This article will examine the most popular Golden Visa schemes for moving to Europe with questioning residency in the EU. We will describe how to get a Golden Via in Greece, Spain or Portugal spesifically.


Golden Visas in Transformation

In recent months the well-known European Golden Visa schemes have been put anew in the spotlight. The Reason? Countries want to toughen their Golden Visa rules in the near future. Ireland and the UK have already stopped their schemes and Portugal is in the process of debating to renounce its Golden Visa scheme in parliament right now.

Even Spain has expressed the wish to be stricter. This is because the Ukraine war poses new questions regarding security risks, money laundering or tax evasion. European countries want to avoid assisting Russian oligarchs evading sanctions through the back door.


What are European Golden Visas and what privileges do you have?

Golden Visas issued by European countries are permits for prolonged or even permanent residency in a country as a foreigner. Crucially, the attribute “Golden” signals the attainment of residency of citizenship happening via an economic investment which can be executed in many different ways depending on the country.

However, not only do you have the right to live in a country, but you also benefit of free movement in the whole of the Schengen region without needing an additional visa. More importantly even, you can bring your family members with you, which in most cases include your spouse, underage children and parents. To properly benefit from the Golden Visa you and your family will have access to health care and education in equal conditions as local citizens. Although similar, Europe’s most popular Golden Visa programs demand country specific requirements and differ in important details to each other.

The Minimum universal requirements for any country offering a Golden Visa scheme is a minimum age of 18, having a clean criminal record and having sufficient funds to make the required investment.


The Greek Golden Visa – From Asia to Europe

One of the most popular Golden Visa schemes is issued by Greece. Greece is particularly attractive because of its climate, cuisine and beaches. Further, it is in proximity to Asia, thus providing for a great opportunity for Turkish, Russian or Arab clients. The most common form of investment performed to obtain the Golden Visa for Greece is an investment into real estate.

Recently, requirements have changed concerning this. From May 2023 onwards the minimum investment needed for real estate jumped from 250k to 500k for the most attractive parts in Greece which include Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini or Mykonos. Nonetheless, in comparison to other Golden Visa schemes in Europe 500k still is within the norm.

Naturally, alternative investments to real estate are available. You can buy government bonds for 400k, 400k in securities in a Greek bank, 400k in Greek private equity or venture capital funds among others.


Greek Golden Visas are so popular because they offer some crucial advantages over other Golden Visa schemes. One of these advantages are that Golden Visas are issued very quicky. Assuming having met all the requirements, Golden visas are given out within mere 60 days of applying. Compared to Portugal’s six months this is a great advantage.

Furthermore, residence permits have an instant duration of 5 years instead of two years, avoiding thus arduous residence prolongment applications. What is more, to benefit from residency you do not actually have to be in Greece which is different to Spain or Portugal.

Nevertheless, there is a minimum in country residency requirement if you want to obtain Greek citizenship on top of residency. For this, you would have to live in Greece for 7 years and more than 183 days a year.

Nonetheless, two things are to keep in mind when applying for a Golden Visa in Greece.  Firstly, as a resident you would need to make an additional application to have the right to work. Secondly, when purchasing real estate in Greece, you would have to pay a property tax at 3.09 percent of your home’s value. If you plan to sell your real estate then also take into account Greece’s capital gain tax at 15 percent if your home’s value has increased.


Why chose Spain?

Spain is another popular destination for Golden Visa prospects, with the country having issued thousands of residence permits since 2013. How to gain a Spanish Golden Visa? Again, the go to solution is a real estate investment at a minimum price of 500k. There are only few restrictions on what property can buy and Spanish politicians are discussing to raise the mark to 1 million. Alternatively, to real estate, 1 million can be invested in company shares or 2 mil in government bonds.

Like Greece, the is almost no minimum residency requirement to maintain the residence permit, only 1 day per year is necessary. However, also for Spain, permanent residency requires living at least 183 days per year in Spain. You can apply after 7 years of residency. Afterwards, you can sell your property. Applying for citizenship would then happen after 10 years of residency with the same minimum requirement of staying within Spanish territory 183 days each year and knowing Basic Spanish (A2). Contrary to Greece, Spain grants with its Golden Visa the Right to work


Portugal – the fastest way to European citizenship

Although Portugal is currently debating a legislative bill on ending golden visas, the country’s Golden Visa scheme should still be mentioned because of its attractive terms. Portugal’s minimum investment is fairly cheap compared to Spain. A mere 250 k investment in Arts and Cultural Heritage is enough to obtain residence. Real estate investments while generally like Spain residing at the 500k mark can under certain conditions be as low as 280k.

Buying real estate, however, is limited in Lisbon or Porto to commercial real estate as opposed to residential real estate. If you prefer, you can instead invest 500k in a business which creates 10 full time jobs for 3 years, invest 500k in an investment fund or Science or technology research contribution as well as do a capital transfer of 1,5 mil. As with Greece and Spain the choice is great.


To benefit and extend their Golden Visa after 2 years, foreigners must have spent 7 days a year in Portugal. After 5 years, you would become eligible for permanent residency or also citizenship, with condition of succeeding in the citizenship test and speaking elementary Portuguese. Compared to other European Golden Visa schemes, obtaining citizenship in Portugal as a consequence of a Golden Visa is fairly easy. Also, all residents have the right to work.


Speak to an Expert

Thus, we can ascertain to have realized that concerning the three most popular European Golden Visa schemes finding a definite winner is difficult – all have their advantages and disadvantages. When trying to find what is best in your situation it is advised to speak with experts in the field to guide you reliably to European residency. Also, consider your personal preferences with regards to food, climate or language, as European countries are quite different to each other.


You can click the link to browse our other articles.

Summer Intern Nicolaus CASATI

Att. Özge AKTAŞ

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