The Golden Visa is otherwise known as the “Golden Door” to Europe.
For some, the “Golden Door” is a marriage of convenience to gain easy access to Europe.
As the economic crisis spreads all over the world, Europe is introducing new laws, which facilitate foreign investment in its territory.
Likewise, citizens of non-European countries with a wealthy bank account are invited to invest in Europe. By purchasing properties and transferring capital or by creating jobs, the investors (in exchange) qualify for a “Golden Visa,” which entitles free movement of people, goods and capital within the Schengen Area as a European citizen.
Countries like Portugal, Spain or Cyprus already have enacted their laws; other countries are to follow, as this is an excellent opportunity to gain extra investment with foreign money.
Due to the crisis all over Europe, it's a fine time to invest, as prices have reached an all-time low in several years, companies have no money and need liquid investment to prevent unemployment from rising. Nowadays, mainly real-estate is the perfect investment; the truth is you can buy two properties, or even three, paying the price of one property some years ago.
There are other benefits to having a “Golden Visa.” For instance, the investors do not necessarily need to obtain permanent residency. The term of residence can be as low as one week per year. However, if they decide to relocate to Europe, they will have the right to family regrouping, and after spending sizeable time (several years), they may qualify for permanent residency, as well as receive a European citizenship/passport.
Thus, the old continent intends to – in a smooth operation – attract foreign investment, which would certainly improve the economy and keep unemployment to a minimum.
Portugal is a part of Schengen, while UK is not. So the Schengen residence permits and visas issued by Portugal do not give you permission to visit UK. You have to apply for separate UK visa to visit United Kingdom. Keep in mind that you will be issued residence permit if you apply for golden visa program in Portugal, which gives you rights for residency in Portugal.
Property Investment in €500,000 with Golden Visa Portugal
The Portugal Golden Visa Program has proven to be the most popular scheme in scheme in Europe with investor visa program has been actively promoted internationally by the Portuguese government. An investment of €500,000 in real estate in Portugal will gain a residency permit for a family including dependent children. The golden visa can be renewed every two years providing the applicant spends two weeks in the country every two years.
One of the most attractive options is the ability to apply for Permanent Residency after 5 years and citizenship after 6 years without the need to reside in Portugal. In fact, the applicant and their family need only visit for two weeks every two years in order to renew the Portuguese Golden Visa. In Portugal citizenship can be granted without the applicant having resided in the country. However the investor having acquired residency through the golden visa programme will need to demonstrate ties to the country and pass a basic language test. Citizenship of Portugal and a second passport conveys the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union. The Portuguese residency card granted through the golden Visa Programme allows the holder to travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.
The Property market in Portugal like many Southern European Countries suffered with the credit crisis and Prices are typically 20% - 30% below their acme. There is a clear turn in the market and property above the €500,000 investment visa limit is seeing huge demand particularly in the capital, Lisbon. Investors buying into the real estate market in Portugal for the Golden Visa now have excellent prospects for capital gain in the coming years. There are clear distinctions between typical vacation homes on the coast in Portugal and city properties such as Lisbon. It is particular with market demand for property types and ongoing rental or lifestyle options are there for investor.
Cyprus has a very favorable tax regime for individuals and companies. Over 80% of the country speaks English and there are excellent education facilities including several UK universities with campuses on the island. Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in Europe and is the 5th safest country in the world. There is a high standard of educational institutions and healthcare facilities. Cyprus is strategically located at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Cyprus is set to join the EU Schengen zone soon. Property acquired is freehold, there is a low property tax and there is reduced VAT on property of just 5% (subject to conditions).
Cyprus offers two golden visa programs through real estate investment. One is for permanent residency and other one is for citizenship. The two Cypriot immigration investment schemes are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit and second passport. Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and English is widely spoken on the island.
Applicants can secure permanent residency in Cyprus through investment in real estate. The programme is one of the fastest and simplest investor visa programmes in Europe. It requires investment of just €300,000 into property to gain the Cyprus residency permit.
The residency visa is granted within two months and covers the whole family. It includes parents both of the main applicant and spouse plus dependent children up to the age of 25. It is valid for life and can be passed down to dependents and spouse.
The permanent residency programme offers ease of travel throughout the European Union and requires just one visit to Cyprus by all family members once every two years.
The investment may be made by a company for which the main applicant and spouse are beneficial owners. The investment can be in to a maximum of two properties provided they reach the €300,000 permanent residency limit. The properties purchased must be brand new.
