Unlock Europe for Less: Discover the Cheapest Golden Visas Programmes

Unlock Europe for Less: Discover the Cheapest Golden Visas Programmes

Published: 1 July 2024

Here are two things you need to know about European golden visas.

First, they are some of the most sought-after in the world, and second, there is a lot to choose from. In fact, there are more than 100 globally and over half of EU member states offer golden visas.

What is a golden visa?

Golden visa programmes, or investor visas, allow foreign investors to gain residency or citizenship in exchange for a substantial investment in the country’s economy.

If you are unsure about the differences between residency and citizenship, read our article, which breaks down both.

Many believe golden visas are only for the super-wealthy, but this is a misconception. With various options, you can choose a programme best suited to your financial needs.

Golden visa investment types

Most golden visa investments are in real estate. However, some programmes offer different types of investments.

In general, the golden visa investments are usually in:

  • Real estate
  • Government bond
  • Financial institutions, such as stocks, shares and bonds
  • Company share capital investments
  • Investment funds

Some countries offer an option of a government contribution, capital transfer or donation to a charity.

What golden visa is right for me?

Are you looking for a European golden visa but unsure which option is best? One key factor to consider is the investment criteria for each programme.

Below are the most cost-effective ways to secure a golden visa in some of Europe’s most popular locations.

Malta Golden Visa

Malta also offers citizenship by investment (CBI), which grants a European passport in about a year for €888,000. Meanwhile, the Malta Residency by Investment offers a much cheaper option. However, there are some pros and cons.

The programme offers two main options: renting or purchasing a property. Both require the investor to make a government contribution. Let’s start by looking at the rental route.

The investor must sign a five-year lease agreement for a residential property. The annual rent must be €10,000 in Gozo or the south of Malta. For the rest of Malta, it’s €12,000. With this option, investors must contribute €98,000 to the government.

The government contribution drops to €68,000 if the investor purchases a property rather than renting.

To qualify, the property must be worth at least €300,000 if it’s in the south of Malta or €350,000 in any other part of the country.

You should be aware that the contribution is a donation, meaning it cannot be refunded.

Although the Malta Golden Visa is technically one of the cheapest programmes, you will need significantly more funds to be eligible. To apply, you must prove that your assets are at least €500,000. Of that amount, at least €150,000 must be in liquid assets.

You can apply for Maltese citizenship after residing in Malta for five years, but the waiting period is approximately 15 years.

Cyprus Golden Visa

For the Cyprus Golden Visa, investing in real estate is the cheapest option.

Applicants may purchase up to two units (houses or apartments) with a minimum value of €200,000. These must be first-time purchases bought directly from the developer, along with the application submission

You can explore other investment options, such as investing in a Cypriot company’s share capital; however, these come at a higher cost.

Greece Golden Visa

If you want to become a Greek resident, you have several options. The cheapest one is to invest €250,000 in real estate. This can be either commercial or residential property, as well as land.

However, this price will depend on where you wish to invest. Certain areas in Greece are only eligible for the Greece Golden Visa under the €500,000 minimum investment.

The Greece Golden Visa is a perfect option for those seeking permanent residency in this country, as there are no minimum stay requirements to retain residency.

With an average processing time of only two months, the Greece Golden Visa is one of the fastest RBI schemes in Europe.

Portugal Golden Visa

One of the most popular EU programmes is the Portugal Golden Visa.

Although the Portugal Golden Visa scheme is now closed for real estate investment, other options are still available. The cheapest options include:

  • Artistic investment of €250,000, and
  • Cultural production investment of €250,000.

While it is not the cheapest option, some investors may want to consider the Venture Capital Fund route.

This option is €500,000 and has a very attractive return potential, far higher than other investment options. Investing in a fund can also provide several tax benefits. Tax is a complex area, so speak to one of our experts to learn more.

The Portugal Golden Visa is popular because it allows you and your family to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of residency. Another pro is that you only need to stay in the country for seven days each year

This makes Portugal extremely attractive and unique. If your long-term goal is becoming a European Union (EU) citizen, then Portugal is the way forward.

Hungary Golden Visa

The cost for a golden visa in Hungary is €250,000 invested in a real estate fund or €500,000 in luxury residential properties.

It is a two-year guest residency visa. Your visa will be valid as long as you hold the investment.

You can choose to apply for Hungarian citizenship after eight years of continuous living in the country.

Turkey Golden Visa

Turkey offers a citizenship by investment (CBI) programme for $400,000 invested into real estate.

As Turkey is not a member of the EU, the Turkish Golden Visa does not offer the same benefits as the other programmes.

However, it does offer a quick relocation to the U.S. and visa-free access to over 110 countries.

Spain Golden Visa

The Spain Golden Visa was launched by the Spanish government in 2013. Over the years, the programme has established itself as one of Europe’s most sought-after residency by investment (RBI) schemes.

The application process is faster than other visas, taking only 20-60 days. This is a great opportunity if you want to become a European resident quickly.

The minimum investment is €500,000 in a residential or commercial property in Spain. You can apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of being a permanent resident.

However, applicants from Latin American countries considered former Spanish colonies can apply after only two years, making it extremely attractive.

This applies to those from Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, or persons of Sephardic origin.

Compare the Spain Golden Visa with other residency by investment programmes using our comparison tool.


Choosing the right golden visa programme can feel overwhelming due to their unique benefits and requirements.

While Malta offers the cheapest option, other countries, such as Greece and Portugal, provide diverse investment opportunities starting at €250,000.

However, it is crucial to look beyond the initial cost. Each programme varies in terms of residency requirements, tax implications, and the path to citizenship.

Consulting with financial advisers is essential. It can help you navigate these complexities, avoid potential pitfalls and make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals and financial situation.

Holborn Pass specialises in investor visas. Our team offers personalised advice and services to meet your needs.

Book a consultation with one of our advisers to discover the best residency programme for your budget and how we can assist you and your family.

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