Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia

Published at 14/08/2020

Every year the world becomes more mobile, tourism becomes more accessible, new opportunities for development and business appear. People no longer sit in one place all their lives – they travel, open international companies, change their countries of residence.

The Internet allows you to control all processes and manage business assets remotely – from anywhere in the world. Therefore, in modern market conditions, economic immigration has become very popular, which has become possible thanks to the passport programs of various countries.

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 1

What are passport programs?

This is an opportunity to obtain a residence permit or citizenship of another country through investment in its economy. This does not necessarily apply to the industrial or commercial sphere. Investments are also considered investments in real estate – that is, the usual purchase of an apartment in personal property. The program for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship of the country through investment was called the "Golden visa".

This concept was born in the mid-1980s, and today has reached the peak of its popularity. Experts estimate that today at least 40,000 people have a second citizenship, obtained through investment. Annual turnover in the sphere of global economic immigration is estimated in billions of dollars.

Why is it profitable for the country?

Due to the inflow of money from outside, the national economy of any state receives a powerful impetus to development, as well as the financial resource necessary to ensure this process. Many governments are developing special programs to attract foreign investors to revive the economy – develop agriculture, industry, construction, international tourism, expand cities, improve their infrastructure, etc. And for these purposes, the opportunity to get a residence permit or citizenship through investment is an excellent motivating factor. At the same time, the vast majority of countries offer to first obtain a residence permit, and only then, if certain conditions are met, it becomes possible to obtain citizenship.

Where is the Golden visa program the most attractive?

Our review of the TOP 10 countries that provide residence permits and citizenship by investment will help you decide where it is better and more profitable to invest your money to get as many benefits as possible. We have collected up-to-date information about the countries of the world that give a chance to become their residents to those investors who have invested significant funds in their economy. We will review the requirements and conditions, analyze the benefits and tell you about the hidden nuances of this process.

Spain

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 2

In Spain, there is an effective passport program "Golden visa". It makes possible to obtain a residence permit for investors under a simplified scheme for 2-3 months, and for all family members.
To do this, you must meet one of three conditions:
1. Buy one or more residential or commercial properties worth at least €500,000 in cash, without mortgage loans from banks in Spain.
2. Deposit or invest at least €1 million in a Spanish company.
3. Purchase government debt securities worth at least €2 million.
The maturity of the bonds is 5 years. After 5 years, you will also be able to withdraw a deposit, and real estate and shares to sell. The purchased property can be used for your own residence, or rented out.
The Golden visa program provides unique conditions for the duration of stay in the country, unlike other types of Spanish residence – you can stay in the country from 7 to 365 days a year. After 10 years, the "Golden visa" allows you to apply for Spanish citizenship.
The usual programs for obtaining a residence permit in Spain (not for investment) differ significantly – the period of stay in the country is at least 183 days a year (most of the year). A residence permit is issued first for 1 year, then extended each time for 2 years. After 5 years of holding a residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence status, and then after another 5 years, you can apply for Spanish citizenship.
One of the great advantages of holding Spanish citizenship is the possibility of visa – free border crossing within the Schengen area. But there is one serious condition for all applicants – since multiple citizenship in Spain is prohibited by law, you will have to give up your previous citizenship.

Greece

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 3

After experiencing a sovereign debt crisis, the Greek authorities are trying to attract as much money as possible from foreign investors to restore the country's economy.

Therefore, in Greece, there are several programs for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship by investment.

1. For the purchase of residential or commercial real estate worth more than €250 thousand.

2. For an investment of at least €400,000 in a company specializing in real estate investments, or in a joint-stock company or a mutual fund that invests exclusively in companies based in Greece.

3. For an investment of at least €400,000 in Greek government bonds with a maturity of at least three years through a credit institution located in Greece.

4. For a deposit of at least 12 months in the amount of at least €400,000 to an account with a national credit institution.

5. For the purchase of shares, corporate or government bonds in the amount of at least €800 thousand.

The most popular program is related to the purchase of real estate. You don't have to live in it by yourself – you can rent an apartment and earn an income. To obtain the "Golden visa", the law also allows you to own rental commercial real estate for tourist purposes, but the lease agreement must be concluded for at least 15 years.

