Which is the best Golden Visa?

16 de May, 2022

Which is the best Golden Visa?

Which is the best Golden Visa? Greece, Portugal or Spain? Among these, the Portuguese Golden Visa is still the most advantageous option.
Reading: 8 min

The demand for Golden Visa programmes has increased in recent years. Acquiring a golden visa is the best possible insurance policy against economic and political risks in a volatile world.

These programmes grant a series of benefits to the holder and their families. The main one is the possibility of obtaining a second citizenship. They also allow the holder to reside in the country chosen for investment, travel to different countries without the need for visas, among others.

It is ideal for high net worth holders who wish to expand business opportunities and broaden their market reach, and an excellent alternative for those who want to extend their lifestyle.

Which is the best Golden Visa? Greece, Portugal and Spain currently have the most desired programmes in the European Union. Among these, the Portuguese Golden Visa is still the most advantageous option, check out the main reasons below!

What is a Golden Visa?

“Golden Visa” is a specific programme developed by some countries that grants investors the right of residence and/or citizenship in exchange for a qualified investment.

There are over 100 countries around the world that have golden visa legislation in place. Some of them grant citizenship immediately, and these programs are called Citizenship by Investment Programmes. Others grant immediate residence, although without the obligation to become a resident, but with the possibility of obtaining citizenship after a certain period of time (as is the case of the Golden Visa in Portugal, Spain and Greece), and these are called Investment Residency Programmes.

Requirements to obtain a Golden Visa

Each country has a different list of requirements for applying for the Golden Visa. However, there is a set of requirements that are general to the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese programmes:

  • Applicants must be non-EU, EEA or Swiss nationals;
  • Candidates need to have a clean criminal record;
  • Financial investment needs to be made in the country;
  • It is necessary to prove that your funds come from a legal source.

Are the Golden Visas of Spain, Greece and Portugal the same?

No. The programmes look similar, but vary significantly in some respects.

All three fall under the category of Investment Residence Permit and therefore confer the right to live in the corresponding country, but do not automatically grant citizenship.

All of them also allow travel within the Schengen countries without the need for an additional visa.

There are, however, big differences regarding the investment options and their values, as well as regarding the residence obligation, the possibility of work, the minimum period for maintaining the investment and the interpretation of the concept of family reunification.

Find out why so many Americans are seeking the Golden Visa Portugal.

Cost of living in Portugal

Where and how much do I need to invest?

The first highlight for the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme is the wide range of eligible investment options and its very competitive values, compared with the respective programmes in Spain and Greece.

Portugal presents investment modalities ranging from real estate options, to capital transfers, job creation, investment in venture capital funds, scientific and technological research and even investment in culture, art and cultural heritage.

In financial terms, Portugal and Greece offer the lowest value investment options: from €250,000.

In the case of Greece, this is the minimum amount to purchase a property. For Portugal, this is the minimum amount for the promotion of culture, art and national heritage.

Regarding real estate investment, the options eligible to the Golden Visa Portugal start from a minimum value of €280,000 and may reach €500,000 depending on the characteristics of the property and its location.

Get to know Portugal’s 280 thousand euro Golden Visa.

In the case of Spain, the minimum amount eligible to the Golden Visa Programme is €500 thousand euros, focused on real estate or financial investment.

The following table presents a comparative summary of the main types of investments eligible to the Golden Visa Programmes in Portugal, Spain and Greece and their respective amounts. The information below is available on the official Schengen website.

Modality of InvestmentPortugalSpainGreece
Real Estatei)Acquisition of properties from EUR 280,000 to be rehabilitated* in low population density areasii) Acquisition of properties from EUR 350,000 to be rehabilitated**

iii) Acquisition of property from EUR 500,000 in general**

Acquisition of property from EUR 500,000i) Acquisition of real estate starting from 250 thousand Eurosii) Entering into a 10-year lease contract for hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist complexes;
Transfer of CapitalFrom 1.5 millionFrom 1 millionCapital transfer of €400,000 to a domestic credit institution
Businessi) Creation of at least 10 permanent jobsii) Creation of a new company or investment in an existing company, with an investment starting at 500 thousand euros in the share capital and creation of at least 5 permanent jobsInvestment in businesses from 1 million eurosCapital investment of at least €400,000 in a company registered in Greece
Investment Funds and/or Government BondsAcquisition of quotas in the minimum amount of 500 thousand euros in Venture Capital Investment FundsInvestment in Government Securities from €2 millioni) Investment in Greek government bonds or venture capital fund sharesii) Investment of €800,000 in Greek corporate bonds
Scientific and Technological ResearchInvestment from 500 thousand euros
National Heritage, Art and CultureInvestment from 250 thousand euros
*These properties for rehabilitation must be more than 30 years old or located in ARUs.
**For Porto, Lisbon, Algarve, etc. these properties must have a commercial purpose. For other areas of the country, the properties may also have a residential purpose.
Portugal, Spain or Greece?

