In What Country Can You Buy the Cheapest Golden Visa?

For people who want to try relocation and move to Europe legally, obtaining a usual tourist visa is not enough. For a comfortable life, you should get a residence permit, which allows you to reside in a country for a long period of time, and sometimes, even to get a passport and become a legal citizen in the future. For situations like that, there are Golden Visa programmes in several European countries. 

Golden Visa: What Is It?

A usual visa and a Golden Visa are not the same. The last one gives more privileges and advantages to its holder. In other words, it is just an unofficial name for a residence permit.

A Golden Visa is a powerful tool that allows immigrants to obtain an instant residence permit in exchange for an investment. Investments may be active or passive. With the standard visa, you can only visit a country and live in it for a short time. A Golden Visa allows you to live and travel throughout the European Union for an extended period of time.

The Main Differences Between Permanent Residency and a Golden Visa

The Golden Visas are available for purchase in several European countries. They should not be confused with a permanent residence permit. Below you can see the main differences between permanent and temporary residency.

Golden Visa (residence permit)

Permanent residency

A document is valid for a specific period of time 

Valid for the rest of the life

Holders are usually foreigners and have another citizenship

The holder is usually born in the country or had a residence permit before

The holder cannot vote, participate in elections or be a civil servant

Every holder has abilities to participate in elections, vote, and be a civil servant

If you're a tourist, you do not need a Golden Visa. But if you are interested in relocation and want to become a citizen of the European Union, you need to find a way to get a residence permit.

The Benefits of Having a Golden Visa

Here are some advantages of the Golden Visa program:

  • With a European residence permit, you can travel the whole of Europe without any restrictions. 

  • Getting a Golden Visa involves getting a residence permit, so you can live in the country where you made an investment until the visa expires.

  • Additionally you can stay legitimately in the Schengen countries for up to 90 days each six months.

  • It gives you the right to study at schools and universities in the country of investment. European education is known for its quality and prestige.

  • Several countries allow Golden Visa holders to become fully legal citizens in the future. In some cases, having a visa is the easiest way to get citizenship.

Disadvantages of the Residence Permit

The residence permit is a perfect way to move to Europe, but it has some disadvantages:

  • You have to make big investments that allow you to obtain a residence permit. Golden Visa programmes usually require having a lump sum of money that not every person can afford.

  • All the Golden Visas have an expiration date. You should not forget to renew your documents, otherwise, it can lead to serious consequences.

  • Many Golden Visas for real estate investment are only valid as long as the investor owns the property they have bought.

  • In some cases, you cannot include your parents or kids in the application for obtaining a residence permit. The full requirements depend on the country you want to move to.

What Requirements You Should Follow

The Golden Visa is available to everyone who meets the requirements.

  • The applicant's age must be over 18 years old.

  • The applicant must open an account at a local bank. It is a standard requirement in all European countries.

  • People who want to get a visa should prove their income. It should be a document that the amount the applicant deposits in the account were obtained legally.

  • The applicant's reputation should be impeccable. There mustn't be any open criminal procedures or outstanding convictions.

  • The applicant has to get valid medical insurance. It is necessary.

The Procedures for Getting a Residence Permit

The procedure of obtaining a Golden visa involves the following steps:

  • You are making an investment in a fund, company, or property on the territory of the country.

  • Right after you complete your investment, you need to apply for a Golden Visa. This step involves translating and notarising all the necessary documents and submitting them to the local migration service.

  • . Afterwards, all you need to do is to get your residence permit. 

In some countries, like Grenada, you can become a citizen right after investing into the country's economy, without obtaining a residence permit. In most cases, however, it is not that easy to convert your Golden Visa into a passport. In Portugal, for example, an investor with a Golden Visa can only apply for citizenship, if they have resided in the country for 6 years and have learned Portuguese language.

What Countries Can Give You a Golden Visa?

Several European Union countries have residency options for foreign investors. The validity period for a Golden Visa depends on the country you want to live in. Also, the Golden Visa is not free, so you should make a big contribution to the country’s economy and pay fees for submitting your application. Some governments can provide citizenship right after you complete the investment, but usually, you have to live long enough on the territory of the country to become a citizen.

Here you can see all the possible countries where you can get a residence permit:

  • Spain;

  • Antigua and Barbuda;

  • Portugal;

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis;

  • Bulgaria;

  • Belgium;

  • The Dominican Republic;

  • Italy;

  • Grenada;

  • Greece;

  • Germany;

  • Turkey;

  • Saint Lucia;

  • Switzerland;

  • Latvia;

  • Austria;

  • Malta;

  • Ireland.

