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Summer is nearly over, and it’s back to work for most of us, and as we go back to the office, many of us are thinking about the day we can hang up our work boots and spend our golden years in a sunny climate and enjoy a relaxed pace of life. Although this might be the dream, spending days living in a gorgeous house, enjoying year-round sunny weather, close to beautiful beaches, not all of us are lucky enough to live in a country that can allow this ideal. That is where Golden Visas come in. There are several European countries that offer residency by investment programmes, commonly known as Golden Visas, including Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece. Each one of these programmes offers individuals and their families the opportunity to live and retire, just by investing into the country. In this blog, we break down how this is possible, as well as the key differences between the different golden visas.
Portugal enjoys year-round sunny and warm climates and some of the most stunning coastlines and beaches in Europe. This, alongside the low cost of living and good value for money in terms of real estate, makes it no surprise that Portugal has been rated one of the happiest places to live in the world for expats.
Residents can also enjoy attractive tax incentives, meaning people living in Portugal can have much greater control over their finances, leaving more money to enjoy all the delights Portugal has to offer.
As with other countries in the EU, Portuguese residents can also enjoy visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area. This programme is also a route to gaining Portuguese citizenship, with individuals able to apply for a Portuguese passport, and subsequently European citizenship, within a 5 year period.
Whilst there are several routes to Portuguese residency, possibly the easiest for those wishing to retire to the country would be through investing in real estate. Individuals just need to purchase a property valued at EUR 250,000 in order to be eligible.
Another popular country for people to retire to is Spain. Warm weather, a relaxed lifestyle, excellent cuisine, and welcoming culture. Spain’s diverse geography and climate allow retirees plenty of options when choosing where to settle down.
Those that don’t want to feel like they are too far from home, will be happy to know that Spain has many thriving expat beach communities dotted along the Costa del Sol. For a more cosmopolitan feel, the cities of Barcelona and Madrid are also attractive options.
Although Spanish is the country’s official language, most people speak English as a second language, and as such expats can easily get by without learning the native language, especially if you choose to live in one of the cities along the costa del sol, which are much loved by British expats.
Whilst cost of living can vary a lot, location depending, Spain is one of the least expensive countries in Europe, offering great value for money both in terms of property and in day-to-day living, as well as high quality, yet affordable healthcare, with it being the second least expensive country in Europe (beaten only by Portugal). Spain Residency by investment programme starts from €500,000.
Greece is perhaps best known for its sun-drenched islands, and vibrant history dating back to ancient times. It is a highly diverse country with many options for those wishing to retire there, from its mountainous countryside, buzzing cities, to relaxing and laid back island life. Whilst the main cities of Greece can be more on the pricier side, there are a number of hidden gems throughout the nation where living is highly affordable, offering great value for money in terms of property and living expenses.
Residents can also enjoy the country’s excellent standard of free healthcare, especially in larger hubs such as Athens, and consequently have made it a highly popular place for retirees to settle down. With that being said, English is not widely spoken throughout the country, save for the highly popular tourist spots. It is worth bearing in mind that these places can be a lot pricier
The process for obtaining Greek residency is arguably the most simple, and one of the cheapest in Europe. Individuals simply need to purchase a property with a value of at least €250,000, and they will gain residency immediately with no strings attached, and there are no stay requirements.
Over the past few years, Cyprus has become an increasingly popular destination for people to retire to. Whilst a relatively small island nation, the country has a large population of British, Russian, Chinese and American expatriates, and as such, English is widely spoken throughout the country, even in some of the smaller, more rural areas. Whilst the year round sunny climate, low costs of living, and gorgeous beaches will no doubt have played a part in this, one of the most attractive benefits of Cypriot residency is the low taxation rates.
The country does offer a fantastic standard of free healthcare for residents, which is an important factor for those planning to retire there. To gain Cypriot residency, applicants just need to invest €300,000 into real estate.
Whilst a popular destination for retirement, it is worth noting that, unlike the other European countries that offer residency by investment, Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area. As such, if you are planning on travelling around throughout Europe in your Golden years, you will not automatically be granted visa free travel. What’s more, Cyprus’ investment programme does not lead to citizenship, which is something worth considering if you are planning on getting a European passport.
Deciding where to retire is an important, life-changing decision, and there are many factors that should be considered before the final decision is made. Our advisors are experts in all of these programmes and would be more than happy to have a free consultation and discuss the most important aspects for you.