Residency with investment

There are a number of programmes currently being offered by different EU governments, which have been designed to attract foreign investment.  These programmes are known as “Golden Visa” programmes. The main countries offering these schemes are currently Portugal, Spain and Greece.

 

Please note that both Spain and Greece have announced that they are in the process of reviewing their Golden Visa programmes, which will at best result in an increase in the minimum price paid for property or maybe even in the cancellation of the programme. However, whatever you may read in the international press, our lawyers advise that no decision has yet been taken as to how these programmes may be changed.   For the latest update, please contact us since “Time is of the Essence”.

One of the main problems facing individuals who live outside the Schengen area (which covers 27 countries most of which are members of the EU) is that they are not permitted to spend more than 90 days in any six-month period in the Schengen area, without obtaining a visa from one of the member countries.

The main advantage of buying a property in a country which has a Golden Visa program in place, is that once an investor buys a property he can apply for a residence permit to reside in the country. This allows him to remain there in accordance with the terms of the visa, so this constraint is no longer applicable.

An investor also benefits from freedom of movement to any of the other 26 countries in the Schengen area.

The key questions that relate to each of these programmes are:

  • the level of investment required
  • any limitations that may apply to the location of the investment in the country
  • the length of stay necessary in the issuing country in order to obtain and maintain the visa
  • the tax implications for an individual and his family
  • the price of the property available in the country in question
  • the potential rental returns on your investment

Portuguese “Golden Visa”

The best known of these schemes has for a number of years been the Portuguese “Golden Visa”. The Portuguese Government has however moved to exclude residential and commercial property from the Visa programme due to the inflationary effect it was perceived as having on property prices, with the effect that local investors have been priced out of the market.  Some clarification is still required on this, but the door has clearly been closed on residential property as a qualifying investment.

If a real estate investment was perceived as the best solution for investors, other investment options for obtaining a residence permit are still available, and these include:

  • an investment in bonds or bank deposits of €1.5 million,
  • an amount of €250,000 to preserve the national heritage,
  • an investment of €500,000 into one of the Government approved investment funds (which now excludes investment in real estate),
  • an investment of €500,000 into a company that creates five new jobs or maintains ten jobs, or,
  • €500,000 of approved research and development activity in Portugal.

 

MHA-Invest is working with a number of lawyers and fund managers in Lisbon, who have developed investment funds which include “Solar Power” and “Growth” and “Innovation funds”. These funds are regulated and supervised by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), and are qualifying investments for the Portuguese Golden Visa programme. An investment can be spread across different funds and the funds have an 8 year duration.

 

Greece – Golden Visa

Greece offers a programme giving investors the opportunity to apply for a Golden Visa with the following qualifying investments:

Real Estate: In order to qualify for the Greece Golden Visa program via the real estate route, investors must purchase property in Greece personally (or through a legal entity in which they own all of the company shares).

The combined value of the real estate purchased (which can be in both residential and / or commercial property) must be a minimum investment value of €250,000.

The combined value of the real estate purchased (which can be in both residential and / or commercial property) must be a minimum investment value of €250,000.

MHA works closely with one of the leading firms of lawyers in Athens which specialises in property and corporate finance and have worked extensively on inward investment programmes, as well as working with many local agencies and property developers.

MHA works closely with one of the leading firms of lawyers in Athens which specialises in property and corporate finance and have worked extensively on inward investment programmes, as well as working with many local agencies and property developers.Real Estate – In order to qualify for the Greece Golden Visa program via the real estate route, investors must purchase property in Greece personally (or through a legal entity in which they own all of the company shares).

Other qualifying investment include:

  • A deposit with an approved bank of at least €400,000
  • An investment of at least €400,000 into Government Bonds
  • Capital contribution of €400,000 into a business in
    Greece
  • Investment of €400,000 into a Greek Investment Fund
  • An investment of €400,000 into an Alternative Investment Fund
  • Combined investment of €800,000 into shares, corporate or
    government bonds.

Spain – Golden Visa

As part of the Spanish Government’s strategy to boost its economy and increase foreign investment, the government created an investment program known as the Spain Investor Visa, or Spanish Residence Permit Program. Through the program, non-EU citizens can secure a legal residence in Spain.

The Spanish Investor Visa program grants qualifying individuals a renewable, temporary residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country. Individuals can either purchase real estate, invest in Spanish companies, create employment opportunities, or make a qualifying contribution to government bonds.

One of the advantages of the Spanish Golden Visa is that the government legislation does not impose a minimum period of residence. Qualifying applicants and their family members who meet the program’s requirements and invest at least

  • €500,000 in real estate,
  • €1 million in shares or a deposit in a Spanish bank
  • €2 million in Spanish government bonds,

are offered a straightforward way to obtain a residence permit.

The initial residence permit is granted for one year, or two years if you visit Spain, which can then be renewed every five years.

You can obtain permanent residency after you’ve been domiciled in the country for five years.

Please note that applicants will be required to visit Spain to submit their biometric data.

The Spanish Government was reviewing its Golden Visa programme prior to the recent elections in May 2023, and it is likely that there will be changes in the current programme following the elections. A number of professional advisers consider that the programme will be kept in place, but the threshold for foreign investment in property may be increased to €1m.

MHA works closely with a number of firms of lawyers, architects and financiers in the most popular investment locations in Spain, all of whom specialise in real estate investment.  It is absolutely essential to take professional advice from independent counsel when making an investment in the property sector, in order to ensure that your investment is properly secured.