EU countries dominate Best Golden visa rankings for 2019

Golden visa comparison


Golden visas offer residence in exchange for investments in real estate, business or bonds. Investors and their family members are also given  a path to citizenship without any preferential treatment.


The golden visa investments have reached close to $100 billion, adding up $10 billion every year and expected to grow further.


 Launched FDI Investments inflows* Visas issued
  • 1990 – United States
  • 1986 – Canada
  • 1994 – United Kingdom
  • 2009 – Bulgaria
  • 2010 – Latvia
  • 2012 – Portugal
  • 2013 – Netherlands
  • 2014 – Spain, Malta, Greece
  • 2017 – Italy
  • United States – $36 billion
  • Canada – $16 billion
  • United Kingdom – £4.7 billion
  • Australia – $10 billion
  • Portugal – €4.1 billion
  • Spain – €3 billion
  • Latvia – €1.4 billion
  •  Greece – €1 billion
  • Ireland – €0.5 billion


Portugal – 7107

Greece – 9000

United States –  73,000 (until 2017)

United Kingdom – 4000


*Rough estimates


The Best Golden visa rankings report has been published for 2019 which rates golden visa schemes running in Europe, Americas and Oceania.


According to the report, European countries have captured to the top three spots with Europe cashing on golden visa schemes.


The report took into account 10 important metrics of golden visas and countries were ranked on a PBS based scoring model out of maximum 100 points


Best Golden visa rankings 2019


  • Greece took the first spot, followed by Malta in second place and Ireland in third place.
  • Latvia and Greece have the cheapest golden visa investments
  • EB-5 despite its popularity fell in rankings because of backlogs and long waiting times. US also scores low for not the best and expensive healthcare system.
  • Canada quebec scheme has become more popular after Canada cut the citizenship time to three years for citizenship.
  • Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada have the best education systems and universities in the world. Education for children  is very important factor for HNWI families investing in golden visa schemes.
  • Ireland and Australia are the two countries that the best human development conditions among other countries.
  • Malta, Greece, US, Canada offer permanent residence rights through golden visa schemes.
  • Some golden visa schemes also suffer from quotas –  EB-5 has limited quota of 10,000 visas per year, Canada limited to 1900 quebec applications, New Zealand high value visas has a quota of 400 per year. All other golden visa countries have no limits.
  • Canada, Australia are the golden visa countries has the most expensive property prices per square meter.  Greece and Bulgaria have the cheapest prices attractive for investment in real estate
  • Italy has the powerful EU passport among golden visa countries, followed by Spain and Luxembourg.
  • UK, US impose stringer residence requirements for a path to citizenship.
  • Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria are the only countries that have citizenship by investment programs.


Golden visaPBS scoreRank
 United States804
 United Kingdom795
 Latvia75                                 7
 New Zealand738


Ranking metrics


A total of 100 points assigned in the PBS score with each factor assigned 10 points


  • Minimum investment – The cheaper the investment  scores more points.
  • Processing times – More weight (points) assigned to very fast processing times for golden visa. UK has the fastest processing time.
  • Permanent or temporary residence permit – Does golden visa investment receive immediate TRP (temporary residence permit) or PRP (Permanent residence permit). More weight and points given to countries that offer immediate PRP.
  • Citizenship and naturalization time – Most golden visa countries do not offer preferential treatment to naturalize for citizenship. Lesser the time more points.
  • Residence conditions – More points for schemes with no residence requirements.
  • Quota/Limits – No points assigned
  • Education system – Education is a very important deciding factor for HNW families applying for golden visas.
  • Healthcare – Healthcare is also very important factor. Malta, Spain have the best health care rankings.
  • HDI Rank – Human Development Index (HDI) based on UN HDR rankings. This reflects the quality of live and living standards.
  • Passport strength – This indicates the number of countries with visa free travel.
  • Property prices – We have taken into account the property prices per square meter, since most golden visa countries provide an option to invest in real estate. The cheaper the property price more points.



Read the full golden visa report here


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