Golden visa schemes offer instant residency against investments in real estate, in businesses or buying state debt through bonds or securities.

The speed of processing is very important deciding factor when applying for golden visa schemes. Afterall you spend huge sum of money and you dont want to wait for years to get your residence approval.

In Europe, the immigration authorities usually take 90 working days to make a decision on the application. If documents are missing, then it further drags 1-2 months for a decision. Once the decision is made, then it further takes 1-2 weeks to get the residence card printed and delivered to you.

Here are our findings

  • United Kingdom has the fastest golden visa processing times than any other country in the world.
  • US/Canada have the slowest processing times, takes years of wait.
  • European schemes take atleast 3-6 months to acquire a residence permit.
  • Ireland and Malta take more than 6 months due to tight background checks on applicants
  • Greece also takes long time due to no availability of appointments in the Attica region.
  • The Golden visa schemes that are not popular (eg Italy, Netherlands)  usually have no rush, so fast processing times (90 days)

These ten golden visa countries have the fastest application processing times.

Golden Visa ProgramMinimum Capital RequirementTime Frame
United KingdomGBP 2 million (tier1 investor) closed2-3 weeks
MaltaEUR 130,000  / Malta Residence Visa (MRV)6-8 months
United StatesUSD 900,000 (from Nov 21, 2019)20 to 27 months
CanadaCAD 350,000 (Quebec immigrant investor)40 months
GreeceEUR 250,000 (real estate)4-8 months
SpainEUR 500,000 (real estate)20 days
IrelandEUR 1 million (enterprise) or EUR 500,000 (donation)6-8 months
ItalyEUR 500,000 (startup)3 months
NetherlandsEUR 1.25 million (capital investment)3 months
LatviaEUR 100,000 (business) or EUR 250,000 (real estate/bonds)4 months
New ZealandN$ 3,000,000 (investor visa)4-6 months

The Citizenship by investment schemes almost take the same time or can be slightly faster than golden visa schemes. Please see our article on the fastest cbi schemes.

Citizenship sometimes can be better than residency, because you get an immediate passport giving you complete satisfaction.