European Golden Visas – How to Get EU Permanent Residence by Investment

A European Golden Visa is a permit that offers residence or citizenship in European countries. These visas are mainly intended for wealthy individuals who wish to become residents of a country by investing a large amount of money. Foreign nationals can acquire residency by buying property in a European country.

Individuals who apply for a European Golden Visa will get residency for themselves as well as their spouse and children. The residence permit will keep renewing provided that the investment is being maintained.

Typically, you don’t have to reside in the country that granted you the European Golden Visa. However, the prerequisite to obtain permanent citizenship or residence for a majority of countries is an actual residence of five to 10 years. A European Golden Visa will enable you and your family to travel all across the Schengen area.

Furthermore, if you acquire citizenship in a European country, you will be able to experience visa-free travel to more than 100 countries in the world. This, however, depends upon the state that issued you the Golden Visa. Obtaining a European Golden Visa can cost you anywhere between hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Can a Foreign National Obtain Citizenship in Europe by Investment

Even if you are issued a European Golden Visa, there is no certainty that you will receive citizenship. If you want to acquire citizenship, you have to reside in a State for about 10 years.

A few countries grant citizenship without continuous residency or ask for a lesser duration of the residency. If you wish to obtain citizenship in Greece, you need to reside there for seven years.

Can a Foreign National Obtain Permanent Residence in Europe by Investment

You will be able to obtain permanent residence by investment a European country by residing there for five years. A permanent residence permit renews automatically. However, some features will vary depending on the country in which the permit was issued.

Countries like Portugal do not impose any residency conditions to be eligible for a permanent residence permit.

Eligibility Criteria for a European Golden Visa

When it comes to issuing a European Golden Visa, every country has its own eligibility criteria. Given below are general eligibility conditions to obtain a European Golden Visa:

  • You should not have any criminal record.
  • You own the money you intend to invest.
  • The money you invest should be obtained legally.
  • You should be able to support yourself and your family financially for the intended duration of your stay.

Can a Foreign National Take a Loan to Pay for a European Golden Visa

You cannot avail of a loan to pay for your European Golden Visa. To acquire a permanent residency permit by investment, you must provide proof that the invested amount is in your name. Some countries allow mortgages on the purchase of a property.

A minimum amount of money has to be paid in advance if you wish to buy a property. You can receive a mortgage for an amount that is beyond the required minimum amount. However, keep in mind that this might not be always the case since every country has specific rules.

European Countries that Offer Golden Visa/Investment Programmes

The following European countries offer Golden/Investment Visa programmes:

  1. Portugal
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Greece
  4. Germany
  5. Italy
  6. Belgium
  7. Malta
  8. Austria
  9. Switzerland
  10. Spain

Portugal:

The Portuguese Golden Visa comes with a starting investment amount of €250,000. If you have a Portuguese Golden Visa, you can get citizenship or a permanent residence permit after residing in Portugal for five years.

Conditions:

You can choose one of the following investment options to get a Portuguese Golden Visa:

  • You should buy real estate that costs at least €500,000.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €350,000 in scientific research.
  • You should do a capital transfer of at least €1 million.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €250,000 in arts, culture, and heritage.
  • You should buy real estate that costs at least €350,000 in an urban regeneration area.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €500,000 in a small or medium business.
  • You should create at least 10 job posts.

Advantages:

  • The investment amount is low and you can get your visa renewed by residing in Portugal for only two weeks a year.
  • A Portuguese Golden Visa will let you and your family through the entire Schengen area.
  • You will be eligible to apply for citizenship in Portugal after five years and you don’t have to actually reside there. However, note that you have to clear a language test and demonstrate your ties to Portugal.

Bulgaria:

You can apply for citizenship through the investment program offered by Bulgaria. First, you will have to make an investment and then become a permanent resident of the country.

Greece:

A minimum investment of €250,000 has to be made to obtain a Greek Golden Visa. You will have to reside in Greece for seven years to get citizenship. However, Greece does not impose any minimum residence conditions on visa renewal.

Conditions:

You can choose one of the following investment options to obtain a Greek Golden Visa:

  • You should buy real estate that costs at least €250,000.
  • You should invest a minimum amount of €400,000 in Greek government bonds.
  • You should invest a minimum amount of €400,000 in a bank deposit or company in Greece.

Advantages:

  • The investment amount is low and there is no minimum residence condition.
  • You can acquire citizenship after seven years of residing in Greece.
  • You can renew your visa every five years.
  • Travelling through the Schengen Zone will be permitted for you and your family.
  • A Greek Golden Visa can include your spouse, children up to 21 years of age, parents of both your spouse and you.

