Are you seeking to acquire EU residency and wondering which program to pick? You might have heard of the famous Greece and Portugal Golden Visa programs. Both immigration and investment programs grant residency to non-EU applicants in exchange for a qualifying economic investment. Affordable, attractive, and your gateway to EU residency, how to decide which one to apply to? In this guide, we help you differentiate the programs in order to make an informed decision on which program to pick.
Greece and Portugal Golden Visa: an overview
There are several common aspects to the Greece and Portugal Golden Visa programs. First and foremost they are both offered by two stunning and safe European countries with sunny Mediterannean climates and low living costs. With delicious food, beautiful beaches, and rich culture, no wonder why so many tourists come to visit Greece and Portugal every year.
Tailored for non-EU citizens, both schemes offer a variety of qualifying investment options, which allow applicants and their families to obtain EU residency in a few months. Both programs eventually lead to the possibility of getting an EU passport. So how to pick you might ask?
Greece and Portugal Golden Visa comparison
Greece Golden Visa
Portugal Golden Visa
|Application time||1-2 months||3-6 months|
|Passport global ranking||8th||6th|
|Time to citizenship||7 years||5 years|
|Qualifying investment||Minimum investment of €250K.|
Investment routes: Real estate, capital contribution, capital transfer, shares, bonds, or government bond
|Minimum investment of €280K.|
Investment routes: Real estate, renovations, business startup, research, private equity funds, capital transfer, national heritage funds
|Taxes||Income tax starts at a rate of 22%.||NHR Tax Regime allowing tax exemption for up to 10 years|
|Residence rule||No requirement||7-day requirement the first year and 14 days every two years after.|
|Ability to work ||No, unless you set up your own business||Yes, no restriction to work|
|Family eligibility||Spouse, children (under 21 years old), and parents of the main applicant and spouse||Spouse and dependent children (under 18 years old or still completing studies)|
Greece vs Portugal Golden Visa: our recommendation
Now, how do you decide which program to apply to? There are definitely many similarities between the Greece and Portugal Golden Visa in terms of application time, passport ranking, minimum investment requirement, and family eligibility.
However, it is important to keep in mind that Greece applies more economic restrictions to its foreign residents than Portugal. While Golden Visa holders are able to work without restrictions in Portugal, this is not the case in Greece where Golden Visa holders are allowed to live but not work (unless they create their own business). In addition, Greece imposes an income tax rate that starts at 22% to all its residents, while Portugal offers attractive tax incentives for its foreign residents under the NHR tax regime. Real estate can also prove to be more costly in Greece than in Portugal, as property taxes are high in Greece.
In terms of Golden Visa investment routes, both countries have very attractive options — with slightly more diverse options for the Portugal Golden Visa. A major plus that Portugal has, is the ability for Portugal Golden Visa holders to apply for a Portuguese passport five years prior to obtaining residency, in opposition to the seven years needed for acquiring a Greek passport. Therefore if your ultimate goal is to obtain an EU passport, the Portugal Golden Visa scheme is highly recommended.
Overall, while Greece offers cheap investment options and no residency requirements, Portugal has been recognized as one of the best countries to live in for expats. With many attractive and affordable Golden Visa investment options, it is definitely the best Golden Visa program available in Europe in terms of stability, quality of life, and opportunities for foreigners.
Frequently Asked Questions about Greece vs Portugal Golden Visa
What is Greece’s Golden Visa?
The Greece Golden Visa is an immigration and investment visa launched in 2013 by the Greek government, giving investors and their family Greek residency in exchange for a minimum investment of €250K.
What is Portugal’s Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa is an immigration and investment visa launched in 2012 by the Portuguese government which offers non-EU investors and their families Portuguese residency, with an eventual pathway to Portuguese citizenship allowed in exchange for a minimum qualifying investment of €280K.
Can I obtain an EU passport by applying to the Greece or Portugal Golden Visa program?
Yes, you can obtain an EU passport by applying for the Greece or Portugal Golden Visa program. The main difference is that you’ll be able to acquire a Portuguese passport after five years of residency, while it’ll take seven years to obtain a Greek passport.
Greece or Portugal Golden Visa: which program to pick?
We recommend applying for the Portugal Golden Visa as it has more investment options, offers great tax benefits to foreign residents, gives its holders the ability to work in Portugal, and ultimately is a faster route to acquiring EU citizenship.