Europe does not only mean top-quality motorways, universities, hospitals, but also totally different living standards. Developed infrastructure, attention to the needs and problems of the citizens, a low crime rate and nearly unlimited opportunities for those who are used to self-employment and good salary rates – there are enough reasons to get a European citizenship. Thus you will get the feeling of being a true global citizen, provide your family with unrivalled comfort and gain the opportunity to expand your business or reach a new stage in entrepreneurship by establishing a company in the EU.

However if you are fully concentrated on promoting your business and determined to dedicate all your free time to your beloved ones, it may take you ages to choose a suitable country and an immigration route. It is a good idea to turn to European immigration law experts like Imperial & Legal in order to save time and effort and get professional legal advice on obtaining a residence permit or an Indefinite Leave to Remain, and later – a citizenship of the European country you have chosen.


Relocation to Europe: what do you gain?

Today there are several ways of immigrating to Europe: for example, you can get married to a citizen of the country, get a job or start a business. But the easiest way to obtain a European citizenship is to invest in the economy of the country, so you can smoothly get your residence permit and eventually citizenship avoiding excessive bureaucracy. Such economic immigration programs are called accordingly: residence by investment or citizenship by investment.

If you have funds to invest, and your investment helps the economy of the country and provides a cash infusion into the national budget, a European citizenship will be yours in the nearest future. And this may completely change your life. It is advisable to choose one of the European counties for residence because of the following reasons:

  • Visa-free access to more than 150-160 countries;
  • The right to live and work in any member-state of the European Union, regardless of which country you have the citizenship of;
  • Access to any educational institutions of the European Union;
  • The right to be retired in any country of the EU;
  • Taxation system allowing you to gain maximum profit from your business and provide for your family;
  • EU passport for the whole family with the right for the descendents to inherit European citizenship;
  • Favourable prices in some countries: for example, residence by investment in Latvia will cost you much less than a Cyprus passport.

How you can get the European citizenship by investment: comparative analysis

Let us consider the most popular European countries where one can get a residence permit and citizenship by investing into the economy or buying real estate.

All the points mentioned above have lots of details which may be difficult to understand without help of an immigration law expert. The first step you can make towards the EU citizenship or citizenship of a country which is not an EU member (e.g. the UK withdrew from the EU in January, 2024) may be getting advised by a qualified lawyer in regards of an immigration route that is the most suitable for you.

Amount of investment

That is one of the most evident things to pay attention to when considering EU citizenship. For example, if you have €250,000 to invest, you may apply for the residence permit in Latvia or Greece. If your funds account for €500,000, you might think of Portugal or Spain. The minimum investment required in the UK is £50,000 (UK Innovator visa), but when it comes to UK Tier 1 investor visa, the required minimum amount is £2,000,000. However there are other opportunities to get UK ILR – for example, you can get a UK Sole Representative visa without any personal investment, but you would need to meet the criteria for running a UK branch of the parent company.

Obviously, you can invest more. It depends on your abilities and aims. We are talking about the very minimum requirements to get a so-called Golden visa and some others. You can spend the money on setting up a business, invest in securities or buy real estate. By the way, the last option is not always allowed, so you must pay extra attention to this issue.


The Schengen Area and the EU

Not every European country is a member state of these two unions. For example, the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria are not included in the Schengen Area. Switzerland, Monaco and Liechtenstein are not members of the EU. This may be worth considering when it comes to travelling in Europe visa-free or to doing business.

We have put all the possible routes to get a European passport into the following table:

European Country A way to get  residence by investment or citizenship by investment
Malta Government contribution of €650,000 + minimum investment of €150,000 in government bonds retained for no less than 5 years + minimum investment in real estate of €350,000
Montenegro (is not a member of the EU, but Montenegrin citizenship will allow to travel around the EU) Investment in real estate (from €250,000 to €15,000,000 depending on the location and type of the project) + donation of €100,000 to the national fund +  additional fees (the amount starts from €15,000 and depends on the number of applicant)
Spain Minimum investment in real estate of €500,000, investment in financial assets of €1,000,000 to €2,000,000 depending on the assets, or investment in business, no fixed amount here, but the business must comply with certain criteria.
Portugal Investment in real estate (€350,000 if you purchase it for refurbishing, €500,000 otherwise), creation of at least 10 jobs or investment in business, financial assets, research activities or arts (€250,000 to €1,000,000 depending on the type of investment).
Latvia Minimum investment in real estate of €250,000.
The UK (is no longer a member of the EU) Tier 1 Investor visa (from £2,000,000 to £10,000,000 – the more the less it takes to get ILR) or Innovator visa (establishing and running a new company in the UK, investment of at least £50,000 in it + your business idea must be endorsed by a relevant body)

On average you will need from €200,000 to €1,250,000 to get European residence by investment or citizenship by investment (the only exception is the UK with the minimum investment for Tier 1 Investor visa is £2,000,000, but you can get the Innovator visa just for £50,000). You will also have to comply with a number of other criteria on which experts can advise you. The most popular ways, e.g. to purchase real estate, to invest in business, to establish your own company, to buy financial assets, are possible in the majority of the European countries interested in attracting wealthy foreign investors. That means you have plenty of choice, and the only thing that you have to do is to turn to a reputable legal company which can help you to settle in your new country of nationality or residence in the most efficient manner.