There are many reasons to invest in EU citizenship, ranging from global mobility, personal security, business advantages, to tax exemption. Every year, thousands of foreigners are becoming EU citizens all over the world because they realise that a second passport is one of the smartest ways to reach their investment goals.
Should you be looking to reside in Europe and enjoy the benefits that come with being an EU citizen, this post contains all the information you need about getting your European Citizenship by Investment.
Top Benefits of Getting a Second Passport by Investment in Europe
Many countries in Europe offer residence and citizenship by investment programs, each competing to attract foreign investments. More than half of European countries are currently offering incentives similar to the Portugal Golden Visa benefits to entice foreign investors.
The EU passport remains one of the most desirable travel documents in the world. This is because an EU citizen has unrestricted travel access to a lot of countries without a visa. With an EU citizenship, you can enjoy the right to free movement, settlement, employment or business transactions across all the countries of the member states. Here are some unique European Citizenship Benefits.
Visa-Free travel to other countries in the EU
An EU passport comes with unrestricted access to a number of countries depending on the country issuing the passport. Wouldn’t it be great if you can move around freely without visa restrictions? No visa hassles, no endless interviews, no limitations, just your passport?
Full Working and Residential Rights
You are legally entitled to stay and work in any member of the EU countries as long as you have an EU citizenship. Non-EU citizens need an employer-sponsored visa which can be very difficult and expensive to get.
Right to Consular Protection by the EU Member States
Article 46 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights assures every EU citizens protection in a non-EU country. If you are in a country where your national state has no representation, you are entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any other available EU country.
National Health Care Benefits
As an EU citizen, you can benefit from reciprocal healthcare when you are in any of the European Union’s 28-member states. It does not matter if you are visiting temporarily, studying or residing in another EU country.
Property Ownership Without a Permit
EU citizenship guarantees you the freedom to own properties in any of the EU countries without a permit. If you are looking forward to diversifying your portfolio, investing in European real estate is ideal for you. It is easier to deal when you have your EU passport.
Right to Vote or hold Public Office
European Union Citizenship comes with an unlimited right to vote and to contest for any political post in the EU country you reside. The conditions to contest as a candidate in any municipal election remains the same for everyone including non-nationals. Your EU citizenship also guarantees your recruitment into public office under the same conditions as nationals of the country.
The European Union recently introduced the General Data Protection Regulation which allows individuals to move personal data from one service provider to another. EU regulations also offer a tax privacy regulation system that is not common in another part of the world.
Plan B during Crisis
The dynamicity and instability of the world political and social environment mean tomorrow is not promised. In the advent of crisis or situations beyond your control, your EU passport affords you safe passage and consular assistance for you and your family.
Choosing the Best European Citizenship by Investment Program
There is no standard way of picking the best citizenship by investment country. Choosing European citizenship depends on many factors which may include:
Personal needs and goals
Affordability of the investment options
Country of Preference
It is important to evaluate all factors because an EU passport is just an element of the whole plan.
European countries that sell Golden Visas
(or have similar residency and citizenship by investment visa programs)
European citizenship by investment & residency by investment are a widely popular investment visa programs. The Portugal Golden Passport and the Golden Visa programs offers citizenship/permanent residency to those that invest in Portugal’s economy and meet a handful of minimum requirements.
When comparing citizenship by investment programs, the amount of investment and the return period are not the only factors to be considered. It is also essential to consider the quality of life, visa-free access to other countries, and requirement for citizenship. Simply put, the best citizenship is one that allows a person to preserve or boost their capital while they enjoy different benefits that comes with an EU passport.
European Citizenship in Austria
Austria is one of Europe’s richest countries. It not only offers a very high quality of life but is also known for its overwhelming natural attractions and a well-developed and steady economy. All these factors make Austria an exceptional place for residence.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Austria
Visa-free access to 131 countries;
Citizenship eligibility after 10 years;
No residency requirement;
Attractive tax regime;
Low crime rate, high level of social security, high quality of life;
A residence permit can be acquired in 1-3 months at most.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Austria
High Standard of Living: The standard of living in Austria is really high. Its capital Vienna has been top-ranked by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey since 2009 and topped the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking in 2019.
Economic & Social Stability: Austria is known for its economic and social stability, unique geographical location in the heart of Europe, and a high level of culture and art.
Lifestyle: Austria is one of the most stable countries in Europe. There are comfortable conditions for education and business, a variety of natural landscapes, and good ecology.
Climatic Conditions: Austria is at the intersection of two climatic regions. In the south and southeast, the weather is continental and in the west, it is more tropical.
Developed Infrastructure: Austria has first-class service and quality infrastructure for living and recreation.
European Citizenship in Belgium
Belgium is one of the most developed and largest trading nations in Europe and among the world's top exporters. Its major assets lie in household living space, an advanced healthcare system, social services, green areas, education and the presence of many excellent international schools.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Belgium
Visa-Free travel to Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, and Singapore;
Residency covers the spouse and children;
Permanent residency after 3 years and citizenship after 5 years;
Requirement to reside in Belgium for only 1 day/year for permanent residency and 2 years for citizenship;
A business-friendly tax system.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Belgium
An Open Economy: Among the world’s top exporters, no trade restrictions, quick procedure for setting up a new business, an entrepreneur-friendly environment, more than 500 million consumers within a radius of 800 km.
