In this article we offer an overview of popular countries with residence permit via real estate purchase programs. To learn more about such programs in general and undertand basic terms and conditions, read our previous article Residence Permit by Real Estate Purchase. Terms and Conditions.
In our list, it is the first country alphabetically, and the last on the ease of obtaining a residence permit. Austria is attractive due to the highest quality of life (which is confirmed by international ratings), but it also makes considerable demands on foreigners. Buying a property by itself will not give you the right to demand a residence permit, even if it’s very expensive.
Resident cards can be requested by financially independent foreigners and senior managers. First, you need to prove the availability of funds (from €40,000 per year for an adult, from €10,000 for a child). The second is to get a managerial position in an Austrian firm with an income of €2,500 per month.
By the way, Austria is considered to be one of the best countries with high standard of living for entrepreneurs.
Bulgaria is one of the most popular countries for buyers of holiday homes from Russia and Ukraine, which doesn’t work with the local program "residence permit for real estate". There is an opportunity to get a residence, but the entry threshold is from BGN 600,000 (approximately €300,000). Anyone who has studied the Bulgarian market knows that it is not easy to spend this amount. The most popular apartments on the coast cost €30,000-60,000, i.e. much cheaper.
Therefore, almost no one uses the purchase of real estate as a basis for obtaining a residence permit in practice. Most foreigners register a representative office of a foreign company in Bulgaria or open a new legal entity. The country also has a simplified procedure for issuing residence permits for pensioners.
At the time, Hungary became famous for the "Permanent residence by investment" program. In contrast to the traditional residence permit, which usually has to be renewed, Hungarians issued a lifetime status. To get it, you had to invest €300,000 in government bonds for a period of 5 years, and another €60,000 to give the government in the form of a non-refundable payment. In 2017, the program was closed.
The Hungarian authorities say that they are ready to issue a temporary residence permit to foreigners who want to settle in Hungary, have a place to live (real estate in the ownership is better, but rental is allowed), medical insurance and funds for their own security. And (attention, interesting wording) there must be no reason to refuse.
Meanwhile, according to the reviews of foreigners who have already tried to pass this path, the reasons for refusal are found almost always. In any case, just buying an apartment is not enough, you will have to prove that you need to stay in Hungary longer than the usual visa allows.
One of the most desirable countries for immigration, and according to statistics. In 2019, this country was also admitted as the most respected in the world. It gives out the most residence permits in the European Union. As a rule, on the grounds of work, study, family reunification, political asylum. Real estate purchases are not on this list and never have been.
And yet the sale of a house or apartment can be a proof, even indirectly, of your connection with Germany. And the basis on which the application will be considered in the administration is financial independence and the desire to move the center of vital interests to German lands. The law does not specify the minimum amount that provides a residence permit. But, judging from experience, we are talking about a total fortune of at least €1 million per family.
The Greek project "Residence permit by real estate" was very successful. Since its launch in 2015, more than 13,000 people have already received the so-called Golden visa.
Key requirements for those who want to get a residence permit: spend on real estate from €250,000. For this amount you can buy one or more properties both in cities and in resorts. The deadline for processing documents is 1-2 months. Residence is issued immediately for 5 years, then you can apply for permanent residence, and for citizenship after two years. Together with the investor, ID cards can be obtained by a spouse, children under 21, and parents.
You can get a residence permit by buying a property in Greece of any value. In this case, the basis will be your financial independence.
In 2015, Georgia also decided to attract investors with a bonus in the form of a residence permit. The entry threshold was set at a very democratic level from $35,000 for real estate. The demand was high and more than 1,500 residence permits were issued in several years. But in July 2019, the rules of the game were changed. First of all, the price was raised to $100,000.
You can invest in any real estate, whether they are apartments, houses, lands (except agricultural), as well as commercial properties. Documents are processed quickly in up to 30 days. A residence permit is issued for a year. Then it can be renewed annually if you continue to own real estate. After five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit, for citizenship after 10 years. The applicant's spouses, children and parents also receive a residence permit.
The Spanish “golden visa” program has been available since 2013. It is one of the most expensive ones in the European Union, real estate should cost from €500,000. But this does not stop foreigners. Since the launch, more than 4,000 investors have already received a residence permit. And by the way, the average receipt of our customers is much higher than the minimum - about €840,000.
To apply for a residence permit, all the money must be invested in one property, you cannot use loans. The card is issued first for 2 years, then it can be extended for 5 years. Together with the investor, the status is given to their spouse (including civil), parents and children (even adult), if they are dependent financially and have not yet created their own family.
In Italy, it is not possible to issue a residence permit just by investing in real estate. Nevertheless, the country is happy to host foreigners who are not burdened with financial problems. The first way to get a residence permit for them is the status of a "chosen place of residence" (Residenza elettiva). The key requirement is a passive income for a family of three or four people of about €40,000-50,000 per year.
