A Golden Visa is the first step for foreign investors looking to obtain a foreign citizenship 2020

A Golden Visa is the first step for foreign investors looking to obtain a foreign citizenship

10.07.2020 15:00

A Golden Visa is a preferential residence permit with the subsequent provision of permanent residence in a foreign country for participation in the state investment and migration program. A foreigner invests a certain amount of money in real estate, manufacturing, stocks or security papers. In return, the government provides a permanent residence permit under a simplified procedure.

In this manner, the authorities of the European Union, Asian countries and many island states support the internationalization of entrepreneurial activities and attract materially well-off, solvent foreign citizens to their territory with a legal source of capital.

What does one need to get a Golden Visa? Investment Directions

To obtain a residential status under the Golden Visa program, it is necessary to invest monetary funds in state development. There are several ways to do that:

  • Purchase of real estate for personal use or for future profit (one or more properties for a certain amount);
  • Renting a property for 5 years with a payment of at least 10,000-12,000 € per year and the introduction of a state fee (relevant for some countries);
  • Opening a deposit at one of the local banks;
  • Purchasing a significant share of a company established by citizens of that country through their own means;
  • Acquisition of security papers issued by the state (stocks, bonds, etc.).
  • Organization of personal business with creation of new jobs.

In some countries it is allowed to purchase apartments and houses with a mortgage, but only if the amount significantly exceeds the amount of investments indicated by applicable law.

Who can apply for a Golden Visa?

The applicant is required to meet certain requirements:

  • Age. Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Bank account. Must be opened in the country where the applicant plans to reside.
  • Legality of income. The source of the amount on the deposit needs to be verified by official documents.
  • Positive reputation. The applicant should not have any unexpunged convictions or current criminal proceedings.
  • Compliance with the terms of the program. Fully fulfilled financial obligations to the government of the state.
  • Medical insurance. Each residence permit applicant needs to have a valid medical insurance under his name, that was obtained through a licensed insurance company with local accreditation.

The applicant must legally stay in the country and have a sufficient amount of funds to cover personal and family living expenses. Applications are accepted from both physical and legal entities.

Positive aspects of obtaining a residence permit on a Golden Visa

Applications for obtaining a residence permit under the Golden Visa program are processed within 30-60 days. The applicant is not required to take a state history and language exam. The main requirement that must be met is residing in the country for up to 1 week during the calendar year. In some countries residing is not required at all. In addition, the investor often receives large tax benefits and a full package of socio-economic guarantees.

The main advantages of the Golden Visa include:

  • Living in economically stable countries with clear business rules;
  • Ability to move freely within the Schengen Area (and/or Latin America for the Caribbean-Pacific countries);
  • Having tax preferences (the investor can change the tax residence if desired);
  • Having access to a prestigious education (it is possible to receive benefits and bonuses upon admission to universities);
  • Quality medical care;
  • The opportunity to become a lawful citizen of a foreign country in the near future.

In most cases, a residence permit is received only by the applicant. In certain countries, a residence permit can be issued under a single procedure for spouses and their minor children, parents, grandparents and common-law spouses.

Where can I get a Golden Visa in exchange for buying a property?

Under the Golden Visa program in Greece, the applicant must purchase a commercial or residential property at a price of 250,000 € or more. Another way to obtain a residence permit is to rent residential real estate for a period of more than 10 years, and the total amount of payments must be at least 250,000 €. This form of residence permit is valid for 5 years. After that, the Greek Golden Visa can be extended for a variable period of time that will last as long as the investor holds deposits. In some cases, a residence permit may initially be issued for 10 years.

In Latvia a residence permit can be had with the purchase of real estate starting at 250,000 €. In addition to the property owner, their spouse and minor children are able to obtain a temporary residence permit. It must also be noted that in order to obtain a Golden Visa, it is necessary to pay a fee which equals at least 5% of the value of the purchased property.

Malta has even more flexible requirements. Real estate can not only be bought, but also rented long-term (for 5 years with a payment of at least 10,000 € annually). Property cost also depends on the region. It is noteworthy that in order to obtain a citizenship a spouse does not need to be officially married. It is enough to provide joint photographs for the past several years and to get a bank statement confirming transactions between partners.

