The world’s best golden visas

Posted on 03 February 2017

With Turkey announcing a new residence/citizenship for investment scheme, (aka the “Golden Visa”), what are  your options in different countries of the world?

Most countries allow wealthy people to buy their way in if they are spending money or creating local jobs. In the USA it’s the EB-5 programme, in the UK the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa and in France the French Residence Permit Program for Exceptional Economic Contribution, which costs €10 million (although there are cheaper options).

What makes a golden visa so special is that (a) the investment can be in residential property, i.e. your own home, and (b) if in the EU it will allow you to buy a property in one country but live (and sometimes even work), anywhere within the 26 nations of the Schengen Area.

Here are the basic requirements for each visa:


A real estate investment of €500,000 is enough to get full residency for you and your family. You don’t need to live in Spain, although there are worse place to live, but if you do choose to then after five years permanent residency is possible and after 10 years you can apply for Spanish citizenship.

If you wish to buy in Spain, download the FREE Spain Buying Guide from Property Guides.


Like Spain, €500,000 is enough for a Portuguese golden visa, but Portugal offers citizenship after six years and it is also a relatively low-tax regime for foreigners. The country has made billions of euros from its scheme and rejuvenated the high-end property market in the Algarve’s Golden Triangle and Lisbon.


The little country that many see as having a bright future as a European answer to Singapore, offers visas for just a €300,000 property investment. It allows you to bring your grandparents, parents and children too, to a sunny, friendly island where every generation could enjoy themselves. The investment has to be in new property, but with new marinas going up in every corner of the island, oil discovered off the coast and a possible end to the split between north and south on the cards, this is one to watch.


While Cyprus’s visa process has a reputation for being fast and efficient to obtain, the Greek process is reputed to be slow and bureaucratic, even though in theory it only takes a month. It is the cheapest, however, at €250,000 worth of residential property (plus a fair amount in buying costs and taxes). It might be worth using some of the money you save on a professional visa agent to help you through the Greek red tape.


Not being in the Schengen Area, a golden visa from Turkey has less appeal than the others for many non-European buyers. However, perhaps it shouldn’t, with Turkey’s membership of the EU a distinct possibility one day. With a price of US$1 million (roughly £800,000) it isn’t cheap, but the investment can be in residential property and this is a country where property prices are shooting up. Hence the investment might pay dividends in the short-term and the visa in the long-term. Win win!

For more information about buying in all these countries, download a FREE guide from Property Guides.


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