12 Cheapest Golden Visas in Europe: Ultimate 2023 Guide [UPDATED]

Are you looking for the cheapest golden visas in Europe?

As the world becomes more globalized, birth and stay in a single country throughout one’s lifetime is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

Consider for instance, incidents where one’s home country takes a political decision that they aren’t willing to live by e.g. Brexit etc.

Golden Visas is one of the famous ways that now best facilitates flexibility across nations.

Different states allow for these Visas subject to varying conditions with offers from particular countries notably cheap.

Generally, individuals will be awarded these Visas upon making certain economic contributions including investment in real estate, venture capital, government bonds et.al.

The beneficiaries then gain legal rights under the jurisdictions of the said countries including work, traveling etc. upon going through verification.

Golden Visas often go for high sums and so only the rich usually attain them.

That notwithstanding, Golden Visas remain a more easy and straightforward venture than say applying for citizenship by naturalization.

Overtime, a person who is admitted under the arrangement can apply for full citizenship too (In the case of Greece, it takes seven years).

This comes with enjoyment of full rights by these persons as well as their children and at times close family members e.g. parents

 

Cheapest Visa Countries

Over one hundred countries worldwide have adopted Golden Visas or equivalent arrangements with the United States of America and Britain having some of the oldest programmes.

In Europe, over 60% of the countries on the continent allow Golden Visas.

Through these schemes, countries are able to attract investors and that way expand their economies.

This stimulates competition between states and one way in which to attract more investors is to subsidize the cost of the Visas.

Every Golden Visa programme has its own nuance and it is of importance that one understands each one of them prior to applying.

Here we share the countries in Europe whose programmes are most cheap starting with the cheapest.

The article also delves into several other aspects thereto to aid your decision.

 

 12 Cheapest Golden Visas in Europe

1. Malta

Being an Island located between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta offers a serenity perfect for retirees, vacation etc.

At the same time, the Malta Permanent Residency Programme is Europe’s cheapest Golden Visa. It was launched last year with its minimum requirement being donating $150,000 to the government.

The money is non-refundable though and no returns are expected of one who has given it. Successful applicants obtain permanent residence immediately together with their families and they can apply for citizenship after five years of holding the Visa.

Permanent residence is granted for life. Prior to that though, an applicant must prove that separate from the donation made their capital is worth $500,000.

The entire application process will take between 6&8 months.

There is no requirement on purchasing property i.e. an individual can stay in a rented place.

One will not be required to be present in the country upon obtaining the card yet they may travel without passports to any of the Schengen countries for at least ninety days.

Passports will be available to them within 1-3 years. The Visa isn’t an easy one to get though. Reportedly, applications can be rejected without any sound reasons give.

A more transparent process is the country’s citizenship by investment programme whose minimum capital requirement is giving out $600, 000 to the Maltese Development Fund.

One who opts for this arrangement instead is sure to have their passport within eighteen months and citizenship in a year.

The other advantages are similar to those under the Golden Visa.

 

2. Portugal

Portugal has one of the oldest and most popular Golden Visa schemes in Europe.

It allows for several means in which an individual can attain a Golden Visa with the least costly avenue being donating $375, 0000 in either arts, culture, or heritage.

A more viable alternative is investment in low density areas. It goes for $420,000. This usually takes a form of businesses already in existence like hotels.

The second option is more convenient because it attracts returns.

If approved, the person obtaining the Visa will obtain a resident permit and they are eligible to apply for citizenship after five year.

They should however, stay in the country for at least one week every year as well as pass a language test.

The test isn’t demanding and so are related processes. Application and confirmation will take a little over six months.

Related:

Obtaining the Visa allows the person to whom it is issued as well as their family members travel to the Schengen region without a passport.

Relatedly, their investment will be eligible for the country’s None-habitual Resident Scheme which is an incentive that allows foreign investors in the country to be charged significantly less taxes for a period of ten years.

This applies to both the mandatory investments as well as those made by personal volition.

Other means of obtaining the Golden Visas are investing $525,000 in a rehabilitation project anywhere in the country but for popular states like Porto and Lisbon (developers will handle the work itself), create at least ten jobs for Portuguese citizens, make a capital transfer of $1,500,000, invest $525,000 in a research project, or $750,000 in a small/medium business.

There is an even more attractive offer in Portugal that isn’t a Golden Visa i.e. the Portugal High Qualified Activity Visa (PHQAV).

The minimum requirement is an investment of $262,500. The offer however, targets innovators. You must partner with a University in the country to work on a research driven startup.

The benefits that come with the PHQAV are similar to those that accrue to having a Golden Visa.

An applicant whose proposal is rejected will have their money refunded.

 

3. Greece

The Greece Golden Visa attracts a price of $375,000 investment in real estate or other venture. One can expect to pay around 10% in tax.

There is no requirement on staying in the country physically upon receiving a residential permit. One who wishes to obtain citizenship however, will be required to live in the country for at least 183 days annually.

The application for citizenship is possible after seven years.

One can have their permit renewed continuously though (after every five years) without necessarily applying for citizenship.

Citizenship will also require the applicant to obtain a B1 in Greek. The Visa comes with travel to Schengen states and accommodates children aged twenty-one and below as well as both sets of parents.

You can equally obtain Greece’s Golden Visa by investing at least $600,000 in government bonds, $600,000 in a Greek company, or at least $600,000 in bank deposits.

These programmes including the $375,000 offer may not be available for cities like Athens and Thessaloniki following a government pronouncement early this year to that effect.

 

4. Latvia

To apply for the country’s Visa, an individual has to invest $375,000 in real estate or government bonds.

They will also pay an extra $37,500 or 5% of their purchase (whichever is higher) if they opt for real estate.

