11 Nov Ten countries where you can buy a property and get residency
Investing in overseas property has never been more popular, and it’s easy to see why. Great locations, favourable prices and potential tax savings are just some of the many benefits.
However, to enjoy the maximum quality of life in some of the world’s most beautiful places, many wealthy investors choose residency and citizenship programmes. These are currently offered by so many countries that it’s often hard to know where to start when choosing a potential home-from-home.
To get a handle on the practicalities, this guide focuses on the financials, listing ten of the best locations based on the investment you need to make to start the residency or citizenship process. It covers these topics:
- How to choose a residency or citizenship programme
- Which countries offer the cheapest citizenship and residency programmes?
- Citizenship programme in Dominica
- Citizenship programme in Antigua and Barbuda
- Citizenship programme in St Kitts and Nevis
- Citizenship programme in Grenada
- Citizenship programme in Turkey
- Residency programme in Greece
- Citizenship programme in Saint Lucia
- Residency programme in Portugal
- Residency programme in Spain
- Citizenship programme in Malta
- Additional costs when investing in residency programmes
- Changes to European residency programmes
- Citizenship by investment with Huriya Private
How to choose a residency or citizenship programme
Choosing a scheme that matches your personal needs is crucial, as the terms and outcomes differ from programme to programme. These are the fundamental questions you need to ask of any investment programme:
- What is the minimum investment amount? This figure is always lower than the full amount required, as there will be various fees to pay along the way.
- Does the country’s residency permit open the door to citizenship?
- Can family members be included in the application?
- How long will you need to be a resident before applying for citizenship? This can range from one to several years.
- Do you need to be present during the application process, or can it all be done remotely?
- Is there a requirement to live in the country of residency in order to apply for citizenship?
- How long do you need to hold the property investment for? The duration tends to vary from three to seven years.
- What countries can you visit with visa-free access? You need to make sure the residency or citizenship gives you access to the places you want to visit (the Schengen countries, for example).
- Can you apply for investor visas (in the USA or UK, for example) using your new citizenship?
- What will your tax obligations be, and how much will you have to pay under the country’s tax system?
Huriya Private can help you address these and any other residency- and citizenship-related questions you may have.
Which countries offer the cheapest citizenship and residency programmes?
The prices of residency and citizenship programmes vary widely from country to country. At the lower end of the scale, citizenship by investment on the Caribbean island of Dominica starts at just $100k, plus fees of up to $50k for each dependent included in the application.
At the other end of the scale, the scheme in Malta rises to €700k for the property investment programme, with additional contributions taking the figure to well over €1 million. In all cases, due diligence, admin and other fees will bump the price higher.
The following sections detail ten countries offering residency or citizenship programmes, listed from lowest to highest in terms of the minimum investment required.
Citizenship programme in Dominica
This programme requires a non-refundable contribution of at least $100,000, plus £25k to $50k for each dependent on the application, or a government-approved real estate investment of $200,000 for three years. Applicants do not have to live in the country, and the registration is conducted remotely, taking three to six months.
Citizenship programme in Antigua and Barbuda
This scheme requires a real estate investment of at least $200,000, held for five years. Applicants can include their spouse, children under 30, parents over 55, grandparents and any siblings. Joint investment is an option, and you can also invest in government-approved infrastructure developments.
Applicants are required to take an oath, by video link or at one of the country’s international offices. Residency holders must spend at least five consecutive days in the country after being granted citizenship.
Citizenship programme in St Kitts and Nevis
This programme requires a real estate investment of at least $200,000 for five years, after which the investor is free to sell the property. Applicants can include their spouse, children under 30, parents over 55, and any siblings.
- Buy residential property for at least $400k.
- Invest $200k, choosing from a list of state-approved properties.
Investors must also make a non-refundable contribution to the Saint Kitts and Nevis government, the amount depending on the family members included in the application (e.g., $10k for a child and $20k for a sibling).
This programme is the oldest of its kind in the world, reflecting its popularity, robustness and reliability.
Citizenship programme in Grenada
This scheme requires a real estate investment of $220,000 for five years, with applicants choosing from a list of government-approved properties. After the five years, investors can sell their share in the property. You can include your spouse, financially-dependent children under 30, parents and siblings in the application.
