Moving to a new country can be an exciting opportunity to experience another culture, access new business opportunities, and enjoy a higher quality of life. However, many countries have strict immigration rules and regulations that are hard to navigate. Fortunately, there is an alternative for those with money – Golden Visa programs which are used in Golden Visa countries.
These special visas offer investors the chance to obtain residency in exchange for investing money into the country’s economy or real estate market.
Several countries offer Golden Visa schemes, and each one has its own set of requirements and benefits. In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the best Golden Visa countries.
A Golden Visa is a type of residence permit issued to foreign investors who make significant investments in the country. This investment can be anything from real estate to government bonds, and it must meet certain criteria set by the government of each country offering the program.
In return for their investment, investors will receive a residency permit, allowing them to live in that particular country, access its healthcare and education systems, and benefit from tax incentives or other financial advantages.
The Golden Visa has several benefits over other types of residence permits. These are:
- Long-term residency: Most regular residence permits are valid for only a few years, while Golden Visas usually last up to 10 years. These are suitable for those who want to stay in a country long-term.
- Tax benefits: Many countries offer tax incentives or reduced taxes for those holding a Golden Visa, making it an attractive option for wealthy individuals looking to reduce their tax liabilities.
- Family members: Most Golden Visa programs recognise that investors may have family members who should also have the right to reside in the country. This is usually extended to spouses, children, and parents in some cases.
- Self-sponsored: Regular visas require sponsorship from a local resident or organisation. However, Golden Visas are self-sponsored by the applicant.
- Flexibility: Golden Visas typically offer more flexibility than regular residence permits, allowing investors to travel freely and access other countries’ visa-free travel programs.
Now that you know what a Golden Visa is and the benefits it offers, let’s take a look at 6 countries offering this type of program.
Canada offers several residency by investment programs that are equivalent to the Golden Visa.
The Start-up Visa Program is one of the most popular residency by investment programs in Canada, and it’s designed to attract foreign entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in Canada.
The program requires applicants to have a minimum investment of CAD 200,000 if it comes from a Canadian venture capital fund or CAD 75,000 if it is from a Canadian angel investor group.
Under this program, you must also present proof of money to support yourself or your family. The amount depends on how many family members you plan to bring. If it’s just you, the required amount is CAD 13,310, while a family of five needs CAD 28,052.
Once accepted into the program, successful applicants will be given permanent residence status and can begin setting up their businesses in Canada.
At a provincial level, the most popular Golden Visa program is the Quebec Investor Program. Here, you must have a net worth of at least CAD 2,000,000 and make a five-year term investment of CAD 1,200,000 with IQ Immigrants Investisseurs inc.
The Italy Investor Visa is a permit that grants residency to citizens of non-EU countries in Italy. It provides a route for investors who wish to gain access to the country’s growing markets and resources.
To qualify, applicants can fulfil one of these requirements:
- A minimum of EUR 2,000,000 investment in Italian government bonds
- A minimum of EUR 500,000 investment in an Italian limited company (or EUR 250,000 in an innovative start-up)
- A minimum of EUR 1,000,000 donation to projects of public interest, like research and development, education, arts and heritage, and ecology
After making this initial investment, the investor will receive a residence permit valid for two years with multiple entry/exit privileges throughout Europe’s Schengen area. This permit also grants a range of tax benefits and incentives.
Visa holders can renew their Investor Visa every three years as long as they maintain their investment. If they stay in Italy for 5 years, they can apply for a permanent residence permit. After 10 years, they can apply for Italian citizenship.
The beautiful country of Greece is also one of the Golden Visa countries. Greece’s Golden Visa program was introduced in 2013 as part of a larger effort by the government to boost foreign direct investment into the country’s economy.
The visa grants foreign investors and their families residence permits in exchange for investments made in Greece. This visa allows holders to live, work, and travel freely throughout Europe’s Schengen Area.
As of 2023, the investment requirement must be worth at least EUR 500,000 euros in real estate or other approved assets such as bonds or stocks. It used to be EUR 250,000 only, but the Greek government announced an increase in late 2022 to raise the affordability of real estate for Greek citizens.
