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Golden Visa

European Schengen Residency Golden Visa

The Villa Company


You are no doubt aware that citizens of member countries of the European Union are allowed to travel and trade freely throughout Europe. Citizens of countries outside the EU are only allowed to enter each European member state based upon that states agreed visa entry requirement rules.

The golden visa ‘passport’ is an initiative that has been launched by some southern European nations such as Cyprus, Portugal and Spain, that allows permanent residency in that country with the ability to also acquire the all-important Golden Visa, known as a Golden Passport.

What is the Golden Visa?

To secure a golden visa, you must invest a minimum level in real estate to achieve this. In short, buy a property, be granted permanent residence in the country that you have bought property and travel freely throughout most of Europe for up to 6 months per year, with the balance outside Europe or back living in the country that granted you the golden visa. The current minimum property investment levels are:

• Cyprus €300,000
• Portugal €500,000
• Spain (proposed) €500,000

It allows holders to travel freely throughout the Schengen Agreement area of Europe (this also includes some non EU members) for a maximum of 90 days per half year. In short, get a golden visa and travel throughout the rest of Europe freely for 180 days per full year. The Schengen Agreement area is where are allowed to travel with no further visa requirements.

The Schengen Area: This is not the whole of Europe. Not all members states have signed the Schengen Agreement.

Participating EU Members

• Austria
• Belgium
• Bulgaria (will allow when fully joins EU)
• Cyprus (will allow soon)
• Czech Republic
• Denmark (excluding Greenland, Faroe Islands)
• Estonia
• Finland
• France (excluding overseas territories)
• Germany
• Greece
• Hungary
• Italy
• Latvia
• Lithuania
• Luxembourg
• Malta
• Netherlands (excluding Caribbean territories)
• Poland
• Portugal
• Romania (will allow when fully joins EU)
• Slovakia
• Slovenia
• Spain (rules apply for Ceuta, Melilla)
• Sweden

Participating Non EU Members

• Iceland
• Liechtenstein
• Norway (excluding Svalbard)
• Switzerland

Non-Participating EU Members

• Ireland
• United Kingdom

Why is Cyprus, Portugal and Spain Offering a Golden Visa? Property

The boom in Cypriot, Portuguese and Spanish property over the last 20 years or so was driven mainly by British and then to a certain extent German, Dutch and Scandinavian property investors. The global economic meltdown means that overseas property activity for the British and other countries nationals have slowed down. This has meant the virtual collapse in Cypriot, Portuguese and Spanish property prices. Spanish property has devalued by up to 40% in the last 4 years and economists predict a further 10% fall as the Spanish economy contracts further.

The Golden Visa is hoped to stimulate foreign investment in their ailing property markets.

Many real estate agents are speculating that property, particularly Spanish property will start to recover on the back of the new expatriate property ownership and investment rules. It is widely predicted that Chinese, Asian and Russian investors will flock to property ownership to take advantage of residency and visa opportunities.


The Maltese government has this week introduced new permanent residency schemes with lower minimum thresholds for the purchase of immovable property and rental property by foreigners, in a bid to boost the Malta property market, and the wider economy.

The residency permit, which was launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Dr Edward Zammit Lewis, will be available to individuals who acquire a property in Malta over a certain value and pay a minimum amount of tax.

In order to qualify for residency, known as Global Residence Programme, a non-EU foreigner will need to purchase a home of €220,000+ if the property is located in the south of Malta or in Gozo, or of a minimum value of €275,000 for properties in central and northern Malta.

Foreign nationals who are interested in renting a property, can also do so and they are eligible for residency given that the annual rental value is of €9,600 in Malta and €8,750 in Gozo or the south of Malta.

Having a Residence Permit will entitle non EU Nationals to qualify for free education, including University tuition, free health care, among a host of other benefits in this tax efficient country.

The government hopes that the initiative will help to attract more high net worth individuals from abroad.

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