“Golden Visa” is a program for issuing a temporary residence permit on the privileged conditions, followed by granting a permanent residence in EU countries for investments in the economy. In other words, the program provides an opportunity to get a residence permit in Europe, including through the purchase of the real estate.
Besides the fact that you can buy the real estate in Europe, there are several types of investments that allow you to obtain a residence permit:
- to purchase the government securities;
- to open a deposit account in national banks;
- to invest in research and development and preservation of cultural and historical heritage (Portugal);
- in Switzerland, this is an investment in the form of a lump sum tax which is paid annually at a certain amount.
The program appeared naturally after the crisis of 2008 when the real estate market was shaken and it became necessary to strengthen it by attracting foreign investment.
The idea originated in Cyprus and was developed in the countries most affected by the crisis – Portugal, Spain, Greece, Malta, and Latvia. Now the program options are realized in more than 50 countries where a residence permit is given when buying a real estate. Among them are Thailand, New Zealand, and even Canada.
Montenegro is also among the countries which suggests receiving a residence permit in Europe after buying a real estate. Here you can buy housing or commercial objects of any value. Documents are issued within a month, including for family members. Property object should not have encumbrances. This is an important remark, since residential and commercial properties are often built without permission, with violations, and have tax and mortgage debts. A certificate of commercial purity of property can be received from the land registry of the community on whose land the object is located. However, this program does not entitle you to work, visa-free entry to EU countries, receiving the residence and citizenship. Moreover, to become a citizen of Montenegro is possible only on condition of refusal of the previous citizenship. A temporary permit is issued for a year and can be extended for as long as the real estate remains in ownership. No matter how attractive prices are, but to get permanent residence in Europe through the purchase of a real estate in Montenegro will not succeed.
How and where to buy a permanent residence in Europe
An opportunity to buy a permanent residence in Europe is not cheap, and different countries exposed to potential investors the requirement of different degree of severity.
It makes sense to consider the program “Golden Visa” seriously if you have a budget of 300 000 €. We should comment straightway that the minimum prices are only for the cost of housing, but in practice, the amount is overgrown with additional costs of about 10–20%. This includes the costs of registration, notary fees, etc.
The most liberal price of the program is in Greece – € 250,000. Acquisition of property in Latvia will cost the same amount but is followed by a duty of 5% of the object price. Objects in Cyprus will require from an investor the investments in the amount of € 300 000.
Portugal offers a choice of two types of real estate – buildings over 30 years old, located in places of cultural and historical heritage, for € 350,000 and other types of property for € 500,000. Another positive point is that the applicant does not need to become a tax resident. The note is important because the rates of the Portuguese equivalent of income tax differ by one and a half times for residents and non-residents. It is especially sensitive if to consider that Portugal has a progressive tax scale from 14.5 to 48%.
The cost of purchased objects in Spain should not be lower than 500 000 €. Besides, investments can be made in government securities in the amount of € 2,000,000 or be placed in deposits of national banks in the amount of € 1,000,000.
Malta offers a combined program, the cost of which will be € 550 000. To receive a permanent residence in Europe under this program, you need to buy a house worth from € 270 000, to purchase securities in the amount of € 250 000 and to make a non-refundable government contribution of € 30 000. There is an option with rental housing costing at least € 10,000 per year. In this case, you don’t need to purchase anything and the package will cost cheaper.
It is important to know that all investments in the economy are returnable. After obtaining residence in the permanent place of residence, investments can be returned, and real estate can be sold if there is such need.
What real estate objects can be purchased in Europe with a residence permit
There are no restrictions on the types of objects to be acquired, but in different countries where residence permits are granted on this basis, there are some peculiarities of the real estate market – primary or secondary housing, residential and commercial buildings. There is also no unanimity on the number of acquired property units.
In Spain, the components of a set of real estate can be sold, purchased, changed from one to another, but with each next renewal of documents, the total value of real estate should not be lower than the agreed sum. An important addition: if housing is acquired for joint use with another family member, the amount of the investment is divided in half, and the housing purchaser will be automatically eliminated from the program.
In Portugal and Greece, there are also no restrictions for the structure of a set of real estate. Cyprus recommends limiting it to two objects of property, Malta – to one. Latvia highly appreciates the cities by the sea, there you can buy only one unit of property, but in the province, you can get several objects at once.
For all acquired property you need to pay with your own assets without attracting credit funds. This rule is valid in all countries except Latvia. They are happy to give a mortgage loan in a local bank.
The advantages of the “Golden Visa”
If the applicant fulfilled all the conditions of the program during the prescribed period, then after it expires he can receive resident status with a permanent place of residence and consider the issue of obtaining citizenship, previously having found out which countries give citizenship when buying the real estate.
