Your ticket to a "Golden Visa"
Updated: Oct 25, 2022
We often mention our love for Spain and the opportunity to diversify your real estate portfolio by expanding internationally. Since the global pandemic, we can all agree that real estate has changed around the world. With more jobs becoming remote, buyers/sellers shifting their needs to fit a new lifestyle, and the rising cost of living in the US it’s no wonder people are stretching to every corner of the Earth. We have met with real estate brokerages across the Atlantic and already-living-abroad expats to bring you the information you need to decide if it’s time to make your purchase abroad and how to make it work for you.
If you are not a citizen of the European Union, you can benefit from “Golden Visa” programs offering permanent residency in exchange for a real estate investment. After an extended period of legal residency, you can also qualify for citizenship and be eligible for a passport.
In this introductory post of what the “Golden Visa” is we will provide quick points of which countries in Europe offer it, investment minimums and more. There are different types of residence visas and work visas- we are specifically discussing the details of an Investor Visa and Residency Permit (AKA the “Golden Visa”) for real estate purposes. This may or may not be the best fit for you. If not, there are other options and sources that we can refer you to.
Spain. Minimum €500,000 ($548,633) unrestricted real estate investment. No minimum stay period. Applicants can apply for permanent residence after 5 years. Eligible for Spanish citizenship after 10 years with proof of physical residence and social integration in the country. Dual citizenship generally not permitted. Basic Spanish language proficiency required for citizenship. Visa-free access or visa on arrival to 190 countries including all E.U. member countries, Switzerland, the United States, and Canada.
If you purchase a personal home in Spain it can count toward the total of €500,000. In larger cities like Barcelona and Madrid apartments in many central neighborhoods will easily cost that. Don’t have the funds for a purchase with that price tag? We suggest you consider investing in rental properties to reach the €500,00 total…AND earn income. In addition, the residence visa that you’ll get through your Golden Visa gives you the right to work in Spain, if you choose.
Portugal. Minimum €280,000 ($307,234) real estate investment in restricted areas; €500,000 ($548,633) in major cities. Seven-day minimum stay requirement in first year of legal residency; 14 days every two years thereafter. No minimum stay requirement after five years of legal residency with acquisition of permanent residency. You’re eligible for Portuguese citizenship after the fifth year without proof of physical residence beyond minimum stay. Dual citizenship permitted. Basic Portuguese language proficiency required for citizenship. Visa-free access or visa on arrival to 188 countries including all E.U. member countries, Switzerland, the United States, and Canada.
**New restrictions apply to the Portugal Golden Visa Program as of March 2022; eligible areas for residential real estate investment purchases are stated as 'interior' and 'low-density'. In contrast, for commercial real estate, there are no location restrictions currently in place. If you purchase residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350000 if investing in a rehab project. If the residential property is located in a designated 'low-density' area, then a 20% discount applies.
If island life is suited for you, Portugual's Maderia and Azores islands are available for purchase at atleast 500,000 or 350,000 in investment is a rehab project. Note that these islands are classified as high-density so there is no 20% discount option here.
Cyprus. Minimum €300,000 ($329,180) real estate investment purchased directly from developer and proof of minimum annual income of €30,000 ($32,918). No minimum stay requirement. Eligible for Cypriot citizenship after 10 years with proof of physical residence. Dual citizenship permitted. Intermediate Greek language proficiency required for citizenship. Visa-free access or visa on arrival to 176 countries including all E.U. member countries, Switzerland, and Canada. A visa is required to visit the United States.
Greece. Minimum €250,000 ($27,4316) unrestricted real estate investment. No minimum stay requirement. Eligible for Greek citizenship after seven years with proof of physical residence and filing tax returns. Dual citizenship permitted. Intermediate Greek language proficiency required for citizenship. Visa-free access or visa on arrival to 186 countries including all E.U. member countries, Switzerland, the United States, and Canada.
We strongly encourage you to consult with a visa specialist who knows how the process works and who can help usher you through the application system in the country you decide to invest in.
Sources used to help provide you this information: International Living, Global Citizen Solutions, and Sothebys International Realty-Barcelona.