When it comes to investment immigration, the Golden Visa is a way to gain residency for non-EU nationals through investing in a country. The very first Golden Visa program was launched back in 2010 in Latvia, followed by Portugal as a way to bring in funds when the Portuguese real estate market was bottoming out. By issuing over 6,000 Golden Visas to applicants and over 10,000 visas to family members, the country has generated more than EUR 3.7 billion to date.
With the success of Portugal Residency by Investment Program, other countries in Europe have used this method to generate income and allow residency through investment while some countries have decided to offer Golden Visas to help stimulate the economy.
What a Golden Visa Really Is
When we talk about a Golden Visa, we are describing a permit for residency that allows someone the chance to live in a country and work toward citizenship using the traditional naturalization timeline. Golden Visa is a term used for all residency by investment programs where someone makes an investment in the country and then receives special treatment in the immigration process as a result of that. Not all of these programs are called Golden Visas, but the name has stuck regardless.
Where Golden Visas Are Available
Most of the Golden Visa programs that you will find are located in Europe and more specifically in the European Union. While there are other sorts of programs that offer residency permits in exchange for an investment, the Golden Visa mainly applies to those in the European Union. These residencies are often highly sought after and let you spend your time travelling and living in the EU.
Who Should Consider a Golden Visa
There are a few different groups of people who tend to be looking for second citizenship and for whom a Golden Visa might be a reasonable option. These include citizens of the United States who want a Tier A passport to replace their passport from the US. Those from areas with subpar passports who wish to access to the EU for schools, safety, and stability might also find that a Golden Visa offers that option.
Investors and business owners looking to spend all their time in Europe are also included. While some of the Golden Visas require that you live in the country to gain citizenship, that isn’t always the case. Regardless of whether that is a stipulation, each of them lets the holder have unlimited access to the EU.
Not everyone in those groups will find that the Golden Visa is the right option. For example, some US citizens might prefer to choose a Tier B passport and retain their citizenship in the United States. However, those who are looking to spend a significant amount of time in Europe may also be interested in a Golden Visa, which allows travel in many areas. What many people do not realize is that there is even a tax benefit for those who fall into this group.
How the Golden Visa Process Works
The idea behind a Golden Visa is that it happens quickly. That isn’t always true, but it can be. You may be processed quicker as a spouse in some countries, and other countries may not have laws about how quickly applications are processed. However, you can expect to be put at the front of the line. You won’t need to meet certain requirements, like having a job or a partner.
What you do have to do is have the money to invest. It depends on the country how much money that means. Some of the programs have incredibly high fees, while others are more moderate. Since the purpose of this Golden Visas is to allow residency to wealthy investors, the program is there to make money.
Benefits of a Golden Visa
Beyond having the option of becoming a citizen, a Golden Visa also offers other benefits. When you have a permanent or temporary residence in an EU country, you have visa-free travel even to countries that may not be on your passport. This can offer an excellent strategy for US citizens who prefer a more powerful passport and wish to do a greater amount of travelling. Those who decide to invest in Golden Visa from an EU country also enjoy tax advantages, access to the EU's single market and social services.
Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria, theUK and the USA, all offer Residency by Investment in some form. If that’s something you are interested in, it is wise to learn the differences between the visas for each country, so you select the best option for yourself and your family.