EU residency has become quite easy in the last couple of years, thanks to Golden Visa programs. Thousands of investors are now EU residents of different parts of Europe, such as Portugal and Greece.
10,000 non-European investors received Portuguese residency between 2012 and September 2021. Another group of investors, who are more than 9,000, received Greek residency between 2013 and September 2021.
The following countries provide similar benefits through their Golden Visa programs. They also offer some unique benefits as well. Let’s start with Portugal.
Portugal provides European citizenship within five years after residency approval
The Golden Visa program in Portugal has been in effect since October 2012. It is also known as a residency by investment program. You can choose from a pool of several different investment options to be eligible for this program. Upon completing the investment, you can apply for a Portugal Golden Visa. Then, complete the necessary documentation process. Finally, get your temporary residency within around 3-6 months.
To maintain your Golden Visa, you need to spend at least seven days each year in Portugal. If you want to apply for citizenship, obey this stay requirement for a duration of five years. In the meantime, you can travel visa-free between the Schengen countries.
Your dependent family members can become citizens as you can as well. These members include your spouse and children under 18. Also, dependent children can include the ones under 26, if they are full-time students and not married. Your parents over 65 are also eligible for this program.
Greece offers the remote application and the lowest investment amount for EU residency
Greece has recently changed the application procedure for its Golden Visa program, after Covid-19. It is now possible to apply for it almost completely remotely. You only need to visit Greece for a biometrics appointment. The rest of the process goes like this:
- Sign a Power of Attorney at a local Greek Consulate
- Wait for your local firm to submit your application and complete the investment on your behalf. This means that the local firm can buy Greece property at a minimum value of €250,000. It can also pay a deposit of a minimum of €400,000 in government bonds, as well.
The minimum required investment amount is only €250,000. This option is only available for property purchase. When you complete your application, you can receive your residency card within around 2-3 months.
You should also note that there is no requirement of staying in the country at all. So, it is up to you to spend your time in Greece or not.
Note that Greece offers an extended family inclusion in the program. What does it mean? It means that your spouse and children under 21, and your parents and parents-in-law can benefit from this program.
Spain Golden Visa
Spain Golden Visa is another alternative for EU residency. Only one entrance per year is enough to keep your Spain Golden Visa. You can receive your residency card within 1-2 months upon completing your application.
If you want to become an EU citizen through Spain Golden Visa, you need to wait for more, compared to Portugal Golden Visa. This means that you first need to spend five years of temporary residency. Then, apply for permanent residency. In addition, spend ten more years as a permanent resident to apply for citizenship.
Similar to the other two Golden Visa programs, it also offers visa-free travel between Schengen countries. It is also possible to work and live in Spain.
It is also a good place for business opportunities. It has a large economy with a flourishing business sector.
Pension schemes are another attraction of Spain. Many retirees choose this destination for a better retirement.
Finally, education is also high quality in Spain. Furthermore, there are many international schools for foreign students as well.
So, you can consider living in Spain even though you don’t want to become a citizen.
What are the most popular investment options for a Golden Visa?
Property purchase is a very popular way of investment among these programs. It is the most preferred option for Portugal Golden Visa as well. Within only eight years, more than 90% of the total investors chose to buy real estate to get Portuguese residency. The diversity of property investment options can be one of the factors of this great interest. Overall, the quality of life is above the standards, too. So, investors may also consider living in the country in their own house.
Certain capital transfers to related foundations are other popular investment types among these Golden Visa programs. Portugal is also good at this, especially within the last couple of years. It keeps developing its tech sector in addition to startup programs. The EY Attractiveness Survey shows that many international companies have already set up their offices in cities like Lisbon and Porto. Some of these companies include Amazon, Huawei, and Oracle.