European Investment Immigration


The European continent offers a wide variety of options to investors and entrepreneurs who are interested in a second residence or citizenship. Depending on the country and investment type, investors can expect to receive temporary residence, permanent residence or even citizenship in exchange for their investment. What makes the European countries particularly attractive in the investment migration market is the mobility that European residence and citizenship offer. Because of rules and agreements between European countries, residence in any one of the European countries with investment immigration programs opens the door to visa-free travel throughout most or all of Europe. Furthermore, those who acquire citizenship in a European Union member country, either directly through their investment or through permanent residency as a stepping stone, will be accorded the ability to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

Investment options throughout the continent largely fit into one of three categories: property investment, business investment or investment in government bonds/public debt. Business investments can further be split into passive investments—infusing capital into an existing company that the investor will not run—and active investments, which require the investor-entrepreneur to provide detailed business plans and actively build a business. These types of investments typically require some degree of past business experience or proof of personal net worth. Individual countries may offer one or multiple options and benefits can vary depending on the type and amount of investment. Portugal, for example, offers residency in exchange for a 500,000 € residential property investment, whereas UK residency requires at least a 2 million £ investment in government bonds, with expedited options for higher investment amounts. Malta, on the other hand, offers citizenship to those who invest through a combination of government bonds, real estate and a non-refundable contribution.

Before selecting an investment location, investors should consider the outcome of their investment (residency or citizenship), the type of investment required, processing times, any long-term commitments demanded by the program and any restrictions on dual nationality. Many European countries do not require investors to establish physical residency in the country, while still conferring to them the rights and benefits of legal residency, but some do. Similarly, many countries do not have language requirements, but some will require language skills as investors progress through levels of residency or citizenship. Investors may also want to consider whether the country is a member of the European Union or Schengen Zone, as these memberships offer favorable travel and establishment rights.  


Residency by investment

The most common outcome of investment in a European country with an investment immigration program is residency. This can first come in the form of temporary residency that leads to permanent residency, or can start off with permanent residency immediately. Programs that offer temporary residency typically require investors to prove the maintenance of their investment at certain time intervals to renew their residency, and allow investors to transition to permanent residency after a certain period of time and with the fulfillment of certain conditions. Programs that grant permanent residency straight away still have requirements in regards to investment maintenance, but residence rights will not be limited to a certain number of years. Those who begin as permanent residents can also often progress to citizenship more quickly. Spain, for example, first grants temporary residence through their golden visa and grants permanent residency after five years. At this point, investor residents are free to sell their investment and maintain their residence status.

The following European countries offer residence in exchange for investment:

  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom


Citizenship by investment

Granting citizenship directly through investment is more rare among European programs. Citizenship by investment programs are typically more costly than residence programs and may require non-refundable contributions to the country. In exchange for higher investment amounts, investors can quickly benefit from the security of citizenship—and since all the countries currently offering citizenship are EU members—the right to live and work anywhere in the European Union.  

The following European countries offer residence in exchange for investment:

  • Austria
  • Cyprus
  • Malta

















The Netherlands






United Kingdom