Work-life Balance: As a developed nation with ample resources, it is surprisingly refreshing to see how Belgium is one of those few places in the world where you can have a semblance of a successful career while maintaining a family.
Excellent Standard of Healthcare: High-quality medical care is widely available, enhanced by large university hospitals. It’s also cheaper than in many European countries. Belgium ranks 28th on the 2020 Bloomberg Global Health Index.
Child Benefits: The Belgium government offers great money to parents in any household; two months before the child is due to be born the mother will receive the amount in the earliest time as a start paying for the child benefits.
Class and Gender Equality: Equality in terms of class and gender is better than average. The gender pay gap is 6%, making Belgium the fourth-best EU country for pay equality. It also ranks well for income equality, with a Gini Coefficient of 0.26.
European Citizenship in Bulgaria
As one of the youngest EU member states, Bulgaria boasts a rich and diverse culture, temperate climate, and ideal location in Southeast Europe.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Bulgaria
Safe investment: Investments are returned to the investor after five years by the Government without any accrued interest;
Flexible with no residency requirements;
Golden Visa program covers spouse and children;
Easy process devoid of language tests;
One of the fastest paths to become an EU citizen. The fast-track Golden Visa option takes only 18 months.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Bulgaria
Low cost of doing business: Bulgaria has the most favourable tax regime in Europe. Corporate income tax rate is 10%, the lowest in the EU. Personal income tax is 10%, flat rate. Industries in high-unemployment areas are granted 0% tax rate. Bulgaria has one of the most competitive costs of labor in Central and Eastern Europe.
Strategic location: Located at the heart of the Balkans, Bulgaria is a strategic logistics hub between Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Africa.
"Silicon Valley" of the Eastern Europe: Some of the many organisations who have already chosen to establish their IT operations in the country include global leaders such as HP, IBM, SAP, VMWare and Adecco.
Land of golden treasures: The oldest crafted gold in the history of mankind (Varna Necropolis, 6th – 5th millennia BC), and the famous Thracian golden treasures, which conquered the world, were discovered in Bulgarian lands!
Natural Wonders: From aromatic rose oil, to mineral waters with healing qualities, and unique rock formations, this rather small country is jam-packed with natural wonders.
European Citizenship in Greece
Greece is a country with rugged mountains, exotic, pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters, green valleys, quiet lakes and lush forests, a historical legacy and a beautiful culture. Greece is a tourism hotspot, so owning a tourism property seems like a perfect way to invest into European citizenship.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Greece
Visa-free travel to 130 countries, including the USA, UK, and Canada;
Permanent residence permit (no expiry date);
A residence permit can be acquired in 2-3 months at most;
Option to rent out property after purchase;
The scheme guarantees spouse, children, and parents the right to live and study in Greece.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Greece
Excellent living conditions: Greece has it all: exceptional year-round weather, reasonable accommodation, excellent food, welcoming locals, and astonishing history.
Lifestyle: Greece is a proud nation that emphasizes family, tradition, and a love of the outdoors. The country’s infrastructure caters well to locals and visitors alike.
No Language Problems: As tourism plays such a significant part in the Greek economy, English is extensively spoken in many regions.
Healthcare: The quality of medical care in Greece is generally excellent, particularly in major centers like Athens and Thessaloniki. Emergency health care is free regardless of nationality.
Safety: Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe and has an laidback, relaxed feel.
European Citizenship in Ireland
Ireland is an ancient land of mysticism and history with stunning nature, scenery, flora and fauna all in arms reach. The Irish are some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re at a hurling match, at the pub or enjoying a spring concert in the park, everyone is looking to have a laugh and enjoy themselves. Being a foreigner will only make you feel more welcomed as the Irish love to share their laughs and stories with visitors.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Ireland
The 3rd most powerful passport in the world;
Only 2 years needed to get permanent residency and 5 years for citizenship;
Just 1 day/year minimum stay requirement;
Low risk investment fund option authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Education Investment Discount: Investors can gain a €50,000 EUR reduction in the amount needed for investment if they have children who wish to attend university in Ireland.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Ireland
Outdoor Lifestyle: Ireland is a wonderful country to live if you enjoy mountaineering and camping. You’ll find plenty of well-maintained hiking trails, parks, and other outdoor recreational spots.
Food: Thanks to its lush, green bountiful land, the country naturally produces a remarkable range of delightful fresh food.
Culture and History: The locals take pride in their traditions and celebrate their culture through dance, music, arts, sports, and storytelling.
Entertainment: Ireland is a heaven if you enjoy good music, arts, drama, literature, and craftsmanship. The locals are gifted and passionate artists. The country has a number of art galleries and museums.
Sports: Relocating to Ireland will allow you to enjoy and experience many new sports. For instance, you can enjoy their local sports such as Hurling, Gaelic football, and handball.
