January is the time when we start to think about new beginnings and for some, that means moving to a different country.
The pandemic has changed the way we live and work for the long haul, with more jobs than ever shifting permanently online. We’re also itching to travel again after months of restrictions and cancelled plans.
This combination could see you looking to completely change your surroundings by living abroad. And for people in the UK and North America, a Golden Visa may offer a way of finding a destination that better suits their future plans.
What is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is an immigration programme that allows you to get a residency permit or even citizenship for a country by purchasing a house there or making a relatively large investment or donation.
Different countries have different requirements for investment which range from around €250,000 to millions - meaning they are only really available to wealthy individuals.
If you fulfil the requirements and apply for a Golden Visa, you and your family become legal residents of the country. It can eventually lead to citizenship too, but the pathway to reach this varies across different schemes and can be difficult or long.
Open to non-EU nationals, they have become increasingly popular in recent years in the European Union where getting a Golden Visa can also bring other benefits including freedom of movement in the Schengen Area.
It is estimated that currently, the programmes attract roughly €3 billion in investment to the EU every year.
A ‘Golden Visa frenzy’ in 2022
According to one leading investment advisory company, 2022 could be the year of the Golden Visa as many fed-up individuals and families look to change the way they live.
“A healthy and sustainable lifestyle is on the 2022 agenda like never before,” says Murat Coskun, founder and managing partner of Get Golden Visa.
“We think 2022 will be a year of the golden visa frenzy, as people make a Plan B for how and where they want to live.”
The firm adds that the key motivations for people to seek secondary residency or citizenship include an increase in remote working, Brexit and a poor response to the pandemic in their own country.
A desire to escape the hustle and bustle of city living is also driving people to search for a destination better suited to their needs.
“We are seeing a tidal wave of people wanting to reconnect with nature and have space around them in which to live and work,” Coskun adds.
The most popular countries for Golden Visas
The attraction of spacious properties in natural surroundings on the coast has made Greece and Portugal popular destinations for investors, according to Coskun.
Portugal has become one of the top places in Europe to get residency through investment after surpassing 10,000 applications as of 2021. High vaccination rates and tax exemptions for cryptocurrency earnings are listed as some of the reasons the country is a desirable location to live.
Greece comes just behind Portugal with around 9,500 applications for golden visas at the end of last year. Following a boom in the property market, more and more houses are being built here. This, alongside tax incentives for high net-worth individuals, means it has become a popular place for those looking to invest in real estate.