Golden visa in Europe

Many people around the world would like to obtain a permit for permanent residency in the European Union in order to relocate there or, at least, enjoy the benefits of holding a European passport. European governments provide several ways of achieving that goal, a Golden Visa being the most convenient and, therefore, the most popular one.

In this article, we shall, first, explain what a Golden Visa is and describe general requirements for obtaining one in a European state. We shall, then, go into more detail on how to acquire such a visa in each of the six countries that currently offer the most convenient terms for obtaining a permanent residence permit in the European Union.

Golden Visa

In simple terms, a Golden Visa refers to a residence permit by investment in the country's real estate sector. Purchasing a private property in the country for a specified minimum amount of money, you will be entitled to:

1. Residing in that particular European state permanently and, in some cases, seeking employment there as well

2. Travelling visa-free within the Schengen zone and in many countries outside the European Union

3. Having almost unlimited access to the local social support systems, including some medical and educational services

On top of that, your family will acquire permanent residence permits too, and all of you will be able to apply for citizenship once you have resided in the country for a specified number of years.

To apply for a Golden Visa, you will need, in most cases, the following documents:

  • An identity document;

  • Confirmation of any income, foreign or local, including your pension and investment funds;

  • Certificates to confirm your relationships with the members of your family, if applicable;

  • A copy of the contract of your real estate purchase;

  • Medical insurance;

  • Police clearance;

  • An application letter that includes your explanation of why you would like to reside permanently in that particular country.

In the following sections, we shall specify the application requirements for the six countries that provide permanent residency by investment on the best terms in the European Union.


Of all the counties on our list, Greece offers the best and most convenient terms for obtaining European residency by investment in real estate. You only have to purchase private property for a minimum of €250,000 to receive a Golden Visa in two months. Your family members automatically receive their permits too, and they will continue to hold them even if you leave the country permanently.

The permit has to be renewed every five years, and you may hold it for as long as you continue to own the property. And you can apply for citizenship in seven years, provided you have resided in the country for 183 days a year during this period.

The application procedure is relatively simple, and you will be able to complete it in one visit to the country. Moreover, the documentation required for the purpose is minimal and only includes:

  • An identity document;

  • Medical insurance;

  • Proof of a stable income or a specified amount of money in the bank.

However, you will need to open an account in a Greek bank to live and work in Greece and acquire real estate in the country legally. For that purpose, you will need:

  • Your ID;

  • A local telephone number;

  • Proof of a residential address in Greece;

  • Your tax number;

  • Confirmation of either foreign or local income.

You will also have to pay several taxes, the most significant of which are:

1. Property tax: 0.10% to 1.15%, depending on the property value

2. Income tax: 18% to 45%, depending on your income (0.00% if you earn less than €12,000 per month)

3. Tax on your foreign income if you spend more than half a year in Greece or have a permanent address in the country


The minimal investment in the local real estate required by the Spanish government is €500,000, and you have to maintain ownership over the purchased property for at least five years after that. The processing times break down as follows:

1. Two to four months for processing your application for temporary residence.

2. Five years before you can apply for a permanent residence permit in the country.

3. Five more years upon receiving the PR permit to apply for Spanish citizenship.

There are no specific requirements concerning the number of days you have to reside in the country during these periods, and showing up for at least one week a year suits the purpose perfectly in most cases. However, the Spanish Golden Visa does not entitle you to seek employment in the country, for which you need a special work permit issued upon a separate application.


To apply for a Golden Visa in Cyprus, you must purchase private property for at least €300,000, and you will get a permanent residence permit in three to four months. You will not have to renew it, and you may apply for citizenship once you have lived in the country for seven years.

Alternatively, you can invest €130,000 in the local real estate, in which case you will receive a temporary residence permit in the specified period, acquiring your permanent residence in up to 18 months only. Whichever option you choose, though, you will also have to confirm an income of €30,000 per year, plus €5,000 annually for each dependent family member that enters the country with you.


