20+ Golden Visas in Europe

European golden visa programmes offer an excellent opportunity to foreigners and non-EU persons to immigrate to Europe. Buying an immovable property, government bonds, donation or creating jobs through enterprise investment are some of the common investment options that qualify for ‘Golden visa’ in Europe. Investors and family members qualify for permanent residence permit based on investment activity.

Golden Visas in Europe

Golden visas issued by Schengen states allow free movement or visa free travel in all 26 Schengen countries including to non-schengen countries such as Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Cyprus. Golden visas provide only residency and does not necessarily lead to automatic citizenship. To become a EU citizen, you must have lived for over 5 years (vary by each country), pay taxes, speak local language and integrate to local culture, to naturalise for citizenship in Europe.

Cyprus and Malta have the only official citizenship by investment programs in Europe. All other countries in Europe require residency first before citizenship.  Malta is in Schengen.  Cyprus and Bulgarian are not in Schengen zone, so one has to be careful investing in these two golden visa programs. Most golden visas issued is valid for 2 to 3 years which can then be extended by visiting personally at the migration office.

When apply in for Golden visa in these countries, you have the option to ask for short term (C ) or long term visas (D visa).  If you are not interested take up residency or live more than 3 months, you can ask for schengen short C visa with multiple entries valid for maximum 90 days stay. One difference is C visas can be renewed only at embassy in home country, while long term D visa residence permits can be renewed within the country that issued golden visa.

A summary of Golden visa investments in Europe in 2017.

European golden visa programmes are more popular with Chinese, Russians, South Africans, Arabs, Iraq and Africa.

1. Belgium


  • EUR 300,000 business investor scheme
  • Belgium golden visa programme
  • Residency by investment in Schengen
  • Qualifying investments (business investment and create jobs)
  • Belgium Citizenship after 5 years of living in Belgium (PR status in 5 years)
  • Most popular business immigration program in Europe .
  • No requirement to live in Belgium after receiving residency.
  • Free movement in Schengen states with residence permit (“VERBLIJFSTITEL”) issued by Belgium.
  • Easy application process and no language tests or business experience required.

Belgium golden visa

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Belgium map

2. Latvia


  • EUR 275,000 property investment or EUR 300,000 bank deposit or EUR 200,000 business investment in Latvia
  • Latvia immigrant investor program (Latvia golden visa)
  •  Residency by investment scheme in Europe.
  • Cheapest European real estate investment program
  • Qualifying investments (€250,000 in real estate or €80,000 in business or €300,000 bank deposit)
  • Latvian Citizenship after 10 years of living (must have PR status)
  • No residence requirements.
  • Latvia is a very popular program among Russian nationals.
  • Latvian residence permit (Uzturešanas atlauja”) allows free movement in 26 Schengen states.

Latvia residency

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Latvia map

3. United Kingdom


  • GBP 200,000 (entrepreneur investor visa) or GBP 2 million (tier1 investor)
  • Residency by investment in the UK
  • Qualifying investments (business enterprise)
  • UK Citizenship after 6 years of living in the UK (PR status / ILR required)
  • Attractive program post Brexit due to cheaper pound value.
  • 2 months application processing time.
  • Residency requirement: You must live 9 months per year in the UK.
United Kingdom

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United Kingdom

4. Portugal

  • EUR 350,000  Portugal golden visa programme (Property investment €350,000 outside Lisbon or €500,000 in Lisbon)
  • Residency by investment in Schengen country.
  • Qualifying investments (real estate, business, research, capital transfer, Art)
  • Minimal residency requirements – 7days per year.
  • Permanent residency after 5 years of uninterrupted living.
  • Most popular property investment program in Europe.
  • Portugal Citizenship after 6 years of living.
  • No requirement to live in Portugal
  • Processing time is 3 months
  • Free movement in Schengen with residence permit (“TÍTULO DE RESIDÊNCIA”) issued by Portugal.
Portugal golden visa

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Portugal map

5. Malta


  •  EUR 275,000 (Malta Residency Program)
  • Malta Residency Program (Malta Golden Visa)
  • Qualifying investments (Real estate or buying Government bonds)
  • No residency requirements.
  • Schengen residency for family and children
  • Maltese permanent residency after 5 years of living.
  • No language tests, No business experience required.
  • No citizenship possible under this program.
  • Visa free movement in 26 countries in Europe (Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden).

