50 residency by investment programs

2017. November 12.

To get residency by investment program is getting more popular year by year and because of the high demand, there are more than 50 countries that offer this service and give the possibility to choose from. So the residency by investment programs have created a more comprehensive market than the citizenship by investment industry’s. We can say that those solutions are shaped by different requirements and aims.

On one hand, well-known and managed, branded programs exist and on the other hand there are several solutions which could be marketed as programs. But it has to be highlighted that these are still only effective ways or solutions to acquire the residence permit of the chosen country, through some kind of investments. Several themes are perfect solutions for acquiring temporary residence permits, meanwhile under other legalisations, applicant can obtain permanent residency permits or even the citizen status through a fast-track naturalisation process.

Which are the most popular residency by investment programs?

For sure United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have the most well reputed schemes. These listed countries have the varied solutions for different kind of investors with diverse processes. For the applicants the success is not guaranteed meanwhile the waiting lists and queues are really long.

In the meantime in Europe, Malta, Hungary, Portugal and Bulgaria came up with the most popular schemes, the Malta Residency and Visa Programme, the Hungarian Residency Bonds Program (suspended for now), the Portuguese Golden Visa Program and the Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program (BGIIP). But it seems to be that a lots of EU member countries are attracting successfully new and wealthy residents.

A few years ago, there were only a couple of official residency and investor programs, mostly launched for highly skilled workforce as engineers, doctors, scientists and so on. But, the economical goals have changed quite fast and most of the countries are keen on having foreign money fast. Most probably as the global financial crisis has finished, not only the financial value is going to be important.

However not “only” the talented and well-skilled applicants will be participating and showing up on the market of economic immigration. There are already countries (for instance: Hong Kong and Panama) who are officially looking for highly skilled and talented brains, even if these candidates are not the most wealthiest. But just to clarify that investors not only rich people can be because retirement schemes have also high demand with low, but stable income like pension.

The list below is farfrom being complete yet. Important: laws and residency programs are changing quickly and new solution can be found on the market almost each and every month.

1. Cyprus — Citizenship from €1.5 million

The most expensive CIP program in Europe belongs to Cyprus, according to Arabian Business.

Currently there are 2 investment options:

1. Real estate investment that is valued at at the minimum of €2 million.

2. A min. of €500K and privately owned residence in Cyprus that is worth at least €1.5 million.

2. Bulgaria — Citizenship from 1 million BGN (€515K)

In Bulgaria there are possible ways to invest:

The first investment option:

1. A minimum of amount of 1 million BGN (€515K) investment in a full-guaranteed government bond for 5 years

2. The investment will be returned to the investor after the term without interest.

The second as fast-track option:

1. To invest of 1 million BGN (€515K) in government-guaranteed bonds.

2. To invest of an additional 1 million BGN (€515K) one year later.

3. At least 1 year of permanent residency

4. Both investments must be held for at least 2 years after the citizenship is granted.

3. Spain — ‘Golden Visa’ from €500K

There is a residency program in Spain which is called The Spanish Golden Visa Program that offers a fast-track to valid residency permit for non-European investors.

This residency program in Spain can be granted for investors purchasing a minimum amount of 500K Euro in real estate industry. With this residency applicant has the right to live in Spain. It also allows you for visa-free traveling to countries which are within the Schengen visa area of Europe.

This programme requires:

1. Real estate investment at the minimum of €500K.

2. Applicant can request permanent residency after 5 years.

3. Applicant can request citizenship after 10 years.

4. Portugal — ‘Golden Visa’ from €350K

There is a residency program in Portugal as well which is called quite similar to the Spanish one, The Portuguese Golden Visa Program that offers a fast-track to valid residency permit for non-European investors. This visa is originally valid for 1 year then is could be renewed twice after at 2-year intervals.

After 6 years of permanent residency applicants and their families might acquire their Portugal second passport by applying for Portuguese citizenship.

Portugal Golden Visa program allows you to travel visa-free to 170 countries among Schengen countries as well.

