William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Top Golden Visa Programs for Investors in 2024

In the evolving landscape of global citizenship, investment for residency or citizenship has become a key consideration for investors in various industries. That is because investors are able to acquire a golden visa or second citizenship in a different country through investing in its economy. This is particularly important for high net worth investors as they can be able to enjoy visa-free travel as well as access to profitable business opportunities, which can in turn help them diversify their investment portfolios and make good return on their investment.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Thanks to golden visa programs, foreign nationals can gain residency by making specific investments through avenues like real estate, private equity and the arts in the host country. With golden visas, investors can enjoy benefits such as visa free travel, access to high quality healthcare and diversified investment portfolios.

There are several countries that offer golden visas but the Portugal golden visa program, which was launched in 2012 remains among the most popular in the European Union due to the low minimum investment requirements and the straightforward path to citizenship.

Key Takeaways
  • A golden visa is a type of residency by investment program that grants foreign nationals citizenship or long term residency in the host country by making a qualified investment.

  • With a golden visa, investors can enjoy benefits such as visa free travel, the ability to invest in profitable business ventures in the host country as well as tax benefits.

  • As an investor looking for the best golden visa programs to invest in 2024, some top countries to consider are: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

  • Before making any investments, it is important that you first speak to your financial advisor so they can help you weigh your options depending on how much investment capital you have. To explore profitable investment opportunities in Portugal, get in touch with our team here.


The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here.

What is a Golden Visa?

golden visas

A golden visa is a type of residency by investment program that grants foreign nationals long term residency or citizenship in a host country by making a qualified investment. The term "golden visa" is often used because it implies that the visa holder enjoys specific privileges that are not accessible to general visa holders.

For investors to qualify for a golden visa, they are typically required to meet specific investment thresholds of the host country. Qualifying investments can include real estate purchases, donations, investment in funds, government bonds or other financial contributions to the country's economy. The specific requirements vary from country to country.

Many investors are motivated to acquire the golden visa because of benefits such as access to profitable business opportunities, a clear path to citizenship and visa free travel. For the countries offering golden visa programs, some benefits include economic growth and job creation.

Globally, European golden visa programs are the most popular among investors because of the benefits that they offer.

Difference Between Citizenship and Residency

Golden visas can grant you long or short term residency in a foreign country. As an investor, it is important that you understand the difference between citizenship and residency. Here are some major differences between the two:


Citizenship is the legal status that grants an individual the rights, privileges and responsibilities associated with being a member of a particular country.

Residency on the other hand refers to the legal permission for an individual to live in a particular country for a specific period, often granted through a visa or residency permit.


Citizenship is usually acquired by birth within a country's territory, either through parents who are citizens, through marriage or naturalization, which involves fulfilling certain legal requirements and often a residency period.

Residency is typically obtained through various legal means, such as employment, study or investment in the host country. The requirements for obtaining residency vary, depending on the specific country.


Citizens of a country enjoy rights such as the right to vote, work, live and receive protection from the government. They also have responsibilities, such as obeying the country's laws and paying taxes.

Residency grants individuals the right to reside in a country for a specified period and may provide access to certain rights, such as the right to work and access to public services. Residency may not grant individuals all the rights that citizens enjoy.


Citizenship is a long-term and often lifelong status. It is not easily revoked, except in cases of fraud, renunciation or other exceptional circumstances.

Residency is usually a temporary status that is subject to renewal and can potentially lead to permanent residency or citizenship over time. It can be revoked if an individual fails to meet the conditions specified in the residency permit.

Top Golden Visa Programs in 2024

couple of international passports

In 2024, several countries continue to offer golden visa programmes, providing investors with the opportunity of securing temporary or permanent residency through making strategic investments. If you're looking to get a golden visa in 2024, here are the top golden visa countries that you should consider investing in.


The Cyprus golden visa program is a great option for investors due to the strategic location of the nation, tax advantages and a streamlined pathway to residency for individuals and their families.

To qualify for a Cyprus golden visa, investors are required to:

  • Make an investment of either €300,000 in property or funds. Investors have the freedom to acquire up to two properties to reach the €300,000 investment threshold.

