Residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate
There are quite a few economically highly developed EU countries in which there is a program called “Residence Permit in Exchange for Investment in Real Estate”. In most cases, purchasing inexpensive housing or business does not provide any benefits other than a multi-year type C visa – the same one that many tourists have. The easiest way to obtain a residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate is in Spain, Portugal and Greece, using the Golden Visa program.
In each of the above countries, this program has its own conditions and characteristics, but the current leader in terms of popularity is Spain. The minimum amount for the purchase of real estate (no matter – primary or secondary, one object or several) must be a total of at least 500 thousand euros. If at the beginning of the Spanish “Golden Visa” it applied only to the head of the family, spouse and minor children and required residence in the country for more than 183 days a year, then after its liberalization, residence permits began to be granted:
- single adult children who are dependent on their parents;
- the investor’s parents, who are completely financially dependent on him;
- common-law spouses;
- persons necessary to conduct business or carry out the investor’s instructions.
Now the first residence on the Golden Visa has been issued for two years, with the right to work, limiting the minimum period of stay in Spain to seven days.
Spain’s former competitor Portugal, which also issued residence permits in Europe when purchasing real estate, has made other changes to its legislation that relate to the Golden Visa.
For the Portuguese, unlike the Spaniards, for whom the figure of 500 thousand is a constant, you can limit yourself to the amount of 250 thousand euros if we are talking about a permanent investment in an object of national cultural significance or folk craft. Dilapidated housing or real estate in areas remote from tourist routes can cost 300-350 thousand euros, but each case is considered individually.
The “Golden Visa” of Greece is still significantly inferior to Spain and Portugal in terms of providing a residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate, but attracts investors with a low minimum cost of housing – only 250 thousand euros. However, unlike Spain, it will only be possible to include parents and spouses in the application for a similar amount. The undoubted advantage of the Greek residence permit is the speed of its registration – a maximum of 3 months, but it will be possible to think about citizenship only after 12 years. The remaining countries either impose much more stringent conditions (including financial ones) or are not members of the EU or the Schengen Agreement, which significantly reduces their attractiveness.
You can select real estate properties for obtaining a residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate on the Justreal portal:
Citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe
After receiving a residence permit, which is a mandatory step on the path to citizenship of any country, the holder of this document can also apply for European citizenship. Having a passport as a citizen of the country equalizes the rights of its owner with the indigenous inhabitants. However, unlike the Caribbean countries, there are very few countries on the European continent where you can acquire citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe, not to mention those states that are members of the EU and are included in the Schengen Agreement.
A number of countries, such as Montenegro, despite the speed and ease of the registration procedure, do not provide any special advantages: visa-free entry is open to 117 countries of the world, including Schengen, but almost everywhere there are restrictions on the length of stay (usually three months).
You can find out more about the Montenegrin citizenship program here.
In other countries, such as in Spain, you will have to wait ten years for citizenship from the date of validity of the first residence permit, although in reality the waiting time for a decision extends to 12 and 13 years. In this case, it is necessary not only to fulfill certain conditions regarding stay in Spain, to demonstrate one’s trustworthiness, but also to pass exams on knowledge of the local language, history and culture.
You can speed up and simplify the process of obtaining citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe, for example, in Portugal through the so-called “golden visa”. However, with significant expenses (and not always justified), the standard amount of which is 500 thousand euros, the waiting period is reduced to six years.
How to quickly obtain citizenship when buying real estate in Europe
In this regard, Russians who need to acquire European citizenship as soon as possible have been using proven methods for years and choose for these purposes the public investment programs of two countries – Cyprus and Malta.
In the first case, the minimum contribution guaranteeing citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe (not only for the main investor, but also for his immediate family members under the age of 28) is two million euros. With an additional payment of half a million euros, the investor’s parents can also count on Cypriot citizenship. It does not matter how many housing properties will be included in the two million euros – one or several. The main condition is to remain in the status of owner for the next three years, and when selling this asset, which can bring a very good income, to retain an apartment or villa worth at least 500 thousand euros.
Citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe, if we are talking about Cyprus, can also be obtained in case of purchasing commercial real estate, although this option will cost 500 thousand euros more, and this money will have to be used for the purchase of housing. The same applies to investments in local businesses or securities: 2 million euros are allocated for their intended purpose, and 500 thousand euros are allocated to residential real estate. If all requirements and conditions are met, after six months the Russian becomes a full citizen of Cyprus, which does not require him to either reside in the country or speak the language.
By the way, six months is the shortest period in which you can obtain citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe.
The second place is occupied by Malta, where the duration of this procedure can be a little more than a year. As in the case of Cyprus, residence on the island is not required, as well as knowledge of the language, and close family members can count on passports. The main difference from Cyprus is a different set of investment programs, the most basic of which is a free contribution of 650 thousand euros to the Malta Economic Development Fund with the purchase of housing costing from 350 thousand euros, subject to ownership over a five-year period. The same period is established in the case of continuous long-term lease.
To this amount should be added the completion of a security check, the services of a lawyer, notary, realtor, but compared to the main costs they are completely insignificant.
Second citizenship when purchasing real estate in Europe, when this procedure is carried out in Cyprus or Malta, does not require renunciation of the first citizenship. Having passports from these countries provides a lot of advantages, including, among other things, the absence of double taxation and doing business in EU countries, the rights of which foreigners enjoy without any restrictions.