund subscription, donation, or capital transfer. Upon deciding on the investment type, you can start the application process. 

What Are the Benefits of Golden Visa Programs?

As a Golden Visa holder, you can live, work and study in the related Golden Visa country. Visa-free access to the Schengen countries is another attraction of this program.

Many Golden Visa programs provide the inclusion of family members. Mostly, they are immediate family members. Some programs can offer the inclusion of grandparents or parents-in-law as well. 

Most Golden Visa programs don’t impose a stay requirement. You don’t need to relocate to your Golden Visa country. It’s sufficient to visit the country only on a certain frequency. 

Application for citizenship can also become possible based on the country’s residency requirements. Some countries require five years of residency while others may require residing for at least 10 years.

Golden Visa Program Requirements

The specific requirements may differ depending on the country. However, certain basic requirements are valid for most of them. These include:

  • Having a clean criminal record;
  • Holding the investment for a certain period of time. The duration varies depending on the country;
  • Proving that you’ll use your own funds to make the investment;
  • Proving that you’ve obtained your funds legally.

Certain countries may also entail the demonstration of a certain amount of net worth. They’re separate from the investment amount.

How To Get a Golden Visa

Firstly, you need to decide on the investment criteria. Real estate investment is the most popular investment option. However, the capital transfer also attracts many investors as well. Besides these options, donation, fund investment, and job creation are also possible options to be eligible for a Golden Visa.

Upon completing your investment, you can start your application. You’ll collect documents and visit the related country in your application process. The whole process usually takes between two to nine months until approval.

Consulting a professional before making an investment is highly advisable. 

Countries That Offer Golden Visas 

Below, you can find a list of the Golden Visa programs in Europe and similar other programs worldwide. European Golden Visa programs grant access to the EU market and the Schengen area. Golden Visa Countries also offer quality education and a quality lifestyle for you and your family. 

Portugal

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is one of the most popular Golden Visa programs. It offers an affordable and quality lifestyle. Since 2012, it has granted residency for 10,000  investors worldwide. 

You can apply for the program if you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.

To maintain your Golden Visa, you need to stay in Portugal for seven days each year.

Getting a Portugal Golden Visa usually takes around six months.

The qualifying investments include:

  • A minimum investment of €500,000 in any type of property anywhere within Portugal. It drops to €400,000 if the location is a low-density population area
  • A minimum investment of €350,000 in property of at least 30 years old. It must be rehabilitated as well. It drops to €280,000 if the location is a low-density population area
  • Capital transfer of €1 million to Portugal
  • Creation of jobs: A minimum of new 10 full-time jobs in a registered Portuguese company
  • Fund investment: A minimum investment of €350,000 in a qualifying Portuguese venture capital fund
  • An investment of €350,000 to scientific or technological research in Portugal
  • A minimum donation of €250,000 to national heritage, arts, or culture.

Spain

Spain’s Golden Visa program has been in effect since 2013. The program accepts citizens who are not from an EU/EEA country or from Switzerland.

Spain’s Golden Visa program also offers visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. You can also live, work, and study in Spain. Family inclusion is also possible. 

Also, you don’t need to reside in Spain to renew your residence permit. Only one entrance each year will suffice. 

Usually, it takes one to two months to get Spain Golden Visa.

The country offers delicious cuisine as well as a rich culture for its residents. The favorable lifestyle and sunny beaches are other attractions for the investors.

The qualifying investments for Spanish Golden Visa include:

  • A minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate in Spain
  • Capital transfer of €1 million in Spain
  • A minimum investment of €1 million in a Spanish company
  • €2 million investment in Spanish government bonds.

Greece

Greece Golden Visa program has been effective since 2013. It offers a five-year residency through a qualified investment. 

It offers a fast and easy process. You’ll also have the right to visa-free travel within all Schengen Area countries. You can live in Greece, and have access to the education system and public health service in Greece. The country also offers a low investment requirement compared to other programs. You can buy a property of at least €250,000 and become eligible for the Golden Visa.

Extended family inclusion is also possible. You can include your spouse, children, parents, and parents-in-law. 

Furthermore, you don’t need to stay in Greece to maintain your Golden Visa. You can renew your residence permit every five years.

You can apply for the program if you’re:

  • More than 18 years of age
  • A non-EU citizen
  • Having a clean criminal record. 

Citizenship by Investment Programs

Below are the citizenship by investment programs worldwide.

Malta

Malta offers a citizenship by investment program, aimed at high net worth individuals. When you get Maltese citizenship, you can live, work and study in any EU country. 

The investment consists of two phases. You first choose one contribution option out of two. Then, you choose another investment option: either a property purchase or a lease agreement. In total, the minimum required investment amount is €690,000. 

Malta also offers a residency by investment program. It’s more affordable, however, it doesn’t lead to Maltese citizenship.

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Program is the first citizenship by investment program. You can choose to invest in real estate or make donations. 

The minimum required investment amount is $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). Alternatively, you can also make an investment of $400,000 in real estate. 

You can get your passport within three to six months after making an investment. The passport allows visa-free access to 157 countries.

Dominica

You have two options to make an investment for Dominica citizenship by investment program:

  • Make a donation of $100,000 to The Economic Diversification Fund (EDF), or
  • Make $200,000 investment in a government-approved real estate project. You need to keep the investment for a minimum of five years.

The country does not entail any stay requirement. Furthermore, you can become a citizen within three to six months. Dominican passport allows visa-free travel to 143 countries, including the UK and Schengen zone.

Turkey

Turkey also offers a citizenship by investment program. Several investment options are available for investors. The minimum investment amount is the purchase of a real estate of at least €250,000. Other options include the purchase of government bonds, job creation, or capital investment. 

The process usually takes around three to six months. 

The program also does not entail any stay requirement. You can even release your investment at the end of three years. 

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program offers two investment options:

  • A contribution of $100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund, or
  • A $400,000 investment in a government-approved real estate project. You need to keep the investment for a minimum of five years.

Antigua and Barbuda passport offers visa-free travel to 151 countries, including the Schengen area. 

Citizenship is available within four to six months. Also, it’s sufficient to stay in the country for five days over five years. 

United States

The United States offers a residency by investment program that can evolve into citizenship after five years. 

The minimum required investment amount for this program is $900,000 to a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). You need to create at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens within 2 years. Another investment option is to invest $1.8 million in a qualifying commercial enterprise.

Following five years of legal residence, you can apply for US citizenship. Once you become a US citizen, you can travel to 187 countries visa-free.