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Golden Visa or Residency by Investment

A Golden Visa, or Residence by Investment program provides investors with residency status in the country they are investing in.

Residency by Investment programs are a popular choice for investors looking to gain residency and in some countries provides a path to citizenship.

Residing in a foreign country can provide access to excellent healthcare and education whilst opening visa-free travel pathways.

Golden Visa or Residency by Investment programs can open up a world of possibilities for you and your family. Learn more about what Residency by Investment is and how you can utilise it in our handy residence by investment program guide.

What is Golden Visa or Residency by Investment?

Also known as Golden Visa programs, Residency by Investment (RBI) programs allow foreign nationals to live and work in a country by investing in their economy.

These programs are different to Citizenship by Investment programs (CBI) . CBI programs allow foreign investors to gain dual citizenship by the same means and secure a passport for that country.

Countries around the world offer similar programs. However, most of these are found in European countries such as Portugal, Spain and Greece which are very popular as they provide visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone.

The Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the most successful of its kind with nearly 11,000 successful applicants have secured a Portuguese Golden Visa since the program launched in 2012.

How does Golden Visa or Residency by Investment work?

Most RBI programs grant a temporary residence permit. These residence permits allow you to live, work and study in the country.

After a certain amount of time you can apply for a permanent residence permit as long as residency requirements are met. This can then lead to citizenship by naturalization. The amount of time required for each step will differ from country to country.

Most Golden Visa schemes require a real estate investment, capital transfer or a donation of some kind. Some programs also allow you to invest in cultural projects or scientific research institutions.

The minimum investment requirements depends on the Golden Visa scheme and the type of investment option.


Some of the other common requirements include:

  • Applicants must be over the age of 18

  • Have a clean criminal record

  • Show that you have the required investment funds and that you acquired them legally

  • Maintain the investment for the specified minimum period of time


What are the benefits of Golden Visa or Residency by Investment?

Obtaining resident status in a country gives you access to various benefits. These typically include:

  • Visa-free access to more countries

  • Access to healthcare and education

  • Increased business opportunities

Some RBI programs also offer unique benefits. For example, the Portugal Golden Visa program allows you to access the NHR scheme that offers substantial tax savings and exemptions.

Most investor visa applications also allow you to include family members such as your spouse and dependent children. This means that any family members you bring have access to the same benefits and could gain a permanent resident card.

One of the big attractions of a golden visa for foreign investors is that you do not have to live in the country. Most programs have a minimum stay requirement, meaning a set amount of time you must be in the country to maintain your resident status. As long as that is met, you do not need to live in the country permanently.


What countries offer Golden Visa of residency by investment?




Launched in 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the most popular of its kind. The Portugal Golden Visa is open to those who are not EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. This means if you’re a UK citizen, you are now able to apply for the Portuguese golden visa program thanks to Brexit.

Some of the benefits include:

  • A path to Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport

  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area

  • A favourable tax regime

  • One of Europe’s most affordable programs

Discover the Portuguese Golden Visa


The Spanish Golden Visa was launched in 2013 and is open to those who are not EU, EEA or Swiss citizens. Not only is Spain a popular holiday destination, but it also has one of the strongest economies in Europe.

Some of the benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa include:

  • The right to live, work and study in Spain

  • Access to one of the world’s best healthcare systems

  • A fast application processing time

  • Relaxed minimum stay requirements

Discover the Spanish Golden Visa


The Greek RBI program offers a straightforward and affordable way to obtain a five-year residency visa. The Greek Golden Visa requires a minimum real estate investment of €250,000 to qualify.

Some of the benefits include:

  • One of the most cost-efficient Golden Visa programs of its type in the EU

  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone

  • Fast processing time

  • You are not required to be in Greece to obtain residency

Discover the Greek RBI Program

United Kingdom

The UK Investor Visa is aimed at those who are experienced in business. Applicants must submit a business plan and invest £50,000 into a new business approved by the Home Office.

