Europe is a desirable destination for many who want to enjoy a high quality of life, access to excellent education and healthcare, and visa-free travel within the Schengen area. However, obtaining permanent residence or citizenship in an EU country can be challenging and time-consuming for non-EU nationals.

That’s why many wealthy individuals opt for a Golden Visa, an immigration program that grants a residence permit in exchange for a substantial investment in a European country. But not all Golden Visa Europe programs are the same. Each country offering a golden visa for Europe has its requirements, benefits, and drawbacks.

We will compare in this article some of the most popular Golden Visa Europe programs and help you choose the best one for your needs and goals.

What is a Golden Visa Europe Program?

According to Mercan a Golden Visa Europe program is a government-sponsored scheme that allows third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss) to acquire residency and – in some cases – citizenship in an EU country by making a qualifying contribution to the country’s economy. This contribution can be in real estate investment, capital transfer, business investment, or donation.

A Golden Visa Europe program can provide many advantages, such as:

  • Freedom to live, work, and travel in the country of your choice, as well as in other EU countries and territories
  • Opportunity to access quality education and healthcare services, as well as diverse cultural and recreational activities
  • Security of being protected by the rule of law and human rights standards of the EU
  • Flexibility to choose the investment option that suits your needs and preferences, as well as the country that matches your lifestyle and goals

How to Compare Golden Visa Europe Programs


To compare different Golden Visa Europe programs, you need to consider several factors, such as:

Factor Description
Location The country’s location affects your lifestyle, travel options, tax obligations, and security. Choose a location that suits your preferences and needs.
Cost The cost of getting and maintaining a Golden Visa in Europe depends on the investment option, the fees and taxes involved, and the living expenses in the country. Choose a cost-effective option that fits your budget and goals.
Benefits Gives you the right to live, work, and travel in the country and access other EU countries and territories. Some countries also offer citizenship eligibility, health care coverage, education opportunities, and social security benefits. Choose an option that provides you with the most value and convenience.
Drawbacks Involves the risk of losing your investment, the possibility of fraud or corruption, the complexity of the application process, and the compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements. Choose an option that minimizes your exposure to these challenges and uncertainties.

How to Get a Golden Visa in Europe?


To get a golden visa in Europe, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Non-EU Citizenship – You must be a citizen of a country outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland.
  • Clean Criminal Record – You must have a clean criminal record and pass a background check by the authorities of the country or region where you want to apply for a golden visa.
  • Funds Verification –You must demonstrate proof of funds and financial history to show that you have enough money to make the required investment and support yourself and your family in the country or region where you want to apply for a golden visa.
  • Minimum Investment – You must invest according to the host country’s program, which can vary depending on the location, but usually ranges from €100,000 to €1 million. The most common investment options are real estate, capital transfer, business, or donation.
  • Specific Requirements – You must comply with country-specific demands, such as language proficiency, cultural integration, minimum stay, tax obligations, or health insurance.

The process of getting a golden visa in Europe varies depending on the country and the type of investment. Generally, you need to follow these steps:

  • Choose a country and an investment option that suits your goals and budget
  • Apply for a visa to enter the country and make the investment
  • Complete the investment within a specified time frame
  • Apply for the residence permit with the proof of investment and other documents
  • Receive the residence permit and renew it periodically according to the program rules

What are Some of the Most Popular Golden Visa Europe Programs?


More than 20 countries or regions in Europe currently offer Golden Visa programs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most popular ones are:


Portugal’s Golden Visa offers flexible pathways, including real estate, capital transfer, business investment, or donation options. Investors can apply for citizenship after five years, enjoy Schengen travel, access healthcare and education, and benefit from a favorable tax system.


Greece’s affordable Golden Visa requires a €250,000 real estate investment. It boasts low fees, no minimum stay, and no language tests. However, it doesn’t lead to citizenship, work permits, or healthcare/education benefits.



Malta presents two Golden Visa routes: €100,000 for residency or €600,000 for citizenship. This reputable program provides EU rights, global travel, and quality healthcare/education but demands high fees, rigorous checks, and a fund donation.


Spain’s Golden Visa encompasses real estate, investments, employment creation, and innovation. It allows work and residence, Schengen travel, and citizenship potential after a decade, offering convenience and access to public services.



Cyprus offers quick permanent residency with a €300,000 real estate investment. This straightforward program has low fees, no language tests, and a short two-month processing time. However, it doesn’t lead to citizenship, work permits, or healthcare/education benefits.


Choosing the best Golden Visa Europe program for you depends on your needs and goals and the location, cost, benefits, and drawbacks of each option. You should research and consult a professional before making a decision. A Golden Visa Europe program can provide you with many opportunities, advantages, challenges, and risks. You should weigh them carefully and find the best option for you and your family.