Golden Visa programs are residence by investment schemes that offer instant permanent residency in exchange for investments. The investments could be active or passive in real estate, business capital, job creation and purchase of interest free government debts (bonds, stocks, securities).

The short form for Golden Visa is “GV”

Portugal first invented the name “Golden Visa” in 2012, when it launched the ARI scheme for investment activity. The portuguese term “Vistos gold” means Gold visas.  Since 2012, golden visa programs have scored big, attracting more than $10 billion investment annually.

Before 2012, it was quite common to refer as “Immigrant investor programs”. The US Immigrant investor program because very popular when Congress authorized EB-5 immigrant investor program in the 1990’s. Today, the US administers both golden visa (EB-5) and investor visa scheme (E-2)

You must remember golden visa programs do not offer citizenship. Citizenship is only optional path for investors, which requires meeting strict conditions such as residency and language requirements, in most cases takes 5 years for citizenship.

How many golden visa programs are there?

There are close to 20 countries that have official golden visa schemes, these are listed below. Unofficially there are over 100 countries that offer visas for investment.


Greece  – €250,000 property
Portugal – €350,000 property
Ireland – €500,000 donation or real estate (€1m)
Netherlands – €1.25 million (investor funds, business)
Luxembourg – €500,000
Bulgaria – €250,000
Cyprus – €300,000
Latvia – €250,000 (real estate or bonds)
Italy – €1 million (startups)
United Kingdom  – £2 million tier1 investor
France – €300,000 (Talent passport)
Spain – €500,000 property
Malta – €250,000 Govt bonds


United States  – $900,000 EB5
Canada – $250,000 Quebec
Brazil – R$500,000


Singapore – S$ 2.5 million GIIP
Hong Kong – HK$ 10 million
Malaysia – $125,000
South Korea – $250,000

Middle East

United Arab Emirates – $135,000 (startups) or $1.3m real estate
Saudi Arabia – $220,000 (investor)
Bahrain – $135,000 (real estate)


Australia – $1.5 million
New Zealand – NZ$ 3 million


Anguilla – $750,000 RBI scheme (real estate)
Bahamas – $750,000 real estate
Cayman – $1 million real estate


What are the benefits of golden visa?

Instant green card, settlement, access to world class education for children, healthcare protection, highest standard of living, no requirement to permanently live in the country, path to citizenship if you want.

What is the difference between Golden visa (GV) and investor visa (IV)?

The Key difference lies in golden visas offer immediate permanent resident status, while investor visas only offer temporary residence permits.

Which is the best golden visa program?

These are the most popular GV program in order by popularity. These countries are the best in the world, to live, work, study and do business offering the most valuable citizenship and powerful passports for travel.

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Ireland
  6. Greece
  7. Portugal

Which is the cheapest golden visa program?

Malta financing option costs about $125,000. Greece costs $250,000 in real estate (cheap and best)

What are some of the disadvantage of golden visa programs?

High taxes, hassles to renew permits, requiring personal visits every year, high taxes, high costs also expensive, no citizenship, no passport, long waits, more paperwork and visa application process at embassy.

What is the difference between citizenship and golden visa?

Citizenship programs offer immediate passports, while golden visas only offer residence cards.  Only passports are valid for international travel. Residence or Green cards only valid for regional travel. (eg. within the schengen area or within Canada)

Which is the most popular investment option?

The three most popular options are Real Estate, Govt Bond financing, Capital transfer

Where are Golden visas more popular?

China, Brazil, Turkey, India, Middle East

Can i get citizenship buying real estate for golden visas?

Yes you can naturalize for citizenship (also family).  Below is the list of time taken years wait for citizenship. It is important to remember you have to live enough (not absent in the country for more than 6 months) first all to become citizen.

Portugal – 5 years
Greece – 7 years
Canada – 3 years
United States – 5 years
United Kingdom – 5 years
Ireland – 5 years

Other conditions include, no criminal record, pay taxes and social security contributions, pass citizenship test, pass language test etc.

What are the additional costs?

Legal fees, VAT, property taxes, notary fee etc..

What is the difference between visa and residence permit?

Visas are valid upto 90 days, while residence permits are issue for long term periods more than 90 days (3 months). Another difference is visas can only be applied and extended at the embassy in your home country. Residence permits can be extended at migration offices in a foreign countries.

A permanent residence permit is valid for 5 years or 10 years.

What rights do i get as golden visa investor?

Equal rights and treatment, in employment healthcare, free education in schools, tax exemptions (eg. VAT), in some cases even right to vote in municipal or local elections.