What is a Golden Visa?

Getting a permanent residence permit or a long-term work opportunity in another country can be lengthy. However, for those willing to spend a hefty sum, a golden visa will give them the right to buy property, live long-term and even bring their family along to another country.

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Meaning of Golden Visa

Golden visas are offered by several countries to people who can 'buy' their right to residency in that country. They can secure their residence by investment, given that they follow the particular protocol.

Golden Visa

This long-term residence visa can be a great opportunity for exceptional talents to expand their lifestyle opportunities and optimise their net worth. It may also lead to citizenship opportunities, depending on the visa holder's intent as well as the citizenship laws of the host country.

Many countries like the UAE, Portugal, Italy, Thailand etc. offer golden visas to foreign nationals who are interested in living in these countries. These people may want to invest, work, retire or simply reside in the countries after fulfilling all the requirements stated by the host country.

This visa is a great option for wealthy individuals who want a residential permit and for governments that wish to attract investments from foreign investors.

One special characteristic of this kind of visa is that the visa holder does not have to reside in the country permanently or even full-time. Under this visa, the applicant and their family are granted the right to that country's educational system, right to work, right to study and more depending on the benefits.

Who Qualifies for a Golden Visa?

Immigration Law

Depending on the country offering the golden visa, foreign investors, exceptional talents, entrepreneurs, outstanding students and graduates, can apply it.

Golden visas are most commonly granted to wealthy businesspersons or entrepreneurs who have the financial ability to pay the golden visa fees, necessary public investment, licences, property taxes and any other requirements stipulated by the host country’s government.

The application procedure varies considerably depending on the country offering this opportunity. For example, the UAE golden visa offers a long-term renewable residence for 5 to 10 years. For this reason, it is also called the 10-year UAE visa. It requires substantial financial ability, the person's willingness to invest 2 million AED in public investments, a valid commercial or industrial licence, proof of travel health insurance for the investor and their family, etc.

The eligibility requirements for golden visas can vary significantly from country to country. Many European countries have extremely strict guidelines before they grant golden visas. Taking yet another example,

Austria is famous for having some of the strictest citizenship laws in the European continent. The country only has an annual quota of 300 golden visas and not every eligible applicant can receive a residency here. It also requires the investors to invest a whopping EUR 3 million in their government funds or EUR 10 million into a business.

What's more, the investor needs to reside for at least 10 years in Austria to apply for citizenship!

Most EU Golden Visas (including Spain, Malta and Greece) have the following eligibility criteria:

  • The investor must have the necessary funds and must own the money they plan to invest
  • The money should have been legally acquired
  • There shouldn't be any criminal record
  • The investor should have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependent family/spouses

However, there are plenty of countries that offer golden visas to investors much more easily. Depending on these requirements and personal preferences, interested people can opt for the country of their choice.

Countries Offering Golden Visa

  • UAE/Dubai Golden Visa: 5-year and 10-year visa from AED50 to AED150 with a minimum investment of AED 2 million.
  • Portugal Golden Visa: EUR 500,000 as investment and additional documentation fees. Portuguese golden visa is renewable at 2-year intervals and requires the visa holder to spend at least 2 weeks annually in Portugal.
  • Malaysia Golden Visa: Investors can get a 10-year multiple entry visa by investing MYR 1 million. The applicant must reside for at least 90 days per year. One of the biggest benefits is that the tax is only levied on income sourced in Malaysia.
  • Mauritius Golden Visa:: People can live, work or retire in Mauritius by investing a minimum of USD 375,000.
  • Canada Golden Visa: Invites people with innovative start-up businesses with multiple options. People with an angel investment of CAD 75,000 or a venture capital fund of CAD 200,000 can apply for a residence by investment. The applicant must be proficient in English or French, be in good health and have no criminal record. The visa holder can stay in Canada for up to 3 years or 1095 days.
  • Antigua and Barbuda Golden Visa: Require a minimum capital of USD 100,000 and take 3-4 months to process. The citizenship program will let the applicant travel visa-free to over 151 destinations. The applicant must reside for a minimum of 5 days during their first 5 years of obtaining citizenship.
  • USA EB5 Investor Visa: Requires a minimum investment of USD 800,000 and the applicant must reside in the US for at least 6 months.
  • USA E2 Investor Visa: This is a great option for Indian applicants as it has substantially lower investment requirements and a faster procedure. A minimum investment of USD 500,000 is required. However, this is a non-immigrant visa and can’t lead to a green card.

Golden visa costs can be broken down into different components. The golden visa fee will vary from country to country, however, the minimum investment amount can range from some thousand Dollars to millions of Euros.

Wrapping it Up,

Golden visas are of many types and serve different purposes for different people. Some people may seek these visas for a full-time residence or as a part of their retirement plan. From a plethora of career, business, healthcare and lifestyle opportunities, people can opt for these programmes as well as let their families avail of these benefits. Many countries also need the applicants to have valid international insurance protecting them or their families. If you’re planning to reside temporarily in another country, don’t forget to buy suitable travel insurance for that duration.

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