Thereupon, an applicant will be issued a resident permit and they only need to visit the country once a year to maintain their status.

Golden Visa holders obtain the right to work and live in Latvia as well as healthcare. They may also travel in the Schengen countries.

After five years, one may also obtain Latvian citizenship. This means though that such persons have to renounce their earlier citizenship since the country doesn’t allow for dual citizenship except for EU citizens as well as persons from European Free Trade Association countries, NATO member states, New Zealand, Brazil and Australia.

The country’s requirements on language fluency are also very high.

 

5. Italy

Italian Golden Visas are only given to investors in companies as well as those that make donations.

There is no real estate window. The minimum requirement is $375,000 in startup investment. Philanthropic avenues include culture, research, and education though a lot more money might be required for some.

The Italian government grants resident permits to successful candidates and they expire after two years subject to a three years renewal. Citizenship is granted after 10 years.

Only individuals intending to apply for citizenship are demanded to reside in Italy.

An Italian Golden Visa allows one to travel in the Schengen region.

 

6. Cyprus

Cyprus spells out four different categories of investment in which one may attain the minimum capital requirement ($300,000).

There are three ways; investment in real estate, investment in a residential area, purchasing shares in a company incorporated in the country, and venturing in investment funds.

Thereupon, a residence permit is issued to the investor. After fives, the Visa holder may apply for citizenship.

The country doesn’t require global tax payment and its tax rates are low (12% on average).

All privileges apply to family members though only children aged twenty-five and below will be allowed.

The Golden Visa scheme replaced a once popular scheme known as citizenship by investment after it got muddled with corruption scandals.

Applicants under the arrangement would be offered citizenship within six months of paying $3,000,000.

At the time, Cyprus was the most favourite country for investor-citizenship arrangements in Europe.

 

7. Beligium

Belgium’s Golden Visa requires more active participation from the individual applicant. They are required to form a company worth $525,000.

The company is to be registered and incorporated in the country. Individuals able to do this obtain a residence permit and are eligible for citizenship after five years.

 

8. Andora

Andora is a tiny state neighbouring France and Spain. Its Golden Visa is famous because of tax policies that are friendly to businesses.

The investment should meet a minimum of $400,000. Investors who succeed can travel around Schengen Visa free. The country also issues Visa to countries elsewhere rather fast.

 

9. Ireland

Ireland has only one relatively cheap avenue to attaining a Golden Visa i.e. contribution towards charity ($600,000).

The other options go as high as $1,000,000 investment in a business and $2,000,000 for real estate business.

Any of the options gains an individual a residence permit that expires within two years and is subject to a three year renewal.

 

10. Spain

The Spanish Golden Visa is significantly more expensive from those that we have looked at already.

The cheapest option is investment in real estate worth $750,000. There is no residency requirement and the Visa is renewable after every two years provided an individual has maintained their investment.

Permanent residence is granted after five years and the Spanish as well as EU citizenship after ten years.

Once the Visa is granted, an individual can travel within the Schengen with no passport. This is available to all family members too.

Other avenues of obtaining a golden Visa are making a bank deposit or investment in a Spanish company worth $1,000,000, and $2,000,000 or more investment in the country’s public debt. The application process will take between 2-3 months.

 

11. Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s minimum investment is $750,000. The money can be invested in an existing company or a new one provided they employ at least three people.

Alternatively, one may invest $4,500,000 in infrastructure and development or deposit $30,000,000 in a bank account in the country.

The money should stay on the account for at least five years.

 

12. Bulgaria

The country’s Golden Visa programme is one of Europe’s quickest way to obtain citizenship. The country requires the donor to invest $768,000 in the either of real estate, venture capital, and stocks and shares.

Hereunder, the investor is eligible to apply for citizenship after five years. The quicker route however is investing an extra $768,000. Citizenship is in this case granted after eighteen months.

Many of the benefits accruing to the Visa are similar to those under the programmes mentioned before.

A holder is for instance able to travel to the Schengen countries without a Visa.

 

Other Considerations

There are several more EU countries with Golden Visas though their minimum investment requirement is quite high.

If there is a country that you are particularly interested in that isn’t mentioned, then you might have to check it out specifically.

Some can be very expensive usually because they are stable economies. An example here is Switzerland.

As for Germany, it doesn’t allow Golden Visas at all. It has an employment Visa instead which is extended to individuals that provide create solutions to priority sectors of the economy.

This window is not an easy one since Germany is a high-end economy.

For countries that have them however (including those that we have pointed out already), the money invested should be owned by the individual in question.

It must not be obtained through loans unless otherwise stipulated and it should be obtained through legal means.

Persons with a previous criminal record will not be granted these types of Visas.

Lastly, the Visa applicant should be in position to sustain him/her as well as their family.

 

Expertise

This article has served as a guide. The comparisons made should help aid you in choosing which Golden Visa country is most appropriate for your interests.

When you have settled on a choice, the natural step to take next is find an expert who works in securing Visas for the country.

This is helpful since it saves you the trouble of lengthy process. Quick examples here are Henley and Partners as well as La Vida – Golden Visas.

Usually, they will ask for a fee though it is reasonable and worth it. Governments will also publish important details on the Golden Visa programmes they run on their websites.

The European Union website equally provides useful resources. These and the information on government websites are free of charge.

 

Conclusion: Cheapest Golden Visa Countries in Europe

The European Union is top in regards to economic success. Its Golden Visa scheme is equally very competitive.

The countries shared above compare relatively well with economies elsewhere say Malaysia whose minimum capital investment requirement is $224,000.

Moreover, the accompanying amenities like country and EU citizenship are an added advantage. Investors should thus seriously consider trying out one of the options shared.