More and more individuals around the world dream of a new life in a foreign country. According to research, the number of international migrants grew to 281 million in 2020, despite many countries closing their borders due to the pandemic. Those looking to migrate to a new country must apply for the appropriate visa. Many choose either a work or student visa. However, another option is available for people who want to stay longer: the investor visa.
An investor visa suits those with large budgets and high net worth. It allows individuals to gain residence in a foreign country through investments and business activities.
This guide will explore in detail what an investor visa is and what benefits it provides. Let’s get started!
Definition of Investor Visa
An investor visa is a type of residence permit that allows foreign investors to stay in the country where they are investing. The purpose of this visa is for individuals to engage in economic activities and invest their capital into the local economy.
The requirements for obtaining an investor visa vary from country to country but generally involve providing proof of financial resources and making certain investments or contributions to the local economy.
Depending on the host nation, visas may be issued with varying lengths of validity, from two years to more than five years. Only a handful of countries offer investor visas, so it’s important to research available options.
Types of Investment Visas
The types of investment visas offered ultimately depend on the country you’re moving to. However, here are common types you’ll likely encounter:
Residency by Investment
A residency by investment visa, also known as a golden visa, is an immigration program that provides foreign investors with the opportunity to obtain residency in a country through an investment in a chosen asset, business, or government entity.
This type of visa is typically available to high-net-worth individuals and families who have the financial means to invest in a particular country’s economy, either through a real estate purchase, capital investment in a company, or even a large donation.
A residency by investment visa is typically valid for a long duration and can be renewed or extended if the applicant continues to meet all of the requirements.
However, it does not grant full citizenship rights. Instead, it provides access to the country for the visa duration, allowing foreign investors to live, work, do business, and/or study in that country as long as they are compliant with all regulations.
Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by investment is a program available to foreign investors who are looking for full citizenship rights in another country.
Unlike a residency by investment visa which only grants specific benefits during the visa’s duration, this type of visa provides the applicant with full citizenship rights and privileges.
This includes access to all public services, such as healthcare and education. It also grants applicants the right to travel and work freely within their chosen host nation without any restrictions or additional paperwork.
In most cases, applicants who are on a residency by investment visa can apply for citizenship by investment after a certain period of time.
A retirement visa is a special type of visa by investment that allows foreign retirees to stay in a host nation for the duration of their retirement. This type of program is typically available to those who are over the age of 55 and have enough financial resources to support themselves during their time in the host country.
The requirements are usually quite similar to those of a residency by investment visa but may include additional criteria. For example, some countries require applicants to have no dependents or have a minimum amount of accumulated savings.
Why Choose an Investor Visa
Investment visas require proof of a large amount of capital, so why do immigrants choose this visa over other options? Here are some of the most popular reasons:
No Sponsorship Required
The investor visa does not require any kind of sponsorship from a local employer, which is often necessary for work visas. This makes the process much simpler and faster than other types of visa applications.
Longer Period of Stay
The investor visa is usually valid for a longer period of time, sometimes up to 10 years. This is beneficial for those who want to stay in the country for an extended amount of time or even permanently settle in the host country.
Easier Route to Permanent Residence or Citizenship
Sometimes, the investor visa can provide a simpler and faster route to permanent residence or even citizenship. Usually, if you stay for a certain period of time, you can become eligible for dual citizenship. This is especially true in countries with generous immigration policies that offer incentives for foreign investment.
The investor visa usually allows family members to accompany the main applicant, making it an attractive option for those who want to bring their families with them. For some individuals under citizenship by investment programs, any child of theirs born in the host country will automatically become a citizen.
Benefits of an Investor Visa
In relation to reasons why people choose the investor visa, here are the benefits they enjoy when they are granted this visa:
1. Residency or Citizenship Rights
Residency or citizenship rights are one of the primary benefits of an investor visa. These rights allow foreign investors to live in the country where they have invested their money and potentially even become citizens with time.
Additionally, having permanent residence status in another country can provide a sense of security for those who wish to diversify their assets across multiple countries and protect themselves from potential risks associated with political instability in their home country.
2. Business Advantages
Depending on the country, an investor visa can offer a wide range of business advantages. These include access to new markets, reduced taxes and fees, easier entry into the host country’s economy and legal system, improved business connections both locally and internationally, and more opportunities for growth.