Please note that the purchase of primary real estate for which a construction permit was issued after December 31, 2005 is subject to a tax of 24%. The tax on secondary real estate is 3.1%, and the tax on capital gains from the sale of real estate is 15% of the profit.

The period of holding an investment asset in ownership continues as long as the owner needs a "Golden visa". A residence permit under the "Golden visa" program is issued for a period of 5 years with the ability to extend it for an unlimited number of times for another 5 years. The beneficial advantage is that the investor does not need to live in Greece for most of the year.

However, in order to obtain permanent residence, the investor will still have to spend at least 183 days a year in the country for 5 years. And you can only apply for Greek citizenship after 10 years if you have lived in the country for most of the year (183 days). However, in this case, the period of possession of the "Golden visa" without residence in the country is not taken into account.

Bulgaria

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 4

The country has an accelerated program for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship Bulgaria Immigrant Investor Program, which brings a very good income to the country's budget. The authorities actively encourage capital flows to the country through this scheme. To obtain Bulgarian citizenship by investment, you must first obtain a residence permit, and then permanent residence.

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. But there is an interesting nuance – only a person who is not a citizen of an EU member state can take part in the scheme for permanent residence and get Bulgarian citizenship for investment.

You can apply for a residence permit for a period of 5 years in the following cases:

1. Purchase of real estate worth €310 thousand.

2. Purchase of shares of Bulgarian commercial companies, government bonds, or acquisition of intellectual property in the amount of at least €511.3 thousand.

The acquired assets must be held in ownership for as long as the permanent residence is required. The owner of permanent residence in Bulgaria can enter and leave the country an unlimited number of times during the year. They also have the right to reside in any EU country for any amount of time.

After 5 years of permanent residence, foreign investors have the right to apply for Bulgarian citizenship. There is also an accelerated scheme for obtaining citizenship by investment – if a person who has permanent residence for at least 1 year, will double the amount of investment by purchasing additional government bonds worth €511,300.

The most important advantages of Bulgarian citizenship are the visa-free regime with 142 countries of the world, the ability to hold dual citizenship, the absence of requirements for knowledge of the Bulgarian language, as well as the absence of the need for permanent residence in Bulgaria before obtaining citizenship. Bulgarian citizenship is inherited – the investor's children are automatically recognized as Bulgarian citizens.

But experts of the world real estate market pay attention to one significant drawback – there is a fairly high level of corruption in the country, which affects not only the process of obtaining permanent residence and citizenship of Bulgaria for investment, but also the ability to conduct business in the country calmly.

Montenegro

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 5

Montenegro is a member of NATO, but is not yet a member of the EU. Despite this, the passport of Montenegro allows visa-free entry to 125 countries of the world. Among the advantages, we should especially note the ability to open accounts in European banks, as well as to open an E-2 business visa in the United States, which gives investors the right to live and work in the United States (this is not available, for example, for Russian citizens).
The authorities are making a lot of efforts to develop the economy of this Balkan country, including the introduction of a program for obtaining citizenship by investment. It started recently on October 3, 2019, but has already fully shown its effectiveness.
Main investment requirements:
1. Mandatory non-refundable contribution to the government Fund in the amount of €100 thousand.
2. Additional purchase of real estate in the South of the country on the coast of the Adriatic sea worth from €450 or in the mountainous Northern part of the country for the amount of €250 thousand.
Thus, the minimum investment amount starts from €350 or from €550 thousand. Additionally, you will also have to pay a state fee of €15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for each family member.
Pay attention to real estate taxation:
• If you purchase an apartment directly from a developer who pays VAT, you do not need to pay tax. But if you buy a property from an individual who does not pay tax, it will be deducted from you – at the rate of 3% of the transaction amount.
• In Montenegro, there is an annual tax on real estate, it varies from 0.1 to 1% of its value, depending on many factors.
• All non-citizens of Montenegro pay annual tourist tax for the ownership of the second and each subsequent property.
The program of investment citizenship of Montenegro is short-term – it will be valid only for 3 years, and is designed for only 2,000 quotas. Therefore, everyone who wants to get a Montenegrin passport should hurry up. To get a passport, you do not need to know the state language, pass a history exam, and there are no mandatory conditions and terms for living in the country.

