Golden Visas facilitate the acquisition of residency, immigration, and citizenship through investment.
In an increasingly global yet uncertain world, investing for second residency and citizenship has seen a surge in demand. Today’s Golden Visa has become an essential requirement for many high net worth families.
A golden visa is a permanent residency visa issued to individuals who invest, often through the purchase of property, a certain sum of money into the issuing country.
The roots of golden visas have been traced back to the 1980s when tax havens in the Pacific and Caribbean began “cash-for-passport” programs that facilitated visa-free travel and provided tax advantages. For example, in 1984, St Kitts and Nevis began its program which offered not only permanent residency but citizenship to foreign nations.
The issuing of golden visas expanded dramatically during the 21st century with around 25% of all countries issuing such visas as of 2015. Statistics on the issuing of golden visas are scarce but the IMF estimated in 2015 that the vast majority of golden visas are issued to Chinese nationals.
Golden visas require investments of anywhere from $100,000 up to £2,000,000 The most common method for obtaining a golden visa is through the purchase of real estate with a minimum value. Golden visas have been especially popular with Chinese nationals, over 100,000 of whom acquired them during the period from 2007 to 2016.
Portugal’s golden visa was introduced during the Great Recession to help attract investment into the country’s housing market. By 2016 the country had issued 2,788 golden visas of which 80% had gone to Chinese nationals.
However, The Greece Golden Visa Program is considered one of the most affordable residence-by-investment programs that provide access to Europe. Successful applicants and their families are able to benefit from visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area.
Some countries such as Malta and Cyprus also offer citizenship (“so-called golden passports”) to individuals if they invest a certain sum.