In all countries on the list, the conditions for obtaining documents vary. Somewhere it is easiest to get a residence permit, but somewhere you will have to invest a lot of money.

Antiqua and Barbuda

The most popular place for obtaining a golden visa for investors is Antigua and Barbuda. People who want to live here should make some investments:

  • Purchase any estate worth more than $400,000.

  • Contribute $100,000 dollars to the Nation Development Fund (NDF).

  • Invest at least $1.5 million in your own company.

  • Make a $100,000 donation to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Fund.

With the Antigua and Barbuda golden visa, you can travel to more than 150 countries without a visa, including the United Kingdom.

Greece

Obtain a Golden Visa in Greece can anyone, who:

  1. Purchased property for €250,000, including taxes.

  2. Signed a lease agreement for more than ten years.

  3. Invested more than €400,000 in any registered company in Greece.

  4. Bought government bonds for at least €400,000.

  5. Deposited more than €400,000 at a Greece bank.

If you get your citizen permit in Greece, in the future you can apply for citizenship that will give you access to the whole of Europe and the Schengen Area. Moreover, you can renew your residence permit every 5 years if you do not want to apply for citizenship.

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Grenada

Grenada is the most favorable country where you can get citizenship with a low investment of around $150,000 into a national fund. Interestingly, you don't need to fulfill any additional residency requirements, so you'll get your citizenship right after you invest.

Malta

The government of Malta can offer foreigners two programs: residency by investment and citizenship by investment. In the first one, an applicant needs to invest more than €98,000 in a government-approved fund. Also, you don't need to live in Malta for a long time to keep your program.

Citizenship by investment involves a special case when you apply for the one-year citizenship route with an investment of €750,000 to a national fund.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

In order to obtain a residence permit here, you must invest at least $150,000 in the government or buy a property worth more than $200,000. You will receive citizenship immediately after you invest.

Saint Lucia

To get a golden visa in St. Lucia, you need to invest $100,000 into a national government fund. Or you can invest money in other funds, buy bonds, or real estate.

Turkey

To get a obtain permit in Turkey, you can:

  • Get a property that is worth more than $400,000.

  • Buy government bonds for half a million dollars and hold the investment for five years.

  • Make a capital investment of half a million dollars.

  • Deposit more than $500,000 in a local bank for three years.

  • Make a $500,000 investment in real estate.

Portugal

There are five ways to obtain a residence permit in Portugal. You can get a golden visa if you:

  • Bought real estate for more than €500,000.

  • Invested €350,000 in real estate in a Portuguese urban renewal area.

  • Invested €350,000 in an investment fund.

  • Made a capital transfer of at least one million euros to a bank account in Portugal

  • Invested in a Portuguese company for a total of 1 million euros.

Latvia

To achieve a golden visa in Latvia, you have to make a business investment of €50,000 and donate €10,000. It is renewable after 5 years.

Dominica

There are two ways of obtaining a golden visa in the Dominican Republic:

  • donation to the government fund of more than $100,000.

  • investment in a property that costs more than $200,000.

How to Choose the Right Country?

The answer to that question is not that simple. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of obtaining a Golden Visa? If you are just enjoying the country, for example, Greece, and want to live there, you will probably choose Greece's residence permit.

Another case is when you want to just relocate to Europe, and it doesn't matter to which country. Your decision must affect some factors, like the valid period and the purpose for which it is obtained (work, study, live).

Experts usually recommend obtaining a residence permit in the country where the requirements are most favorable. Choose that country where the residence permit's validity is the longest and cheapest. The cheapest Golden Visa you can find in the Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, and a residence permit with the longest valid period in Latvia and Spain.

Is It Possible to Obtain a Golden Visa with a Mortgage?

The investment shows the government of a European country that you are a wealthy person that can easily afford to live in another country. In this way, the government not only strengthens its inner economy but also protects itself from growing unemployment and poverty.

To be honest, any loans and mortgages say that person does not have enough money, so it is a good reason to decline your Golden Visa application. You must own all the money you want to invest. Getting a Golden Visa with a mortgage is impossible.

Conclusion

A Golden Visa is just a name for a residence permit, and its acquisition is a perfect way to move abroad if you have enough money. But obtaining a residence permit involves some difficulties and a lot of paperwork. To avoid complications and mistakes in documents, it is better to get help from firms that specialize in investments and immigration. If you are not a lawyer, obtaining a Golden Visa by yourself might be much harder.

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