Golden Visa Europe explained

If you are a non-EU citizen looking to relocate to Europe you might have heard about the Golden Visa Europe programs. The Golden Visas in Europe are schemes allowing non-EU citizens to get residency and citizenship in some of Europe’s best countries in exchange for a qualifying investment. This guide gives you insights about some of the most successful Golden Visas in Europe.

Some of the topic covered include:

What is a Golden Visa?

A Golden Visa in Europe is a government-sponsored program used to boost a country’s economy, by attracting non-EU citizens to invest in exchange for European residency and citizenship. Depending on the country, investment options vary: you can for example decide to invest in real estate, government bonds, businesses, etc. 

These schemes generally have very minimal stay requirements, in other words, you can get an EU passport without having to stay in Europe all the time. Holding an EU passport allows you to travel visa-free in most of the world’s countries, to live, work, and study in Europe, and to have unlimited access to the Schengen area. Last but not least, the entire family of the investor is eligible for the benefits of the Golden Visa.

Benefits of the Golden Visa Europe

Invest in Europe and get an EU passport Invest in Europe and get an EU passport
Various investment routes Various investment routes
High return on your investment High return on your investment
The entire family is eligible The entire family is eligible
Reside in one of Europe’s best countries Reside in one of Europe’s best countries
Free access to the Schengen area Free access to the Schengen area

Requirements to apply for a Golden Visa

Depending on the country, Golden Visa requirements may vary. However, here is a list of some of the main requirements necessary to apply for a Golden Visa:

  • The applicant must be over 18 years old.
  • Be a non-EU citizen.
  • Make a qualifying investment.
  • Have a clean criminal record.

European countries offering the Golden Visa


Because of its beauty, excellent quality of life, stunning beaches, and great weather, Portugal has been one of the top destinations to relocate and invest in Europe. Since 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa program has allowed thousands of families to get Portuguese residency in a few months. 

The advantages of investing in the Portugal Golden Visa are:

  • High quality of life
  • Multiple Portuguese investment routes starting from €280K
  • Get a Portuguese passport in 5 years
  • Minimum stay requirements
  • Option to become a non-habitual resident and pay little to no tax for 10 years
  • Access to 26 nations in the EU & visa-free travel to 183 nations

Take a look at our Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide by local experts

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With its great weather, rich culture, and delicious food, Spain is an ideal location for non-EU citizens to live in. Since 2013, the Spanish government has encouraged foreign investors to invest in the country’s economy through the Spain Golden Visa. Obtain Spanish residency in a few months, along with the right to live, work, and study in Spain.

The advantages of the Spain Golden Visa are:

  • Fantastic quality of life
  • Multiple Spain investments options starting at €500K
  • High return on investments
  • Fast processing time to obtain Spanish residency
  • Visa-free travel to 26 countries as part of the Schengen zone

Take a look at our Spain Golden Visa Ultimate Guide by local experts

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: It’s official, Cyprus has closed its popular citizenship by investment program on 1 November 2020. What this means is, investors will no longer be able to acquire a Cypriot passport by investment.

Looking to secure European citizenship? Malta offers a direct investment route to a Maltese passport. Click here for more info.

Cyprus is a true jewel of the Mediterranean. With its breathtaking coastal atmosphere, fascinating history, widely spoken English, and good weather, Cyprus is becoming increasingly popular amongst foreigners seeking to relocate to Europe. The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program was implemented in 2016, allowing foreign investors to get Cyprus citizenship in a few months. Applicants must invest at least €2.2 million into the country in order to receive the Cyprus passport. 

The other Cyprus Golden Visa option is the Cyprus Permanent Residency Program allowing foreigners to get Cyprus residency providing they invest at least €300K in property.

Benefits of the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program:

  • Obtain a Cyprus passport in six months
  • No residency requirements
  • Freedom of movement within the EU and with a Cyprus passport, visa-free travel to over 150 countries worldwide.
  • Tax benefits


Islands upon islands of picture-perfect beaches, friendly local people, and excellent weather. Yes, Greece has it all, even it’s own Golden Visa Greece Program. 

Starting from a qualifying investment of €250,000 in real estate, receive the Greek residence permit in a few short months, with Greek citizenship possible after seven years of residing in Greece and maintaining your respective investment. With no stay requirements, and the option to include your whole family in your application, the Greek Golden Visa is a winner for investors looking to access the European Union.


  • Visa-free travel within Europe (26 nations part of the Schengen Zone)
  • Whole family eligible for residency
  • Calm and peaceful lifestyle, with world-class beaches at your disposal
  • Option to rent out your investment property


Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean with plenty of charm and a fantastic quality of life. With an optimal healthcare system, affordable living costs, and mesmerizing landscapes, Malta is a beautiful European country to live and invest in. The new Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services (MEIN) grants Maltese citizenship to over 400 investors each year. In order to get the Malta Golden Visa, you need to make a combined investment of at least €690,000+ costs in investment, donation, and real estate. 

Malta has a second Golden Visa program called the Malta Indefinite Residency Program granting indefinite residency to foreigners investing in government bonds, state funds, and Maltese real estate.

Benefits of the MEIN:

  • Obtain a Malta passport in one year
  • Tax benefits
  • With the Malta passport, travel visa-free within Europe and to 168 countries worldwide.
  • Stable and secure country

Take a look at our Malta Citizenship Ultimate Guide by local experts

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Ireland is your quintessential country offering stunning countryside landscapes and optimal living standards. As part of the European Union, the Ireland Golden Visa enables applicants and their immediate family members to hold residency in an EU country, with visa-free travel access to the Schengen Zone. After six years, Irish citizenship by naturalization is possible.


  • Diverse investment routes to Irish residency
  • Live in a wealthy country with ample leading University options for your children
  • European center for technology and business innovation
  • Whole family eligible

Talk to our Golden Visa advisors

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients from around the world acquire residence permits or homes while diversifying their portfolio with robust investments.

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Golden Visa Europe

What Golden Visa programs can I find in Europe?

Different European countries offer the Golden Visa to non-EU citizens in exchange for a qualifying investment. Portugal, Spain, Malta, and Cyprus offer some of the best Golden Visa programs in Europe.

What is the best golden visa in Europe?

Portugal has the best Golden Visa in Europe as it offers multiple and affordable investment routes. If you invest at least €280K in a renovations project, you can obtain a Portuguese passport in five short years.

Can I get an EU passport with a Golden Visa?

Yes, you can get an EU passport with a Golden Visa. Depending on the country the processing time varies. With the Cyprus Golden Visa you can for example get a Cyprus passport in just six months.

Are there any requirements to apply to Europe golden visa programs?

Yes, in order to apply to Europe golden visa programs you need to follow certain requirements: the applicant must be above 18 years old, be a non-EU citizen, make a qualifying investment, and have a clean criminal record.