  • A minimum yearly income of €50,000 sourced from foreign earnings is mandatory, with an additional requirement of €5,000 for spouse and €10,000 for every child.

Benefits of the Cyprus Golden Visa

Investment requirements: Investors are required to purchase a property in Cyprus for at least €300,000 and must pay the taxes associated with the property.

Residency and travel benefits: Golden visa holders can travel visa free in the Schengen Area.

Inclusion of family members: The Cyprus golden visa makes inclusions for the investor's spouse and direct dependents.

Path to citizenship: Investors are able to apply for permanent residence after 5 years of living in Cyprus. One can only apply to be a citizen after being a resident in Cyprus for 7 years.


Launched in 2013, the Greece golden visa is another attractive residency by investment program for investors as the minimum investment amount required is €250,000. Investments can be made in real estate, as securities or a bank deposit.

Investors are not required to reside in Greece and can maintain their residence permit as long as the original investment that they made is maintained. Residency permits are usually issued for stays of up to five years and are renewable for subsequent periods of the same duration.

With the Greek golden visa, investors can be able to live in Greece and travel across 26 Schengen nations visa free.

Benefits of the Greece Golden Visa

Investment requirements: Investors are required to invest at least €250,000 in real estate. However, from July 31st 2023, the required minimum investment in real estate went up to €500,000 in the municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos and Santorini. For government securities, the minimum investment amount is €400,000.

Residence and travel privileges: Investors with a Greece residence permit are able to live in Greece and travel to the different countries within the Schengen zone without the need for additional visas. Individuals can be able to secure permanent residence after living in Greece for 7 years.

Inclusion of family members: The Golden Visa program extends citizenship or residency benefits to the investor's family members, including the spouse, dependent children and dependent parents.

No minimum stay requirement: Greece does not impose a minimum stay requirement for Golden Visa holders, providing flexibility for investors who may not be able to spend extended periods in the country.

Tax benefits: As a foreign investor, your international income may not be taxed depending on your country of residence. That means that you can conduct your business activities outside Greece and still enjoy some tax benefits.


Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is one of the countries in the European Union that is growing to attract more investors due to the attractive business opportunities in the country, a stable political climate and a growing economy.

Among the various residence by investment programs that exist, the application process for the Malta residence by investment program is known to be particularly efficient due to the systems that have been put in place by the Maltese government. This makes it one of the most popular golden visa programs among investors.

To qualify for permanent residency in Malta through investment, investors are required to:

  • Make a contribution of €98,000 to a government-approved fund.

  • Donate at least €2,000 to a registered Maltese NGO in Malta.

  • Sign a property rental agreement for at least €10,000 per year, for the next 5 years.

Benefits of the Malta Permanent Residence by Investment Program

Residence and travel privileges: With a Maltese passport, individuals can be able to travel to all 27 European countries in the Schengen zone.

Inclusion of family members: The Malta residence by investment program includes the investor's family members, up to four generations.

Quality of life: Investor and their family members enjoy full rights to live, work and study in Malta.

Portugal Golden Visa

Since the launch of the Portugal golden visa program in 2012, the program remains to be among the most popular among investors. To qualify for a Portugal golden visa, you can choose to invest in either of these options:

  • Make a donation of €250,000 to Arts with the aim of preserving national heritage in Portugal.

  • Invest €500,000 in venture capital or in a private equity fund.

  • Donate €500,000 to research and development activities.

  • Create employment for 10 employees or €500,000 + 5 employees.

At Bay Street, we have several profitable investment opportunities in Portugal for you. If you would like to learn more, then get in touch with one of our investment advisors here.

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

Investment requirements: With a minimum investment of €250,000, which is relatively low as compared to other European countries, you can qualify for a residency permit.

Minimal stay requirements: Unlike some residency programs, Portugal's Golden Visa only requires investors to spend a minimum of 7 days annually in the country to maintain their residency status.

Inclusion of family members: The Portugal golden visa program extends benefits to the investor's family, including spouse, dependent children and dependent parents. This makes it possible for families to travel or relocate together.

