Portugal is in the process of updating its Golden Visa programs in 2021, as we had announced some months ago. The changes in the requirements of the Portuguese Golden Visa will encourage international investors to target other areas of the country with low population, rather than in the more popular cities of Porto and Lisbon. This will help the country gain a more balanced environmental and social status, as entrepreneurs must redirect their companies and funds to more remote places than in the typical urban cities. Nevertheless, international investors will still have the opportunity to benefit from this long-term plan, while experiencing the Mediterranean lifestyle in one of the safest countries in Europe.

The new deadline before international investors can acquire their Portuguese Golden Visa through investment in the metropolitan cities of the country is in March 2021; therefore, all the applicants that have submitted their residency permit petition before the end of 2020 are holding their breath for it to be released before the third month of 2021. The new restriction will fully affect investors that are planning to purchase property this year, as Portugal wants to spread the locations where international entrepreneurs are buying real estate.

These modifications in the Portuguese Golden Visa do not change its popularity among investors and their families that want to live, work and study in one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Portugal is consistently on top of the Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020 for its affordable lifestyle, high safety rating and the professional quality of healthcare; the main reasons international investors choose this country as their life plan despite the new restrictions. Aside from these advantages, the Portuguese Golden Visa will give you the right to work in the country, and choose from a variety of schools with a high standard international educational system, which includes 2 of the 10 best European universities. And as part of the Schengen Area, once you acquire the Portuguese Golden Visa, you can travel to the countries that are in the Schengen Zone without the need of another visa. Among the 26 countries that you could visit include Germany, the Netherlands and Finland.

However, the new restrictions in the Portuguese Golden Visa will not apply to the fund investment option or other investment options. Therefore, the investment fund option with a 350,000€ investment minimum remains the best opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest in a start-up or medium-sized project with great development potential. This investment opportunity introduced in 2018 has different sectors regulated by CMVM, Portugal’s regulator, where the applicant can choose to invest in different sectors, such as real estate, technology and industry. The main benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa option are that the sectors are being handled by qualified experts, and the capital that is invested are tax-friendly, where dividends and capital gains are returned to the investor through subsidies or financed by the FDI, the Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento. On the other hand, the Algarve is another alternative for international investors that want to purchase real estate with the new restrictions on the Portuguese Golden Visa. It complies with the minimum requirement to be submitted for its lower density location, compared to more populous cities in Portugal, for as low as 280,000€ or 400,000€.

Portuguese Golden Visa, acquisition process

To apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa, applicants must prepare their documents and submit their residence application. Upon approval and payment of the permit issue fee, the residence certificate will be released with a validity of one year. In order to successfully obtain the permit, applicants must stay in the country for at least 7 days during the first year, and 14 days in the two following years. Once you have the Portuguese Golden Visa, you will have the option to later apply for Portuguese citizenship, wherein you will be a holder of one of the most valuable passports: the Portuguese passport.

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The Italy Golden Visa is for international investors that are planning to reside and work in the 2nd largest manufacturing economy in Europe, and one of the most important manufacturing centers in the world. Its strategic position, at the crossroads between Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, makes Italy one of the countries with the biggest markets in the EU; perfect for startup entrepreneurs that want to widen their opportunities, and for families that are looking forward to invest in real estate in the country while living in the home of artisanal pasta, historical art and Mediterranean landscapes.

For international entrepreneurs that are planning to live and work in Italy, there are different options for them to acquire a residency permit through investment or the Italy Golden Visa. To be eligible to apply, the minimum amount that an individual must invest in order to benefit from this visa is €500,000, whose origin of funds must be backed by evidence that they were obtained legally. In order to apply for the Italy Golden Visa, international citizens must obtain a no impediment certificate (nulla osta) before starting the procedure which typically takes 6 months before entering Italy. In addition, legal documents, such as a valid passport, the bank statement of the investment, and a health certificate must be submitted.

The investment can be done by buying real estate or setting up a company in Italy, which will lead the investor and his family to be beneficiaries of the advantages that the visa provides. This would include access to excellent higher education, successful business-related activities, and the possibility of traveling to the countries that are in the Schengen Area, including France, Switzerland and Spain without the need of an additional visa or permit. Moreover, obtaining a second citizenship in the 3rd most powerful European country will provide you with flat tax rates and 0% rate for residing individuals that are retiring in Italy.

One of the visas that Italy offers is for innovative companies that are just starting up. There are two choices under this visa:

  1. The StartUp Visa Scheme, which is for foreign entrepreneurs that are seeking to obtain citizenship by setting up a company in the country.
  2. The StartUp Hub, which follows the same scheme but is addressed to non-EU citizens that are already holding an Italian residence permit.