The second option is a special tax regime for new residents (the so-called “non-dom”). To obtain a residence permit, you need to move your fiscal residence to Italy and replace taxes on income from property worldwide with a fixed fee. The rate is €100,000 per year; the tax regime can be extended to relatives, which costs €25,000 per year for each. However, you do not need to disclose information about international assets.
In addition, to obtain a residence permit based on investments, foreigners can invest:
Cyprus was one of the first countries in the European Union to issue permanent residence permits to property buyers in 2009. The entry threshold is €300,000. Important: you can only invest in new buildings. Another mandatory condition is the presence of money in a Cyprus Bank account (from €50,000).
Buyers of cheaper real estate can also count on a residence permit (however, on another category called the Pink Slip). In this case, you must prove that the annual income received from abroad is at least €15,000. That permit does not allow you to work in Cyprus, nor can you get preferences for the application, there is a risk of refusal. Plus, this residence permit is issued for a year and requires regular renewal.
Latvia's “golden visa" exists since 2010, and until 2014 it was one of the most popular in the European Union. Thousands of foreigners received a residence permit for the purchase of real estate. Then the requirements for investors tightened and the flow of applicants decreased.
To get a residence permit in Latvia based on the purchase of real estate, you need to invest from €250,000. And also pay a one-time state fee in the amount of 5% of the price of the property. The application can include family members (a spouse and minor children). The card is issued for 5 years, then you can extend it or apply for permanent residence.
Unlike neighboring Latvia, there is no "residence permit for real estate" program. Buying a property of any value will only give you the right to a multiple-entry Schengen visa, which will allow you to stay in Lithuania and other EU countries for up to 180 days a year. A residence permit is obtained on the basis of study, work or business.
Moreover, you will not be able to register a fake company. In all EU countries, including Lithuania, control over this area is being tightened. Before submitting the application, the company (with authorized capital from €28,000) must work for at least 6 months, and it is also necessary to employ at least one Lithuanian.
Malta grants residence permits to foreigners who have fulfilled three conditions. First, investments of €250,000 in government bonds for a period of 5 years or more. Secondly, buying (minimum price – €270,000) or renting (from €10,000 for 5 years) housing. And third, €30,000 of the state non-refundable fee. After 5 years, the investment can be returned, retaining the status.
The entire investor's family, including adult children and parents, receives a residence permit. A significant disadvantage is that holders of "golden visas" do not have the right to apply for Maltese citizenship in the future, but you can extend your residence permit an unlimited number of times.
In 2019, the Emirates added to the list of countries that issue residence permits to investors. 10-year visas are granted to applicants who have invested in the economy from $2,72 million (40% of these funds can be spent on real estate, the rest of that amount can be spent on deposits or shares of companies). Buying real estate from $1,36 million allows you to request a 5-year visa; from $272,000 – for 6 months or 2 years.
"Golden visas" allow you to legally live in the UAE for longer than the usual tourist stamps allow. But they do not lead to obtaining Emirati citizenship.
Foreigners can buy residential and commercial real estate in Poland. It has become more expensive in recent years and brings a good return on rent. Only the right to demand a residence permit, this transaction will not bring.
The country is popular for labor migration, especially among Belarusians and Ukrainians. Also, a residence permit is issued on the basis of family ties, studying or doing business in Poland. In the latter case, the business will be checked, whether it is useful to the state and whether it operates. "Gray" schemes with registration of fictitious companies are gradually becoming a thing of the past.
By the way, Warsaw had a big rental cost growth last year among several other European capital cities.
The Portuguese Golden visa is one of the most popular in Europe. Since its launch in 2012, more than 7,000 investors have received a residence permit. Under the terms of the program, you can invest in business, art production, research, venture funds or real estate. According to statistics, 90% of investors choose the last option.
The minimum price of a property is €350,000 if it is located in areas of cultural and historical heritage, or €500,000 in all other cases. Moreover, it is forbidden to use credit money. Together with the investor, the status is granted to the spouse, children under 18, retired parents, as well as children over 18, if they are in care. In 5 years, you will be able to apply for permanent residence, and in another year – for citizenship.
Buying real estate in Romania will not give a foreigner the right to a residence permit. You can apply for a residence by registering or purchasing an existing company. Key conditions: invest in a business from €100,000 and create 10 jobs. You can get a residence permit through employment or training.
Romania is also famous for its quasi-legal scheme for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship. On the Internet, you can still find ads where you will be offered to "find relatives" in Romania.
Warning! Such a scheme is completely illegal.
Real estate in Serbia is only an additional advantage, not the main reason for obtaining a residence permit. The owner of an apartment or house can make a registration at the place of stay, prove that he has enough funds to stay in the country for a year (the exact amount is not specified, but according to experience - from €2,000 per person per year) and request a residence permit. It is not necessary to buy real estate, you can submit documents with a long-term lease agreement.