Ease of travel: With a Portuguese residence permit, you can be able to travel to 27 EU nations. Once you become a citizen, you can travel to 188 countries visa free.

Education and health care: Residency through the Golden Visa program grants you access to Portugal's high-quality education and healthcare systems, providing additional benefits for families relocating to the country.

Path to citizenship: Investors can first obtain residency for 5 years using the golden visa, after which they can apply for citizenship in Portugal and gain dual citizenship.


Over the years, Spain has gained the reputation of high standards of living which have made it an attractive investment location for investors and their families. With a Spanish golden visa, individuals can work, study and reside in Spain.

For one to gain citizenship through the process of naturalization, 10 years of permanent residency in the country is required after which they can apply for citizenship.

To qualify for the Spain golden visa, investors are required to:

  • Make an investment of €500,000 in either commercial or residential real estate or a combination of both. The property can also be rented out and different buyers have the option of combining their investment property into one. If there is any amount that exceeds the minimum investment account, it can be mortgaged out.

  • Invest a minimum of €1 million in business development whereby the investor must create employment. In addition, it is required that the investment have a socio-economic impact on the country as well as contribute to scientific/ technological innovations.

  • Make an investment of €1 million into Spanish treasury bonds or invest the same amount in shares in Spanish companies or bank deposits with a Spanish financial institution.

Benefits of the Spain Golden Visa
  • Investment requirements: Investors are required to invest a minimum of €500,000 in either commercial or residential real estate or a combination of both, €1 million in business development where by you must create employment or €1 million into Spanish government bonds or invest the same amount in shares in Spanish companies or bank deposits with a Spanish financial institution.

  • Residency and Travel Benefits: As with other golden visa programs, with a temporary residence permit you can be able to travel to countries in the Schengen Zone without the need of getting an additional visa.

  • Inclusion of family: The Spain golden visa program extends residence benefits to the investors' family members - children and parents who can live, go to school and work in Spain.

  • Retirement benefits: Spain has become a popular place for retired investors due to the numerous pension schemes available in the Spanish financial market, for investors to choose from.

Tips for Selecting the Best Golden Visa Programs

a couple weighing visa options

Golden visa programs are a great residence by investment option for individuals looking to gain access to better business opportunities, enjoy visa free access to some countries as well as gain European citizenship or a permanent residence permit. If you're considering getting a golden visa, here are some tips to help you choose the best golden visa program.

Be clear on your objectives. As you try and identify the best golden visa program for you, it is important that you're clear on what your end goal is. Are you mostly interested in traveling without having to get an extra visa, diversify your investment portfolio or are you seeking a more stable environment for your family? Answering these questions will help you pick an option that suits your needs.

Thoroughly research golden visa requirements. Different countries have specific requirements that you have to fulfill to obtain a golden visa. Some of these requirements may include a minimum investment amount, creating a certain number of jobs or proficiency in a language. Ensure that you are clear on the available investment options as well as what is expected of you before applying for any golden visa program.

Budget. The minimum investment amount for a golden visa differs from country to country and can range anywhere from €250,000 all the way up to €2+ million EUR. As you look for the best golden visa program for you, consider how much you can be able to invest as well as the amount of risk that you're willing to take on as an investor as some of these investments are non-refundable.

Consider the available investment options available. To acquire a golden visa, investors are usually required to make a significant financial commitment in either government bonds, a real estate investment project or other economic activities that boost the economy of the host nation. Be sure to analyze the available investment options and choose one that aligns with your long term investment goals.

Evaluate return on investment (ROI). As you assess different programs, carefully look at the potential return on your investment by considering factors such as the real estate market trends, economic and political stability of the host nation.

Travel benefits. If one of your key motivators for getting a golden visa is travel, then it is important that you check the visa's mobility benefits. Certain golden visa programs may enable you to travel visa free to more than 100 countries.

Visa processing times. Consider the processing times for obtaining the golden visa. Some programs may have faster processing times, while others may take longer. It is important that you're aware of how soon you can secure residency and citizenship thereafter, upon making the required investment.

Language and lifestyle. Be sure to take into account the country's language, culture and lifestyle. Choose a location where you can speak or master the language spoken and easily adapt to the local environment.