Germany:

While Germany does not offer a Golden Visa, you can acquire a German citizenship or residence permit by investing in a business.

Italy:

You cannot obtain an Italian Golden Visa by buying a property or real estate. You will have to make a philanthropic contribution or investment in a company.

Conditions:

You can choose one of the following investment options to obtain an Italian Golden Visa:

  • You should make a minimum investment of €250,000 in an innovative Italian startup.
  • You should make an investment in an Italian Government Bond.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €500,000 in an Italian company.
  • You should make charitable donations in the areas of scientific research, culture, education, arts, cultural and natural heritage, and immigration management.

Advantages:

  • You can renew your visa every two years provided that your investment is maintained.
  • You will be eligible for a permanent residence permit after five years of residing in Italy.
  • Once you complete 10 years of residency, you can apply and obtain citizenship.
  • You and your family can experience visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone.

Belgium:

Similar to Germany, Belgium issues Golden Visa only on investments. Citizenship is offered after five years of residing in Belgium. If you want to obtain a Belgian Golden Visa, you need to set up a company by investing €350,000 – €500,000 for five years.

Malta:

Golden Visas in Malta are of two categories. One visa offers indefinite permanent residency and the other offers citizenship.

Conditions for Malta Citizenship by Investment visa:

You can choose one of the following investment options to obtain a Malta Citizenship by Investment visa:

  • You should either sign a 5-year lease for €16,00 per year or buy a property in Malta amounting to at least €700,000.
  • You should make a philanthropic contribution of at least €10,000 to a scientific, artistic or cultural organisation.
  • You must make a minimum investment of €600,000 in the government’s national development fund of Malta.

Advantages:

  • You can apply for an expedition program that offers citizenship after a year. For this, you need to invest at least €750,000.
  • You can obtain citizenship through Malta Citizenship by Investment visa after you complete three years of residence in Malta.

Conditions for Permanent Residence by Investment in Malta:

  • You should make a contribution of at least €2,000 to a registered Maltese non-governmental organisation.
  • You should make an investment of €98,000 in a fund approved by the Maltese government.
  • You must sign a 5-year lease for €10,000 per year.

Advantages:

  • While there is no certainty of obtaining citizenship, you can travel freely through the Schengen Zone and reside in Malta via this program.
  • You can make an application for naturalization as a Malta citizen after residing for at least five years.

Austria:

An Austrian Golden Visa cannot be obtained by buying a property. However, you can get residency by investment in Austria by creating employment opportunities to boost the economy of Austria. Given below are the investment options you can choose from:

  • A minimum investment of €3 million in an Austrian government development fund.
  • A minimum investment of €10 million in a business.

Switzerland:

Switzerland’s Golden Visa program involves a meticulous process. You can choose one of the following investment options to obtain residency in Switzerland by investment:

  • You should create a company to provide jobs to Swiss nationals.
  • Depending on the canton you choose to reside in, you will have to pay an annual tax of between CHF 150,000 and CHF 1 million.

If you want to obtain a permanent residence permit in Switzerland, you should mandatorily reside there for a minimum period of 10 years. Switzerland citizenship requires a residency of at least 12 years.

Spain:

You have to make an investment in real estate to acquire a Spanish Golden Visa.

Conditions:

You can choose one of the following investment options and obtain a Spanish Golden Visa:

  • You should make a minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €2 million in Spanish public debt.
  • You should make a minimum investment of €1 million in a Spanish bank deposit or shares of a company.

FAQs on European Golden Visas

  1. What is a European Golden Visa?

    A European Golden Visa is a form of permit that allows you to reside and acquire citizenship in a European country.

  2. Can I pay for my European Golden Visa by taking a loan?

    No. You have to demonstrate that the amount you invested is in your name. However, in certain countries, mortgages are allowed on buying a property.

  3. Will my family be included in my European Golden Visa?

    Yes. Apart from you, a European Golden Visa also includes your spouse, dependent parents and dependent children.

  4. Can I obtain citizenship by investment in Europe?

    There is no guarantee that you will obtain citizenship even if you have a European Golden Visa. To acquire European citizenship, you need to reside in a country for a specific period of time which varies from country to country.

  5. What is the validity of a European Golden Visa?

    A European Golden Visa’s validity is dependent on the issuing country. Typically, the validity period of a European Golden Visa is 1-2 years, and it can be renewed indefinitely.

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