- By Jake Scobey-ThalJake Scobey-Thal is assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy. Previously, he worked as a freelance reporter in Myanmar and as the Asia Associate for Human Rights Watch. His articles have appeared in The Nation, Next City magazine, and Salon among others. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Desperate to inject some capital in their struggling economies, cash-strapped European countries are turning to a new scheme to attract investors’ dollars — so-called "Golden Visas." Since 2012, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece have all established such programs to lure wealthy foreigners to spend their hard currency in Europe. The quid pro quo goes as follows: you invest hundreds of thousands of euros into our economy; we’ll give you residence.
According to the BBC, Portugal alone has issued 734 golden visas — the majority going to Chinese citizens — generating more than 440 million euros.
But let’s say you’re a transient millionaire looking for new haunts, yet the Mediterranean just isn’t your thing. Don’t fret! Countries across the world offer similar programs — often called investor visas. Navigating the opaque world of elite immigration is no easy task, but here are some of the options for the aspiring expats of the 1 percent for buying residency around the world.
COST OF "GOLDEN VISA" IN DOLLARS
The "significant investor" visa offers temporary residency for a period of four years for those who invest AUD 5 million ($4.37 million).
Antigua & Barbuda
Citizenship is available for those who invest $1.5 million in an approved business, $400,000 in real estate, or donate $250,000 to the country’s National Development Fund, which develops small business enterprises.
Permanent residency is available to foreigners who purchase residential property worth at least $500,000.
Citizenship is available to foreigners who invest 500,000 euros ($690,000).
Citizenship is available to foreigners who invest 5 million euros ($4.13 million) or have 5 million euros ($4.13 million) in bank deposits.
Temporary residency is available for foreigners who invest 250,000 euros ($280,000) into a German business.
Renewable five-year residency visas are available foreigners who purchase residential real estate worth at least 250,000 euros ($328,000).
Temporary residency is available to foreigners who put HKD 10 million ($1.2 million) into government-approved investment plans. One caveat for those who hail from mainland China: They are required to hold permanent residency in another country.
Permanent residency is available to foreigners who invest 300,000 euros ($410,000) in government bonds.
Renewable residency visas are available to non-European Economic Area* citizens who invest 500,000 euros ($690,000) into a business, approved fund, or "public project."
Temporary residency is available for non-European Economic Area citizens who purchase property worth 150,000 euros ($206,000).
Citizenship is available to foreigners who invest 400,000 euros ($550,000) in the country’s economy and hire at least 10 workers.
Citizenship is available to foreigners for a flat fee of 650,000 euros ($895,000).
Temporary residency permits are available to foreigners who invest at least 1.25 million euros ($1.7 million) in Dutch companies.
Temporary residency is available to foreigners who invest from $1-7 million, depending on the program of investment.
Permanent residence is available to foreigners who maintain a deposit of $260,000 in the National Bank of Panama for a period of 5 years.
Residency is available for foreigners who invest 1 million euros ($1.38 million), purchase property worth at least 500,000 euros ($690,000), or create 10 jobs.
Permanent residency is available to foreigners who invest SGD 2.5 million ($2 million) for a period of five years.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Citizenship is available to foreigners who invest $400,000 in real estate or donate $250,000 to the country’s Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation — a fund that assists the government in diversifying the economy.
Temporary residence is available to foreigners by paying an annual taxation fee. Cost is determined by canton, the country’s states, with a minimum fee of 150,000 Swiss Francs ($170,000) annually.
Residential permits are available to foreigners who invest 500,000 euros ($690,000) in property.
EB-5 immigrant visas, which allow conditional residency, are available to foreigners who invest at least $1 million in a new or recently created business, or $500,000 for businesses in rural or high-unemployment areas.
Temporary residency visas are available to non-European Economic Area citizens who invest £1 million ($1.65 million) for a period of five years.
* The European Economic Area unites the member states of the European Union with Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. It allows the non-EU member states to participate in the EU’s internal market.