One of the most inexpensive ways to acquire a residence permit in Europe is to apply for a Golden Visa in Latvia. Furthermore, the cost of living in that country is from 30% to 50% lower than in most parts of the European Union. And since Latvia is part of the Schengen zone, you will be able to travel around Europe freely as well.

To obtain the Latvian Golden Visa, you will have to purchase private property for at least €50,000. You must also pay a fee that amounts to 5% of the property's value, so your total expenses will come to €55,000 in total. Investing in government bonds is a legal option too, and the total tax is 27% below the average for the EU.

However, the Latvian government has imposed certain restrictions on the purchase of real estate by foreigners, the main of which is the following:

1. To be eligible for a residence permit by investment, a foreigner has to buy only one unit of private property for the amount specified.

2. The purchase of off-plan property by foreigners is strictly forbidden.

3. The total value of the cadastral land parcel cannot exceed €80,000.

Apart from that, the documentation requirements are minimal, and the processing of your application will take from three to six months to complete. You may apply for Latvian citizenship once you have lived in the country for 18 years continuously, and you will be allowed to seek employment in the meantime.


You must meet four conditions for obtaining a Golden Visa in Malta:

1. Purchase private property for a minimum of €150,000.

2. Contribute at least €30,000.

3. Invest a minimum of €250,000 in government bonds.

4. Prove an annual income of €100,000 or having at least €500,000 in assets.

On the positive side, though, you may choose only to rent a property on the island instead of purchasing it, and you can receive your residence permit even before you buy or rent anything. Your application will take six to eight months to process, and you do not have to renew your residence permit once you receive it.

But you must buy or rent some property within a year upon the permit's issue, or else you risk losing it for good. And, you will have to pay an annual tax of €15,000 once you become a resident, which will cover your family as well.


The processing time for Golden Visa applications is the shortest in Portugal, and there are good chances to receive one even in two months, although it may, in rare cases, take up to half a year. Besides, your immediate family will automatically receive residence permits, and free of charge too. The family members include:

  • Your spouse;

  • Your children under the age of 18;

  • Your parents and parents-in-law above the age of 65.

Portugal provides several alternatives to buy private property for permanent residency purposes. The minimal investments required in each case are:

1. €250,000 in a residential area with a population density of under 100 people per square kilometre.

2. €350,000 for a property that is older than 30 years or located in a disadvantaged area.

3. €500,000 for a new property.

Otherwise, you can invest a minimum of €350,000 in real estate and government bonds to the same effect. And, there will be a status registration fee of €10,000 to pay, in any case.

The purchase has to be completed before you submit your Golden Visa application, and you will have a maximum of three months to apply for the residency status, starting from the date of entry. Moreover, you will have to remain an owner of the property for at least five from the purchase date, not to lose your residence permit.

The permit is to be renewed every three years. You may apply for citizenship in five years, and Portugal does accept dual citizenship as well. Plus, you do not have to reside in the country for longer than seven days per year.

The income tax in Portugal is 48%, but you can also apply for the NHR status, in which case your domestic income tax will go down to 20%, and your foreign income will be tax-free.









Minimal property value






(plus a contribution of €30K, government bonds for €250K, and €500K in assets)


Government bonds


€2 million





Processing time (months)

2 - 3


3 - 4


6 - 8

2 - 6

Permit renewal (years)



Not required


Not required


Proceed to citizenship (years)







Final Word

Your choice of a country to obtain European residency by investment will depend on your personal preferences and budget. Also, keep in mind that formal requirements for acquiring Golden Visas change occasionally, and the data provided in this article are valid for October 2021. You can browse the internet to get more information about each country before you make up your mind.

And once you have done that, you should consult the selected country's Consulate or the official webpage of its Department of Immigration for more specific and updated information on the terms and conditions for acquiring its Golden Visa. We hope this article will help you build an optimal strategy for purchasing private property and getting a permanent residence permit in the European Union.

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