Thailand

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 6

To get the legal right to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, you will have to carefully understand the very complicated and multi-stage process of obtaining a residence permit, then permanent residence, and after that, Thai citizenship. To be eligible to apply for Thai citizenship, you must have at least 3 years to live on a visa, then 5 years for permanent residence. At the same time, for at least 3 years of them you need to own a business or get a decent salary, as well as for 2 years of them to pay taxes in the amount of 15%.
To get a residence permit, you need to use one of the 7 visa programs, which vary the validity of the residence permit, the cost of its registration, and the list of privileges. But in any case, foreigners have to pay for their stay in the country.
The most popular 3 versions of the program:
1. Elite Ultimate Privilege. A residence permit for individuals over 20 years old is issued for a period of 20 years when paying a one-time fee of $60 thousand and a subsequent annual fee of $600. This package includes free immigration and passport assistance, access to VIP Lounges and unlimited transfers up to 80 km for all international flights, once a year medical check-гзы at a private clinic, car rights and work permits.
2. Elite Privilege Access. A residence permit for the whole family is issued for a period of 10 years with a one-time payment of $30 thousand for the main applicant and $22.5 thousand for each family member without subsequent annual payments. The package includes 18 free VIP transfers from abroad for international flights, state Concierge services, and an annual medical check-up at a private hospital.
3. Elite Easy Access. A residence permit valid for 5 years is issued upon payment of a one-time payment in the amount of $15 thousand without subsequent annual payments. Subsequently, it can be re-registered in the Elite Ultimate Privilege option, paying an additional $45 thousand.
Reasons for obtaining permanent residence in Thailand-investment, work, family or qualifications. And here, too, everything is very difficult.
• On work. The company in which you work must have an authorized capital of 10 million baht ($315 thousand), and your salary must be at least 50,000 baht (approx. $1,500). In another option, your salary should be 80,000 baht ($2,500) for the previous 2 years, or you should pay taxes from 100,000 baht ($3,000).
* On investments. You must invest at least 10 million baht in a Thai company ($315 thousand), government shares or bonds. These investments need to be kept for at least 3 years and annually submit a report on their status to the tax authorities.
* For family reasons. If you have been married to a citizen (or permanent resident) for more than 2 years or are their child under the age of 20. At the same time, the couple must earn from 30,000 baht per month ($950).
Conditions for obtaining citizenship for an investor:
1. Permanent residence in the country for 3 years on a visa, then 5 years for permanent residence. Travel abroad during this time can only be for a few days, and at least the last 3 years to have a business or a decent salary.
2. At a good level to own Thai oral and written language and to successfully pass the exam.

Israel

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 7

In Israel, a special situation with obtaining a residence permit and citizenship for investment – such programs simply do not exist. Despite the fact that dual citizenship is allowed in the country, it is almost impossible to get it without having Jewish roots. Unfortunately for many, the presence of real estate in the property also does not affect obtaining a residence permit in Israel.
Only Jews by nationality can get a residence permit in Israel under the program of repatriation (return to the historical homeland). At the same time, even they have to go through several stages before naturalization – first after a strict selection to get a residence permit, after 4 years to acquire the right to permanent residence, and only then can you apply for Israeli citizenship.
However, investing in real estate in Israel gives a number of preferences and bonuses to its owners. This is one of the most stable markets in the world – the investor's risks are minimized, we can say that they are practically non-existent. Israel is a legal state, and even if the buyer of real estate is not a resident of the country, their rights to the asset will be protected in the same way as the rights of Israeli citizens. Investing in real estate in Israel is in itself a guarantee of saving your funds.
Experts in the Israeli real estate market advise you to invest in several small objects, rather than in one expensive asset. Small apartments can be rented to tenants much more profitable than large expensive apartments. Another tip from experts-commercial real estate brings the investor a noticeably higher current income. But residential real estate shows the best capital value growth. The choice is up to the investor.
To the disadvantages of investing in real estate in Israel, you can also add a fairly high tax on real estate for rent. For the tax service of Israel, this is a business, and it is taxed at the appropriate rates. And from foreign buyers, the Israeli state also charges a higher tax on the purchase of real estate.

