All golden visa programs in the world are designed to boost the economy by attracting foreign investment into the country. EU golden visa programs included.
The phrase “Golden visas” originated from the Caribbean in the ’80s. During that time, these developing island countries much needed the influx of foreign funds to boost their economies. Having that in mind, their governments came up with a unique program to attract foreign investment. The governments will grant passport/citizenship to the investor and his family in exchange for an investment for a period of time. Thus, “Cash for passport” or “golden visa” were coined.
Slowly, other countries began to adapt and came up with their own golden visa programs. However, many of the EU countries only offer permanent residency (PR).
Many EU countries do not offer citizenship by investment because this citizenship scheme is much-frowned upon by the EU. The EU has been concerned that offering citizenship by investment pathway will invite money laundering, corruption, and other illegal activities. True enough, late last year, Cyprus had terminated its citizenship program due to corruption reports. Despite of this setback, Cyprus still retains its popular residency program. .
That aside, EU permanent residency programs continued to be very attractive among the investors.
The EU Golden Visa Programs Advantage
Many EU countries’ permanent residency usually comes with a route to citizenship a few years later, if you want it. Once you are an EU country citizen, you can live, work, study and retire in any of the EU countries you like.
The EU has the largest economy after the USA and has also one of the most diverse cultures in the world. Don’t like French cuisine? Just hop over to the neighboring countries like Germany, UK, or Italy for different cuisines. A little tired of Italy? Drive to neighboring countries to encounter a totally different environment and culture. You will always be captivated and fascinated by the many different facets of each European country.
Thus, it is not surprising that the EU is one of the favorite places to have a 2nd passport or residency. It is common to hear investors spending 6 months in their home country and 6 months exploring the different parts of Europe. In fact, EU golden visas’ popularity has been growing year after year and the question is …
Why are EU golden visas so popular among investors?
First and foremost, everyone needs a plan B for their lives for the “just in case” something happens. These golden visas offer just that – an assurance of a plan B in hand. In addition, the EU visas have the below advantages that very few countries have:
- Low investment requirements from €250k
- Secure & stable investment
- No need for stay requirements (except for Italy)
- Low cost of living yet high standards of living
- Attractive tax benefits
- Wide diverse culture, arts, cuisine, and other experiences.
In our opinion, below are the 5 best EU golden visa programs that are on most investors’ 2021 wish list. It is important to note that these countries are considered tax havens to a certain degree and are not blacklisted or flagged under high risk by the EU or OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.).
5 of the Best European Golden Visa Programs
Portugal Golden Visa
Lots of sunshine, beaches, and friendly people make Portugal one of the favorite places for families to have their 2nd passport or residency.
Investors often pointed out one of the main reasons for choosing Portugal. Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program. In a nutshell, this program entitles you to generous tax benefits over a period of 10 years, for example, tax exemption on your overseas income.
Investments in Portugal’s golden visa program start from €280k investment into property projects. These property projects are usually old, out-of-town and in need of rehabilitation. Alternatively, you can also invest €500k to purchase their very own property outright. As a visa requirement, you will need to visit Portugal for an average of 7 days/year.
Its capital, Lisbon as well as another major city, Porto, have been experiencing great success in attracting investors. So much so that the property prices have been on the uptrend since the golden visa’s launch. To cool the property market down, these 2 cities will be taken out of Portugal’s golden visa program towards the end of this year. From Jan 2022, investors will have to invest in other parts of Portugal to get their visas. Here is an interesting article on the rising property market in Portugal.
For investors who are sitting on the fence about getting a Portugal visa, now is the time for you to take action and apply as soon as possible.
Cyprus Golden Visa
Known as the Jewel of Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is a rich mixture between Greece & Turkey. With its balmy sunny weather, warm hospitality, and its wide range of cuisines, many are drawn to this mystical island country. It is Aphrodite, the Greek love goddess’ birthplace too!
For its permanent resident visa, you will only need to invest a minimum of €300k into Cypriot properties. As a visa requirement, you will be expected to visit Cyprus at least 1 day/year. Over the past years, quite a few well-known personalities have already secured Cyprus’ permanent residencies.
During this pandemic, Cyprus allows you to apply and obtain your visas without visiting the country. All at the comfort of your armchair!
Greece Golden Visa
In truth, Greece is a beautiful country that has breathtaking landscapes from majestic mountains down to the blue seas. Its rich history of civilization, culture, arts, and food attract millions of tourists to her shores every year.
Greece does offer its golden visa program, granting you permanent residency in exchange for a €250k investment in Greek properties. There is no requirement for you to visit Greece every year. This will be ideal for you, when you want just to have a retirement home or a 2nd country residency for your plan B.
Although the Greek economy is currently weak, perhaps this may be a good time to invest in a property at a good price and at the same time, get your Greek residency for free!
Italy Golden Visa
Think of Italy, most people would think of designer fashion and great Italian hospitality. Italy is also well known for its “made in Italy” brand and is a key manufacturer and logistics hub. Her economy is one of the largest in the EU.
To boost local business and attract innovation, Italy does offer an investor program. This program allows you to invest in an innovative start-up (€250k) or invest in a local company (€500k).
Once a resident visa is granted, you are expected to move to Italy. However, you may come and go as you wish but you are not expected to be out of Italy for more than 6 months in a year.
Ireland Golden Visa
Ireland will be the only English-speaking country left among the EU after UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Investors who prefer an English environment will love Ireland. No doubt, the weather can be cold at times, the friendliness of the Irish people and a spot of Irish whiskey will always warm you up.
Immigrant Investor Program(IIP) is Ireland’s golden visa program. It requires an investment of just €1 million as compared to UK’s tier 1 investor visa at €2 million. You will only need to visit Ireland 1 day/year to maintain the visa. After obtaining Irish residency, your pathway to citizenship is 5 years.
With close ties to the UK, Ireland and UK have a CTA (Common Travel Area). This means that British and Irish citizens can move freely between the 2 countries. Their citizens would be able to live, work, study and vote, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.
Like the UK, Ireland has an excellent school system as well. Many international students attend Dublin’s famous Trinity College and other Irish universities.
Keen to explore more on EU Golden Visa Programs?
Having a second passport or residency is important to your life and future. You will never know what is coming around life’s corner and it’s always good to be prepared. Don’t be limited by your home country and being kept hostage by the government’s ever-changing policies.
Presently because of the pandemic, you can only visit another country is .. if you are a resident of that country. Imagine that you have a second residency in Cyprus. You can leave your home country and live in Cyprus for a period of time and avoid any restrictive measures imposed by your home country. Here’s to your freedom.
Perhaps it is time for you to seriously considering securing another country residency for yourself and your family? European countries seemed to appeal to most people who are seeking an inexpensive second passport or residency in a developed nation. Is an EU golden visa for you?
We at Worldwide Residency, can help share our experiences with you and you can make an informed decision. After all, we also hold dual residencies.
Get in touch with us for more information on European golden visas. Or WhatsApp us at +65 911 73730. We look forward to hearing from you.