Living and Working

Portugal stands out again among the other Golden Visa programmes regarding residence and work: it is the only one that allows (but not forces) residence in the country, guarantees the possibility to work for the investor and his/her family members grouped together, and also presents the shortest period for maintaining the investment in the country for citizenship application purposes: only 5 years.

In this sense, it should be noted that the minimum time requirement to remain in the Portuguese territory for Golden Visa holders is 14 days every 2 years (current validity of the temporary residence permit).

By comparison, in the case of Spain’s Golden Visa Programme, during the first 5 years the investor and their family members can live and work in Spain, and residence is not mandatory. However, after these initial 5 years and until completing 10 years it is necessary to actually live in Spain to become eligible to apply for citizenship.

Finally, the Golden Visa Programme of Greece allows residence but not work in the country for its holder. However, if you wish to apply for citizenship, it is necessary that the Golden Visa holder actually resides and maintains the investment for at least 7 years in the country.

Requirements for citizenship

Each programme gives the candidate the right to apply for citizenship provided they meet the requirements set out in each country.

In this sense, Portugal presents greater flexibility: it does not require a test of knowledge of Portuguese culture, as well as the shortest time to maintain the investment in order to apply for citizenship.

For Portugal, it is necessary to prove Portuguese at a basic level, as well as 5 years of investment maintenance in the country, as main requirements to request citizenship.

In Greece, 7 years of investment maintenance, effective residence in the country during this period and also approval in an examination of general knowledge of the culture of the country are required.

In Spain, naturalization can only be requested after 10 years of effective residence (or exceptionally after two years in the case of citizens of a former Spanish colony), besides the need to prove proficiency in the Spanish language and general knowledge of the country’s culture.

The table below gathers the requirements for the investor to apply for citizenship in each of the programmes presented:

Portugal SpainGreece
  • 5 years maintenance of the investment;
  • Portuguese Language Test;
  • Seven days/year for five years of residence.
  • 10 years maintenance of investment and residence in the last 5 years of this period*;
  • Spanish Language Test, Spanish Citizenship Test;
  • Ten years of residence, where the majority of each year is spent in Spain.
  • 7 years maintenance of the investment;
  • Greek Citizenship Test;
  • 183 days/year for seven years’ residence.
* The minimum period of residence is reduced to 2 years in the case of a citizen of a former Spanish colony.

Family reunification:

In the Golden Visa Programmes of Portugal, Greece and Spain, the holder of the investment will be entitled to apply for a residence visa for his/her family members. Spouses, children up to 18 years old and parents, provided they are financially dependent, are always covered by the reunification. Portugal has an advantage by granting a visa to the investor’s children who are dependent and studying, regardless of their age.

Portugal SpainGreece
Children (of any age) provided that they can prove economic dependence and are studyingChildren up to 18 years old;children up to 21 years old provided that they are dependent and studying;

children over the age of 21, provided they can show that they are disabled

Children up to 21 years old;children up to 24 years of age who are studying
Parents, if dependentParents, if dependentParents, if dependent
Dependent parents-in-lawDependent parents-in-law in specific casesDependent parents-in-law
Other dependants, such as minor siblings

Which is the best Golden Visa?

Validating our comparison, the Forbes Magazine Magazine has recently appointed Golden Visa Portugal as the best residency program for investment in the world!

In 2021, the Portuguese authorities granted 865 Investment Residence Permits (ARI). From January to April 2022, 382 gold visas have already been granted, a number 17% higher than the same period last year, even with the recent legal changes to the Portuguese programme.

Advantages of the Golden Visa Portugal

  • It offers more investment options compared to the other programmes mentioned;
  • It presents a very attractive minimum investment values;
  • It has a broader concept of family grouping;
  • It allows, but does not require, effective residence in Portugal;
  • It authorizes work in the country;
  • It enables access to Portuguese public health care and education;
  • It grants the freedom to travel to 187 countries around the world without a visa;
  • Allows the application for a Portuguese passport after 5 years of investment.

Are you interested in the Portugal Golden Visa Programme? Please feel free to contact us and ask for more information. Our consultants are ready to assist you.



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