A Golden Visa is a residency permit that allows foreign investors to make significant financial contributions to a host country’s economy in exchange for resident status. Several countries offer Golden Visa programs, also known as Residency by Investment (RBI), to encourage foreign investment that can enhance their local economy and infrastructure. These programs are often stepping stones for Golden Visa holders and their family members to obtain permanent residency or citizenship through naturalization.
Golden Visas differ from regular travel visas in several ways. First, they are not granted for specific travel purposes such as tourism, studying, work, or visiting family. Golden Visas are designed to encourage economic investment and therefore require a minimum investment amount that regular visas do not. Golden Visas are intended for those who want to obtain residency, so they also have longer validity periods than regular visas.
Obtaining a Golden Visa can benefit both the holder and their host country. Holders of Golden Visas and their dependents can live and work with the same privileges and services as citizens, while also increasing their international travel mobility and business opportunities. Host countries benefit from influxes of foreign capital that can be used to bolster local businesses, building projects, public programs, and more.
There are several key advantages that attract foreign investors to seek Golden Visas. With a foreign residency permit, they can expand their personal and business connections, as well as their investment opportunities. Most Golden Visa program host countries are well-connected, offering holders access to dozens of visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations. Holders and their dependents can benefit from better educational systems and healthcare, as well as social services such as housing assistance. Golden Visa programs also pave the way for citizenship making the process of naturalization more accessible to those who choose to pursue it.
Discover Golden Visa programs available in an array of international destinations. Each one offers a unique pathway to residency with distinct features, eligibility criteria, benefits, and options for investment. Click on the icons below to access the detailed pages for each Golden Visa program.
Golden Visa holders and their dependents can benefit from a variety of privileges and services in their new host country. They may gain the same access as citizens to high-quality educational institutions including public schools, universities, and academies for themselves and their children. Other Golden Visa benefits include access to better healthcare, including hospitals and private providers. Like citizens, Golden Visa holders have access to well-managed banks and financial services. They can benefit from safe and secure options for investment and banking, and may even receive additional benefits as investors in the country’s local economy.
The eligibility requirements for Golden Visa programs vary from country to country. In general, applicants must be over 18 and able to meet the financial requirements of the program they are applying to. They must also have a clean criminal record and be able to sustain their investment for the duration of their residency permit.
The Golden Visa requirements for nearly all program applicants include:
Other requirements will apply depending on the host country. For example, the minimum residency requirement for Cyprus is once every two years while Greece does not require holders to live in the country at all as long as they renew their residency permit on time. It’s advised that applicants research all programs before submitting their Golden Visa program application to ensure they have selected the one that suits their needs.
The application process for Golden Visa programs tends to be very straightforward and streamlined for applicants’ convenience. Generally, applicants will gather the required documents for their program, complete the Golden Visa application, fulfill the minimum investment amount, and proceed with due diligence and/or a background check.
Each Golden Visa program will have a slightly different application process with its own requirements, deadlines, and fees. Applicants must ensure they have all the information for their specific program before starting the application.
However, there are some basic application steps that apply to all Golden Visa programs:
The application timeline from submission to approval will vary depending on the host country, the complexity of the application, and the amount of time needed to process all documents and background checks. The Cyprus and Spain Golden Visa applications can be processed in as little as two (2) months, while the Portugal Golden Visa program can take up to nine (9) months. Applicants should refer to the official guidelines as stipulated by their chosen host country.
Each Golden Visa program offers different ways to make a contribution to the host country’s economy, through investment or donation. Types of required contributions include but are not limited to, real estate investment, business investment, a donation to a governmental or non-governmental fund, the purchase of government bonds, or a contribution to an investment fund.
The minimum investment threshold and Golden Visa cost will vary depending on the host country. Each program offers a range of investment amounts and options for contribution, so applicants can select the one that works best for them. For example, applicants can apply to the cheapest Golden Visa program offered by Greece with an investment of €250,000 in real estate. In contrast, the minimum investment for Spain’s Golden Visa program is €500,000.
