Things You Should Know About Golden Visa Programs in Europe
In order to attract investments, countries adopt all kinds of strategies to attract potential investors. While there are many such routes, we are going to talk about one which is quite interesting in its own way. Ordinarily, you become a citizen of a country by virtue of birth, naturalization, or marriage, or a resident of the country by virtue of the time spent.
However, quite a number of countries have come up with an innovative way to grant citizenship/residence through, what is known as, Golden Visa Program. In such a program, citizenship/residence is granted in consideration of investment.
As noted above, many countries operate such programs. The most notable ones come from Europe, especially from countries such as Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Bulgaria. Holding a passport from a European country in the EU is definitely a beneficial decision as it enables, among many other things, access to the entire Schengen one and many other countries. However, this is not the whole picture. To know more, you should keep reading as I have listed a few things which you should know about the European Golden Visa Programs.
- You will most likely spend a few years for Permanent Residence
Investors either aim for permanent residence or citizenship through Golden Visa programs. Ordinarily, an applicant can acquire permanent residence in any of the countries in the EU after five years of residence. Notable exceptions include Portugal that does not impose any stay requirement. Also, your permanent residence permit should be automatically renewable, but since the scheme differs from one country to another in some aspects, you may still have to undergo different application processes regarding the same.
- You may have to wait a little longer for citizenship
It may have come to your mind that once you have lived in an EU country for a few years you are assured citizenship under the program. Well, that is not the case! Even if you get a Golden Visa, you may still end up going for an extended period of stay depending on the country you have applied for. Generally, the applicant is expected to have stayed for at least a decade to acquire citizenship under the program but there are countries with shorter residence requirements such as Greece.
- The minimum investment for the program
I don’t want to keep repeating this, but I will do that one last time: it depends on the country whose program you have applied to. For example, the Maltese program requires that the applicants are first offered residence and then citizenship depending on the time spent in the country. The investment levels range from €600,000 to €750,000. Also, some countries such as Switzerland require investments to be actively used in certain areas such as job creation. Portugal, for example, also has a slew of other requirements that mandate the applicant to categorize investments in certain specific areas. So, it depends on what your goal is, what your investment budget is, and what benefits you are looking for.
- General conditions for a Golden Visa
Of course, there will be variations in the schemes offered; however, a few of the conditions are general. To obtain a Golden Visa, it is required that the applicant has the financial health to invest, his wealth has been acquired through legal means, he has a clean and credible track record with no criminal background, and he is capable of sustaining himself and his dependents throughout the duration he intends to stay in the country. All of these conditions must be met and they are ultimately scrutinized by the designated authorities. Some countries have a balance due diligence process while others may have a very stringent process.