Published
January 28, 2024
Category
Residency by investment programs

Top Golden Visa Countries: Requirements and Benefits

Want a second home in a new country? Golden visa countries make it easily happen for investors. More than just granting residency, these programs, already available in more than 20 countries, open up a world of possibilities.

This comprehensive guide explores various countries with golden visas, as well as the benefits and challenges that come with these programs.

Key Takeaways 

  • Golden Visa Programs are immigration schemes offered by various countries to attract wealthy investors by granting residency rights in exchange for significant financial investments.
  • Several countries offer Golden Visa programs, each with distinct requirements and benefits, making them attractive to a diverse range of investors.
  • Golden Visa programs provide multiple advantages like visa-free travel, access to better healthcare and education systems, tax benefits, and opportunities for real estate investment.
  • Investors also face challenges including legal complexities, market fluctuations, strict background checks, and possible changes in regulations.
  • Mirabello Consultancy will guide you through the entire application process, ensuring that you select the Golden Visa program that best aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

What are Golden Visa Programs?

Golden Visa Programs are appealing immigration initiatives designed by various countries to attract foreign individuals with high net worth. These programs offer residency rights in the host country to investors and their families in return for substantial investments. 

To qualify for a Golden Visa, applicants must meet several standard golden visa requirements:

  • Investing in one of the approved options
  • Passing through security and background checks
  • Demonstrating the legal source of their investment funds
  • Maintaining a clean criminal record
  • Being in good health

In addition to these criteria, each Golden Visa program may have unique requirements. Key factors to consider include:

  • The nature and amount of the investment
  • The processing time of the application
  • Requirement for local language proficiency
  • Mandatory residence in the country
  • A compulsory visit to the country
  • Requirement to rent or purchase property
  • Investment retention periods 

Typical investments for these programs may involve purchasing real estate, making significant financial contributions to national development funds, or investing in government bonds and stocks.

Top Golden Visa Countries

Now that we've discussed what a Golden Visa is, let's turn our attention to some of the best golden visa countries. Each country has distinct features and benefits in its Golden Visa programs, attracting a diverse range of investors.

Greece

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • No criminal record
  • Family residency extends to spouses, children under 21, and parents

Investment Programs:

  • Real Estate Investment
  • Government Bonds and Shares
  • Capital Contribution to Greek companies

Investment amount: EUR 250,000 (minimum for real estate)

Citizenship eligibility: After 7 years of residency

Among golden visa countries, Greece is distinguished by its accessible investment threshold and the potential for citizenship through real estate investment after seven years of residency. Notably, the Greek Golden Passport offers visa-free access to and within the Schengen Area, enabling borderless exploration across many European countries.

Portugal

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Investment in real estate or other qualifying options
  • Minimum stay of 7 days per year in Portugal
  • Valid entry visa for Portugal at the start

Investment Programs:

  • Real Estate Investment or Investment Fund

Investment amount: EUR 350,000

Citizenship eligibility: After 5 years of residency

With an entry point of EUR 350,000, Portugal provides a cost-effective and straightforward path compared to a European citizenship by investment. This program demands minimal physical presence —just a seven-day stay per year is needed, setting the stage for citizenship eligibility after five years.

The competitive tax system and skilled workforce in Portugal further bolster the appeal of its golden visa programs, making it not only a gateway to Europe but also a promising economic landscape.

Malta

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Investment in real estate or other qualifying options
  • No mandatory relocation
  • Medical checkup for the renewal of the Maltese Permanent Residence Permit

Investment Programs:

  • Contribution to national development
  • Real estate purchase or lease
  • Donation to a Maltese NGO

Investment amount: EUR 175,000 (additional fees and contributions may apply)

Citizenship eligibility: After 5 years of residency

Being part of the EU, Malta offers freedom of movement within the European Union and access to its single market.

The Maltese Permanent Residence Permit (MPRP) is initially granted for five years and is renewable, subject to fulfilling certain conditions. Notably, one of these conditions includes residing in Malta for the preceding five years. Holders of the MPRP are eligible to apply for Maltese citizenship after five years of residency. 

USA

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Investment in approved projects
  • No requirement for a down payment or long-term commitment

Investment Programs:

  • Standard Investment 
  • Targeted Employment Area (TEA) Investment

Investment amount: USD 900,000 in a TEA or USD 1,800,000 standard investment.

Opting for a U.S. golden visa, officially known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, paves the way to obtaining a Green Card and eventually citizenship. It embodies the American dream, granting investors and their families the chance to live, work, and study in the U.S., as well as participate in a strong economy known for its industrial diversity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

Australia

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

Vary based on the visa stream. Requirements and criteria include: 

  • Investment amount
  • Net assets 
  • Residing time

Investment Programs:

  • Business Innovation Stream: Minimum business turnover of AUD 750,000 and net assets of AUD 1.25 million
  • Investor Stream: Commit AUD 2.5 million
  • Significant Investor Stream: Invest at least AUD 5 million
  • Entrepreneur Stream: No specific amount mentioned, subject to endorsement

Investment amount: USD 1,250,000

Citizenship eligibility:  

  • Permanent residency through a three-year investment-based residency program.
  • Eligibility to apply for citizenship after completing four years of residency.

With its stable economy, high living standards, and multicultural society, Australia presents a secure and rewarding environment for investors and their families. The program provides a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship, ensuring long-term financial security and access to top-tier education and healthcare. 