Other requirements include the following:
- Full ownership, possession, and peaceful enjoyment of real estate property in Greece via a legal entity
- At least a ten-year lease of hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist accommodation complexes
This visa grants a five-year residency in Greece and comes with numerous benefits, including access to healthcare, education, and social services; unrestricted travel throughout the Schengen Area without a visa; and reduced tax rates on foreign income.
It also allows family members of the investor—including spouse and children under 21—to receive residence permits as well. This makes it an attractive option for those seeking long-term residency in Europe with their families.
Malta’s Golden Visa is known as the Malta Permanent Residency Programme (MPRP). It is a government-backed investment program that provides foreign nationals with the opportunity to obtain a Maltese long-term residency.
The program was introduced as part of Malta’s efforts to attract wealthy investors and entrepreneurs from around the world, and it has since become one of the most popular residence programs in Europe.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have a clean personal and professional background and hold no criminal records
- Cannot be an EEA or a Swiss national
- Must prove they are in good health and have an appropriate health insurance policy
- Must purchase or lease a property in Malta
- Must make an additional qualifying investment in Government Stock
In terms of investments, applicants have three options to choose from: real estate, full contribution, or reduced contribution.
For real estate, applicants can either rent or purchase; the minimum rent is EUR 12,000 per annum, and the minimum purchase price is EUR 350,000.
Under the full contribution option is a EUR 98,000 contribution to the Maltese government, a mandatory charitable donation of EUR 2,000 to a Maltese-registered NGO, and renting a residential unit for EUR 10,000 for five years in the South of Malta and Gozo.
In the reduced contribution scheme, applications need to make a EUR 68,000 contribution to the government, a mandatory charitable donation of EUR 2,000 to a registered NGO, and purchase a residential unit for EUR 300,000 for five years in the South of Malta and Gozo.
Once approved, applicants receive a Certificate of Residence. This certificate allows them to reside indefinitely in Malta without having to apply for visas each year or renew their status.
It also provides access to other benefits, such as the right to travel visa-free throughout the Schengen Zone and access to health care and education services.
The United Arab Emirates Golden Visa Program is a relatively new program designed to attract foreign investment into the country. The scheme gives investors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to obtain residency in the UAE, allowing them to stay in the country for a long period of time by investing in designated areas.
To get a Golden Visa, an investor must do the following:
- Deposit at least AED 2,000,000 into a UAE investment fund
- Possess a commercial or industrial licence with a capital of at least AED 2,000,000 (capital should be fully owned)
- Possess a letter from the Federal tax authority stating that the investor pays no less than AED 250,000 annually
Once the investments are made, investors will be able to apply for the Golden Visa, which allows them and their family members (spouse and children) to stay in the UAE for up to 10 years.
The visa holders can also enjoy benefits such as no restrictions on employment, education, travel and access to government services. In addition, they can take advantage of tax exemptions on income earned outside of the UAE.
The goal of this program is to attract foreign investment into the UAE’s key sectors and make it an attractive destination for skilled professionals and entrepreneurs. It is hoped that the influx of foreign capital will help boost economic growth, create jobs and increase the flow of human capital into the country.
Golden Visas are an excellent way to gain residency in another country while at the same time making a significant investment in its economy. Some programs even offer permanent residency and eventual citizenship, meaning that investors can make a long-term commitment to the country.
With the right information and preparation, investors can take advantage of these programs and benefit from all that they have to offer. Advantages include tax benefits, access to healthcare and education, and the ability to travel freely to visa-free countries.
So if you’re looking for an opportunity to invest abroad or move to another country with little hassle, why not consider one of the five Golden Visa countries mentioned above?
Next Generation Equity can help you choose the right Golden Visa program for your needs. Our experienced consultants are knowledgeable about the best visa programs and can provide advice on how to make a successful application.
We also offer assistance in preparing all of the necessary paperwork and documents, as well as helping you understand any tax or legal implications that may arise when investing abroad.
If you’d like to learn more about our services or find out how we can help, get in touch today!