What Is a Golden Visa? Residency and Citizenship Information

What Is a Golden Visa? Residency and Citizenship Information

A golden visa is a type of visa that allows foreign citizens to get residency in a country in exchange for investing capital. 

There are several different types of golden visas, but they all follow the same basic principle: You invest money in the country and get residency in return. Each program has its requirements and benefits, so it's essential to understand your options before applying for one.

Golden Visa is a program that allows investors and entrepreneurs to obtain residency or citizenship in several European countries. If that sounds like you, then the Golden Visa program might be the visa for you. It's not a cheap way to acquire residency in a country, but it can pay back dividends over time.

This is everything you need to know about what Golden Visas are, why they're so important, and how you can obtain one yourself.

What Are Visas and Residency Permits? 

Understanding what visas and residency permits are is crucial to realizing a golden visa.

A visa is a document that allows a person to travel to a foreign country. It's usually issued by an embassy or consulate of that country. A visa is typically valid for a specific period during which you can enter and exit the country without further documentation. If you wish to stay longer, you may have to apply for another type of visa that will allow this (e.g., an extension).

Visa requirements vary from country to country and change frequently; therefore, we cannot say with certainty whether or not you will require one when traveling to Portugal on your Golden Visa application.

A residence permit is a document that allows you to stay in a country for a while, usually to work or study. It's similar to a visa in many ways, but it can be issued for a shorter period and isn't required by everyone who visits the country (you may need to apply for one if you're staying longer than 90 days).

Residence permits are generally issued to people who aren't citizens of the country where they're staying. 

For example, European countries have different residency permits: some are given out based on work status, and others are reserved for students attending university or vocational school at least part-time. 

Still, more might require proof that you'll be able to support yourself financially while living there (this often means having savings or investments above a certain threshold).

What Is a Golden Visa? 

A golden visa is a residence permit that allows you to live in Europe. It was created by the European Union and member states of the Schengen Area to attract investment, promote growth, and create jobs in their countries. They're designed to attract people with the necessary funds to invest there.

The golden visa allows you to live in Europe with no work permit and no need for a work or residence permit. You can stay in your country of choice as long as possible without the risk of deportation.

There are three main types of golden visas: 

  • Investor visa: This program requires an investment in a business or real estate. The amount varies but is typically between $150,000 and $300,000.
  • Pensioner visa: You must be 65 years old or older with an annual pension income that exceeds around 30 percent of the average yearly salary in your country.
  • Startup visa: This golden visa requires you to start a European company as an employee or investor.

Golden visas are essential for several reasons. They provide an opportunity to obtain residency in Europe. This can be a valuable resource for those who want to move their families outside their home countries but still have access to healthcare and education within their native countries.

Additionally, if you have been selected as an entrepreneur under a golden visa program, you may also obtain citizenship status. This will allow visa-free travel throughout Europe and other benefits associated with having citizenship in a country like Spain or Portugal.

You’ll find the golden visa programs in many modern countries in the Schengen zone as well as some non-EU countries, including:

  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Kitts
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates)

How Do You Qualify for a Golden Visa? 

The first thing you will want to do is make sure that you are eligible for a Golden Visa. To qualify, you must be a non-EU citizen who has never held the nationality of an EU country. Next, having a clean criminal record and good health history is crucial. 

If you have any criminal record or adverse medical history, then this will not work for you. You must also prove that your job offer is legitimate with documents such as contracts, business plans, and financial statements.

Finally, all applicants must provide proof of their tax records to qualify for a golden visa program. 

This means they must show they are paying their taxes on time and in full every year without ever being late or behind on payments throughout their employment history in Spain or Portugal (or whichever country may offer them).

What Are the Main Benefits of Golden Visas? 

Countless benefits come with golden visas, especially for Americans looking to expand their reach beyond their home country. Here are some primary benefits that come along with Golden Visas:

[1] Filling Residency Requirements

Due to the nature of golden visas and how many countries prioritize them, they can help you if you're trying to acquire permanent residency in a country. They will often shorten the time and effort it takes to become a permanent resident in your ideal country.

As long as you can maintain your eligibility and investment program over roughly five years, you'll soon be able to acquire legal resident status. The application process for the immigration and residence programs is almost always catered toward people who can meet these investment requirements and their family members.

[2] Good For Real Estate Investment

Real estate is one of the most reliable and beneficial investment options in the modern world. If you have a lot of money in your investment funds, you'll likely find that investing in foreign real estate can be a precious and helpful investment. Working with a golden visa scheme is one of the best ways to support Spanish, Greek, or other kinds of real estate across the seas.

If you invest in the right place at the right time, your real estate investments can gain massive dividends, allowing you to make lots of money. Just keep making that minimum investment every year, and you'll likely see your portfolio grow and grow over time.

[3] Beneficial For European Travel

Another massive benefit of investing in a golden visa program is that it can help travel in the EU. Golden visa holders have a much more stable and easy path when trying to add a second passport to their U.S. citizenship. While other visa programs exist and are very doable, doing it with a golden visa makes it much easier to obtain a residency visa, which can deeply aid travel.

If you become a citizen of an EU country, much of your travel while in the EU will be easier. If hassle-free travel is something you are sincerely interested in while traveling across countries, this is likely to be an excellent move for you. 

The time and money you save in other visa programs can pay off over many years, so long as you continue to pay the minimum amount required to maintain your golden visa program. 


One of the most significant benefits of a golden visa is that it allows you to live in Europe without having a job, work permit, or visa. You can also get one without having a residence permit or residence card. As long as you hold your golden visa, you can stay in Europe for up to 90 days at a time before returning home for at least six months.

You can consider submitting an ETIAS application before your Golden Visa application. On an approved ETIAS, you can visit your EU country of choice for up to 90 days, per 180 day period, while working on sourcing investments. This will enable you to have the flexibility to try living and working in a few different EU countries before selecting your ideal location.

EU travel authorization rules frequently change but you can keep yourself informed by following the current ETIAS requirements.



Guide to European Golden Visas

Country profiles | Europa.edu

What is the difference between a residence permit, permanent residence and citizenship and how to get them | Immigrant Invest

ETIAS Application

ETIAS Requirements