To obtain a residence permit in Turkey, one would need to invest $ 250,000 in real estate, although in 2018 that amount was $ 1,000,000. It is worth mentioning that not all real estate that can be purchased for $ 250,000 fits under obtaining residence permit criteria. For example, housing must pass a property value assessment, and it must be purchased from a Turkish citizen. If these criteria are met, local authorities are more likely to approve the investment and create favorable economic conditions for them. As a bonus to a Turkish passport, investors can also get the opportunity to obtain a USA investor visa under the E2 program.

In the United Arab Emirates, the amount of investment depends on the duration of the visa claimed by the investor. If we are talking about a five-year visa, the investor must invest at least 5,000,000 AED (≈1,360,000 $ in real estate). If an investor applies for a ten-year visa, the total amount of the investments should be at least 10,000,000 Arab dirhams (≈2,720,000 $), achieved without the use of loans.

To settle down in Spain and obtain a residence permit, you need to purchase a residential or commercial property with a value of at least 500,000 €. In this case, the temporary resident status will be granted not only to the property owner, but also to financially dependent relatives. After 183 days of residence on the territory of the state, the investor becomes a Spanish tax resident and agrees to pay all applicable taxes and fees to Spain as a result of their profits in Spain and abroad.

To become a citizen of Cyprus, you must purchase one or more real estate properties totaling at least 2,000,000 €. In Lithuania, Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and the UK, a residence permit cannot be obtained through the purchase of real estate.

Why should you consider getting a Golden Visa in Portugal?

According to foreign partners, the best option for obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa is to purchase real estate. In order to settle down in the country, you need to buy an apartment, a house or a commercial building. Portugal offers three options for obtaining a residence permit through investing. You can buy real estate for 280,000 €, 350,000 € and 500,000 €. The amount of investment funds depends on many factors. For example, in order to get a Golden Visa, while spending 350,000 €, it is necessary for the purchased housing to be at least 35 years old and to be a subject to reconstruction. In addition to the specified financial minimums, the property also needs to be located in a low population density area.

Portugal is one of the most popular countries for obtaining a residence permit not only due to the amount of investment options in real estate, but also because citizenship can be obtained after just 5 years. During this time, it is not necessary to reside on the territory of Portugal, unlike for example Greece, where citizenship cannot be obtained without residing on its territory for the last 5 years. In addition, the holders of the Portuguese Golden Visa receive special tax status, which allows them not to pay income tax from profits gained in foreign countries. It is worth mentioning that many residents of Portugal are fluent in English. That is why Golden Visa holders do not face the problem of a language barrier.

Golden Visa for investments – which countries to invest in?

In the UK in order to obtain a residence permit, it is necessary to invest £ 2 million in the country's economy. To start the process, the investor must prove that the money has been in the account for at least 2 years and has legal origin. In addition, at least six months must be lived in English territory.

In Spain, you need to make a contribution to a local bank, purchase security papers or buy back stakes or shares in Spanish companies in the amount of more than 1,000,000 €. You can buy government bonds of 2,000,000 € or open your own company that provides jobs to Spanish citizens.

In order to get a residence permit in the Philippines, it is required to invest $ 75,000 in an economically viable project approved and confirmed by the authorities. Investing into production companies or service companies is also allowed. The areas where foreign investments are welcome include:

  • Communication;
  • Transportation;
  • Travel and Tourism;
  • Engineering and Construction;
  • Education;
  • Ecology;
  • Healthcare and Social Programs;
  • Finances;
  • Entertaining, cultural and sporting events.

Accelerating the process of obtaining a residence permit in Italy incurs substantial cost. One option is to buy government or bank security papers in the amount of 2,000,000 € and not sell them over the next 2 years. You can also invest 1,000,000 € in a legal entity that is registered and operates in Italian territory. Or you can make a charitable donation in the amount of one million euros to various projects related to culture, history, improving the quality of education and scientific research. It will take 500,000 € to support a promising innovative start-up and get an Italian residence permit.

A Bulgarian Golden Visa costs 512,000 €. For this amount you will need to buy government bonds. A Maltese residence permit will cost almost half as much. The investor also needs to make a contribution to the Malta State Fund in the amount of 30,000 € and purchase or rent housing on the island.

Useful tips for applicants

When applying for a Golden Visa, it is necessary to provide documents confirming the legality of capital. This is one of the most relevant requirements not only in the migration services of European countries, but also in Asian and Pacific states. It is extremely important for representatives of the authorities that the investments of foreigners are transparent and legal.

Photo: Envato

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