The application for these visas may be done online and the certificate of no impediment is issued in just 30 days.

On the other hand, there are other options from the Italy Golden Visa that are more suited for international entrepreneurs that want to invest in real estate. The first option is the Long Term Schengen Tourist Visa, wherein for a period of 5 years, the investor will acquire a permit which will provide a multi-entry tourist visa where the stay in the country should not exceed 90 days every 6 months. The investor should submit the same requirements as those needed to obtain a normal tourist entry visa, along with the proof of having completed the purchase of real estate property in Italy. As an Italy Golden Visa holder, the beneficiary will be allowed to travel to all the countries in the Schengen area.

For international investors that are aiming to obtain a residence visa instead of a tourist visa, the Elective Residence Visa is the best choice. This Italy Golden Visa targets financially self-sufficient international individuals that want to enjoy settlement rights in the country without having to make a significant capital investment. For this visa, applicants should provide a proof of having a stable, passive source of income of at least €31,160 annually. This Italy Golden Visa will lead to a permanent residency in Italy after living for an uninterrupted period of 5 years.

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The revolutionary changes in the management of the government and economy of Panama has made this Latin American country the choice destination for foreign investors to get the Panama residency.

The country is located in the world’s most biodiverse region, where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Chiriqui and the Gulf of Panama meet and offer different coastlines and waters that are all beautiful and clean. Aside from its variety of landscapes wherein forest, mountains, beaches and pastures are protected to preserve its beauty and richness, the capital of the tropical country is famous for its cosmopolitan life; bringing together the best of both worlds.

Panama residency permits and investment options:   

Panama City is known to be one of the financial centres in the world, welcoming international direct investment and ranking the highest in Central America. International investors that want to live and/or work in Panama permanently may apply for Panama residency permits that are easy and cheap to acquire, as there is no minimum number of days required for applicants to stay in the country, for as low as a $5,000 deposit. The two more popular residency programs permit in Panama are:

  • Panama Friendly Nations Visa – this visa allows citizens from one of the 50 friendly nations (which includes countries in Europe such as the Netherlands and Spain, as well as from the United States and parts of Latin America) to immigrate to Panama along with their family. With a deposit of $5,000 and an additional amount of $2,000 for each dependent, you will be eligible for economic ties to Panama. After 5 years, you can apply for Panamanian Citizenship.
  • Pensionado Programme – pensioners that receive a pension of at least $1,000 a month and an additional of $250 for each dependent, in case of a married couple, can apply for this visa without the need of buying real estate in the country. For this residency permit, they will be protected from changes in the law, but will not be entitled to apply for Panamanian Citizenship.

One of the main reasons international investors choose Panama as their destination to relocate is for its territorial tax system that applies to residents and companies domiciled in the country. Due to the high number of persons that possess Panamanian Citizenship but are not required to live in the country, the Tax Code does not use the terms “resident” and “non-resident”.

Under the Panama tax law, individuals are subject to income tax at progressive rates on their taxable income wherein taxable net between PAB 11,001 and PAB 50,000 is subject to a tax rate of 15%, while a 25% of tax rate is for taxable net income of over PAB 50,000, approximately USD 49,900.

The taxable income includes all sources directly from Panama, which includes salaries, income from investments, compensations for personal services, income from commercial, industrial and agricultural activities, and expenses paid by an employer on behalf of an employee. Nevertheless, the following categories of income are exempted from tax:

  • Taxable net income not exceeding PAB 11,000 per year
  • Employment income not exceeding PAB 10,400 per year
  • Other profit distributions paid by small or medium sized enterprises to their shareholders
  • Payments of up to PAB 5,000 made to employees upon termination
  • Gains from public lotteries, games or bets
  • Inheritances, legacies and gifts
  • Income of individuals engaged in farming, provided that the annual gross incomes does not exceed PAB 250,000
  • Dividends on nominative preferred shares when certain conditions are met

The main reason Panama has opted for this long-term solution for its slow growing economy is to let overseas investors boost the job market, which is dominated by the supply and demand game. Fast and affordable permanent residence permits, as well as the Panama favorable tax and lifestyle, attracts foreign business people that will help grow the country’s economy.

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According to the Canadian consultancy firm Resonance, Barcelona is the eight-best city in the world to live and work. The report The World’s best cities 2021 says that Barcelona earns its ranking for its “intoxicating mix of beach, architecture and creativity” which has “framed the city as the poster child of overtourism-and its solutions”.

Those ranking led by London in the first place, followed by New York, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Singapore and Barcelona. They complete the Top 10, Los Angeles and the Spanish capital, Madrid.