For entrepreneurs looking for lands of opportunities, it may be more convenient to secure an investor visa rather than a business visa since the former doesn’t require a sponsorship from a local company. This benefit is especially useful for startups.
3. Tax Benefits
Investors who obtain an investor visa can benefit from various tax incentives, depending on the country where they invest. For example, in some countries, investors may be eligible for reduced income taxes or even complete exemptions from certain taxes.
Others provide generous capital gains tax relief and other perks that can help reduce an investor’s overall tax bill. In many cases, investors may also be able to take advantage of double taxation agreements between their home country and the host country where they have invested.
Double taxation agreements are designed to eliminate double taxation so that individuals are only taxed once on their income, regardless of which country they are resident in. This can be beneficial for those who have investments in multiple countries, as it ensures that they do not pay more tax than necessary on the same income.
4. Ability to Sponsor Dependents
The sponsor dependents benefit usually requires that eligible family members meet certain criteria, such as age, relationship status (i.e., spouse, child), and financial resources/income level.
Depending on the country offering the investor visa program and its individual requirements, sponsors may also need to provide additional evidence of their ability to financially support sponsored family members while they are in-country.
Once the family members are approved for residency or citizenship, they may be eligible to receive many of the same rights and privileges as citizens of the host country, such as access to healthcare and education services, a right to work in certain industries, voting rights, and more.
This can give them an opportunity for a better life than what was available in their home countries.
5. Healthcare and Education Benefits
Investor visas typically provide certain healthcare and education advantages over other immigration options.
For instance, investor visas may provide access to government-sponsored healthcare systems in the host country, as well as coverage of expenses related to medical care and other health services. Also, investor visas can often provide eligibility for free or discounted tuition at educational institutions in the host country.
Regarding healthcare benefits, it is important to note that each individual’s situation will vary depending on their home country’s laws and regulations regarding medical treatment abroad. Additionally, many countries have specific requirements for obtaining visitor insurance when entering the host country.
In terms of education benefits, investor visas may offer access to a wide range of international educational opportunities in the host country. These may include private schools, universities, and technical or vocational programs that are often not available to individuals living in their home country.
Moreover, some countries also provide special scholarships for certain types of students on an investor visa.
6. Extended Time Outside Host Country
Investor visas usually cover multiple entries into a host country, allowing the investor to travel in and out of that country for business or leisure purposes.
Extended time outside of the host country allows investors to stay connected with international markets and develop relationships in other countries while still being able to return home regularly.
This makes it easier for them to keep up-to-date on changes in global market conditions, as well as network with potential partners overseas. Moreover, extended time abroad can give investors the opportunity to explore new business opportunities and get a better understanding of the local culture, customs, and laws.
Some visas even allow the holder to travel visa-free to neighbouring countries. For instance, investor visas offered by European countries cover visa-free access to the Schengen Area.
Qualifications for Obtaining an Investor Visa
The eligibility requirements for an investor visa vary from country to country. However, many countries have similar criteria that must be met in order to qualify for a visa.
Generally speaking, applicants must demonstrate either an extensive business background or the ability to make a significant investment in the host country’s economy.
Depending on the nation, this can range from creating jobs and investing capital into specific industries to purchasing property or government bonds. For example, the UAE requires investor visa applicants to secure a letter from the Federal Tax Authority that they pay the government at least AED 250,000 annually.
Sometimes, investors may need to prove their net worth before applying for an investor visa.
In Summary: What is an Investor Visa
An investor visa offers a more convenient way for individuals to migrate to a foreign country without some of the hassles associated with other immigration options. It allows them to stay for an extended period of time, which could go up to 10 years, without needing to apply for more visas or renewals.
Other benefits of an investment visa include tax advantages, exclusive access to healthcare and educational facilities, and the ability to sponsor family members. By investing in a foreign country, investors can also make a positive contribution to local economies.
The requirements and costs associated with investor visas vary depending on the host nation’s regulations. Generally speaking, applicants need to show proof of sufficient funds and/or demonstrate the ability to make a significant investment into the local economy.
Ultimately, obtaining an investor visa is ideal for those with financial means and those who want a more secure residency status abroad.
Next Generation Equity comprises a team of experts on multi-national citizenship and residency. We are passionate about helping our clients to make informed decisions with regard to their global mobility and residence planning.
We provide value-added services such as bespoke advice, tailored solutions, and assistance in navigating the complex process of obtaining a golden visa or citizenship by investment. Get in touch today for more information on investor visas!