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What to consider when investing in a Golden Visa

From Europe to the Caribbean and everywhere in between, there are a host of nations that offer the opportunity for investors to gain citizenship or residency via investment. However, it’s important that when investing, you do so through a reputable third party in order to ensure the process is done legitimately. Astons, the international experts on real estate, residency and citizenship through investment, has detailed what to consider when looking to secure a Golden Visa.

Selecting a suitable program

Different programs offer different opportunities and so it’s important that you opt for one that fits with your personal situation, capacity and goals for investment.

Most nations offer a number of options ranging from non-refundable government fund contributions, the rental or purchase of real estate, donations to a non-profit organisation, government bonds, investment into company shares or intellectual property, a fixed asset cash investment or tax requirements. Others such as Monaco, can simply require proof of financial resources or accommodation.

Depending on what nation and which route you opt for, an investment can require a minimum of $107,000 but can climb as high as $2.4m in some cases.

You also need to consider if you want to secure full citizenship or simply gain resident status. Some nations, such as Malta, offer the option of both. Vanuatu offers the chance to secure citizenship for $130,000, while this can climb to $611,000 and higher in Bulgaria for example.

Other locations such as the USA, Jersey, Monaco and Greece, only offer the chance to gain residency and again, the minimum cost can vary depending on location and investment route.

Residency vs Citizenship

Residency allows you to legally reside within a given nation. This means you can live and work and it often acts as a precursor to securing citizenship, allowing you to hit the ground running and benefit from your chosen investment location until such time you are eligible for citizenship.

You are also able to benefit if your chosen destination is part of a wider travel agreement, such as the EU or Schengen Area. As a result, investment in these areas is particularly popular as it allows visa-free travel to a number of additional countries.

Citizenship provides a step up from residency, not only allowing the benefits of travel without restrictions but granting those investing full political rights, the right to vote, hold public office and so on. So it may be preferable for those looking to make a permanent move to better the lives of their family, rather than simply improve their professional life.

Investment vs Real Estate

Although there is a myriad of investment options available, they can essentially be split by the more traditional investment routes or investment via real estate.

Both have their own benefits and again, it’s important to identify which is most suitable for your individual situation.

Direct investment can include fixed-term investment such as the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa, non-refundable government contributions like that offered by Malta, or cash investment on the creation of a company via a program such as Turkey.

Nation’s such as Bulgaria offer investment via government bonds, while in Ireland you may invest via enterprise, fund or endowment routes. Portugal offers the chance to invest through capital transfer while neighbouring Spain provides the option of shares investment, government bonds or bank deposits. In the US, job creation investment will enable you to secure residency.

However, for those who may want to lay a stronger, physical foundation, real estate investment is also an option. In Malta, both the rental or purchase of real estate will see you qualify, while in Turkey you are required to purchase a property.

Many Caribbean nations provide approved real estate investment opportunities including commercial investment, while real estate acquisition and investment is also an option in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Jersey to name but a few.

Managing Director of Astons, Arthur Sarkisian, commented: “There are a wealth of options available to those interested in investing in alternative residency or citizenship and it can be hard to know where to start. Investors commit due to a range of reasons including political uncertainty or unrest, the chance to improve their professional assets or to better the quality of life available to their family.

Personal preference and financial pedigree will play a big part in the options available, but it is also important to consider which investment route best works for you individual criteria. Of course, the best way to do this is to seek advice from a legitimate company that can ensure you make the right choice and arrive at your destination without cutting corners.”

Table shows example investment options and requirements across a range of Golden Visa programs

TypeNationInvestment options
United KingdomCitizenship / ResidencyFixed term investment only scheme
MaltaCitizenship / Residency> Non-refundable government fund contribution = 600,000 / 750,000 EUR
> Rent or real-estate purchase = 90,000 / 700,000 EUR
> Donation to non-profit organisation = 10,000 EUR
MontenegroCitizenship> Non-refundable contribution through government fund donation = 100,000 EUR
> Real estate investment in an undeveloped region = 250,000 EUR
> Non-refundable contribution through government fund donation = 100,000 EUR
> Real estate investment in developed region = 450,000 EUR
BulgariaCitizenship> Government bonds
> Shares of companies
> Intellectual property
> Fiduciary investment
ranging from 512,000 EUR to 1,024,000 EUR
DominicaCitizenship> Donation to government fund = 100,000 USD
> Real estate investment = 200,000 USD
Saint LuciaCitizenship> Government donation = 100,000 USD
> Government bonds investment = 250,000 USD
> Real estate investment = 300,000 USD
Antigua and BarbudaCitizenship> Non-refundable contribution to government = 100,000 USD
> Real estate investment = 200,000 to 400,000 USD
Saint Kitts and NevisCitizenship> Non-refundable contribution to government fund = 150,000 USD
> Real estate investment = 200,000 to 400,000 USD
GrenadaCitizenship> Non-refundable donation to government fund = 150,000 USD
> Real estate investment = 220,000 to 350,000 USD
TurkeyCitizenship> Real estate property (commercial or residential) = 250,000 USD
> Fixed asset cash investment = 500,000 USD
> Company set up to create jobs for at least 50 Turkish employees
VanuatuCitizenship> Non-refundable contribution from 130,000 USD
> proof of funds
IrelandResidency> Enterprise investment = 1,000,000 EUR
> Investment fund = 1,000,000 EUR
> Real estate investment trust = 2,000,000 EUR
> Endowment = 500,000 EUR
PortugalResidency> Property acquisition from = 280,000 EUR
> Business investment = 350,000 EUR or creation of 10 new jobs
> Capital transfer = 1,000,000 EUR
GreeceResidency> Real estate acquisition min value = 250,000 EUR
> Real estate lease or timeshare min value = 250,000 EUR
CyprusResidency> Residential property purchase = 300,000 EUR
MonacoResidency> Proof of financial resources
> Proof of accommodation
SpainResidency> Real estate investments = 500,000 EUR
> Shares or business investment = 1,000,000 EUR
> Government bonds = 2,000,000 EUR
> Bank deposit = 1,000,000 EUR
JerseyResidency> Pay taxes to Jersey per annum = 125,000 GBP
> Property acquisition = 1,000,000 GBP
USAResidency> General investor requirements
> Minimum investment threshold = 900,000 USD
> Investment to create 10 full time jobs

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