“Golden Visa”, or how to get a residence permit in Europe through real estate

Golden visa

Over the past few years, programs for obtaining a residence permit in exchange for the purchase of real estate in many countries have changed. Somewhere conditions have complicated, somewhere, on the contrary, simplified. We have prepared a fresh review of “golden visas”. Read at Offshorecitizen.

Greece gold visa


Since May 2013, the country has its own “golden visa” program, which underwent minor changes in 2015.


Every foreigner who has bought residential or commercial real estate in Greece in the amount of € 250,000 is entitled to receive a simplified residence permit. A residence permit is issued for five years, followed by renewal.

Upon receipt of such a residence permit, there is no mandatory minimum stay in the country, but the right to work is not provided. But the period envisaged by the five-year residence permit will be taken into account when obtaining citizenship of Greece.

Five years after obtaining a residence permit, you can safely apply for citizenship.

Together with the investor, a residence permit has the right to issue his spouse, minor children and parents on both sides. The latter was included in the list of applicants for the coveted document thanks to the legislative innovation of 2015.

Where and what they take

Foreign investors who want to acquire a residence permit in Greece, the greatest demand is Greek property on the islands of Rhodes, Crete, and Corfu, on the peninsula of Halkidiki, as well as in major cities – Athens and Thessaloniki.

Spain’s golden visa


Valid from October 1, 2013, unchanged.


In October 2013, an investment program came into force in Spain, which allows you to obtain a residence permit by purchasing local real estate in the amount of € 500,000. Naturally, not without restrictions. The property must be bought without a mortgage.

But to apply for residency in family reunification (close relatives of the main applicant, as well as adult children over 21 years old, economically dependent on parents) without the right to work, it is not necessary to go home, you can apply for a residence permit when you are already in Spain. No criminal record is requested.

The first resident visa is valid for a year. Then issued a residence permit for a period of two years. And after that, it will be possible to submit a request for the renewal of a residence permit for investors, which will be valid for the same two years.

Where and what they take

Most of the Spanish property acquired by foreigners to obtain a residence permit is located in the coastal areas of Spain. These are Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands.

Cyprus Golden Visa


The Cyprus “Golden Visa” has been in force since 2009.


Foreign owners of Cyprus property worth € 300,000 enjoy the benefits of obtaining a local residence permit and permanent residence. It is the benefits since on the island these documents can be issued by owning real estate and for a smaller amount, but there is a danger of being refused. In the framework of the program, the guarantee is almost one hundred percent, and the applications are considered in a shorter time – usually within 2-3 months.

In the case of a residence permit, the document will have to be renewed annually. And if you leave Cyprus for more than three months, the residence permit is canceled and it will have to be processed again. Therefore, under the “golden visa” program, most often immediately apply for permanent residence, which does not have a statute of limitations and automatically renews when the passport is changed.

The owner of the property, spouse and minor children can apply for the card.

Where and what they take

Foreign investors in order to obtain permanent residence are interested in objects in all regions of the country. But especially it is possible to distinguish Limassol and Paphos, where a large selection of objects is presented, the cost of which reaches the necessary minimum.

Latvia’s golden visa


On July 1, 2016, a new version of the amendments to the Law on Immigration came into force.


A foreigner who has acquired in Riga or Jurmala, as well as in Adazi, Babite, Baldonsky, Carnikava, Garkalnsky, Ikskiles, Kekava, Marupe, Olainsky, Ropazhsky, Salaspils, Saulkrastvskom, a student in Markstrask, and Maruske, Marupe, Olaine, Ropazhsky, Salaspils, Saulkrastvskom, a student in Latvia, Iruska, Marupe, Marupe, Olaine, Ropazhsky, Salaspils, Saulkrastvsk, Russia, or Marchesky, Marupe, Olaine, Ropazhsky, Salaspils, Saulkrastvsk, will be able to apply for a residence permit for up to five years. from € 250,000.

In the rest of the country, foreigners can buy two objects (excluding land plots) for a total of € 250,000. In this case, the cadastral value of this property at the time of purchase must be at least € 80,000 (€ 40,000 for each object).

In addition, investors who apply for a residence permit for the first time must pay 5% of the value of the purchased object to the state budget. A fee of € 5,000 for extending a residence permit applies only to those foreigners who apply for paperwork after July 1, 2016. Persons who have already received a residence permit are exempt from paying the fee. In addition, they do not need to pay for the first renewal of a residence permit. But when you repeat from € 5,000 will have to leave.

A temporary residence permit is issued to the investor, the official spouse or spouse, as well as their minor children. A residence permit longer than one year must be registered every year.

