Citizenship by investment or residency via an investment programme is directed to wealthy foreign nationals who wish to acquire for any reason a residency in a particular country by investing a substantial amount of money or by purchasing a property. These visas are commonly known as Golden Visas.

A Golden Visa, will entitle the visa holder and his/her immediate family member to  receive residence permits which can be renewed indefinitely as long as the investment is maintained.

It is not a requirement in most countries, who offer these visas, to actually be present in the country that issued the visa and what this effectively means that there is not a requirement to relocate to another country unless you want

If the applicant does however wish to get permanent residence or citizenship by investment, most countries will require actual residency for circa five to ten years.

A Golden Visa from an EU member state is desirable as it allows the holder ,and his or her immediate family members, freedom of movement throughout the entire Schengen Zone.

If the Golden Visa eventually leads to EU citizenship, then the resulting passport will offer visa-free travel to over a hundred countries in the world, depending on the issuing State.

Applying for a Golden Visa will allow the applicant to obtain a Residence Permit which is automatically renewed by the issuing country usually on an annual basis. It should be noted that there are certain countries such as Portugal that do not have a stay requirement to obtain a Permit of Residence.

In order to obtain citizenship though most countries will insist that the applicant resides in the country for at least a certain number of days in a certain number of years. You are usually looking at about ten years of continuous residency.

Some countries will offer citizenship after a shorter period of time , such as Greece, after seven years, or even without any stay requirements at all.

The amount of money that one needs to invest to apply for a Golden Visa will very much depend on the country that one is applying in. Countries such as Spain , Portugal or Greece offer residence by investing in Real Estate, companies, government bonds or particular industries. In these countries the investment usually would not need to exceed €500k Some EU countries on the other hand, will require a much more active investment method, such as creating job opportunities. Investment requirements in these countries are higher.

The eligibility requirements for a Golden Visa are different from country to country, but in general, you will have to prove the following:

  • That you own the money intended for investment
  • That the money was acquired legally
  • That you have no history of criminal records
  • That you can sustain yourself and family members for the period of time you intend to live there.

The following countries in the EU currently offer Golden Visa Programmes:

  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Switzerland
  • Austria 
  • Belgium.

Our lawyers can assist anyone interested in taking advantage of the citizenship by investments or residency by investment programme in any of the above countries. Contact me, Maurice Moses Benady on +350 20079000 or