The report, describes Barcelona as almost ideal European city, one with near-perfect weather year-round, miles and miles of beaches, iconic parks, striking architecture and colorful neighborhoods that march to their own beat—artistic, sophisticated, bohemian.

It is also important to highlight the tenth position achieved by Madrid. In this way, Spain has its two most important cities in the top 10 of the ranking.

 Why it is a good idea to invest in Spain?

As this ranking has demonstrate, Spain offers many benefits for those living and working on it. If you are an international investor considering to invest abroad the Golden Visa Spain is a great idea. The Spanish Golden Visa it is eligible for all your family and gives the opportunity to work and travel through the Schengen area. Moreover, those permit does not require any length of stay before having benefit from its advantages.

In addition, by receiving the Golden Visa Spain, you and your family will be entitled to the right to access the educational system and healthcare of the country. This will mean that your children can enroll in the Child Education Primary Education, Secondary and University. In terms of the Spanish healthcare system, the country offers both state healthcare services that guarantee high-quality health care of universal coverage for all resident free of charge.

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New Zealand is known to be the most naturally beautiful and safest country in the world; not only it is famous for its stunning national parks and famous hiking trails, but also for being consistently present in the top 10 in terms of protecting investors, starting a business, and ease of doing business. This country has a globally competitive market that gives the opportunity to foreign investors to grow their business while achieving a work-life balance with world-class education and healthcare system for them and their families. For the year 2021, the country is expecting more applications for their Golden Visa New Zealand for their transparency in government and lack of corruption, which has been a key point for their successful response amidst COVID-19. The country is lead by a government that encourages cooperation, communication, and empathy through their New Zealand Model, which makes it one of the best countries for foreign investors to start a life.

The Golden Visa New Zealand offers options for immigrant investors that are planning to establish a business in their country and later on get a permanent residency along with their family. It can be obtained by investing in residential property, commercial property, and certain high growth investments. The investments available in order to apply for the Golden Visa New Zealand are:

  • Equity in public or private NZ firms. It can be rather active or passive, whereas only the proportion of the Fund that is invested in BZ is counted as acceptable.
  • Bonds issued by the NZ Government, NZ local authorities, or approved NZ banks, finance companies, or firms.
  • New residential property development that is not for the investor’s personal use and designed to make a commercial return on the open market.
  • The chance to invest in 15% of the fees.

Requirements to get the Golden Visa New Zealand

The requirements of the available options are:

  • Investor 1 Category Visa– An investment of NZ$10,000,000 for 3 years. There is no age limit for the investor, neither a requirement for the English language. The investor has to live at least 33 days in NZ in each of the last 2 years after the residence is approved, or 88 days over the three year investment period.
  • Investor 2 Category Visa– An investment of NZ$3,000,000 for 4 years. Maximum age of 65, whereas the investor and family members must have English language ability the same as principal applicant or pre-purchase ESOL tuition. The investor has to stay for 438 days over 4 years after the residence is approved. This investment option has an annual quota of 400 applicants.
  • New Zealand Entrepreneur Visa– A capital investment of NZ$100,000 with 120 points or more. The investor must have an existing business or management experience and present a clear business plan.

On both categories 1 and 2 visas, the investors must invest an entry of 25% of their investment funds into assets other than Bonds and Philanthropic Investment; however, if investors are capable of investing at least 50%, there will be a reduction of $0.5m on the totality of their investment amount. For example, if you nominate $3,000,000 of investment funds and invest $1,500,000 outside of Bonds and Philanthropic Investment, you will only be required to invest a further $1,000,000 to meet the visa requirements.

After choosing the category that is more suited to you, you must transfer your investment funds in an acceptable investment in New Zealand during the next 12 months, or apply for an extension. Once your documents have been verified, you will be granted with the Golden Visa New Zealand and can qualify for the citizenship after five years.

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The Portugal Golden Visa has topped the Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020 with its affordable lifestyle, high safety rating, and quality professional healthcare. One of the investment funds available for the application of this residency permit is by the investment of €350,000 in an investment fund, which allows the applicant and their families to work, reside and study in Portugal with the benefit to visit other European countries from the Schengen Area. From the 26 nations in Europe, including France and Germany, you and your family will be able to experience different cultures and wonderful landscapes while being a resident of one of Europe’s safest country.

One of the many reasons 7,885 primary applicants and 13,364 dependents have opted for this residency permit since the start of the program of the Portugal Golden Visa, is that the investors’ children will be suitable to access the education system of the country, which includes 2 of the 10 best European universities with international high standards.

