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Golden Visas in Europe: A Fading Dream?

by Marketgit Team

While “golden visas” have been a popular way for wealthy individuals to gain residency – sometimes citizenship – in European countries, the landscape is rapidly changing.  These schemes offered residency permits in exchange for significant investments in real estate, businesses, or other assets. However, concerns about security, transparency, and rising housing prices are leading to a clampdown across the EU.

What are Golden Visas?

Golden visas are residency permits granted by a country in exchange for a substantial investment.  This investment can take many forms, such as purchasing real estate, investing in a business, or making a large donation.  Golden visas are not the same as citizenship by investment programs, although some programs offer both residency and eventually citizenship.  Golden visas typically offer holders many of the benefits of being an EU resident, including the right to live, work, and travel freely within the Schengen Zone.

Europe’s Golden Visa Crackdown

The European Union (EU) has grown increasingly wary of golden visa programs in recent years.  Concerns include:

  1. Security Risks: Money laundering, organized crime, and potential infiltration by individuals who pose a security threat.
  2. Transparency and Corruption: Questions have been raised about the transparency of some programs and the potential for corruption.
  3. Rising Housing Prices: Golden visas have been blamed for driving up housing prices in some popular destinations, making it difficult for locals to afford homes.
  4. As a result, many EU countries are either ending their golden visa programs altogether or significantly tightening the requirements.

Where Can You Still Find the Cheapest Golden Visa in Europe?

With several EU countries pulling the plug on golden visas, finding the cheapest option within Europe is becoming increasingly difficult. While some countries outside the EU may still offer programs with a lower investment threshold, the focus here is on what’s happening within the bloc. Countries like Greece and Latvia used to be popular choices for those seeking the cheapest golden visa in Europe, but program changes and overall EU trends make this strategy less certain.

Countries Phasing Out Golden Visas

Several EU countries have recently announced plans to end or significantly restrict their golden visa programs:

Portugal (October 2023): Portugal ended the real estate investment option for its golden visa program, a move aimed at combating property speculation. This significantly limited Portugal’s appeal for those seeking the cheapest golden visa in Europe.

Ireland (February 2023): Ireland scrapped its entire golden visa program entirely.

Spain (April 2024 – Likely): Spain’s government is expected to end the real estate investment option for its golden visa program, citing concerns about housing affordability. This further reduces the options for the cheapest golden visa in Europe within the EU.

Netherlands (Ended January 2024): The Netherlands terminated its golden visa program at the beginning of 2024.

UK (Ended February 2022): The UK ended its golden visa program in February 2022 as part of a crackdown on “dirty money.”

Who Still Offers Golden Visas in Europe?

While the options for finding the cheapest golden visa in Europe within the EU are dwindling, a few countries still offer such programs. However, it’s important to note that these programs may have stricter requirements or higher investment thresholds compared to those that were previously available. Countries like Malta still offer golden passport programs, but these typically come with a much higher investment requirement than traditional golden visa programs.

Looking Beyond Europe for Golden Visas

With the EU tightening its grip on golden visas, wealthy individuals seeking residency through investment may need to look beyond Europe.  Several countries outside the EU still offer golden visa programs, sometimes with lower investment thresholds.  However, it’s crucial to carefully research any program before investing and to be aware of the associated risks and benefits. Remember, the cheapest golden visa option mig

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