Make an investment that’s worth your time, money, and future – discover all about the best Golden Visas in Europe!

Last Updated on June 24, 2024 by Laila Oliveira

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is famous for its flexibility and benefits. With a relatively low investment threshold, it offers a direct route to residency and eventual Citizenship, with minimal stay requirements. The question is: Is it one of the best Golden Visas in Europe? Let’s find out! 

Spain, Malta, and Greece are close competitors with compelling investment options and benefits. Some of these countries also offer what others don’t. For example, real estate investments for those interested in the robust property markets. 

Keep reading this comprehensive guide to learn more about how this strategic investment can unlock unparalleled opportunities in Europe’s most desirable destinations. Happy reading! 

Easiest European Countries To Get Citizenship

One of the most important criteria for assessing the best Golden Visas in Europe is to check whether they offer easy citizenship programs. 

Portugal shines prominently with its flexible investment options and straightforward residency pathway. Greece and Spain also provide attractive options, combining real estate investment with residency benefits. These programs streamline the process for investors seeking European Citizenship in a couple of years.

Let’s go over them one by one. 

Portugal Golden Visa

Despite going through many changes, hundreds of investors worldwide still love Portugal’s Golden Visa. It facilitates easy residency and also encourages family inclusion. Plus, after five years, you can apply for permanent residency or Citizenship, opening doors to further opportunities. 


Investment Options

The program’s flexibility extends to three investment options that stand out.

Investment Funds

An investment fund is a pooled investment vehicle where multiple investors contribute capital to be managed by a professional fund manager. These funds invest in diverse assets to generate returns for investors while spreading risk across different holdings. This option requires you to invest €500,000.

Entrepreneurial Investment

This involves investing €500,000 in creating at least ten full-time jobs for Portuguese citizens or residents and maintaining these positions for five years. You can choose an industry you are familiar with or passionate about. However, you must develop a comprehensive business plan outlining how the investment will generate the required number of jobs.

Donations To Arts Or Research

If you’re interested in something that requires less investment, donating to research or the arts is one option. This includes maintaining and restoring Portugal’s national cultural heritage, and the investment is €250,000. 

However, this is a donation, and you will not be generating money like you would with other investments. 

Requirements and Eligibility

To apply for the Visa, you musVisave no criminal record, valid health insurance, provide evidence of a legal source of funds, and spend specific time in Portugal. After choosing your investment option, prepare the necessary documentation, complete the investment, and apply at AIMA

Portugal Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

The Golden Visa allows you to include family members, such as your spouse, children, and dependent parents, in your application. To obtain Citizenship, maintain the investment, and meet the minimal stay requirements for five years. 

After that, apply for permanent residency in Portugal and then apply for Portuguese Citizenship! This is the fast-track route to a Portuguese Passport, the fifth-strongest Passport in the world! 

Spain Golden Visa

With various investment options and a streamlined application process, it attracts investors seeking to reside in Spain and enjoy the benefits of European Union residency.


Investment Options

Spain’s Golden Visa is one of the last few Golden Visas that offer real estate investments in Europe. This is a huge competitive advantage compared to other countries that have taken down this option. Let’s go over all the options: 

Real Estate Investment

Spain’s Golden Visa program allows investors to obtain residency by purchasing real estate worth at least €500,000. This investment can be in the following categories:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Land Properties

The real estate must be free of liens or mortgages up to the investment threshold.

Business Investment

This involves investing in or creating a Spanish company that generates employment, contributes to technological or scientific innovation, or has a significant socio-economic impact. The business must be viable and sustainable and have the potential for long-term growth and stability.

Government Bonds

You can also obtain residency by purchasing government bonds worth at least €2 million. This secure investment supports Spain’s economic stability while providing investors with a low-risk pathway to residency. The bonds must be held for a minimum period to maintain eligibility.

Requirements and Eligibility

You’ll need to choose an investment option, gather the necessary documentation, and apply to the Spanish consulate or relevant immigration office. If approved, you’ll receive a temporary residence permit for two years, renewable for an additional five years as long as the investment is maintained.

Spain Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

As one of the best Golden Visas in Europe, it also allows you to include your dependents and spouse in your application. There are no specific minimum stay requirements for the first year. After that, you have to visit Spain every year and stay for a minimum of 7-14 days. 

This makes it flexible for those who do not wish to reside in Spain full-time. After five years of maintaining the investment and fulfilling the conditions, you can apply for permanent residency in Spain. And after ten years of continuous residency, you can apply for Spanish Citizenship.

Greece Golden Visa

Greece’s Golden Visa program offers residency to non-EU nationals through investment. By investing in real estate, business, or other approved assets, expats gain residency rights and access to quality healthcare and education. Like the prior two, you also get the ability to travel within the Schengen Area.


Investment Options

You can explore this golden Visa, one of Visabest Golden Visas in Europe, through:

  • Real Estate
  • Government Bonds

Real Estate Investment

To invest in property, a minimum of €250,000 is needed, except for certain municipalities where €500,000 is required. Even more prime locations (known as Zone A) require an investment of €800,000.

This minimum amount is set to increase to €400,000 as 2024 ends. 

Government Bonds

For government bonds, you must purchase Greek government bonds with a minimum value of €250,000 to €400,000, depending on the region. These bonds must be held for at least three years. This option offers a secure and low-risk pathway to residency.

Requirements and Eligibility

Apart from showing evidence that the investment has been made legally and proving the legal source of funds, you must be a non-EU national. 

The application process takes 3-4 months from submission to approval.

Greece Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

With Greece’s Golden Visa, you can bring your family, travel in the Schengen Area, invest in properties, renew residency every five years, and access public services like education and healthcare. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency; after 7 years, you and your family can apply for Greek Citizenship.

