According to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, 8,829 out of 9,389 investors obtained residency through property investment. The data belong to the years between 2012 and 2020.
Similarly, Enterprise Greece declared that 8,011 investors obtained residency in Greece through investment. The data belong to the years between 2013 and January 2021.
Most of these investors chose to buy property to get residency in these countries. What are the reasons behind their attraction? Let’s discover more.
Affordability: Golden Visas offer low-priced properties
The Golden Visa programs in Greece and Portugal offer affordable real estate compared to most of Western Europe.
The minimum investment amount in Portugal’s Golden Visa starts from as low as €280,000. In Greece, the minimum amount to apply for Golden Visa is €250,000.
How does buying a property in these countries benefit you then? Read on the next sections to learn more.
Ultimate Citizenship: Golden Visas lead to EU residency and citizenship
Yes, that’s true. Also, it is a fast and easy way to obtain these rights. Buying a property does not need to be only a way of investment. It can bring the opportunities to become an EU resident and even an EU citizen. How so? You can apply for this program after you make your investment. When it is approved, you get a temporary residency right in the country.
Each country requires different periods of stay requirement. Greece does not require it at all. Portugal requires you to stay in the country for at least seven days on average per year. At the end of five years, you can apply for permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship by investment. It can then lead to EU citizenship.
Investors are attracted to this program because they get a right to benefit from the same rights as a regular EU citizen. Their family members can also benefit from these rights as well. Being an EU citizen means having the right to work and live in any EU country.
Golden Visa countries offer a safe environment to live in
Stability in politics and the healthcare system is an important issue for a foreign investor who plans to live in that country. Luckily, Portugal and Greece fare well in this. Portugal ranks the third safest country according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. It is also known for its good healthcare system. As Roger B. Adams from the Wall Street Journal: “The ability to make an appointment, wait less than half an hour for a consultation, see a specialist if I wish and … get some important part of me repaired quickly. All health and dental-care services and medication are far less expensive here than in the U.S.”
Before the Covid-19 crisis, investors perceived second citizenship as an opportunity to dive directly into the world of greater interaction, travel, and globalization. After the Covid-19 outbreak, freedom of mobility became a necessity, and the epidemic reminded all of us once again of the importance of home. In other words, Covid-19 changed investment priorities and refocused us on healthy, pleasant, and welcoming places.
So, you not only make a profit out of your investment. But you also have the privilege to ease of mobility with your family. As Assistant Professor Kristin Surak at the London School of Economics (LSE) says: “… despite the Covid-19 travel restrictions, the majority of OECD countries were not only allowing citizens but also those holding resident status to enter. In other words: An RBI-investment (Residence by Investment) in places like Portugal or Greece opened a closed border.” This kind of privilege will save you from such unexpected circumstances as Covid-19.
Tax advantages should not be ignored
Countries like Portugal and Greece offer tax reductions or complete tax exemptions for foreign investors. They encourage foreign investment into the country. In this regard, Portugal introduced the Non-habitual resident (NHR) program in 2009. This program allows investors to be exempt from most or all of their international income for ten years. Under this program, you are also taxed at a lower rate than other regular residents.
The NHR program serves foreign retirees as well. Foreign pensioners are subject to taxation on their foreign pension at a rate of 10% for a duration of ten years. Note that you need to shift your tax residency to Portugal. Similarly, Greece has introduced a new amendment regarding foreign pensioners. If a foreign pensioner shifts their tax residency to Greece, they will be taxed at 7% on all of their foreign income.