The Cheapest Golden visa program in Europe is Malta.

First we start with Malta.

Under Malta Residency Visa program, you only pay €75,000 one time costs to finance the government bonds/stocks worth €250,000. This is non-refundable. You have to add 30K euro government fee and another 30K lawyer fee. No additional costs for family members. You also need to rent a place of residence 10K euro per year for 5 years which is additional.. The breakdown of price is available here

If you don’t want financing, then you invest €250,000 in interest free Govt bonds fully refunded after 5 years. You keep the permanent residency for life. On top of this please expect 30K euro govt fee plus 30K agent fee plus rent.

There is also a new permanent residency program launching in March 2021 for just €100,000 a flat fee. This program will replace Malta residency visa program and this scheme will remove government bonds/stocks option. Important condition is you have to provide 500,000 euros in net assets and you have rent a home for 10,000 euros per year.  It will be a permanent residency in schengen area.

Investing in Govt backed securities (eg. bonds) are risk free safe investments, considering real estate and tourism have taken a major hit with steep decline in prices due to worldwide covid pandemic.

The Malta golden visa program (“MRVP”) is NOT a real estate investment program like Greece or Portugal. You can buy a real estate as a permanent home if you want for minimum 275,000 or more, but only on top of buying Govt bond costs.

Find out how to use Govt bonds route so that you will only pay around $50,000 in fees.

. Here are some of the benefits of Maltese golden visa scheme.

Passive investment scheme.
– Permanent residence in Schengen area
– No living requirements
– Free movement in schengen area
– Permanent residence certificate
– Full PR for family
– No age limit for children
– Live, work, study – settle – for an infinite time.
– Grandparents or parents can also included for additional fee
– Citizenship after 5 years.
– Tax advantages
– Allowed switch to IIP citizenship scheme (residency to citizenship)

Processing time 6 months. You need to also visit in person for the e-residence permit to be issued.

Remember with Malta, you will be renting a home instead of buying a real estate, making it more cheaper.

MRVP is the only program in Europe which issues residency card as well as residence certificate, which is valid for a lifetime. It is also important to know this program allows you to work.

Germany

Germany also offers cheapest residency in Europe. It is a business residency for self employed entrepreneurs or investors, it is NOT a golden visa program. You should invest atleast 50K euro capital in your business plus there is 30K legal fee charged by law firm. You must have a solid business plan, have business experience and must create impact on the German economy, else you don’t qualify for this visa. This is temporary residence permit issued for 2 year maximum with extenshions

It is not possible to invest in real estate to get germany residency by investment. You can get settlement permit after living in Germany for 3 years and after 6 year wait, you can apply to become a German citizen.

Greece

The second most popular and cheapest golden visa scheme in Europe is Greece. Here you will be able to buy real estate for €250,000 real estate plus property taxes and legal costs around 10%. There are also options for 400K euro bank deposits and Govt bonds

Portugal

Portugal is slightly expensive program requires €280,000 if you invest in low density rural areas. The important difference to understand is you can get citizenship after 5 years (without even living). You will need to visit Portugal few days and after 5 years you can file for citizenship (must take Portuguese language test). if you come from portuguese speaking country like Brazil, it is the best program you can ever think of.

Latvia

Thirdly, Latvia also has cheapest golden visa scheme but many clients do not find Latvia attractive as above countries. Latvia offers €250,000 real estate or bond option like Greece. Unlike Malta no financing option is available makes it expensive. There is also €50,000 business option, (could be cheapest), the real problem here is you end up paying another €50,000 on top of it, wasting your money. Another problem with the business option is it is an active investment (not a passive sleeping investment), you have to work, create jobs. Most of clients who come to us dont want to invest in business, only ask for a passive investments such as real estate, or financing bonds. You wont get permanent residency with business option and application process is quite hard and lengthy with Latvia. Some blacklisted countries cannot apply for Latvia.

Dont forget both Malta, Greece offer immediate permanent residency (green card equivalent) in the schengen area. This is very important status.

All three golden visa schemes have no residence requirements, which is another big advantage.

Which golden visa program that offers fastest citizenship option?

Another important thing to consider.  Malta has the fastest time for citizenship among all the three cheapest schemes

Malta – 5 years (must live)
Greece – 7 years (must live)
Latvia – 10 years (must live)
Portugal – 5 years (no living required)
Germany – 5-8 years

Dont forget Malta has official english language, for other countries it is not. Malta does not require a citizenship test but the applicant must know maltese and english. Greece and Latvia also impose language requirement for becoming a citizen, even for golden visa investors.

All in considering all above 3 golden visa programs, Malta is the clear winner for being the cheapest and best.