Spain launched its Golden Visa programme in 2013. An investment of €500,000 in real estate will gain family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years. After five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years, citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit.
It is possible to apply for permanent residency in Spain after living in the country for five years. Citizenship can be applied for after living full-time for ten years. Although the temporary residency permit (the Golden Visa) can be easily renewed without living in the country. The route to both permanent residency and citizenship requires the investor and their family to reside in Spain. For this reason the Spanish Golden Visa programme is popular with those applicants who either wish to reside full-time in Spain or simply maintain a second residency in Europe but without a path to citizenship.
The Malta Citizenship Investment Scheme known as the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is aimed at ultra high net worth individuals. Individual investors must make a minimum contribution of €650,000 to the national development fund set up by the government, invest €150,000 in government approved financial instruments and commit to a residence in Malta, either rent or purchase, for a minimum of 5 years. The property value for purchased real estate needs to be a minimum €350,000. For rental it is a commitment of €16,000 pa. Each family member also has to contribute a sum to the development fund of €25,000 each. The benefits after one years’ residency are citizenship and a Maltese second passport. This in turn grants European access and the ability to live, work and study anywhere in the EU.
The Portugal Golden Visa program has proven to be the most popular scheme in Europe with investors attracted to its flexibility and benefits. Launched in 2012 the investor visa program has been actively promoted internationally by the Portuguese government. An investment of €500,000 (or €350,000 reduced option) in real estate in Portugal will gain a residency permit for a family including dependent children. The Golden Visa can be renewed every two years providing the applicant spends two weeks in the country every two years.
One of the most attractive options is the ability to apply for permanent residency and citizenship after five years without the need to reside in Portugal. In fact, the applicant and their family need only visit for two weeks in order to renew the Portuguese Golden Visa. In Portugal citizenship can be granted without the applicant having resided in the country. However, the investor having acquired residency through the Golden Visa programme will need to demonstrate ties to the country and pass a basic language test. Citizenship of Portugal and a second passport conveys the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
The Portuguese residency card granted through the Golden Visa programme allows the holder to travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.
Launched in July 2013 the Greek Golden Visa programme grants a five year residency visa in return for an investment in real estate. There is no minimum stay requirement and children up to the age of 21 are included in the family application. The visa is granted for five years and renewed every five years if the property investment is retained. It is not necessary to live in the country in order to retain and renew the investor visa. However, citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.
Cyprus offers two Golden Visa programmes through real estate investment. One for permanent residency and one for citizenship. The two Cypriot immigration investment schemes are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit and second passport. Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and English is widely spoken on the island. Cyprus offers the quickest, most assured route to citizenship of a European country through the Cypriot citizenship investment programme. An investment of €2.0 million in real estate is required, plus a donation of €75,000 to the Governments Research and Development fund and €75,000 to the Land Development Organisation. Cyprus is unique in its offering of citizenship within just six months of such an investment. This grants a Cypriot passport and citizenship of an EU country, allowing the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU including countries such as Germany, France and the UK. The investment can be reduced down after 5 years to just €500,000.
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