golden visa

The European Union has received in the past years more than 6.000 new citizens and 100.000 new residents, most of them attracted because of the Golden Visa programme. This investment method, available in several European countries, gives access to European Union residence.

In the next post, we will focus on the Golden visa programme in Spain, Greece and Portugal, although it is also available in other countries such as Malta or Cyprus.

Features of the three programs 

Before going further into de subject, we will review the main characteristics of each program. In the case of the Golden Visa Spain, one of the main requirements to apply is make an investment of 500.000 euros in real estate assets. The inverstor’s spouse and children will also be provided with a residence permit, which will last for two years with a possible extension.

In Spain, the gold visa is part of the ‘Law 14/2013 of support for entrepreneurs and their internationalization’ which also includes the residence for those who made other type of investments, like the acquisition of government bonds for more than two million euros or the investment in shares of a company for more than one million euros, among others.

In the case of Greece, the Golden Visa Greece programme was launched in 2013 and, unlike Spain, the initial investment was 250.000 euros. This figure is the second lowest in the European Union and the fifth cheapest in the world. As in the Spanish case, the couple and children under the age of 21 may also benefit from the program.

Finally, regarding the Portuguese program, we can confirm that it has become one of the most popular options. The investment to obtain the residence is 500.000 euros and, as in Spain, extends to the entire family of the investor.

It is important to remember that, in order to maintain the residence permit, the investor must retain the real estate property that he acquired at the time.

Relevant figures on different programs 

Since the implementation of 2014’s law in Spain, the granting of residence authorizations has been increasing, achieving its peak in 2018 (the last year with data), with a total of 19.328 authorizations. If we compare this figure with 2017 (16.118), we can see an increase of 19%.

It is quite interesting to note that 2.273 of the authorizations granted went to investors, while a total of 4.349 went to highly qualified professionals whose also registered the largest increase (19,4%) compared to 2017.

If we focus on the nationalities, the ones that arrive the most by the investment route are the Chinese and the Russians, with 791 and 580 authorizations. With regard to those who arrive by the way of highly qualified professionals, we find Venezuelans with 513 authorizations and the Indians, with 353.

For more information of the Golden Visa in Spain, please refer to this document from the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security

If we move to Greece, the number of investment visas has been growing since 2013 and a total of 6.304 permits had been granted in December 2019. It is interesting to note that Greece is the country where the most visas have been given, as long as taking as reference investment visas, since no other type of visas are granted as happens in Spain, with highly qualified professionals.

If we take a look at nationalities, the Chinese are by far the nationality that invests the most in Greece. According to data from the Greek Ministry of Citizenship, in 2019 4.371 visas were given just to Chinese citizens, followed by Turks (487) and Russians (382). In fourth place we find the Lebanese, closely followed by the Egyptians.

Finally, in the case of Portugal, 2018 has been a very positive year for the Portuguese gold visa. We cannot overlook that it has been the most popular program during this year: in total 7.738 visas have been granted for investment. Regarding the nationalities, Chinese are the ones who arrive the most thanks to the investment. According to Portugal’s Border and Foreign Service, they represent a total of 68%, followed by Brazilians, Russians, Turks and South Africans.

In conclusion, we can say that the Spanish gold visa has been very effective during 2019, especially for the attraction of highly qualified professionals, unlike Greece and Portugal who do not grant this type of visa. For investors, the figure has also been significant, although it has been more so in Portugal and Greece.

To sum up, as for nationalities we can see the same pattern in the three countries with the Russians and the Chinese, while in Portugal there is an ancestry of the Brazilians and Africans. However, Greece has been able to attract investors from the Middle East effectively.

Oriol Molas, CEO Orience International