“Golden visa” gives the following advantages in comparison with the usual residence permit:
- The residence permit in Europe based on the acquisition of the real estate for all family members. In some countries, you can apply not only on the spouse and minor children, but also on parents.
- The term for issuing a temporary permit is shorter. As a rule, the registration takes 2-3 months. The shortest time is in Latvia – 1 month, and it can be reduced to 5 working days. The longest is in Portugal, up to 4–5 months.
- The right to appear in the country as required. It means that you can be absent without restrictions or with minimal restrictions. For example, in Portugal, you need to be 7 days a year. In Spain and Latvia, personal presence is required when reissuing documents. In Cyprus, you need to appear at least once every two years. The term of stay in each of these countries is unlimited.
Right to work
In Greece and Cyprus, the possibility of obtaining a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate does not give the right to work. The legislation does not prohibit to start own business and to exist on the income from it. In Spain, Portugal, Latvia, and Malta there is no ban on work.
In all cases, except Malta, you can rent the acquired property. This is a long-term contract.
Possession of cards “Golden Visa” automatically gives the right to study, medical care, visa-free travel.
Which countries give citizenship when buying the real estate
Besides the program “Golden Visa”, there are also budget options for acquiring the real estate in Europe with a residence permit.
In Bulgaria, a transaction with a total cost not less than € 300,000 can be issued to a private person or a Bulgarian company, 50% of the capital is owned by the applicant. A residence permit is issued for 1 year. The condition for its extension is a stay in the country for at least 183 days. A long-term residence permit can be requested after a five-time extension of the residence permit.
In Hungary, the purchase of a real estate in Europe does not guarantee a residence permit but is considered as one of the reasons for this. Real estate prices in Hungary are objectively among the lowest in Europe. All transactions with it are conducted with the participation of lawyers, including an audit of the acquired property, which additionally guarantees the transparency and purity of the transaction. The chances of getting approval are greater when purchasing property in remote areas. There is no minimum price threshold, but housing should be of acceptable quality, at least 12 square meters per person. Terms of status renewal:
- stay in the territory of the country for more than six months;
- confirmed income – at least € 350 per person per month.
After three years of living in the country on a legal basis, it is possible to apply for permanent residence.
Andorra gives a residence permit in exchange for an investment of at least € 400,000. Since the principality is not part of the Schengen zone, the right of visa-free visits extends only to Spain, Portugal, and France. The reason for the extension is – the residence in the country for at least 90 days a year. The application for permanent residence can be submitted only after 20 years of possession of a temporary residence permit with the prospect of further obtaining citizenship upon the purchase of the real estate.
Turkey created its own analog of the “Golden Visa” program. According to it, you can buy any immovable objects in any quantity and for any price, including by installments. The residence permit is issued for six months and then is extended for two years. Residence permit for real estate in Europe gives the right to work subject to obtaining permission. Conditions for renewal are – the preservation of an immovable object in the property and stay in the country for at least 6 months a year. In five years, you can obtain citizenship by naturalization, that is, you must pass an exam on knowledge of the language, cultural and historical traditions, and be integrated into society.
Top 10 countries where you can buy property in Europe
Those who seek to obtain a residence permit in Europe when buying property, choose the following countries based on their advantages:
- Bulgaria has a close location, relatively low prices, understandable language, familiar mentality.
- Spain has stability, favorable climate, historical traditions.
- Germany has a strong economy, the opportunity to make good money on rent.
- Italy, Montenegro, Greece are classic places for summer holidays.
- The Czech Republic is an excellent bridgehead at the crossroads of Europe for further travel if you buy the apartments here.
- Latvia is for those who appreciate the traditions of elegant recreation, the lack of a language barrier and proximity to borders.
- Finland is a violently developing economy, great ecology, territorial accessibility.
- France is the love of Russians for all times!
How to buy the real estate in Europe to a citizen of Russia
Russian legislation does not prohibit the purchase and possession of property abroad. Restrictions for public servants and members of their families regarding possession of accounts in foreign banks are possible.
It is recommended to study the exchange legislation concerning the legality of transactions with the countries that are not members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – this is Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Malta, etc., and also to take an interest in the FATF current list (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering).
From the point of view of taxation, it is important to find out how to buy the real estate in Europe to a Russian citizen – an individual and a legal entity, a resident and a non-resident. There are rules for all these categories.
Refusal to notify the tax authorities of the transactions made may generate a number of negative consequences in the form of fines. When you pay for the transaction, you should have a document confirming the origin of the money.
Finally, if immovable objects are acquired not for personal use, but for renting or resale, double taxation is likely – in the home country and in the country where the object is located.