This programme allows Grenada passport holders to visit China and the Schengen Zone of Europe without a visa, and also allows you to apply for an E2 business visa in the USA.
Citizenship programme in Turkey
This programme requires a real estate investment of at least $400,000 for three years, after which citizenship is granted. At this point, the investor is free to sell the property. You can include your spouse, children under 18 and parents in the application.
There is no requirement for any of the applicants to live in the country, speak Turkish or declare their sources of income. The process is swift, too, taking two to three months on average. After three years, the investment can be recouped, without impacting your citizenship status.
This programme allows passport holders to visit Japan, Singapore and Thailand visa-free (but not the Schengen Zone of Europe). It also allows you to apply for an E2 business visa in the USA for five years.
Residency programme in Greece
This offering requires a real estate or land investment of at least €250,000 for five years. Applicants can include their spouse, children under 21 and parents. The applicants do not have to live in Greece during the five years, and after seven years you can apply for citizenship.
The investment can be shared and can include more than one property. The property you buy can also be leased, boosting your income.
As an alternative to standard property investment, you can opt to rent an apartment in Greece for 10 years or invest your €250,000 in land for construction (including construction costs).
Citizenship programme in Saint Lucia
This programme requires a real estate investment of at least $300,000 for five years, after which the property can be sold. You are allowed to include your spouse and financially-dependent children under 26 in the application.
Residency programme in Portugal
This scheme requires a real estate investment of at least €280,000 for five years, during which time you must obtain household registration and medical insurance and live in the country for at least seven days a year. After seven years, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship. Applicants can include their spouse and children under 26.
The Portuguese residency programme can be accessed via one of these investment options:
- Purchasing residential property worth at least €350,000 and not renovated in the past 30 years, or located in an area in need of redevelopment and investment.
- Buying residential property worth at least €500,000. Unlike the first option, this investment can include more than one property.
Residency programme in Spain
This programme requires an investment in residential or commercial real estate of at least €500,000 for five years. Citizenship can only be applied for if you have lived permanently in the country during this time. You can include your spouse, children under 26 and dependent parents in the application.
Each applicant is required to buy medical insurance and must be registered at the Spanish address where they live. The purchased property can be sold after five years.
Citizenship programme in Malta
This scheme requires an overall investment of at least €1,310,000 if buying a property and €690,000 if renting. The property must be held for at least five years. Since 2021, naturalisation has been a mandatory element of the programme. Depending on your investment level, you can apply for citizenship after one to three years of residency.
There are three investment conditions:
- Buy residential property for at least €700k or rent property for at least €16k per annum. After five years, you can rent a different property.
- Invest €600k (after three years of residency) or €750k (after one year of residency) in the Malta Development Fund.
- Donate €10k to a government-approved cultural or sports organisation or NGO.
Applicants can include their spouse or partner, children under 29 and parents aged over 55.
Additional costs when investing in residency programmes
Whichever country you choose, there will be additional costs covering due diligence, administration and processing and agency fees. There will also be property ownership taxes and utility bills to pay.
Changes to European residency programmes
The European Union has tightened up its legislation regarding residents’ permits, and applicants’ sources of income must now be clearly detailed and verified as legal. These changes in legislation, for example, resulted in Cyprus terminating its citizenship-by-investment programme in 2020. Due diligence in Europe, like all other EU legal requirements, follows strict, uniform standards, and these apply to the Spain, Greece, Portugal and Malta programmes detailed above.
There are still many benefits to a European residency permit, though. It allows you to visit and travel through the Schengen area without a visa, and you will be able to live permanently in the country where the residency permit was issued and up to 90 days in any six-month period in another Schengen country.
As a holder of a residency-by-investment permit, you will be able to apply for citizenship earlier than other permit holders. This is a significant benefit for holders seeking a shortcut to an EU passport.
Citizenship by investment with Huriya Private
Huriya Private is an independent, international, award-winning private equity, immigration, multi-family office and corporate structuring firm with a head office in Dubai, UAE. We provide bespoke strategic management support to international clients in global markets.
The Huriya Private team can guide you through an extensive range of citizenship programs and help you choose the option that best fits your domestic and business objectives and personal needs. We will help you maximise your investments, secure your family’s future, and ensure travel mobility whenever needed.