Valetta, Malta

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Malta map

6. Greece

Greece flag

  • EUR 250,000 (greek residency program)
  • Residency by investment scheme (Greece golden visa)
  • Qualifying investments (real estate property ownership)
  • Residence permit issued valid for 5 years.
  • No work allowed under this scheme.
  • Greece Citizenship after 7 years of living (requires PR status)
  • Free movement in 26 schengen states with residence permit issued by Greece
  • No residence requirements.
  • Cheapest property investment program in Europe
  • No language tests, No education, No business experience required to apply.
  • Processing time is 3 months.

Golden visa greece

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Greece map

7. Spain

Spain flag

  • EUR 500,000
  • Spanish golden visa programme
  • Residency by investment in Schengen
  • Qualifying investments (real estate, bonds, company shares)
  • Spanish Citizenship after 10 years of living (non spanish speaking countries), quicker 3 years for those from spanish speaking countries. (no PR status required)
  • No requirement to live in Spain after getting residency (must visit spain for few days every year).
  • Free movement in Schengen states with residence permit(“PERMISO DE RESIDENCIA”) issued by spain.
Spain Golden Visa

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Spain map

 8. Ireland


  • EUR 500,000 irish immigrant investor program
  • Residency by investment in EU member state.
  • Qualifying investments (enterprise, donation, real estate, bonds)
  • Irish Citizenship after 5 years of uninterrupted living (no PR status required)
  • No requirement to live in Ireland
  • Most popular program for UK nationals seeking Irish passport post Brexit
  • Ireland is an excellent business investment destination with corporate friendly taxes.


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Ireland map

9. Cyprus


  •  EUR 300,000 Cyprus residency program
  • Permanent residence permit in Cyprus
  • Cyprus golden visa programme
  • Qualifying investments: Real estate or business
  • Cyprus residency in Europe for family, spouse and children.
  • No language requirement.
  • Low property tax, No inheritance tax, No capital gains tax.
  • Fast track application processing in three months.
  • High approval rates.
  • No requirement to live in Cyprus after receiving residency however visit to Cyprus once a year required.

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Cyprus map

10. Netherlands


  • EUR 1,250,000 (dutch golden visa) or EUR 200,000 Dutch entrepreneur visa
  • Netherlands foreign investor scheme
  • Residency by investment in Netherlands
  • Qualifying investments (business capital, shares, bonds)
  • No residency requirements (must visit Netherlands once a year for few days)
  • Dutch Citizenship after 5 years of living (no PR status required)
  • Permanent residency status after 5 years of uninterrupted living
  • Free movement in schengen zone with dutch residence permit card (“VERBLIJFSKAART”).


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Netherlands map

11. Switzerland


  • CHF 1,000,000 (swiss business investor visa)
  • Swiss business investment programme (swiss golden visa)
  • Residency by investment
  • Qualifying investments (capital investment in a swiss company and create jobs)
  • Swiss citizenship after 12 years of uninterrupted living ( no PR status needed)
  • Swiss permanent residence card after 10 years of uninterrupted living.
  • Processing time is 3 months.
  • Free movement in 26 EU schengen states with swiss permit.
  • Buying a home or property in Switzerland is allowed.
  • No requirement to live in Switzerland.

Swiss golden visa

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Switzerland map

12. Hungary


  •  EUR 200,000 business residency program or EUR 300,000 Residency bond program (closed)
  • Hungary golden visa scheme
  • Residency by investment in Hungary
  • No requirement to live in the country.
  • Free movement in Schengen with hungarian residence permit (Tartózkodási engedély) issued under economic interest
  • Family and children can apply for Hungarian residency
  • Processing time is 4 months.
  • Hungarian citizenship after 8 years of living (requires PR status)
  • No language tests, no business experience, no health checks, No education required.
  • Hungary programme open to all country nationals.

