Often called Golden visas programs, these are programs that offer residence permits for cash, business or real estate investments, or property purchases, often with limited residency requirements. Some of the top residency programs available include Malta, Portugal, Canada, and several others. We will discuss some of the requirements as well as the advantages of some of these programs below.
Malta offers two programs, one for citizenship, the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (the MEIN), and another for permanent residency, the Malta Indefinite Residency Visa Program (MIRP).
The MEIN program requirements are as follows:
- A minimum contribution of €600,000 to the government’s national development fund and prove 36 months of residency. OR A faster process requiring a contribution of €750,000 and evidence of 12 months residency.
- Investors must also contribute €50,000 per each additional dependent included in their application.
- A further investment of €700,000 into residential real estate, OR sign a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 for five years.
- A donation of €10,000 to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental approved organization or society is also required.
The MIRP program grants indefinite residency rights to those who meet the following requirements:
- Invest a minimum of €250,000 in Maltese government bonds or equities for a period of 5 years.
- Make a €30,000 contribution to the State Fund of Malta.
- Purchase or rent a residence on the island.
Legal and processing fees are approximately €40,000.
The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program allows participants to live, work, and study in Portugal with a minimum contribution of over €350,000. The requirements to be present in Portugal are minimal, and you will have the opportunity to apply for citizenship after five years. With citizenship of Portugal you have the right to live, work and study in the European Union and can travel throughout the EU schengen area.
Canada has one of the highest standards of living globally with top-quality education, healthcare, and many business opportunities, and easy access to the U.S. and North American market. Canada offers several routes to residency, including the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program that requires a government bond contribution of CAD 1.2 million (which may at the time that you read this be no longer available). One drawback is waiting times can be significant.
Many other countries offer residency by investment programs including but not limited to, the following:
- St Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
Many of these programs have reduced fees or enhanced programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide those looking for opportunities during the challenging times brought on by the pandemic.
Panama used to be a very popular residency by investment program as it was the cheapest and quickest way for someone to obtain a second residency. However, Panama announced that it was going to change the Panama Friendly Nations program in 2021 making it significantly more expensive for people to acquire residency in Panama. Like Panama, many other programs are changing their requirements. Provided you are interested in a program it is best to do it before changes are introduced and it is no longer available.