Mauritius

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Investment in real estate or other qualifying options
  • No minimum stay requirement in Mauritius

Investment Programs:

  • Investment in an FSC-regulated Fund
  • Business ownership with a minimum annual turnover of USD 750,000
  • Real Estate

Investment amount: USD 50,000 (with additional USD 7,500 processing fees)

Citizenship eligibility: Eligibility to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit after a minimum of 3 years of residency, which is valid for 20 years. Additional requirements may apply. 

With an investment of USD 50,000, investors can acquire a renewable 10-year residency permit in Mauritius, one of the best golden visa countries. This island nation not only promises a tropical climate year-round but also offers a suite of fiscal advantages, including the absence of property or housing tax, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax. 

United Arab Emirates

Golden Visa Requirements and Eligibility Criteria:

  • Investment in real estate or other qualifying options

Investment Programs:

  • Real Estate Investment
  • Entrepreneurial ventures with a minimum value of AED 500,000

Investment amount: AED 750,000 

The UAE's Golden Visa program offers a compelling blend of benefits for global investors and professionals. It has a low investment threshold, and provides tax incentives, ensuring financial and personal freedom. The business-friendly environment, world-class healthcare, and quality education systems create an ideal setting for growth. Moreover, the potential for fast-tracked citizenship and extensive visa-free travel with a UAE passport adds to its attractiveness, making it a standout choice among countries with golden visas.

If one of these Golden Visa countries is your dream destination, Mirabello Consultancy is your ideal partner to make this dream a reality. With their vast experience, they simplify the process of acquiring the necessary visa swiftly and effortlessly. They are adept at finding the perfect program that aligns with your unique needs and aspirations. By booking a meeting through their website, they'll evaluate your situation, provide a cost estimate, and craft a custom solution to achieve your objectives.

7 Benefits of Golden Visa Programs

Golden visa programs are a great opportunity to gain residency, sometimes eventual citizenship in a foreign country by making a significant investment. Let’s explore the benefits that come with the golden passport. 

  • Picture yourself hopping on a plane, no visa hassles, exploring the globe. Golden Visas often mean visa-free travel to a bunch of countries. 
  • Think of countries with golden visas as your safety net. In times of uncertainty back home, be it political or economic instability, you've got a safe backup plan.
  • Moreover, golden visa programs allow you to tap into new markets, network with local entrepreneurs, and expand your business horizon
  • Who likes paying more taxes? Some of the golden visa countries are like financial paradise. Less tax on your global income, maybe even special advantages on inheritance and investments.
  • Not to forget about the access to high-quality healthcare, education, and a cleaner environment. It’s like leveling up in life. And it isn’t just about you. 
  • Here's the fun part. Your investment usually goes into real estate, which can be a lucrative venture in itself, especially in prime locations with high appreciation potential.
  • Ultimately, Golden Visa programs can lead to permanent residency and even citizenship, offering long-term security.

Risks and Challenges

When considering Golden Visa programs it’s essential to approach this significant investment with a clear understanding of both its potential and its pitfalls. 

The cornerstone of a Golden Visa program is a substantial financial investment, often in real estate. This investment, while potentially profitable, carries inherent market risks. Economic fluctuations and changes in property values can significantly impact the return on your investment.

Golden Visa countries have their unique set of laws and regulations. Misinterpretation or non-compliance can lead to legal challenges. Moreover, you should expect thorough scrutiny during the application process. Authorities will meticulously examine your background, source of funds, and other pertinent details. Inconsistencies or issues in your application can lead to delays or denials.

Remember that it is crucial to understand the tax implications in both your home country and the host country. There could be unexpected tax liabilities or requirements in either jurisdiction.

In addition to these significant challenges, prospective investors should also be mindful of other complications that may arise. For instance, the processing timeframes for Golden Visa applications can be lengthy and unpredictable, potentially disrupting your plans. 

Furthermore, residency obligations, requiring you, in some cases, to spend a certain amount of time in the host country, might not always align with your personal or business objectives. It’s important to factor in these aspects when planning your investment.

Moreover, it is vital to recognize that Golden Visa programs are not static. They are subject to change and carry the risk of modification or discontinuation. Such changes are often influenced by shifting political landscapes or economic policies, which can significantly alter your investment and residency plans.

FAQ

Which country has the best golden visa program?

The best golden visa program is subjective and depends on individual circumstances and preferences. Nonetheless, Portugal, Malta, and specially Greece are often considered to have the best golden visa programs, offering a balance of investment options, residency benefits, and lifestyle attractions. It's important to carefully research and consider your specific needs and the details of each program before making a decision.

Who has the cheapest golden visa?

The cheapest, fastest and with the least requirements golden visa program is offered by Greece with a minimum real estate investment of around €250,000. 

Which country has the easiest golden visa?

The ease of obtaining a golden visa can depend on various factors, including the simplicity of the application process, the clarity of the requirements, and the speed of processing. Greece is regarded as having one of the more straightforward and efficient golden visa processes, with clear legal requirements and a relatively quick path to residency.

What is the fastest golden visa?

The fastest golden visa program, in terms of processing time from application to approval, tends to vary based on current regulations, the volume of applications, and administrative efficiency. Historically, Portugal, Spain and certainly Greece have been known for relatively quick processing times, often ranging from a few months to under a year. Remember that the timelines can be affected by various factors, including the completeness and accuracy of the application submitted, due diligence checks, and the specific investment option chosen. 

Golden Visa countries provide great investment opportunities, along with the benefit of residency and more. These programs present a gateway to global mobility, enhanced quality of life, and financial advantages. It is essential, however, to carefully assess and understand the associated investment risks. Seeking expert guidance can help streamline the entire process, ensuring a smoother experience for you.

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