Malta Golden Visa

Malta’s Golden Visa program, one of the best Golden Visas in Europe, offers residency through investment in real estate, government bonds, or a combination of both. This program provides access to the EU’s benefits, including travel within the Schengen Area, excellent healthcare, and quality education.


Investment Options

We’ve compiled the three popular investment options below:

Real Estate Investment

You must acquire a real estate property valued at a minimum of €700,000 or lease a property with an annual rent of at least €16,000. Plus, the purchased or rented property must be retained for at least five years from the issuance date of the citizenship certificate.

Government Contributions

For this option, you must contribute to the National Development and Social Fund, managed by a board of trustees. This fund supports public health, education, job creation, and social development projects. The contribution is €600,000 if you have resided in Malta for 36 months or €750,000 for 12 months of residency, both non-refundable. Additionally, an extra €50,000 is required for each dependent.

Philanthropic Donations

Applicants will be required to make a government contribution of at least €98,000 and an additional charitable donation of €2,000 to a Maltese-registered NGO. They will also be required to acquire a property rental agreement worth a minimum of €10,000 per year for five years. 

Requirements and Eligibility

To qualify for Maltese residency, you and your dependents must reside in Malta for either one year with a minimum investment of €750,000 or three years with an investment of €600,000. Working with a licensed agent, you can apply for residency, and upon approval by the Community Malta Agency and Maltese police, you will receive an e-ID card within six months to confirm your residency.

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Malta Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

The pros of Malta’s Golden Visa include including spouse, children, and dependent parents. Like other Golden Visas, you get visa-free travel within the Schengen Area and access to excellent healthcare and education. 

The simple steps to Citizenship are contributions of €600,000 after 36 months of residency or €750,000 after 12 months. Additionally, you will need to hold Maltese residency for the required period and obtain approval from the Community Malta Agency and Maltese police.

Italy Golden Visa

Italy’s Golden Visa program offers residency to non-EU nationals through strategic investments, providing access to the European Union and Schengen Area.


Investment Options

The different investment options range from financial assets to supporting the growth of Italian companies. 

Corporate Bonds/Startup

Real Estate investments are no longer an option. However, you can invest in corporate bonds or start-ups. Invest at least €500,000 in corporate bonds or shares of Italian companies. Or, a minimum of €250,000 in innovative startups. 

Government Bonds

You must invest a minimum of €2 million in government bonds and maintain it for at least two years. This ensures the investment meets the program’s requirements and supports Italy’s economic stability. 


You must make a significant donation to support public interest projects in:

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Immigration management
  • Research and development
  • Preservation of cultural and natural heritage.

The minimum amount for these donations may require consultation with Italian authorities.

Requirements and Eligibility

Italy’s basic requirements are the same as those of the other best Golden Visas in Europe. Although there is no minimum stay requirement, you must fulfill the specific residency obligations to maintain your visa status.

Lastly, you’ll get approval from Italian authorities after meeting investment and residency criteria.

Italy Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

The Visa includes Visa spouse and dependent children and allows visa-free access to the Schengen Area without obligation to reside in Italy.

To obtain Citizenship, the applicant must fulfill the required investment options and maintain residency for 10 years to apply for Citizenship. 

Bulgaria Golden Visa

Bulgaria’s Golden Visa program offers non-EU investors European residency, visa-free travel in the Schengen Area, excellent healthcare, and high-quality education while experiencing Bulgaria’s unique blend of tradition and modernity.


Investment Options

With a mix of investment options, from government bonds to Bulgarian company shares, this program offers a straightforward path to Citizenship. 

Real Estate Investment

You can acquire Bulgarian Citizenship by investing €300,000 in real estate, including residential properties or hotels. This investment must be maintained for five years to qualify for Citizenship under Bulgaria’s program.

Government Bonds

You’ll have to invest €512,000 in Bulgarian government bonds, which must be held for five years. Unlike other citizenship-by-investment programs, Bulgarian bonds are fully refunded without accrued interest at the end of the investment period.

Business Investment

You must contribute €1 million to a Bulgarian business that creates a minimum of 50 jobs. The business must operate in a strategic sector such as IT, manufacturing, or tourism, promoting economic growth and employment in Bulgaria.

Requirements and Eligibility

The biggest requirement is that you reside in Bulgaria for a specified period, around one to three years, and maintain the investment for five years. Additionally, you and your dependents must have no criminal record and must get clearance from Bulgarian authorities and approval of your citizenship application. 

Bulgaria Golden Visa Benefits and Path to Citizenship

With Bulgaria’s Golden Visa, you can get visa-free travel within the EU. Plus, you get access to Bulgaria’s healthcare and education systems.

To obtain Citizenship, you are required to maintain the investment for five years and have a clean criminal record. 

Discontinued Golden Visas In Europe 

With that, we conclude all the best Golden Visas in Europe that are currently available. 

The Cyprus Golden Visa was discontinued in 2020 due to concerns about abuse and exploitation, including potential money laundering risks. And the Ireland Golden Visa ended in 2023 due to criticisms of insufficient oversight and transparency in the investment schemes.

It’s true that Golden Visas are tricky to manage. However, they also contribute greatly to a country’s economy, which is why they remain popular amongst non-EU nationals. 

Do You Need Help Getting A European Golden Visa?

It’s okay to not know where to start from! We get many clients who don’t know their way through documentation and investments. That’s why Viv Europe is here to guide you every step of the way. 

Book a consultation with experts, and let’s start working on your dream project together. We offer exclusive Golden Visa services for Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Malta. Which one is your pick? 

If you’re interested in learning more about Portugal, join our Facebook Group, All About Portugal For Expats. Ask questions and read stories about why people moved! 



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