Requirements for Acquiring a Golden Visa

a man being interviewed for his visa application

The requirements for acquiring a golden visa vary depending on the location. Some programs require investors to put money in real estate investments, others in government securities like bonds and others require creation of employment of citizens in the host nation.

In exchange, investors and their family are able to enjoy benefits such as permanent or temporary residency, visa free travel and access to profitable business opportunities. Be sure to check the specific requirements of the country that you're interested in and consult a financial advisor to guide you on the best way forward. In order to acquire a golden visa, these are the general requirements that individuals are required to meet.

  • Meet the minimum investment requirements as specified by the host nation.

  • Have a clean criminal record.

  • The investment funds should be from the investors' own money.

  • Prove that you have sufficient to sustain yourself and your family, whether you choose to live in the host country or not.

  • Have proper documentation showing the source of the funds in your possession.

These are just general requirements, be sure to check out the specific requirements based on the golden visa that you'd like to acquire.

Benefits of Having a Golden Visa

Obtaining a golden visa comes with various benefits to the investor and their family. these benefits include:

Residency rights: Among the major benefits is the right to reside legally in the country that offers the golden visa. This can be particularly appealing for individuals who are interested in seeking to establish a second home or explore business opportunities in a new location.

Investment opportunities: Golden visas can allow investors to diversify their investment portfolios and earn good return on their investment by making qualifying investments, such as real estate purchases or investment in government securities like bonds.

Increased global mobility: Many golden visa programs provide investors and their families visa-free or get visa-on-arrival access to multiple countries. This can be particularly beneficial to individuals who enjoy traveling with their families.

Family inclusion: Most golden visa programs extend the benefits to family members, including spouses, children and sometimes parents and grandparents. This allows families to relocate together and enjoy the benefits of residency in the host country.

Education and healthcare access: Residency often grants access to the country's education and healthcare systems, providing quality services for investors and their families.

Pathway to citizenship: Several golden visa programs offer a pathway to citizenship after a certain period of residency. This can provide individuals with the opportunity to gain second citizenship in the host country.

Tax benefits: Depending on a country's tax regulations, golden visa holders may enjoy favorable tax conditions, including exemptions or reduced rates on certain types of income.

Stability and security: Residency in a stable and secure country can provide a sense of security, especially for individuals and families coming from regions with political or economic uncertainties.

Networking and business opportunities: Living in a new country can open doors to networking and business opportunities. Golden visa holders may find themselves in an environment that enables them to establish useful personal connections that may help them in their entrepreneurship journey.

Invest With Us

If you're an investor looking for a lucrative investment opportunity in boutique hotel development in Portugal, here is a great opportunity for you. Our hotel fund focuses on investing in the development of boutique hotels in areas with tax incentives, high travel patterns and low competition brands.

So far in Portugal we've secured approved projects with key government contacts for our hotel developments. By investing in our fund, investors get to benefit from the cash incentives provided by the Portugal government, which range between 45-55%. Within our fund, we also offer the unique opportunity of citizenship through investment whereby you can acquire a second passport through making qualified investments.

The goal of this fund is to develop a portfolio of newly developed boutique hotels and then sell the whole portfolio to an international hotel brand seeking to expand their inventory. Diversifying your investment portfolio by owning property in different locations worldwide can be an intelligent and profitable strategy in the long term. It allows you to spread your risk across other markets and provides a hedge against currency fluctuations. 

To get more information on how to invest in our hotel fund, schedule an appointment with our team here.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent financial firm that specializes in investment advisory, wealth management and financial planning. Based in Palo Alto, CA, the firm was founded by William Huston, who earned recognition as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors from 2021-2023. Bay Street's primary focus revolves around the management and growth of client portfolios, emphasizing risk management and volatility reduction.

In 2023, Bay Street achieved recognition as a Finalist in the Wealthmanagement.com 2023 Industry Awards, specifically in the category of Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, acknowledging its efforts with Resthaven Properties.

Founded with a mission centered on diversity advocacy and support for emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs, Bay Street is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and dynamic financial landscape.







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