Some of the benefits include:

  • The right to live and work in the UK

  • Access to some of the best educational institutions in the world

  • Fast processing time

  • Fantastic business opportunities



The Swiss Golden Visa offers a guaranteed path to residency. The program requires a minimum contribution of 250,000 Swiss Francs (£217,000) in annual taxes.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Economic, political and social stability

  • Excellent business environment

  • Great quality of life



The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) is fast becoming one of the top investment locations in Europe.

Some of the benefits include:

  • One of the most cost-efficient Golden Visa programs of its type in the EU

  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone

  • Fast processing time

  • You are not required to be in Greece to obtain residency

Discover the Maltese Program


The Caribbean & South Pacific

New Zealand

The New Zealand Investor Visa allows foreign nationals to obtain a resident visa permit.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Economic, political and social stability

  • Has a large number of double tax treaties with other countries

  • High standards of living



The Australia Golden Visa grants access to one of the leading destinations. The minimum contribution for the program is AUD 2.5 million (£1.45 million).

Some of the benefits include:

  • Economic, political and social stability

  • High standards of living

  • Path to citizenship after five years


North America


The EB-5 Investor Visa grant permanent residence in the United States. The program requires an investment in a government-approved project.

Some of the benefits of the EB-5 Visa include:

  • One of the most efficient ways to become a U.S. resident

  • The right to live, work and study in the U.S.

  • A path to U.S. citizenship

Discover the US EB-5 Visa



The Canadian government launched the start-up visa in 2013 to attract foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to the country. The program provides permanent resident status in Canada.

Some of the benefits of the Canada Start-Up Visa include:

  • Access to healthcare provided by the government and local authorities

  • Free education for children up to 18

  • A path to Canadian citizenship


What do countries get by having Residency by Investment programs?

The primary purpose of a country offering RBI programs is to boost the economy through foreign investments. These direct investments can then be used to fund endeavours such as cultural projects and urban regeneration.

These programs also look to attract talent and create job positions. For example, some RBI programs, such as the U.S. EB-5 Visa , require potential investors to create 10 full-time jobs.

Are Residency by Investment programs high-risk?

Any investment carries a level of risk, which is why you must do your research.

Investing in a good project and a country with a stable economy can help lower the risk of the investment itself. The same logic applies if you plan to go down the real estate route.

Understanding the local property market is essential. Those buying residential properties will want to know about resell values or the exit details for their investment.

Another important factor to consider is tax liability. Understanding a country’s tax residence rules relating to domestic and overseas income is essential when looking for residency in a foreign country.

Cross-border tax is a complex topic. You should speak with an expert to ensure you are as tax-efficient as possible. Jason Swan CBI can also help you understand all the intricate details relating to RBI programs.

What is the difference between Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment?

Residency and citizenship programs offer similar benefits. Both offer the same freedoms, allowing you to live, work and study in another country. Both are also acquired through the same means. However, there are two key differences between the two.

Citizens have voting rights and can apply for a passport. As a dual citizen, you can hold a passport in your country of origin and the country where you invest.

Not all countries offer citizenship by investment programs. Meanwhile, some offer both options. It’s worth noting that some countries that provide RBI programs allow you to make a citizenship application after a set number of years, so you could start off by investing in a residency program and a few years later apply to become a citizen of that country.

How do I get started with a Residency by Investment program?

The first step is to decide on the types of investment options that best suit you and your needs.

However, before making the final decision and beginning the application process, it’s best to seek professional advice. That’s where we can help.

Jason Swan CBI are global migration specialist working with an international client base. We offer a bespoke service and comprehensive solutions for clients looking to secure dual citizenship and residency, whilst also providing financial services for expats.

We also work with some of the world’s most established programs, leading law firms, developers, and financial institutions. This allows us to provide clients with a complete end-to-end service.

Contact us now to find out how we can help you secure the right residency by investment program for you and your family.

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