How to get a residence permit in one of the EU countries? Explains the founder of World Property Invest
In many countries around the world, there are special programs that allow you to obtain a residence permit or citizenship in exchange for buying real estate.
A residence permit gives a foreign citizen the right to permanently reside in the territory of the state that issued the document. A residence card allows you to enter and leave the country, as well as to stay on its territory for a long time without restriction. The holder of a residence permit of a state that is part of the Schengen area can move freely within the European Union.
Together with Sergey Filatov, the founder of World Property Invest, we’ve discussed how to become an EU resident.
— Sergey, could you tell us about the main programs for obtaining a residence permit?
— All the main programs for obtaining a residence permit are related to real estate since this is the real economy of any state. In the majority of countries, it is necessary to own real estate for the entire period of validity of a residence permit, which actually means for life. If a foreign citizen sells the property, the residence card becomes invalid. The extension of the residence permit is also impossible. In some countries, real estate is «frozen» for 5-7 years, and then it can be sold. In some cases, one of the requirements is not buying, but renting real estate for a certain period of time.
— What are the pitfalls?
— It is important to understand that these programs are not eternal and are often modified. For example, the amount of investment may decrease or increase. The application processing time may also change. The program may be terminated (for example, the Cyprus investment project was closed in 2020).
— How long can you stay in the countries of the Schengen agreement with a residence permit?
— Residence permits of almost all EU countries give the right to stay for an unlimited amount of time in the state that issued the residence card, as well as 90 days every six months in other Schengen countries (180 days a year).
Currently, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish programs are the most popular ones for obtaining EU residence permit.
Residence permit in Greece
The Greek program is the best in terms of the amount of investment — 250,000 euros should be invested in real estate by a foreign citizen. The processing time is one month from the documents submission date. The parents of the spouses can also get a residence permit. In some other programs, only the parents of the main applicant can get a residence permit, so the investor sometimes has to choose who will apply. You can buy one or more real estate objects. The main requirement is that the total amount must be at least a quarter of a million euros.
The Greek authorities don’t require a resident to stay permanently in the country to confirm a residence permit.
Residence permit in Portugal
In Portugal, this program is called Golden Visa. This document allows you to conduct business in the country and on the territory of Europe. An investor can create it from scratch or open a representative office of an existing business. It is also allowed to open bank accounts with European banks and use their services.
To confirm a residence permit, you need to stay in Portugal for only 7 days a year. The investment amount is 500,000 euros in new housing or 350,000 euros in real estate which is older than 30 years. Thus, the state seeks to reconstruct and renovate the old fund, which is often a cultural heritage and is not subject to demolition.
In 5 years after obtaining a residence permit, a foreigner and his family can apply for citizenship of Portugal — the safest country in the EU. The passport of the republic allows you to move freely in different countries of the world, as well as to live, study and work in the states of the Schengen zone.
Residence permit in Spain
The state program for obtaining a residence permit in Spain was launched in 2013. The amount of investments is 500,000 euros in one or more real estate objects.
You can invest in both residential and commercial real estate. A residence permit is issued quite fast — in 2-3 months. In Spain, there is no mandatory minimum period of residence in the country.
The residence permit of the Kingdom of Spain gives the right to study, work and conduct business within the country. The children of the temporary resident can enroll in Spanish schools and universities, bypassing the quota for foreigners. The tuition fees will be lower than that for foreign citizens.