The Portugal Golden Visa has undergone some changes since its approval in 2012, whereas one of the best investment options added in 2018 is the investment fund option for a €350,000 investment. This is an alternative for investors that want to bet in an investment fund managed by corporate experts in the field; entrepreneurs will choose a start-up or medium-sized project with a great development potential to invest in. There are a variety of sectors regulated by CMVM, Portugal’s regulator, where the applicant can choose to invest, like real estate, technology, and industry. Aside from the fact that it is being handled by experts qualified in the sector you invest in, other benefits of investing in an investment fund for the Portugal Golden Visa, the capital that is invested are tax-friendly whereas dividends and capital gains are returned to the investor through tax-exemption. In addition, some funds may be backed by the Portuguese government through subsidies or financed by the Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento, or FDI. By means, you will be saving lots of money on fees, taxes, etc. with this investment route.

To choose a sector where investors will place the fund, according to managers responsible to regulate under CMVM, one of the main categories is the funds specifically designed for the Portugal Golden Visa. This will ensure a matching length or option of early withdrawal with assistance for the Golden Visa process. An example of funds design for Golden Visa investors is the BlueCrow Growth, with a minimum investment of €350,000 over a 7-year term with a deadline of December 22. Another is the Golden Bridge under the real estate sector, which with the same amount of fund, investors will be associating with the rehabilitation and management of properties in premium locations focusing on high return in the long term over a fund period of 6 years.

To apply for the acquisition of the Portugal Golden Visa applicants must prepare their documents and submit their residence application. Once it has been approved and the permit issue fee has been paid, the residence certificate will be released with a validity of one year. The renewal process should be terminated at the end of the first and third year to be able to apply for permanent residency. The Portugal Golden Visa requires applicants to stay in the country for at least 7 days during the first year, and 14 days in the two following years in order to obtain the permit. Nevertheless, aside from having the opportunity to grow your business and live a Mediterranean lifestyle, the permit will direct you to own the Portuguese passport, one of the most valuable passports in the world.

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Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus, and one of the consequences has been that Golden Visa investment, specifically in real estate has dropped to half its 2019-level by the end of May 2020. However, it is not all bad news and the results are not as bad as preliminary figures had indicated.

According to the first data shown by the Spain’s Foreign Ministry, only 113 property buyers had been granted golden visas in the first five months of 2020, down from 285 during the same period the year before. However, recently data published by Spain Ministry Labor show that Spain approved an additional 683 golden visas for main applicants during the first half of 2020. That represents a 19% rise in approvals on the preceding six months, but also a 19% drop compared to the first half of 2019, when Spain approved 848 application.

Experts said that there are at least two possible explanations to understand this disparity in numbers. The first one, says that there was a major surge in approvals of backlogged applications when Spain reopened in June. On the other hand, the second explanation says that the number of international investors who pick the real estate route is not as dominant as in previous years.

Despite both explanations, what may have occurred is that Spain has seen normal levels of application during the pandemic months, but were unable to process due to the lockdown situation and office closures, and have been approved by default.

Spain Golden Visa applicants

The Ministry of Labor shows that during the first semester, Chinese and Russian investors were the largest applicant groups, and the total number of Golden Visas issued in Spain by the end of June stood at 6.198, which raise nearly half a billion euros. Since the programme opening in 2014, the Spanish Golden Visa has earned 4.5 billion.

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Source: https://www.imidaily.com/

Entrepreneurs are looking forward to investing in Athens, the capital of Mediterranean Greece. Known for its unique and historical architecture within its 2,000 islands, the popular and touristic neighborhoods in its capital are the brokers and real estate experts’ choice for promising investment. Even before the pandemic, opportunities in real estate in the country were plentiful but low in demand, whereas owners had bet on turning to long-term leases temporarily with the hope of a recovery by the first months of 2021. Strategic investors will see the undervalued real estate in potential neighborhoods in the capital as a business opportunity, for there are plenty of places on sale to buy real estate in Greece.

Buying buildings in Athens to lease to tourists for short term stays or investing in buying an old property for a lower price and renovating it to enjoy higher returns on their investment are the main advantages for investors that want to profit from the beauty and touristic Athens. As a matter of fact, this has led the short-term rental market (mainly from Airbnb) to be the biggest change in Greece’s economy, becoming an advantage for both the country and the investor.

The best places for investors to buy real estate in the capital are located near the famous Acropolis, whereas prices are currently lower than in the center of the city. Nevertheless, it is where tourists are steadily looking to stay for its convenient transportation options to all the important places that all visitors need to explore, including museums, parks, and historical places. The best neighborhoods of the city include Kerameikos, Psirri, Exarcheia, and Kypseli, all of which are fairly near the Acropolis, where the Airbnb market is abundant.