There are three ways to get visa in Portugal:

1. Invest €500K in a fund that invests in small or medium sized businesses.

2. Acquisition of real estate valued at a min. amount of €350K.

3. To establish of at least 10 jobs in Portugal.

5. Dominica — Citizenship from $100K

In Dominica there are 2 possible ways to get visa:

1. To donate $100K amount of money to National Transformation Fund for a single applicant or amount of $200K for a family of 4 people

2. To invest in real estate min. $200K

Dominica Citizenship can be gained in 4-6 months and this is the cheapest citizenship by investment. However citizenship program criteria were scheduled to increase in 2nd half of 2016. The min. price of a Dominica passport would be $175K that is 75% rising. This significant cost increase has been postponed indefinitely.

6. Malta — Citizenship from €150K

In Malta there are 3 ways to get citizenship:

1. A non-refundable contribution min. €650K to NDSF (National Development and Social Fund), or

2. To invest min. €350K in property, or have a property rental contract about min. €16K and held it for 5 years

3. To purchase government bonds for at least €150K and hold it for 5 years

Maltese citizenship allows you to live and work anywhere in the EU (European Union) including Switzerland. The Maltese passport can give you the right to travel “visa-free” to 166 countries. It also gives you the right to visa-free access to the United States as they have a Visa Waiver program. However it works a bit differently from other systems.

7. Antigua & Barbuda — Citizenship from $250K

In Antiqua and Barbuda there are 3 possible ways to get citizenship via investment.

1. Real estate investment (min $400K)

2. Donation to NDF (National Development Fund) (amount: $250K)

3. Investment in existing but newly-created business (amount: $1.5 million)

The holders of an Antigua and Barbuda passport can enjoy visa-free travel up to 132 countries (including Schengen area). More info on the official government portal: http://www.cip.gov.ag/

8. Canada — Citizenship from $800K

Canada’s FIIP (Federal Investor Immigration Program) is officially proved that it has been one of the most popular program since it was launched in the end of 80’s. However it is currently closed.

It is fact that most of investor immigrants went to Canada because of its popular investor programme.

Chinese investors have spent on investing in Canada’s program an estimated 2.4 billion US dollars over the past decade.

But because of the high demand (thousands of people using the program) around the late 2000’s the Canadian government started to decrease the number of acceptance of investor immigrants. The program was ended in 2014 because it was said that it “significantly undervalued” Canadian residency and created little economic benefit.

50K people were sent back after they had their applications cancelled regardless that they were already “in the pipeline”.

There is still some Canadian provinces, such as Quebec, that offers their own small programs.

From Chinese investors Quebec has collected at least 1.9 billion dollars – however it is a low amount of money compared to what it was in the last decade when it was not controlled by yearly quota.

If someone would like to qualify:

  1. Who is an applicant for citizenship must reside in the country for 3 years within a 4-year timeframe.
  2. Applicant has to own legally-obtained net worth of minimum 1.6 million CAD (Canadian Dollar).
  3. Applicant must have at least 3 years of experience in finance, general management, human resources or planning.
  4. Applicants must declare their intention to settle down in the province of Quebec, and sign an agreement to invest $800K

Global List of Residency by Investment Programs


Costa Rica Pensionado Visa Program


Ecuador Investor Visa

United States


St. Marteen

Barbados Special Entry Permits



Turks and Caicos

Montserrat Economic Residence Programme

Panama Friendly Nations Visa

Cayman Islands

Belize Residence Permit Retirement Program

Antigua and  Barbuda


Hungarian Residency Bonds Program


Malta Global Residency Program and  Residency Rules



Ireland Immigrant Investor  Programme


Italy Investor Visa





Andorra Passive Residency Programme

The Netherlands




Belgium Residence Program



UAE (Dubai – Hamriyah – Ajman – RAK

South Korea

Hong Kong



Philippines Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV)

Japan Investor Visa

Singapore Global Investor Programme

Malaysia My Second Home


South African Business Visa


Seychelles Residency Program



Australian Premium Investor Visa

New Zealand

And the first digital solution

Estonia E-Residency