Many options are available in the European Union for investments and residencies in 2021 for foreign nationals. Immigration Explorer breaks down programs to get a Golden Visa Europe in comparison to help you make the best decision.
Discover the benefits of choosing a program in Europe for your residence permit and the often subtle differences among the investment options. Depending on your career path, family members, and interest in European citizenship, each program has its own unique advantages just waiting on you to make the perfect move!
An Umbrella of Benefits
It’s no secret that relocating to a new jurisdiction can improve the quality of life for this generation and the next, but it also comes with the added perks of enjoying new wealth opportunities as well as greater control over vital aspects of your life.
For foreign nationals eager to improve the regulations, protections, and freedoms in their jurisdiction will find the EU a chance to expand their options beyond the country. It may seem like the cost of relocating to the EU is too expensive, a Golden Visa Europe in comparison to other global destinations is actually quite affordable. In addition, the benefits may be even greater than other worldwide locations with Golden Visa programs as a result of enhanced stability and strong cross-border networks.
Many of the EU options are open by way of real estate investments and favorable stay requirements for individuals still interested in being mobile. All the Golden Visa Europe programs have visa-free travel and include extended family members on application.
While the EU has suspended the respective Citizenship by Investment program (CBI) of each jurisdiction, citizenship through investment is possible for most individuals who obtain permanent residency through a Golden Visa in Europe, by comparison, other global jurisdictions have questionable CBI programs or offer no pathway to citizenship for foreigners despite investment into the country.
Let’s take a closer look into getting a Golden Visa in Europe with a comparison between Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Portugal based on seven factors.
Side-by-Side Golden Visa in Europe Comparison
If you are having trouble keeping track of all the similarities and differences between your options, this Golden Visa Europe comparison guide makes it easy to find the areas of investing in the country of your dreams most important for you.
1. Language Requirements*
- Cyprus: Main languages are Greek or Turkish, however English, Chinese, and Russian are commonly found throughout the country
- Greece: Knowing the main language of Greek is quite important, yet English and French can sometimes be found
- Malta: Maltese and English are widely spoken, with some communities with Italian and French
- Portugal: Portuguese is the dominant language spoken, but there is a growing interest in improving English capabilities
Best for English Speakers: Malta or Cyprus Golden Visa
*No official language requirements are needed for the programs but may affect navigating life in the country
2. Inclusion of Family Members
- Cyprus: Spouse, Parents, Children under 25
- Greece: Spouse, Parents, Children under 21 or enrolled as a student
- Malta: Up to 4th Generation
- Portugal: Spouse, Parents, Dependent Siblings, Children under 25 or enrolled as a student
Best for Family Application: Malta Golden Visa
3. Process Timeframe and Residency Length
- Cyprus: 2-8 months for application process; permanent residency status as long as the main applicant visits once every two years
- Greece: 2-3 months for application process; temporary residency status with no in-country stay requirement
- Malta: 3-8 months for application process; permanent residency status with no in-country stay requirement
- Portugal: 6 months – 1 year for application process; permanent residency status with 7 days required stay each year
Best for Quick Process and Few Stay Conditions: Greece Golden Visa; but important that in a Golden Visa Europe comparison, Greece residency status is considered temporary and not permanent
4. Citizenship Pathways*
- Cyprus: By naturalization after 7 years of residency in-country and Greek language test
- Greece: By naturalization after 7 years of residency in-country and Greek language test OR by ancestral link
- Malta: By naturalization after 5 years of residency in-country OR fast-track options with investment
- Portugal: By naturalization after 5 years of residency in-country and Portuguese language test
The CBI Programs in Europe are currently closed, however, residency may lead to citizenship and all programs in the Golden Visa Europe comparison allow for dual citizenship.
Best for Quick Path to Citizenship: Malta Golden Visa
5. National Healthcare Coverage for Foreign Residents
- Cyprus: Yes, top-quality coverage at little to no cost
- Greece: No national healthcare coverage
- Malta: Yes, by employment only
- Portugal: Yes, must demonstrate proof of insurance through public health system or private coverage
Best for Healthcare Options: Cyprus Golden Visa
6. Retirement Tax Benefits
- Cyprus: Low living costs; reduced 5% pension income tax
- Greece: Flat 7% income tax for retired foreign residents for ten years (drafted)
- Malta: 15% personal tax liability on foreign income but with stipulations for minimum stay requirements and real estate investments (Find out more)
- Portugal: Exemption for ten years on foreign income, 20% flat rate on locally-sourced income
Best for Retirement (Tax and Healthcare): Cyprus Golden Visa
See our other comparison guide specifically for foreign nationals looking to retire abroad
7. Investment Options
- Cyprus: Real estate investments OR company investment or CySEC country investment funds (Minimum 300,000 EUR or ~350,000 USD)
- Greece: Real estate investments OR securities (Minimum 250,000 EUR or ~300,000 USD)
- Malta: Combination of real estate investment or rental, country donation, and personal capital (Minimum 165,000 EUR or ~200,000 USD)
- Portugal: Real estate investments OR country investment funds OR job creation (Minimum 250,000 EUR or ~300,000 USD)
Best for Variety of Program Investment Options and Budget: Portugal Golden Visa
As members of the EU and almost all a part of the Schengen Zone, these four programs for a Golden Visa Europe, by comparison, are quite similar due to the protections, regulations, and benefits under the EU membership banner. While this is just a quick side-by-side snapshot of the programs’ requirements, costs, and initial advantages, each jurisdiction has a range of other considerations for foreign nationals.
Other Financial and Lifestyle Considerations
There are many factors that make one program among the Golden Visa Europe comparison the best fit for you and your family or business. While some programs may seem cheaper in the short term, taxation policies and real estate costs may push the price of the investment up in the long term.
Further, the business environments, weather, and cultures of each jurisdiction will impact what you gain from the jurisdiction. The choice between these countries is not just which gets a foreign applicant into the door for European citizenship or residency the quickest and cheapest.
Use this Golden Visa of Europe comparison table to help determine some of the extended costs of these programs and then read more details about the cultural dynamics and individual policies that impact life in each jurisdiction with our detailed country guides – Cyprus RBI, Greece RBI, Malta RBI, and Portugal RBI.
Home Sweet Home in Europe
The EU is one of the most rewarding regions for work, family, and travel – and with some initial investment, the path towards permanent residency through the Golden Visa programs makes changing jurisdictions attainable! The dynamics of European culture and lifestyle are rich with variety and getting a Golden Visa Europe in comparison to other worldwide jurisdictions comes with plenty of benefits.
Find out more ways a Golden Visa in Europe in comparison is more advantageous for your specific needs by consulting with the international professionals at Immigration Explorer. Once you have narrowed down the ideal jurisdiction for you and your family, we will get started at once to guide you through the process of applying stress-free.