According to experts in real estate, the ancient city of Kypseli is the most welcoming neighborhood for international investors and tourists to contribute to the rich multicultural neighborhood with its low-price to buy real estate. Located 2 to 3 kilometers away from Omonia square, the neighborhood of Kypseli is full of theaters, very close to the National Archaeological Museum, and is near to the center of the city. Many buildings in the area are targeted by investors that want to turn them into apartments for migrants or travelers. Spitagatos.gr, states that the range for apartments for sales in the area go from €900 to €1,400 per square meter depending on the number of bedrooms and its overall status; a 90m2apartment in Kypseli will cost €75,000, while a 200m2 maisonette will cost €280,000. Wise investors would pick larger apartments with multiple bedrooms to renovate so it can accommodate different sets of travelers at once; this investment idea will benefit them in the long-term as many tourists prioritize the location and proximity of their accommodation to the northern suburbs of Athens when it comes to short-term stays.

The pandemic has momentarily frozen the tourism-related transactions in many European countries including Greece, which has suffered a notable decrease in foreign visits. However, the singular location of the country that offers excellent Mediterranean weather, along with the extensive unique historical and cultural places that the country offers, makes it an attractive bet for entrepreneurs to invest in; as the vaccine for COVID-19 is released and normality is restored, tourists will start returning to the capital and they will be searching for the best offers for short-term stays.

For international investors that want to buy real estate and obtain residence in the country, they can choose to apply for the Greek Golden Visa, which offers the lowest cost of entry in Europe (€250,000) and the fastest program to obtain EU residence, in just 60 days. The applicant and their family will be beneficiaries of the advantages of this permit, which includes access to many prestigious universities with low tuition fees, free health service, and the possibility to travel around the Schengen area without the need for a visa.

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The capital of the UAE is home to ever-growing technology that delivers efficiency and security to help enterprises evolve. The launch of the Dubai Golden Visa was to attract international investment to enhance the local economy. This permit offers residency to applicants and their families that invest a minimum of AED1,000,000 in real estate, ideal to pursue the dream of becoming part of Dubai’s ecosystem for accelerated business growth. In addition, the Dubai Golden Visa has been updated, whereas not only will the residency permit allow entrepreneurs to stay in the capital for opportunities that will benefit both their families and their business, but now the new categories of the visa include residency in the Gulf state to Ph.D. holders, doctors, engineers in different fields of engineering and technology, as well as to remarkable graduates from accredited universities.

To ensure that the applicants are qualified to apply for the golden visa, they should demonstrate their career in business and meet all the needed requirements; for professionals, they have to be Ph.D. holders, doctors, engineers in the fields of computer engineering, electronics, programming, electricity, and biotechnology or in artificial intelligence, big data, or epidemiology and viruses; for the graduates of accredited universities, they should possess a GPA of 3.8 or higher; furthermore, outstanding high school students and their families can become potential recipients in the new update of the Dubai Golden Visa.

For investment applicants, a minimum of AED 1 million in real estate, whereas instead of a two-year validity before renewal, the visa has been extended up to ten years. In addition, the spouse, parents, and children of the applicant can become beneficiaries of the permit as well. Therefore, the visa will grant permanent residency (upon the ten-year extension) to applicants and family members to reside in the UAE with the opportunity to experience the high standards of living in the city of Dubai.

Dubai Golden Visa, acquisition process:

The Dubai Golden Visa takes approximately a month to process the approval of your nomination, and an additional thirty days to complete the requirements from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. From the same site, you will find the required documents that are needed along with the associated fees required for the application. To assist you with this process, Orience International possesses experts who can help you choose the best option and guide you through your ideal path. Upon receiving your citizenship, the permit will allow you to travel to 121 countries without the need of acquiring an additional visa. With the permit, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful and historical temples in Indonesia, explore the crystallines waters with different shades of blue in the Maldives, and have a taste from the oldest wine-producing country in the world, Armenia.

According to International Investment, the extension of the golden residency will help accelerate Dubai’s economic growth and productivity, as the flexibility of the visa will benefit certain types of investors, exemplary students, and professionals by increasing to the 10-year residency. Therefore, foreigners that are part of the country’s growing economy through excellence and innovation will no longer have to renew the validity of their visas every two years. This update on the Dubai Golden Visa will raise the city’s value, as they are welcoming experts and highly skilled professionals to enhance their skills and business. This innovative upgrade in the Dubai Golden Visa will be of advantage for both the city and the international applicants for the visa, for they are no longer depending solely on wealthy investors; instead, the permit will allow strategic professionals and future experts to reside and become part of the progressive city.

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