Published
May 15, 2024
Category
Residency by investment programs

What is a European Golden Visa And How to Get It? 

You're likely aware that Europe offers various ways to obtain residency, ranging from employment and entrepreneurship to seeking refuge. However, there's another, less conventional route that doesn't fit neatly into these categories: residency by investment, also referred to as the Golden Visa. Essentially, some countries on the continent grant residency in exchange for a significant investment. If this is what you're looking for and you're eager to learn more, we're here to unveil everything about EU residency by investment.

In this article, we will explore together what the European Golden Visa represents, why it's worth your consideration for obtaining an EU passport, and eventually, which countries offer the European Golden Visa. 

Key Takeaways 

  • The European Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program offered by some European countries, granting residency in exchange for a predefined investment.
  • The main benefits include visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, the ability to bring family members, and access to high living standards.
  • Countries offering this program include Spain, Portugal, Germany, Malta, and Greece, each with specific investment options and benefits.

What is a European golden visa program and how it works

The name speaks for itself. The Europe Golden Visa is a golden opportunity for investors to gain either temporary or permanent residency in Europe. How? By investing a certain amount, defined by the country and differing based on the program, in the country's economy. And why is it a golden opportunity? Simply because it comes without the additional requirements associated with student, work, or other types of residency permits. You still have to complete some paperwork and ensure compliance with the programs, but it's a relatively straightforward and quick path. And not to forget the advantages that come with the European golden visa: visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, the ability to bring your family along, and more. We’ll discuss them later in more detail. 

This is pretty much how it works: it's a win-win for both parties. You, as an investor, invest your money in a program of your interest and obtain residency, while the country attracts financial means to its economy.

Why should you consider European golden visas for getting an EU passport?

First things first, obtaining a European Golden Visa is significantly simpler than other pathways to acquiring an EU passport. Let's break it down. To begin with, the waiting period is relatively short, typically just a couple of months. European Golden Visa programs are generally less demanding in terms of due diligence and eligibility criteria compared to EU citizenship by investment programs. Most importantly, you're not even required to know the official language of the country.

These programs not only grant you residency but also allow you to bring your family along. As a resident, you can enjoy all the perks that the country has to offer, including visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, high living standards, and access to quality healthcare and education systems. And most of the time it's up to you; you're not required to maintain a physical presence in the country to keep your residency permit.

Consider it as an introductory period. If, during your residency, you find yourself appreciating the lifestyle and opportunities, and wish to deepen your ties to the country by establishing a permanent home, you can then consider applying for citizenship—surely after fulfilling the necessary residency requirements. This process allows for a gradual transition, offering you time to experience and evaluate your connection to the country before making a long-term commitment.

EU countries offering residency by investment program

Spain

Spain isn’t only about Mediterranean beaches, tasty food, and rich culture, it also offers various programs to obtain a European golden visa.

Benefits:

  • Visa-free travel to the Schengen Area
  • Pathway to Spanish citizenship after 10 years (2 years for certain nationalities)
  • Includes immediate family members in residency
  • Access to civil services, including state healthcare and public schooling
  • No requirement for continuous physical presence in Spain to retain residency
  • Eligibility for permanent residence after 5 years

Type of investments:

  • Investment in Financial Assets:some text
    • An initial investment of at least €2 million in Spanish public debt securities.
    • An investment of €1 million in stocks or shares of Spanish companies carrying out direct business actions, or in investment or venture capital funds based in Spain.
    • Bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions amounting to €1 million.

  • Real Estate Investment:

Acquiring real estate free of any encumbrances valued at a minimum of €500,000 qualifies for this program. In instances where a married couple shares property rights, one partner can secure an investor visa, and the other can be granted a visa as the investor's family member.

  • Business Project of General Interest:

Investment in a business project in Spain was deemed of general interest. Criteria for general interest include job creation, significant socio-economic impact in the project's geographical area, or a notable contribution to scientific or technological innovation. 

Portugal

Another country famous for its beaches (not only) and offering an opportunity to get a europe golden visa is Portugal.

Benefits:

  • Visa-free travel to the Schengen Area
  • Low physical presence requirement
  • Eligibility to apply for citizenship after five years of residency by investment

Type of investments:

  • Purchase of investment fund units: At least €500,000 allocated to investment or venture capital funds, focusing on Portuguese commercial companies, with a commitment for a minimum of five years.
  • Business investment: some text
    • Investment of €500,000 in a new or existing Portuguese company, generating a minimum of five employment opportunities.
    • Establish a company that will create at least ten positions for workers

  • Supporting culture and science: Investment of €250,000 in cultural or artistic projects, or science and research projects, although this is the least popular option due to its complexity and high cost of €500,000.

Germany

Germany, known for its strong economy and cultural depth, also extends opportunities to secure a European Golden Visa through several investment programs.

Benefits

  • Visa-free travel and unrestricted movement for work and study within the Schengen Area.
  • Access to German education and healthcare systems as well as various social benefits
  • Employment and business opportunities in Germany
  • Family reunification options
  • Eligibility for permanent residence after 5 years
  • Access to the EU job market
  • Language proficiency can reduce the time required for citizenship
  • Possibility of German citizenship after 6-8 years of residency, provided other conditions are met. Residents typically need to have legally resided in Germany for 8 years to be eligible for citizenship. This period can be reduced to 7 years with the completion of an approved integration course and further reduced to 6 years for those holding a German language certificate of B2 level or higher.

Type of investments:

Minimum investments of €25,000, typically including contributions to business ventures aimed at exerting a positive impact on the German economy.

Malta 

Malta, with its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and strategic Mediterranean location, offers the European Golden Visa through its Residency by Investment program, allowing for an enriching lifestyle and business opportunities within the EU.

