In today’s world, the benefits of increased global mobility cannot be understated. The luxury to be able to travel across borders without the need for a lengthy visa application is especially sought after for those with a passport that does not open many doors.
Golden visa programmes around the world offer the opportunity to gain a second passport or residency in exchange for a capital investment, but with so many options available it can be difficult to know where to start. Read on to discover what Andrew Rissik, Group International Director and Richard Haller, Managing Director of Offshore Real-Estate & Investment Migration believe are the best programmes in 2024 and why.
Portugal: A premier path to European citizenship
Portugal's Golden Visa Programme has dominated the European residency-by-investment landscape in recent years, providing an alluring path to Portuguese nationality. Launched a decade ago to revitalise the real estate sector post-2008 crisis, the programme has evolved into a global success story. With Portugal's real estate now thriving, the Golden Visa investment focus has shifted to attract capital through private equity funds, targeting key sectors like tourism, agriculture, and green energy. Despite a year of uncertainty, the Golden Visa landscape is clearer, offering investors a well-defined roadmap to securing European residency and a second passport.
Beyond the programme, Portugal's real estate sector remains exceptionally robust, drawing interest from US retirees and British nationals post-EU exit. For those looking to externalise wealth, the Portuguese real-estate market is still a very strong contender.
The passive income visa option, which allows those with a permanent address to reside in the country, enhances Portugal's appeal, with its safe environment, enticing climate, and a cost of living lower than many European nations. As the Golden Visa Programme continues to shine, it positions Portugal as an attractive investment destination for those seeking a secure and promising future in the heart of Europe.
Greece: Offshore real-estate investment with Greek residency permit
Every year, many flock to Greece to enjoy the Mediterranean summer, often carrying a list of recommendations from neighbours and friends who are part of the Greek diaspora.
What many don’t know is that owning property in Greece is not only relatively affordable but might also entitle you to a residency permit – which grants you visa-free travel throughout the entire Schengen area for leisure purposes.
Greece has reached a new level of confidence with solid economic growth. Increasingly, we’re seeing investors taking advantage of the potential that Greece has to offer. There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing property, which offers investors the opportunity to gain hard-currency exposure. Qualifying properties for the residency-by-investment programme start at EUR 250,000, and you can maintain residency as long as you continue to own the property, with no annual minimum stay required.
Mauritius: Secure strong offshore property investment with permanent residency
The island of Mauritius first launched its residency-by-Investment programme in the early 2000s. It has proved to be extremely popular for South Africans, French and the British looking for a strong investment, great weather and a safe and secure lifestyle.
The Mauritius property market has seen strong capital growth over the past five years, of approximately 40% in USD terms. With the real-estate market operating in USD or EUR, this is a firm favourite in that it offers a strong hard-currency investment, as well as permanent residency status for property purchases of USD 375,000 or more. We have seen the programme go from strength to strength, with changes including that PR holders can now also work in the country. Previously this required a separate work permit linked to a particular company.
United States: Relocate to the USA
For those looking to physically relocate to the USA, the EB-5 Investor Visa is undeniably the most direct route to a US Green Card. Investors can secure US permanent residency, enjoying the rights to live and work in the US, accessing almost the same benefits as US citizens, including social security and in-state/resident tuition fees at many colleges and universities.
The minimum investment is USD 800,000 and additional qualification parameters do apply. It is imperative to ensure that you are investing in a solid and credible project and with a Regional Centre and developer who can demonstrate an excellent track-record.
The programme offers two timelines; the traditional route, applied for from your home country, whereby approvals take approximately 36 months to be granted – ideal for those looking for a longer-term Plan B and who need time to tie up their financial affairs ahead of a relocation. A quicker route is also available via the filing of an ‘Adjustment of Status’ from within the US and for those that are ready to action a move sooner rather than later.
Investors can include a spouse and children under the age of 21 years. Children aged 18-20 must be enrolled in full-time education to be eligible.
Grenada: Secure citizenship and global mobility
Securing a second citizenship on an expedited timeline provides peace of mind, particularly if that passport grants you visa-free access to key destinations around the world that are inaccessible on your home country passport. This is why many global citizens are looking at Grenada's citizenship-by-investment programme.
The Caribbean Island of Grenada offers a direct route to Grenadian nationality in approximately 7-9 months. There is no requirement to relocate to Grenada, or to visit Grenada before, during or after the process. The Grenadian passport offers visa-free access to 148 countries, including the Schengen area, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. This programme is perfect for those who love global travel or who have family members living in Europe or the UK and who wish to have the freedom to visit them regularly, and at short notice, without the need to secure visas for travel.
The real estate investment path is the most popular and with a minimum investment of USD 220,000, it is a cost effective second passport solution, especially for a family. The programme is also extremely flexible in terms of family members; an investor can include a spouse, financially dependent children under the age of 28, parents and grandparents. Single siblings with no children may also be included.
Bonus: United Kingdom: Strong yielding investment property
While the UK has ended its Tier 1 residence-by-investment programme, investment in UK property still offers excellent benefits, especially as a first step towards externalising your wealth and building an offshore property portfolio.
Savvy investors have always viewed the UK as safe-haven for foreign investment, with bricks and mortar a firm favorite. The country represents a strong and stable option, with locals and foreigners alike enjoying the benefits of thriving economy and healthy currency.
The property market is at the centre of investment for many, with no restriction on foreign investment. A persistent housing crisis and buoyant job market mean reliable tenants are readily available and rents are healthily and competitive.
If you’re looking at eventually obtaining a second passport or residency through investment, but are seeking to grow your wealth and international footprint first, a UK property investment represents an ideal first step.
Whether you’re trying to decide on the right investment migration option for your family or you’d like to learn more about starting your offshore property investment journey, we can assist. Our expert team is happy to answer any questions you have. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +27 (0) 21 657 1584.
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