Where and what they take

Today in Latvia real estate transactions with a view to a residence permit are much less than a few years ago before amendments to the law. The number of buyers has changed, but not their preferences. As before, foreigners choose Latvian houses and apartments in Riga and its surroundings, as well as in Jurmala.

Malta’s Golden Visa


Since the end of May 2016, an updated program for obtaining a residence permit through investments has been in place.


Foreigners wishing to receive a residence permit must invest € 250,000 in government bonds, buy a property worth € 320,000 (€ 270,000 – for the southern part of Malta or Gozo) or rent housing with a rent of € 12,000 per year (€ 10,000 per year – for the southern part of Malta Gozo). A prerequisite is to retain ownership or lease term for at least five years. In addition, you will have to pay a state fee of € 30,000.

After five years, the holder of a residence permit in Malta can sell the acquired property without losing the status of a resident. To extend the residence permit you will need the address of residence on the island. But here it is already possible to limit the housing rented for five years.

The process of obtaining a residence permit in Malta within the program takes three to four months. An additional advantage of the Maltese “golden visa” is the absence of requirements for the period of compulsory residence in the country.

Within five years, the holder of a residence permit must spend outside the country for at least six months in a row or 10 months randomly.

True, there is one “but” – the participants of the new investment program are not eligible to apply for citizenship in the future.

In addition to the investor, his spouse, minor children, as well as parents, grandparents on both sides and adult children have the right to issue a document if they are dependent on the main applicant.

Where and what they take

Foreign investors choose Maltese real estate by the sea in areas with developed infrastructure, such as Sliema, St. Julians, Bugibba Aura, Mellieha. Here you can collect the necessary amount of investment for a residence permit by buying apartments with sea views.

Portugal Gold Visa


Since July 1, 2015, edits to the Portuguese “golden visa” program came into force, which expanded opportunities for investors, simplified procedures and tightened controls.


According to the rules, the cost of a new property, the possession of which allows you to get a residence permit of the country, remained unchanged – from € 500,000. But the minimum amount of investment in real estate of the old fund (it is more than 30 years old and is located in areas of cultural and historical heritage or the restoration of the urban environment) has decreased to € 350,000. Also officially allowed to buy not one, but several objects with a total value of € 500,000.

There are restrictions, for example, real estate must be purchased after 08/10/2012 without attracting loans and not burdened with any other obligations. In addition, for five years, real estate cannot be sold.

The first time a residence permit is issued for a period of 1 year, then extended twice for a period of 2 years. After 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit, and a year later the right to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

A residence permit can be issued to all family members, including financially dependent children over the age of 18, even if they are not studying in the country.

Where and what they take

Two regions remain the most popular for investors: Lisbon, including the resort towns of Cascais and Estoril, and the southern — Algarve, the cities of Albufeira and Vilamoura, the resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago. Most often, the choice falls on residential Portuguese real estate, but there is a demand for commercial properties – restaurants, hotels, cultural projects, and so on.

Comparison of the cost of obtaining a residence permit through the purchase of real estate

A country Minimum investment amount

Greece € 250,000

Spain € 500,000

Cyprus € 300,000

Latvia € 262500

Malta € 330000

Portugal € 350,000


Not enough money, but you want a residence permit? No problem! There are programs of “golden visas”, where there are no requirements for the minimum cost of housing. For example, in Montenegro and Turkey.

Greece’s Golden Visa – the most popular in Europe

In the first half of 2018, 2968 applicants received a residence permit in Greece through investments. Thus, the Greek program for the provision of “golden visas” is becoming the most popular in the Old World.

Since the opening of the program at the end of 2013, Greece has issued 8,367 “golden visas” to the main applicants and 12,089 to their family members, that is, a residence permit (permit) received by 20,456 people. This is 6,000 more than in Portugal. 

Most of the program participants (47%) are citizens of China. Russians make up 14.5% of all applicants, Ukrainians – 2.8%. The most popular area for buying property among the program participants is Athens.

The program of Greece is one of the fastest and cheapest European programs, allowing foreign citizens to issue a residence permit in the country through the purchase of real estate. Residence permit in Greece allows you to move freely in all Schengen countries. 

There are no requirements for the minimum period of residence in the country to obtain or extend a residence permit. 

Irina Simonyan, director of marketing for Henley & Partners Russia & CIS: “Our compatriots traditionally buy property in the north of mainland Greece in the historical and religious region of Halkidiki. The capital of Greece, Athens, is also gaining popularity – it is still undervalued, but the very promising and dynamic market. Those who are looking for something new and more secluded choose Crete, villas or new large buildings. ”