Cyprus offers the quickest, most assured route to European citizenship and a second passport through the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme. An investment of €2.0 million in real estate is required. Cyprus is unique in its offering of citizenship within just 6 months of such an investment. This grants a Cypriot passport and EU citizenship, allowing the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU including countries such as Germany, France and the UK. The investment can be reduced down after 3 years to just €500,000.
Simple, fast process
Second European passport in just six months
The main attraction for high net worth individuals is the immediate EU citizenship on offer for qualifying real estate investments. Read more on the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program. Applicants are required to have a clear criminal record. There is no language requirement, medical test or interview for citizenship applicants.
Cyprus is the only country in Europe offering immediate citizenship through investment in real estate. It is by far the quickest route taking just 6 months to obtain an EU passport. Citizenship is also possible through investment in real estate in Portugal by application, but after six years.
Spain Golden Visa
Golden Visa Spain with €500,000 investment.
Spain launched its golden visa programme in 2013. An investment of €500,000 in real estate will gain family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years. After five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit.
Spain Golden Visa holders from non-EU nationals can obtain residency (later citizenship) in Spain by investing either:
If you are interested to invest in Spain and obtain residency there, here are some of the basic requirements for potential investors:
You should not worry about permanently move to Spain (if you don’t want to). There is no requirement for the Spanish Golden Visa holder to actually reside in Spain. Investors have no minimum stay requirement and under the new Act, investors no longer need to travel to Spain at least once during the permitted period for a residence permit or renewal thereof.
You should not worry about leaving your families behind. The regulations allow you to bring your immediate family (spouse and children under 18 years old) as long as you stated this in your application process. Each family member must comply with the requirements of no criminal records; and you only need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support them. Spanish residence visas may also be issued to children up to 18 years, economically dependent adult children, and economically dependent parents. The act also includes your children over 18 years old who, due to health issues, are not objectively capable of looking after themselves. Aside from these, children above 18 years old must apply for the Spain Golden Visa on their own rights.
You should not worry about your high net-worth and income tax. Investors are not required to become a fiscal resident in Spain. The holder of Spain Residence Visa can take decisions on their fiscal residency independently.
You should not worry about not being able to work in Spain. Although it was not allowed previously, the 2015 changes in Spanish Golden Visa requirements allow the holder of this visa to work in Spain and take part in economic activities. You should not worry about travelling around Europe. Apart from living in Spain, investors with Spanish Golden Visa can also travel within Schengen countries freely for a maximum of 90 days, without the need for further visas.
Permanent residency. You still need to follow a set of procedures and get permits to be a permanent resident.
Spanish healthcare system. You are not eligible for this, and need to have your own access to medical insurance.
Retroactive. If you have invested €500,000 (or more) in Spanish real estate, this doesn’t mean that you will get a Spanish Golden Visa. The program was effective by the 28th of September 2013 under Spain’s Official Law Gazette (B.O.E.), and any investment made prior to the said date will not qualify.
Taxes. If you buy a property, the applicable taxes would not count towards being above the €500,000 threshold.
When you have met all the requirements and have prepared all the necessary documents, the process for obtaining your Spanish Golden Visa is relatively quick. In general, the authorities have a period of 20 days from the date on which the application is submitted to process your application. If they do not reject the application within that time frame, the application is automatically accepted. You can contact us for a Spanish Golden Visa here and we will assist you throughout the whole process, one step at a time.
List of Documents for a Successful Golden Visa Application:
Proof of investments:
Property: certificate of registration of the property and purchase deeds of the real estate;
Unlisted shares and equity: statement of investment filed with the Investments Register of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Resistor de Inversions);
Listed shares: document from a financial broker registered with the National Securities Market Commission (CMNV) or the Bank of Spain;
Public debt: certificate from the financial institution or the Bank of Spain indicating that the applicant has been the sole owner of the investment for a period of not less than five years;
Bank deposits: certificate from the financial institution indicating that the applicant is the sole owner of the bank deposit;
Business project: before applying for a visa or permit, a favourable report is required on the business and entrepreneurial activity intended to be carried out in Spain.
How Long Does the Spain Golden Visa Last for?
Initially, it lasts for a period of 2 years. Investors can renew it every two years. (as long as you still meet the requirements). After 5 years, investors can apply for a permanent visa that would entitle them to use Spanish healthcare system. They would no longer need to keep investments they have initially made. Investors can also apply for Spanish nationality after 10 years, if they wish to do so.
It is possible to apply for permanent residency in Spain after living in the country for five years. Citizenship can be applied for after living full time for ten years. Although the temporary residency permit (the golden visa) can be easily renewed without living in the country, the route to both permanent residency and citizenship requires the investor and their family to reside in Spain. For this reason many investors prefer the option of Portugal where such residence is not a requirement.