Cyprus

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 8

The Cyprus citizenship by investment program is one of the fastest and most affordable in the world. But it is also one of the most expensive.
There are several investment options:
1. The investor must invest at least €2 million in a local company or investment fund on the island.
2. Buy property in Cyprus for any purpose (residential or commercial) for at least €2 million.
3. Additionally pay a non-refundable charitable contribution to the Cyprus land development Corporation and the research and innovation Fund - €75,000 each, for a total of €150,000 (the rule is valid from may 15, 2019).
Before obtaining citizenship, you must hold a resident's card, i.e. a residence permit, for at least 6 months. The application for Cyprus citizenship is submitted simultaneously with the application for citizenship. A residence permit is issued 5 days after applying to the relevant authorities.
If all the conditions of the investment program are met, the applicant is guaranteed to receive a Cyprus passport in 180 days, which allows visa-free entry to 173 countries, including 28 EU countries and the UK. At the same time, citizenship is also granted to family members of the investor – the spouse, financially dependent children under 28 years of age and parents. After 5 years after the issuance of the Cyprus passport, assets can be sold, leaving only real estate worth at least €500 thousand.

Portugal

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 9

The Portuguese government's program for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship by investment is not designed for short periods. You will have to wait at least 6 years – first you need to renew your residence permit several times in 5 years, and only 1 year after that you can apply for citizenship.
Main investment options:
1. Purchase of real estate worth from €350 thousand or €500 thousand depending on the region of the country and the state of the object.
2. Purchase of shares in Portuguese companies or government bonds, or make a Deposit of at least €1 million.
3. Purchase of a share in an investment Fund in the amount of €500 thousand or a similar investment in local small and medium-sized businesses.
4. Creating your own business with an investment of 500 thousand euros and creating at least 10 jobs.
5. Non-refundable funding of research programs in the amount of €350 thousand.
6. Non-returnable investments in the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage in the amount of €250 thousand.
To get a residence permit, you need to live in Portugal for 1 week in the first year, and 2 weeks for the next 2 years. The property can be used for your own residence or rent.

Turkey

Residence permit and citizenship through investment. Compare the TOP 10 most popular countries for passport programs: Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia — Advices from experts and reviews of real estate on GEOLN.COM. Photo 10

In order to attract foreign investment to the country and stabilize the real estate market, the Turkish government has developed a simplified investment citizenship program. The updated version of the program is valid from September 2018.
Main directions of the program:
1. investments Approved by the Turkish Ministry of industry and economy in local production or business in the amount of $500 or more.
2. Bank Deposit in the amount of $500 thousand for a period of at least 3 years.
3. Purchase of one or more residential or commercial real estate with a total value of $250 thousand and ownership of it for at least 3 years.
4. Purchase of government securities in the amount of $500 thousand.
5. Establishing your own company with the creation of at least 50 new jobs for Turkish citizens.
The advantages of the Turkish citizenship by investment program include the absence of the need to pass an exam for knowledge of the Turkish language, the absence of the requirement to stay in the country for a certain period, as well as the dual citizenship allowed by Turkey. The closest family members can also apply for citizenship together with the main investor – only the spouse and children under 18 years of age. Real estate can be rented out and earn income.
Turkish passport holders have the right to enter 115 countries without a visa (but Turkey has not yet joined the EU and they do not include the countries of the Schengen zone), and can also apply for an American e-2 business visa.
When planning investments in Turkey, it should be taken into account that over the past few years, the economic and political situation in the country has ceased to be stable. A few years ago, the country's national currency, the Lira, fell by 30% against the us dollar. Over time, the exchange rate has leveled off somewhat, but the economic situation continues to be very tense. In addition, the prospects for Turkey's entry into the European Union remain rather vague due to the categorical refusal of the Turkish government to meet the requirements for employment of refugees.

