Golden Visa: How can overseas investment lead to EU residency and citizenship?

During the Covid-19 travel restrictions, a Golden Visa investment in places like Portugal or Greece opened a closed border. Do you wonder how? Let’s read on.

Golden Visa programs at a glance

Golden Visa means more than just a residency by investment program. In return for your investment overseas, you obtain EU residency, EU citizenship, and an extended right of mobility. Furthermore, you include your family members in it as well.

EU residency and citizenship

Golden Visa programs such as Portugal, Greece, and Spain offer temporary residency as a first step. If you fulfill the necessary stay requirement of the related country, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship as well. For Portugal, you need to wait for five years to apply for citizenship and permanent residency. For Spain, following five years of temporary residence, you can apply for permanent residency. After ten years of permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship through the process of naturalization if specific criteria are met.

Greece, on the other hand, requires seven years to apply for citizenship. However, because it is relatively a new program, there is no access to data regarding investors who obtained residency.

Minimum or no stay requirement

Each Golden Visa country entails different periods of stay requirement. To name a few, Portugal requires at least seven days on average each year. Spain requires only one entrance per year. Greece, on the other hand, does not require you to stay in the country at all.

Ease of mobility

Golden Visa means an extension of mobility rights. As a related Golden Visa country resident, it’ll become easier for you to travel between the two. Also, you will obtain the right to visa-free travel across the Schengen area. It happens soon after you complete the investment process.

After you obtain citizenship, you’ll automatically become an EU citizen as well. It means the right to work, live, and study in any EU country you wish. Not to mention that your family members will benefit from this as you do.

Ease of mobility also works well, especially if you want to expand your business abroad. At this point, Portugal can be an excellent option in terms of its growing tech and startup sector. According to the Digitalization Index 2020, Portugal ranks 8th among 30 other countries. As the 2020 EY Attractiveness Survey also indicates, demand in the tech sector is on the rise.  The survey showed that the State of European Tech report for 2019 demonstrated the increase in “the number of tech job searches per capita in Portugal.” It says that the number “grew 45% between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2019. It was the second-highest growth rate in Europe, only surpassed by Belgium.”

It is also no surprise that a total of 55 investors invested in investment funds or venture capital funds only in the last three years. They obtained residency in Portugal as part of the Golden Visa program in return.

More than 9,000 investors received residency in Portugal

According to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), a total of 9,389 investors obtained residency in Portugal. This happened between October 2012 and December 2020. Of 9,389; 8,829 investors chose to buy real estate to get residency. The reason is that the real estate market in Portugal is relatively affordable. The minimum required amount starts from €280,000, for instance. Combined with its pristine beaches and stable lifestyle, Portugal has attracted many investors.

Another reason for this interest is that you can liquidate your investment once you become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen.

Obtaining residency in Portugal doesn’t mean you need to stay in Portugal. However, it provides good reasons to do this. It ranks the 3rd peaceful country in the world, according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. Along with safety, healthcare in Portugal is also well developed. The healthcare system in Portugal is known for its short waiting times and accessibility.

Also, many international schools can benefit your children if you decide to move there.

Greece provides the lowest investment option for EU residency

A minimum €250,000 investment in real estate is sufficient to apply for Greece Golden Visa. It is the lowest amount required among other Golden Visa programs to get EU residency.

Greece has also introduced a new update allowing applicants and their families to apply remotely. Accordingly, you sign a Power of Attorney at a local Greek Consulate. Later, your local firm submits your application. It can also complete the investment on your behalf. So, it can buy a property worth at least €250,000. Or, it can pay a deposit of a minimum of €400,000 in government bonds.

There is only one exception. You and your family members will only need to enter Greece once for the proof of biometrics, and that’s all.

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