Each type of investment has advantages and risks. Real estate investments can provide rental income and holders can benefit from property appreciation. However, they are also vulnerable to market fluctuations. Business investments can provide high returns, but they can also mean less control for investors. Investments in innovation and entrepreneurial ventures are also potentially high-earning investments but suffer some of the insecurities of all businesses and could be more volatile than other types of contributions. Government bonds are a stable investment and considered quite safe, but they can incur high-interest rates and provide low returns. Therefore, it’s essential for Golden Visa applicants to consider all the pros and cons of the investment options before deciding where to invest.
The most apparent difference between CBI and Golden Visa programs is the end result of the application. CBI programs are designed to allow high-net-worth individuals to obtain citizenship, while Golden Visa programs offer residency, with the possibility of obtaining citizenship later on.
Another critical difference between the two types of programs is the application process, especially the required due diligence. Typically the level of due diligence will be higher for CBI programs than for Golden Visa programs. In addition, the investment minimums required for CBI programs tend to be higher than that of Golden Visa programs, but this will vary from country to country.
Due to the fact that CBI programs offer a direct pathway to citizenship, they also often offer more international mobility than Golden Visa programs. Applicants who qualify for a CBI program and receive a new passport will likely have upgraded to a more powerful passport than they previously held. Therefore, CBI programs offer greater visa-free movement internationally, with access to more countries.
Golden Visa programs offer the option of citizenship if the applicant is willing to go through the naturalization process, but they do not guarantee a new passport. For international travel, holders must continue to cross borders with their original passports. For some applicants, this may not translate into greater international travel opportunities.
When choosing the right program, applicants should consider several factors. Application processing times for CBI and Golden Visa programs will vary depending on the host country receiving the application, the complexity of the applicant’s case, and how many dependents they plan to include in their application, among other factors. Some CBI and Golden Visa program applications can be processed in just a few months, while others can take much longer.
Golden Visa programs tend to require lower investment minimums than CBI programs, making them slightly more cost-effective. The investment amounts will vary by country, but in general, they can range from $100,000 to several million dollars for a CBI program and between $150,000 to $500,000 for a Golden Visa program.
A CBI program is a good option for those who can acquire dual citizenship, obtaining a second, more powerful passport while retaining their first nationality. Some countries do not allow dual citizenship. Individuals from these countries can opt for a Golden Visa to live and work in another country while retaining their original citizenship. Golden Visa programs are also great for those who want to access a new country for lifestyle or business reasons while still enjoying the mobility of their original passport.
What is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is a residency permit that allows foreign investors to make significant financial contributions to a host country’s economy in exchange for resident status. Several countries offer Golden Visa programs, also known as Residency by Investment (RBI), to encourage foreign investment that can enhance their local economy and infrastructure.
What investment options do Golden Visa programs offer?
The investment options for Golden Visa programs will vary depending on the host country. However, most programs typically offer options for real estate investment, business investment, a donation to a governmental or non-governmental fund, the purchase of government bonds, or a contribution to an investment fund.
Which countries offer Golden Visa programs?
There are many diverse countries that offer Golden Visa programs including Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, and the United Arab Emirates. Each program is different, so it is important that applicants select the one that best suits their personal and financial needs.
What are the benefits of holding a Golden Visa?
The benefits of a Golden Visa often include the right to live and work in their host country, access to excellent education and healthcare systems, and the ability to travel to more visa-free and visa-on-arrival destinations. Golden Visa programs can also be a stepping stone towards permanent residency or citizenship for holders and their dependents.
Is a Golden Visa the same as a Citizenship by Investment (CBI)?
No, Golden Visa and CBI programs are different for several reasons. The minimum investment amounts and residency requirements will vary depending on the program, as well as the types of investment offered. The major difference between the two is that CBI programs are a pathway to citizenship, and a new passport, while Golden Visa programs offer applicants the chance to obtain a residence permit, while still keeping their original passport. Therefore, CBI programs tend to offer more international mobility than Golden Visa programs.