Georgia

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According to leading international market experts, today Georgia has become one of the most popular and promising countries in the world for investment. Over the past decade and a half, Georgia has been breaking its own tourist records every year. About 3.5 million people live in Georgia, and over the past 4 years, the incoming tourist flow has been at least twice as large as the country's population.
In 2018, the country received 8.7 million foreign citizens – this is 14.9% more than in the previous 2017. And in 2019, the number of international tourists has already reached 9.3 million people, despite the rather sensitive loss of one of the main categories of tourists – from Russia. Nevertheless, the annual growth of tourist traffic in 2019 amounted to a confident 7.1%.
Thanks to foreign buyers, the national construction industry is developing very dynamically. In particular, the rate of sale of apartments on the black sea coast of Georgia impresses even the most sophisticated world experts. Global investors, including such global brands as Hilton, Radisson, Marriott, Wyndham, Ramada, Hayatt, Accor and others, enter the Georgian real estate market without fear. The region's infrastructure is actively developing, and you can read about large-scale transformations in Batumi here https://geoln.com/invest-in-georgia/global-transformations-in-batumi
Georgia's investment attractiveness consists of the following aspects:
• The lowest real estate price in the top 10 rating – the price of 1 sq. m. in a new building is only $500.
* Simplified procedure for purchasing real estate and registering property rights – the entire process takes no more than 2 hours.
• High level of return on investment in real estate – the annual income from renting an apartment is up to 10% per annum.
* Lack of language and mental barriers, as well as excellent transport accessibility of Georgia for investors from the former CIS countries.
Georgia has its own program for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship by investment. Its terms are much more loyal, simple and clear compared to all other countries in the TOP 10 ranking.
The main advantages of investing in real estate in Georgia:
1. The lowest in the ranking of the TOP 10 investment threshold for receipt of residence permit. It is enough to buy residential or commercial real estate in Georgia for the amount of 300 thousand lari, which is equivalent to only $ 95 thousand.
2. Buying real estate in Georgia is extremely simple, there are no additional expenses and irrevocable contributions to the state budget. The buyer only needs to pay the cost of the apartment and pay the amount of $33 in the state register.
3. No taxes – if the buyer does not receive income on the territory of Georgia, the property tax is not applied to it. There is no tax on the purchase of real estate in Georgia.
Thus, when buying real estate in Georgia for the required amount, the investor immediately receives a residence permit, which will need to be renewed annually for 5 years. After this period, the investor can apply for a new type of residence permit, which in fact grants the status of permanent residence – that is, gives the right to indefinite lifetime residence on the territory of Georgia. This status is also automatically granted to a large circle of family members of the investor – not only spouses and children, but also parents of the applicant.
You can also get a new type of residence permit in another way – by opening your own business with the corresponding annual turnover. In the first year of operation, it must be at least $50 thousand, in the second – at least $100 thousand, and in the third, fourth and fifth – at least $120 thousand. Read more about how to start a business in Georgia and how to do it remotely here https://geoln.com/how-to/how-to-set-up-a-company-in-georgia-remotely
After 10 years of holding a residence permit, an investor can apply for citizenship of Georgia. Georgian passport holders are granted visa-free entry to 113 countries of the world, including the countries of the Schengen zone.
Real estate in Georgia demonstrates excellent profitability and liquidity indicators, which is facilitated by the stable political and economic situation in the country. Georgia is one of the ten safest countries in the world, due to the absence of corruption in the country. You can buy real estate in Georgia remotely. read more about this in the article " how to buy a house in Georgia for a foreigner? The most complete overview of all the subtleties" https://geoln.com/kupit-dom-v-gruzii/how-can-a-foreign-citizen-buy-a-house-in-georgia
Experts believe that due to its favorable geographical location, attractive economic prospects and reliable banking system, investments in Georgia, including through the citizenship program, will continue to be very popular among investors in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and other countries of the world.