The desire to move abroad or gain permanent residency in another country is one shared by many. One direct route that has gained traction in recent years is the Golden Visa programme, offered by multiple countries around the world. This is a guide to which countries are offering golden visas and some typical requirements you would have to meet to acquire one. Read on to find out more about this type of residency permit and what the different countries need from you.
What is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is typically a form of programme regarding immigration. Its target demographic is the wealthy nationals from abroad that are able to invest money into the country’s economic system upfront, either through a large contribution sum or some form of stake in the housing market, e.g., buying a property of significant value or committing to a rental period.
If you can meet the investment prerequisites, you can obtain a Golden Visa. Then, once confirmed, you and your chosen family members can live as residents would in the country of choice. It is worth noting that this is not an automatic right to citizenship, and while you may be able to have most of the benefits that native residents have, such as access to education and the ability to work, you have no right to obtain a passport at this stage.
What Do You Have to Do?
Every country has a variety of requirements. However, the general theme of Residency through Investment has concurrent stipulations such as the following.
- Any investment that you make has to be with your own finances. You must be the sole funder and not have borrowed the money from any external source whether that be a loan company or a family member. This will require extensive proof, some of which will be that the money is all legal and above board.
- Every investment will come with a time stamp. You have to keep up with the investment from the detailed time until the end of the contractual agreement. If you don’t, the process will be invalidated.
- You cannot have any criminal record in your name. Nor can any members of your family that you intend on bringing with you to the country. This is a baseline requirement of the majority of countries offering this scheme.
If you can meet all of these standards and match the criteria of the following points you will be well on your way to a Golden Visa.
- Buy a house of significant value. This is usually upwards of $200,000.
- Invest in a native country through stocks, shares, or otherwise.
- Set up a company that creates a number of roles for people.
- Contribute in some other way, i.e., academically or scientifically.
There are currently around 22 countries that offer this scheme. As mentioned above, each has its own set of requirements, but the general theme remains the same throughout the process regardless of the intended origin. Below, this article takes a deeper dive into a selection of countries to demonstrate typical protocols and allow for a broader insight into how this whole system might work.
The process of acquiring a Malta golden visa is fairly straightforward. When you have it, you are able to travel to over 100 countries in the EU. Further to this, you are able to keep your prior citizenship should you go down the path of attaining Maltese permanency. You are eventually afforded dual citizenship in certain contexts, but first must meet any of the two following requirements:
- Buy property. This is known as Residency by investment and means that at least 98,000 in Maltese currency is invested in a house or similar. You do not have to live in this property to maintain the visa, but you do have to keep up with payments and look after it while it is in your possession.
- Citizen by investment scheme. This differs slightly in that you don’t have to buy property, but you do still have to invest money, more so than the former option. If you are going down this route you have to put down at least 750K, and no less.
Let us now compare this to Greece, where Golden Visas are also a common factor. The Grecian Golden Visa scheme takes longer than the Maltese option if you are looking for citizenship alongside residency. It will take about seven years with some exceptions for this process to complete, so this country requires a more significant investment in both time and, as you will see below, money. Here are the highlights.
- Some form of property investment over 250K, or a rental agreement that will last for at least a decade.
- An investment into a Greek company or business of over 400K.
- An investment into a Greek bank account of over 400K.
So, the theme of investment remains true, but the figures and means of implementation vary drastically. Unlike Malta, there is only the investment route to obtaining this visa and nothing more.
Singapore is different again, with a concurrent requirement of significant cash put down upfront. If you wish to move, live or work here in this context, you will need to be able to offer a minimum, of 2,5 Million SGD in any of the following contexts:
- A business
- A government fund scheme
Alongside the monetary factors, your personal profile also has to be of a high standard. Prior enterprise experience is an absolute must, and you will not be considered without reputable proof to support it.
The Other Countries
So, there we have three stark examples of what to expect around the world. The rest of the countries have varying requirements along a similar agenda, and here is a list of where you might be able to look and invest.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- The United Kingdom
- The Cayman Islands
The Golden Visa demands skills, finances, and excellence. It is a programme designed to bring in talent and boost a countries economy through extending rights and residency to those who are going to invest and make it a better place to be.