Benefits:

  • Right to live and work in Malta without a visa requirement
  • Eligibility for social welfare benefits
  • Access to quality healthcare and education systems
  • Ability to apply for Maltese citizenship after five years of residency
  • Possibility to seek Maltese citizenship following a five-year residency.

Investment requirements:

  • Remit a fixed administrative fee of €40,000, which is non-refundable.
  • Choose between leasing a property at a yearly minimum of €10,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €12,000 in other parts of Malta, or opt to buy a property valued at no less than €300,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €350,000 in other Maltese regions.
  • Contribute €28,000 to the government if you’re buying a property, or €58,000 if opting for a rental.
  • Make a charitable donation of €2,000 to an NGO registered with the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations in Malta, supporting philanthropy, culture, science, arts, sports, or animal welfare.
  • Allocate an additional €7,500 for every dependent parent or grandparent linked to the primary applicant or their partner.

Greece

Greece isn’t just a great destination for its historical sites and amazing islands but also a smart pick if you're looking at European Golden Visa options. It offers one of the cheapest European Golden Visa programs, opening doors to European lifestyle and business perks.

Benefits:

  • Visa-free traveling within Schengen Area
  • No language or residency obligations for application
  • Eligibility for citizenship after seven years of residency
  • Includes spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents
  • Potential for lucrative rental income from investments
  • Steady economic environment favorable for investor strategy

Type of investments:

  • Real Estate Property Investment:some text
    • Investment in real estate properties worth a minimum of EUR 250,000.
  • 10-Year Lease and Time-Sharing Agreements:some text
    • A 10-year lease agreement for hotel accommodations or tourist residences.
    • Eligible 10-year time-sharing agreements for hotel accommodation under Law 1652/1986.
  • Greek Government Bonds:some text
    • Purchase of government bonds with a minimum value of EUR 400,000, with at least three years of residual maturity.
  • Shares and Corporate Bonds:some text
    • Purchasing shares or corporate bonds with a minimum value of EUR 800,000 traded on regulated markets or multilateral trading mechanisms in Greece.
  • Mutual Funds:some text
    • Investing in mutual funds with a minimum value of EUR 400,000, focusing on shares, bonds, or government bonds traded in Greece.
  • Company Capital Contribution:some text
    • A minimum contribution of EUR 400,000 to a Greece-based company, excluding portfolio investment and real estate investment companies.

To enhance your understanding of the European Golden Visa and fill any gaps you might have, booking a free initial consultation with Mirabello Consultancy could be the next step in your journey. From the initial no-cost consultation to the ongoing assistance post-acquisition of residency or citizenship, Mirabello Consultancy provides comprehensive services. They assist with documentation, and government application forms, and guide clients through the intricacies of the process, including due diligence and fulfilling payment obligations. The approach is designed to meet the unique needs of each client, providing expertise and support at every stage of the journey, and ensuring a smooth and efficient experience. 

How to get a EU passport

EU residency and citizenship programs offer a gateway to some of the world’s most influential economies, complete with the benefits of extensive visa-free travel, high standards of living, and access to healthcare and education. If you're considering opting for a EU passport, here's a brief rundown of the main steps involved. 

Step 1: Choose Your Country

Within the EU, Malta stands out as the only country offering citizenship directly through investment. However, several European countries, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Germany, provide residency by investment programs, which could potentially lead to citizenship.

Step 2: Select Your Investment Route

For Maltese citizenship, your investment includes a non-refundable administrative fee, a contribution to the government, a charitable donation, and real estate investment. Each aspect is mandatory to qualify for the Maltese citizenship program.  Alternatively, you could first opt for residency, for instance in Portugal, which is known for offering the cheapest european golden visa. Later after five years of legal residency, you'll be eligible to apply for citizenship, given all other criteria are met.

Step 3: Application and Documentation

Once you've decided on the country and investment type, you'll need to prepare and submit a detailed application accompanied by various documents. It's crucial to ensure all documentation is accurate and complete to avoid delays.

Step 4: Due Diligence and Approval

After submission, your application will undergo a rigorous due diligence process to verify your information and assess your background. Upon successful completion, you'll receive approval in principle.

Step 5: Make Your Investment

Following approval, you will need to complete the investment as stipulated by your chosen program. This may involve transferring funds to a government account, purchasing qualified property, or making a business investment.

Step 6: Receive Your Passport

After your investment is verified, you'll be issued a certificate of citizenship, which you can then use to apply for your passport. This final step grants you all the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the freedom to live, work, and travel within the EU.

FAQ

What is a biometric residence permit?

A biometric residence permit (BRP) is a document provided to immigrants by certain governments to confirm their right to reside, work, or study in a country. It contains biometric data, such as fingerprints and a photograph, as well as personal information, including the holder's name, date of birth, and details about their permission to stay in the country. BRPs are used to verify identity, immigration status, and entitlements in the country issuing the permit.

What is a residence permit number?

A residence permit number serves as a distinctive code. It is found on the residence permit of a foreign national, authorizing their legal residency within a country for a certain duration. Essential for bureaucratic procedures, this number helps governmental authorities to efficiently organize and access the immigration and residency details of the holder. It is commonly needed for completing governmental forms, accessing state services, or handling matters related to immigration.

What is a residence permit in Europe?

In Europe, a residence permit is a document that grants a non-European Union citizen the right to stay and typically work within a member country for a certain period. This permit validates the holder's legal status in the host country and is often a prerequisite for longer-term residency or citizenship applications. Residence permits in Europe may come with varying rights and obligations, such as access to the labor market, healthcare, and education, and they can differ significantly from country to country.

So we've clarified everything you need to know about the European Golden Visa. It's crucial to carefully study the details of each program to choose the option that works best for you. To explore your options further, you may book a free initial consultation with the experts at Mirabello Consultancy.

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