Business immigration is becoming an increasingly popular way for investors to expand their businesses internationally and make the most of a variety of benefits provided by different governments. In an attempt to draw international capital, a number of European countries have created attractive golden visa programs offering investment citizenship or investment residency, as well as diverse additional benefits, in exchange for investments of a certain volume. The scope of investment varies from country to country, as does the bureaucracy, and it is essential to be fully informed before making a decision.
In the following lines, we will compare some of the most attractive European business immigration programs currently on offer.
Thanks to a variety of factors, Malta has one of the most popular business immigration programs in all of Europe. It is an attractive Mediterranean country with a phenomenal climate, a full member of the EU and the Schengen Zone, as well as a stable, orderly country with a high standard of living.
Malta also holds the distinction of having one of the fastest and most efficient business immigration programs in all of Europe. Residency through investment can be acquired in just 1-15 months, while a citizenship can be obtained after 12 months of residency. Residency is obtained through a minimum investment of €290.000, while a second passport comes with an investment of little under €1 million.
A popular tourist destination, as well as a country with a highly developed business ecosystem, Spain holds an obvious appeal to foreign investors. With this in mind, Spain offers a residency program that’s extremely fast and simplified.
In order to apply for residency, you must first commit to buying property in Spain and open a Spanish bank account. Once these conditions are met, the application process lasts mere 10-15 days. You are not required to reside in Spain to acquire the residency status, and your property can be rented out. The minimum property investment for the residency program is €500.000, with additional fees that are dependant on a variety of factors.
A global economic superpower with the most developed business environment in all of Europe, the United Kingdom has to be one of the first considerations for any investors looking to expand internationally.
The UK golden residency program is not the fastest one on offer, but it is among G8 countries. The procedure generally takes between 6-8 months, but it is straightforward and clearly defined, guaranteeing a predictable outcome. The obtained temporary residence is good for 40 months and can be extended for another two. Permanent residency is obtained after five years. It is important to note that residency requires you to actually live in the UK, and you can spend no more than 180 days outside of the country.
As for financial terms, residency requires a minimum £2 million investment, with the majority of the investment in the form of government bonds or a business investment, and a smaller part spent on purchasing assets or as a bank deposit. By increasing the investment, you can receive a permanent residency in a shorter time frame, with the shortest time being two years.
The second representative from the Iberian Peninsula on the list, Portugal offers one of the fastest and most diverse business immigration programs, with a variety of options for investment residency.
The typical duration of the program is most commonly 2-5 months, after which you get a temporary residence limited to one year. This can be extended twice, with extended permits lasting for 2 years. After five years of temporary residence, you obtain the right to a permanent status. The permit does not require you to stay in Portugal longer than seven days a year.
The program includes six separate investment options diverging in price (the smallest being €250.000) and ranging from real estate investments and job openings to investing in Portuguese businesses or supporting arts, allowing you to find an arrangement that suits you best.
Emerging from the ashes of the former Soviet Union, Latvia was quick to set its course westward and has benefited from it. The small Baltic country is now a full EU member and an emerging economy, particularly in the startup department.
The country boasts a very simple and efficient investment residency program. You will initially earn a temporary residence permit of five years, after which you are eligible for permanent residence. Financial terms of the application require you to invest a sum of about €250.000, whether in real estate, government bonds or bank bonds, with an obligation to maintain your investment over a five-year period.
These were some of the most attractive European countries for business immigration, but the complete list is much longer. For detailed information, please consult the list of all countries currently offering investment citizenship and residency plans for business immigration.
The golden visa concept has seen a surge of popularity in recent years. It is not a strictly business decision, as the additional benefits are mainly personal, but it might be an ideal solution for investors who are not only looking for a business expansion but maybe a change of scenery as well.
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