Hungary golden visa

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13. Bulgaria


  • EUR 512,000 (immigrant investor visa)
  • Permanent residency by investment in Bulgaria
  • No free movement in Schengen (Bulgaria is not in schengen)
  • Qualifying investments (bonds, real estate, business)
  • Citizenship after 5 years (requires PR status)
  • Processing time 2 months.
  • No residence requirements to live in Bulgaria

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiquinho/

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiquinho/

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Bulgaria map

15. Monaco


  • EUR 1,000,000 (investor visa)
  • Residency by investment (Monaco golden visa)
  • Residency in richest and second smallest country in the world.
  • Live in France or Monaco.
  • Qualifying investments (bank deposit, property purchase)
  • Citizenship after 10 years of living.
  • Free movement in 26 schengen states
  • No residency requirements.
  • Investment in buying a home or property allowed under the scheme.
  • Open to EU and non-EU nationals
Monaco residency

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16. Andorra


  • EUR 400,000 (Andorra residency program)
  • Residency by investment
  • Qualifying investments: Property investment (real estate)
  • Andorra citizenship after 20 years of living
  • No free movement in Schengen states.
  • Processing time is 2 months.


Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexeya/

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Andorra map

17. France

France flag

  • EUR 300,000 (business investment)
  • Residency by investment (french investor visa under exceptional contributor scheme)
  • Qualifying investments: business investment in a french company with job creation
  • French citizenship after 10 years of living.
  • No requirement to live in France
  • Processing time is 2 months.
  • No language tests, No interviews, No education required.
  • Free movement in schengen with carte de sejour


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France map

Although Turkey is not a part of Europe, i will list it here

18. Turkey


  • USD 1,000,000 (property investment)
  • Turkish Residency or Citizenship by investment (CIP)
  • Qualifying investments: Real estate ($1 million), Business ($2 million), Bonds/Bank deposit ($3 million)
  • No residence requirements
  • Turkish citizenship for family and children
  • No free movement in Schengen states (Turkey is not in schengen)
  • Turkey offers competitive corporate tax rates in the OECD region
  • Turkish passport ranked 51 best passport in the world with visa free access to 102 countries.
  • No requirement to live in Turkey after citizenship.

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Turkey residency

Turkey map

19. Montenegro


  • EUR 500,000 (real estate or business)
  • Montenegro citizenship by investment fast track (Article 8 of Montenegrin Citizenship Act)
  • Qualifying investments: €500,000 in business or €500,000 in property
  • Family and children qualify for  Montenegro passport.
  • No residency requirements. No language tests.
  • Montenegro passport offers visa free travel to 105 countries in the world including United Kingdom, Russia, all of Europe.
  • Dual citizenship not allowed.

Note: Montenegro is a future candidate for EU membership. The country is not a member of Schengen.

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Montenegro citizenship residency


20. Italy

Italy flag

  • EUR 500,000 in business startups
  • Residency by investment  (2017 Budget Law, were discussed and approved by the Italian Parliament on 7 December 2016 and made effective as of 1 January 2017)
  • Qualifying investments: EUR 500,000 in business startups or EUR 2,000,000 in Government bonds, shares or EUR 1,000,000 in public interest projects (culture, education, immigration management, research and development, arts and heritage)
  • Italian residence visa issued for 2 years and thereafter renewed (including family members)
  • Free movement in Schengen countries with Italian residence permit.
  • Italian citizenship after 10 years of living.

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Rome, Italy

Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/z_wenjie/

Italy map

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Balakrishnan Prabhu

Mr. Balakrishnan Prabhu is the founder of Corpocrat magazine. He is also the founder of Best Citizenships (BC), assisting wealthy individuals with with global citizenship and residency programs in Europe. His other interests are Linux, Machine learning, Wordpress, etc. You can contact him here