In Slovakia, a residence permit is not granted only for the purchase of real estate. But you can open a business: establish an LLC (SRO), sole proprietor, or buy a ready-made company. And the availability of housing is one of the necessary conditions.
The first residence permit is issued for a year, then extended for 1-2 years. For the extension, the firm needs to show a net profit of about €12,000, with which it will have to pay taxes. In 5 years, you will be able to apply for permanent residence.
Also, the the end of 2019 Slovakia turned out to be the country with one of the most significant increase in prices for new building projects.
Buying real estate can help you to get a residence permit in Slovenia, but only indirectly. The basis must be business registration. To issue a resident card, the founder of the company can invest €50,000 in its fixed assets, including buying commercial or residential real estate on a legal entity. In a year, it will be possible to bring relatives to Slovenia on the basis of "family reunification".
The difference compared to the usual investor residence permit is that you will have to do business. To successfully extend the status, you must pay taxes on a monthly basis and transfer the salary body to an account that must be opened in Slovenia. The company must also show a turnover of €60,000 in six months. In 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence, and in 5 years – for citizenship.
America's most popular investment program, the EB-5 visa, has been in effect since 1990. To get a residence permit, you need to invest at least $500,000 in regions with high unemployment or rural areas, and at least $1 million in other cases. It is necessary to invest in regional centers, which in turn can develop projects in real estate. At the end of November 2019, the minimum entry threshold has been raised almost twice.
An EB-5 visa is an immigration visa. An investor, his/her spouse and children under 21 can get a green card that is valid for 10 years and can be easily renewed.
In 2017, Thailand relaunched the Thailand Elite program, which allows wealthy foreigners to apply for long-term visas (from 5 to 20 years). The key requirement is a non-refundable fee of $15,000 to $60,000, depending on the terms and validity of the vip card. In addition to the residence permit, foreigners receive additional bonuses.
Meanwhile, the program has a significant drawback, which does not allow you to call the "golden visa" of Thailand a full-fledged residence permit. Vip card holders will not be able to obtain permanent residence or Thai citizenship in the future.
The country in which the purchase of real estate of any value gives the right to a residence permit (in Turkish, ikamet). The only condition is that all applicants must be entered in the certificate of ownership. If, for example, the husband buys an apartment, the wife and children receive a residence permit on the basis of "family reunification".
Usually, ikamet in Turkey is issued for 12-24 months. It can then be extended by using the electronic application system. After 5 years, property owners have the right to permanent residence – permanent or long-term residence permit, which does not require renewal.
There are no investment programs in Finland, such as a bank deposit or the purchase of government bonds. Buying real estate of any value is also not a reason for issuing a residence permit. But when applying for any other reason, the presence of real estate will be considered an advantage.
Finland welcomes active immigrants who are willing to work for the good of the country. There is a program to attract talented entrepreneurs. You can also get a residence permit through official employment, study and research activities.
By the way, Finland in on the list of the most favourite countries of expats. Maybe, it is worth checking by yourself.
Since 2015, property owners in Montenegro (as well as their spouses and minor children) can get a residence permit. Moreover, the law does not specify the minimum cost of the property, which means that even owners of very cheap apartments can participate. The permit is issued for a year and extended an unlimited number of times (as long as the property is owned).
Among the disadvantages: this type of residence permit does not give the right to get an education, work or do business in Montenegro. Until 2018, it also did not allow you to apply for permanent residence, but then this restriction was removed. Now property owners after 5 years of residence in the country can apply for a permanent residence permit, and after another 5 years - for citizenship.
Unlike neighboring Montenegro, it is not possible to issue a residence permit just by buying a property. But you can apply for a residence permit through business. To do so, you need to open a company with an authorized capital of 100,000 Kuna (€13,210), hire at least three Croatian citizens and get a license to work. The company must be active, show profits and make tax deductions. Other grounds are study, employment and family reunification.
Since 2017, there is an opportunity to issue a residence permit in the Czech Republic for investors. The main requirement is to invest at least 75 million kronor (about €2.9 million) in the economy and create at least 20 jobs. Up to 60% of this amount can be invested in tangible assets, such as real estate. Due to the high entry threshold, the program is not yet in demand.
Owners of ordinary apartments in the Czech Republic are entitled to a multiple-entry Schengen visa, not a residence permit. But they can go down the path of starting a business, getting an employment contract or entering a Czech university.
Czech Republics offers great programs for foreign students, so you can consider studies as one of the ways to immigrate to this county.
The country has an immigration program that allows you to count on a residence permit for those who have invested in Estonian businesses from €1 million. The high entry threshold forces foreigners to look for other opportunities, such as company registration (with authorized capital from €65,000). This is easy to do, but it is important to keep in mind that the company's activities will be thoroughly checked. But the real estate transaction does not give you the right to a residence permit, unfortunately.
Recently, Estonia started to provide a Nomad Visa for remote digital workers with very comfortable conditions of stay in the country.