4 – The Golden Visa
WHAT IS A GOLDEN VISA :
There are many different ways that you can go about obtaining a long-term visa, residency, permanent residency, and/or naturalization. A topic that has been gaining popularity is residency through what is called a “golden visa” or more formally, “residency through investment.” There are a handful of countries that offer these types of programs and in turn you can leverage your passport and receive a handful of benefits not only for yourself, but in some cases your family as well, by choosing to participate in one of these investment programs. The main attraction of these programs is that it allows for easier and quicker access into the country of your choice than perhaps the “traditional” way of immigrating.
Passports hold a world of significance, physically and metaphorically. One of the benefits you can receive by participating in a golden visa program is to leverage your passport and gain easier access to areas that you might not have had simple access to before. When evaluating your passport there are two different types of ranking scales to take into account. There is the passport ranking scale that ranks passports solely based on their visa-free entry status, and there are scales that implement weighted quantitative & qualitative data by rating visa-free entry status, social aspects, and the political climate of each country. Some of the most commonly used scales are done by Passport Index, Henley & Partners, and the Nomad Capitalist. To give an example: one of the highest ranked passports that is on the golden visa list is Luxembourg. Luxembourg is listed as the number one best overall passport to have through Nomad Capitalists’ ranking system. It’s rated at number two on the Passport Index and number three through Henley & Partners. Luxembourg has access to 121 countries visa-free, and is rated at the top with 115.5 points. A notable point is that a majority of the countries on the investment program list are within the top 10 highest ranked passports in the world.
Arguably, one of the biggest advantages and the most common reason for obtaining a golden visa is gaining access to the European-Union/Schengen areas; if you apply for one of the European Union/Schengen countries that offers a program. Through the programs that offer access to the EU/Schengen areas you often start with temporary residency that you are able to renew. This varies across each program however, after some time you can become eligible for that countrys’ nationality. In some other cases, your family is able to benefit from the investment program as well, by being granted residency along with yourself. A family has been defined in most cases as your spouse/common law partner and your children under the age of 21. Another possible benefit from an investment program is ease of obtaining a bank account and transferring money internationally. Lastly, there are possible tax benefits you are able to obtain through participating in one of the investment programs. Overall, there are certain investment programs that are more accessible than others, depending on what you personally would like out of our investment. It is best to do thorough research before deciding if/what program is best suited for you.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT:
The return on your investment is not solely based on cash and is in part linked to the residency/accessibility benefits you receive as mentioned above. However, in some programs you are able to receive monetary benefits from your investment. For example in Cyprus, you are able to buy a property and rent it out thus generating income and making a return on your investment. There are other programs through which you invest in a business and must employ a certain number of people, thus generating income for yourself, the business, and the country at large. One of the more interesting returns on investment is through Mauritius and their environmental investment program. There are two different programs to choose from and their main focus is on sustainable development and environmental conservation through the means of developing a business. Lastly, another example is Italy’s program where you are able to make investments in their government bonds, stocks, or “projects of public interest”. Italy’s current 10 year government bond has a yield of 3.321%.
There are many different types of investments that you can make and the price requirements of these investments varies for each country. Based on numbers alone, the cheapest investment program you could choose is through Thailand. The most expensive program you could choose is through New Zealand. This again all depends on how you would like to invest your money and the value you place on each type of investment return; whether that be passport accessibility, monetary gain, tax reduction, or sustainable growth.
Our current focus at MEA Finances is to help international clients who would like to buy and/or invest in France as well as help French residents/citizens who would like to buy and/or invest internationally. However the business does not stop here as we are continuously growing and expanding to help others leverage their credit. Since golden visas are becoming increasingly popular, in the future expanding our field to be able to provide loans specific to golden visas will be a wonderful opportunity.