Golden visas are becoming increasingly popular among Americans seeking permanent residency or visa travel without hassles around Europe. But these types of programs are still a bit unknown to the majority of Americans who are thinking to relocate to another country, or continent.
There are still many misconceptions about Golden Visas Europe, and even though each of them has its own specificities, there are common characteristics that everyone should be aware of before even considering applying.
Unveiling some common facts about them is crucial, especially in a research phase where someone is looking for ways to relocate to other countries. Often, these types of programs will appear as a solution, but in reality, they can be very complex and require a lot of work before and during the application process.
So, if you’re planning to move to Europe and considering golden visas, this list of 4 facts will help you reveal and clarify some misconceptions about them.
1. Golden Visas Don’t Give You a Direct Path to Citizenship in Other Country
This might be the first big misconception about these schemes. Some people think that once you get your golden visa, you automatically become a citizen of the European Union (EU) or any other EU member state. This is not true.
It’s important to understand that golden visas are temporary solutions that allow you to live and work in the EU for a period of time (the so-called residence permits).
After meeting some requirements and living in the country (even if it’s just for some days every year), you will need to apply for citizenship through the regular channels.
However, they are usually a simpler and shorter path to citizenship in specific countries.
However, applying for these types of visas isn’t as straightforward as one may think.
Here are four facts you need to know before applying for golden visas.
2. Applicants Must Meet Certain Requirements
Golden visas require you to meet certain criteria before you can apply. These criteria may differ depending on the country you are applying for.
But, all of them have at least the following obligations:
- Have a valid passport from a non-EU or non-EEA country
- Be able to provide the required investment needed, whether in real estate properties or direct investments transfers and maintain it for a minimum of years (depending on the program)
- Spend a certain number of days in the country you are applying for
- No criminal record whatsoever
- Meet certain language skills requirements
- In addition, applicants must provide proof of funds, such as bank statements, tax returns, and others
If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you won’t be able to apply for a golden visa.
3. They Can Be Very Expensive (But Cheaper Than Other Alternative Routes)
Applying for a golden visa can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The major expense will be naturally the amount you need to invest in order to qualify for the scheme. It depends on the country you are going to apply for, but most of them in Europe require an investment starting at least $250,000 (under certain conditions).
But to those costs, you need to add all related expenses to the application process.
This is due to the fact that applicants must pay an application fee and then have all the fees related to bureaucracy, whether for submitting personal information, undergoing medical exams, doing language skill tests, or interviews with government officials from the country you are applying for.
4. Golden Visa Benefits (Europe programs)
Even though they might be somehow complex to apply for, the Golden Visa programs in Europe continue to be seeing a rise in the demand from American citizens, mostly due to the following benefits:
- Travel without any hassle in the Schengen area
- Work or study in a safe and stable region
- Get residency while investing in a country’s economy
- Possibility to apply for all family members
Advice Usually Given by Immigration Consulting Firms for Individuals Applying to Golden Visas
There are many companies out there that offer immigration consulting services, some only for a specific country. While there are some unique characteristics to each program, all tend to provide the same general type of advice which can be applied to all golden visa schemes.
This is somehow common sense. Applying early gives you a chance to improve your chances of success.
This is due to the fact that some of these programs have experienced some problems with their applications, and are being paused for example for days or months, due to technical problems in the online platform used for the applications.
Applying early means that you can avoid this problem or at least have a sparse time when such problems occur.
Whether for an interview along the process or when submitting documents for it, make sure you have everything prepare when it’s time.
For an interview, make sure you bring everything needed for the interview, such as your passport, proof of employment history, references, or other documents asked specifically for that program. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your health, criminal record, and education.
Understand the Application Process in Detail
Understand the application process. Learn about the types of applications available, how much it costs, and how long it takes to complete each step.
Find out what documents you need, and what information you need to give. If the legal part is too complex, ask for advice from attorneys or specialized firms on immigration.
Choose Your Golden Visa Country Wisely
Choosing the right country to apply for a golden visa is crucial. You don’t want to waste time and money if you end up not qualifying for the program. So choose wisely, considering your needs but also all the requirements of each specific program.
For example, if your end goal is to have citizenship, then the Malta program might come handier, as it’s basically the only one in Europe (right now) that can give you such a possibility (under certain requirements).
When In Doubt, Get Help from Local Advisors
It can be difficult to navigate the immigration system alone. That’s why you should seek professional advice whenever you have some type of doubt. Even though these programs are getting clearer in terms of information and are required, more than often there are still some doubts.
Ask local advisors who specialize in immigration law. They will know which program is best suited for you and they will help you through the whole process.
They could consult in various manners, such as that you don’t miss any deadlines, tax incentives, legal advice, all documents needed, and even helping you find accommodation in the country.
In conclusion, applying for a golden visa is getting easier these days. However, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind before submitting your application.
By clarifying the most common questions related to these programs, it is easier for someone researching them to get started. And from there, focus on a specific scheme that could be more suitable and tailored to meet your needs.