The Golden visa schemes today runs in over 20 countries worldwide with US/Canada running the oldest in the world since 1990’s leading from the front. The golden visa attract some $10 billion annually

We at Best Citizenships, designed a Points based scoring (PBS) model to rank golden visa schemes evaluating 10 most important ranking metrics.  Our model has taken into account the ten most important metrics to rank a golden visa scheme.

Update: Please see our 2021 rankings

  • Greece scores first place in Golden visa rankings 2019. Greece scored 84 points out of 100
  • Malta takes second spot in the rankings.
  • Ireland in third spot with top marks for education, healthcare and Human development index.
  • US EB-5 and Portugal take fourth spot in the rankings. EB-5 fell to fourth place because of backlogs and long wait times.
  • Australia and Canada take the fifth spot in rankings: Australia, Canada due to high investment thresholds

Best Golden visa rankings 2019

Golden Visa Rankings 2019


Golden visaPBS scoreRank
 United States804
 United Kingdom795
 New Zealand738

Ranking metrics

A total of 100 points assigned in the PBS score with each factor assigned 10 points


  • Minimum investment – The cheaper the investment  scores more points.
  • Processing times – More weight (points) assigned to very fast processing times for golden visa. UK has the fastest processing time. US has very long wait times due to backlogs. Canada limited to 1900 quebec applications quota.
  • Permanent or temporary residence permit – Does golden visa investment receive immediate TRP (temporary residence permit) or PRP (Permanent residence permit). More weight and points given to countries that offer immediate PRP. Malta, Portugal, Greece offer permanent residence permits.
  • Citizenship and naturalization time – Most golden visa countries do not offer preferential treatment to naturalize for citizenship. Lesser the time more points.  Canada has the fastest time three years for citizenship.
  • Residence conditions – More points for schemes with no residence requirements. UK requires spending 9 months per year, US requires atleast 6 months to be eligible for citizenship.
  • Quota/Limits – No points assigned
  • Education system – Education is a very important deciding factor for HNW families applying for golden visas. US, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom have the best education systems in the world
  • Healthcare – Healthcare is also very important factor. Malta, Spain have the best health care rankings. US scores low because of expensive healthcare system.
  • HDI Rank – Human Development Index (HDI) based on UN HDR rankings. This reflects the quality of live and living standards. Ireland and Australia score top marks for HDI. More points assigned to higher the value
  • Passport strength – This indicates the number of countries with visa free travel.
  • Property prices – We have taken into account the property prices per square meter, since most golden visa countries provide an option to invest in real estate. The cheaper the property price more points. Australia has the most expensive property prices, while property prices cheaper in Greece, cheapest in Bulgaria.

The six most important metrics are

  • Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Free movement
  • Property prices
  • Human development or quality of life

Minimum Investment

  • Latvia, Greece, Thailand have the cheapest golden visa investment.
  • EB-5 still remains at $500,000 which is cheaper compared to European golden visa schemes (Ireland, UK).
  • Thailand offers a five year elite visa for $15,000 plus fees, one of the cheapest golden visas in Asia.
  • Czech Republic, New Zealand have the most expensive golden visa schemes


Golden visa comparison



EB-5 has limited quota of 10,000 visas per year, Canada limited to 1900 quebec applications, New Zealand high value visas has a quota of 400 per year. All other golden visa countries have no limits.

Long waiting times

EB-5 despite one the best golden visa programs in the world fell in rankings because of long waiting times, backlogs. Canada takes about 6 months, while all other countries take 2-4 months. UK tier1 investor visas have the fastest 2 week processing time.

Golden visa Investments

Most golden visa schemes offer real estate, bonds, business option to qualify for path to TRP/PRP.

Residence permits

Malta, Greece, Canada, United States are the only countries offer immediate permanent residence (green card) option against a golden visa investment.

EU golden visa schemes by Malta, Greece, Bulgaria offer Permanent residence permits (PRP) with validity of five years. All other golden visa countries in Europe offer Temporary Residence Permits (PRP) with limited validity of 2, 3 years with possibility of extensions.

Latvia offers permanent residence for investments above €250K in bonds or real estate. Other options only TRP

Ireland issues Stamp 4 for investors

Property prices

The real estate prices are the cheapest in Greece and Bulgaria. Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom have the most expensive property prices in terms of per square meter.

  • Greece – $1638
  • Portugal – $2996
  • Ireland – $4421
  • United Kingdom – $4980
  • Australia – $4702
  • Canada – $5311


Naturalizing time for citizenship

Golden visa schemes do not offer preference to naturalize for citizenship. In most countries five years is the minimum time to be spent living to qualify for citizenship. Canada has the lowest number of years (reduced to 3). Italy and spain have the longest ten years. Greece requires 7 years.

Please note most EU countries impose language requirement and cultural integration for citizenship.


US, Canada, Australia, UK have some of the best universities in the world. In a recent survey of  HNWI families,  many responded education is one of the important reasons to immigrate abroad.


Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal have some of the best healthcare systems in the world according to WHO report

 Passport strength

Italy, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg have some of the powerful EU passports in the world in terms of visa free travel.

  • Italy – 187
  • Luxembourg, Spain – 186
  • UK,  USA,  Portugal – 185
  • Greece, Luxembourg, Ireland – 184


Residence conditions

Golden visa schemes that offer very minimal or no residence requirements attract more foreign investors. Canada, US and UK require investors to move and live there and must spend minimum time to qualify for citizenship

  • Portugal – 1-2 weeks
  • Ireland – 1 day
  • United Kingdom – 9 months per year,
  • United States (EB-5) –  not absent more than six months
  • Canada – 1460 days
  • Australia SIV – 40 days


Human Development Index (HDI)

Human development  is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is an approach that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy,education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, theeducation level is higher, and the GNI (PPP) per capita is higher.

Australia and Ireland are the best countries in terms of Human development according to UN HDR.


  • Australia – Rank 3
  • Ireland – Rank 4
  • Netherlands – Rank 10
  • Canada – Rank 12
  • United States – Rank 13
  • Malta – Rank 29
  • Greece – Rank 31
  • Portugal – Rank 41


Download the Golden visa rankings Report 2019

Please also see CBI passport rankings 2019.

The quick comparison of several golden visa schemes is here