European Citizenship in Italy
Italy’s incomparable heritage, millennia-old towns, and primeval nature attract travelers from all across the world. It comes as no surprise that people are also flocking to the shores of Italy for getting citizenship.
The purpose of investment is to make robust returns. This is why Italy seems like an ideal location to invest in exchange for a golden visa. Italy is currently the 3rd largest economy in the EU and the 8th largest in the world.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Italy
Visa-Free Access to 131 countries including the US, Uk, and Canada;
Visa-free travel to Schengen Zone, family inclusive;
Quick application approval process - within 30 days;
Permanent residency after five years
Italian Citizenship after ten years
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Italy
Wonderful Climate: Major parts of Italy have a Mediterranean climate. You’ll enjoy cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.
Stunning Landscape: Italy has a diverse landscape. In the north are the snow-covered peaks, frozen glaciers, and lush valleys of the Alps and the Dolomites. In the foothills are big and striking lakes such as Lake Garda and Lake Como.
Amazing Food: The food in the country is fresh and simple. Most of it is grown locally so you can enjoy healthy food.
Rich Cultural Values: Italy’s culture is drenched in the arts, relationships, structural design, religion, food, and music. The locals keenly try to keep alive their customs and traditions alive.
Low cost of living: You’ll find main cities and tourist hotspots to be costly in terms of living. However, the cost of living in Italy really declines when you purchase a house in the rural area or peripheries of a small town or village.
European Citizenship in Latvia
Latvia offers a wide variety of competitive advantages for investors, which make it a perfect place for doing business. Favourable tax regime, the developed infrastructure, highly skilled workforce and comparatively low operational costs allow the foreign investors to select Latvia as a place for investment into European citizenship.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Latvia
Visa-Free Access to 128 countries;
One of the lowest real estate investment options - only €275,000 EUR;
You only have to visit Latvia once a year to maintain your residency status.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Latvia
Economic Security: Latvia has a sophisticated banking infrastructure. It has more than 20 banks that make the fiscal system of the country steady and you can keep funds on the accounts with no worry.
Entertainment: Although it’s a small country with only 2 million people, Latvia offers a number of natural wonders. It has 4 national parks, including Gauju Valley’s Gauju National Park that has over 500 memorials.
Cost of Living & Food: The cost of living in terms of food can be quite inexpensive. Some good local eateries offer business lunches for as little as €5 EUR.
Education: Latvia has 12 years of general education. This includes obligatory 9-years elementary education and 3-years secondary education.
Healthcare: The government funds Latvia’s healthcare system, which is accessible to all locals.
European Citizenship in Malta
Malta is a small, but a well-developed country located in the Mediterranean, at the confluence of Europe and North Africa - an ideal logistical hub due to its excellent port infrastructure. Malta has created the right economic environment to meet the demands of the global investment market.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Malta
Dual citizenship option;
Malta citizenship after 1 to 3 years depending on the investment option;
Protection from double taxation;
Citizenship by investment guarantees spouse, children, and parent the right to travel, live and study in Malta.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Malta
Visa-free travel: Malta’s passport is one of the strongest across the globe. It not only allows you to move freely and travel without visa within Europe, you also don’t need visa to travel to 127 countries internationally.
Quality Education: Malta's education system is very highly rated. It is structured in four stages: pre-primary, primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
Automatic Citizenship for Children: Children born to the citizens of Malta automatically acquire nationality. This means your children and grandchildren will receive Malta’s citizenship for life.
Tax efficiency: The country’s tax system is based upon residence, not nationality. This means that you may not have to pay tax in the country even if you get nationality.
Stability and security: Malta has one of the highest GDPs in the European region and one of the lowest joblessness rates. It’s also considered as one of the safest nations in EU.
European Citizenship in Montenegro
Montenegro’s unspoiled natural beauty and favourable economic and political climate have allowed the small country to emerge as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Europe. Montenegro has the potential to become a magnet for investment because of its business-focused economic system and a low corporate tax rate.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro
Visa-Free travels to 72 countries including Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore;
No residency requirement: you are not mandated to stay in Montenegro before or after you get your passport;
The fastest way to get European citizenship - in just 3 months;
Favourable taxation system (9-11%);
Montenegrins citizens can apply for a US residency through the E-2 Visa treaty.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Montenegro
Stable Democracy with an Open Economy: The overall economic activity has been growing strongly with the tourism industry as the major vehicle, propelling investments in other sectors of the economy.
A Business Friendly Environment: Montenegro has one of the lowest corporate and capital gains tax rates in Europe (9%), low barriers to entry for new businesses, competitively priced real estate, and well ducated young labour force.
Pleasant Natural Surroundings: Montenegro is known for its warm, sunny climate; with a total of 117 beaches, along the 294 kilometres of coastline it really is a land of Adriatic heaven.
Cost of Living: Montenegro is generally seen as one of the most affordable countries in Europe.
Low Crime Rates: Thanks to a low crime rate, it is safe to live in Montenegro. Violent crime, in particular, is relatively low compared to other countries and the US State Department rates Montenegro as a level 1 country.
European Citizenship in Netherlands
The Dutch lifestyle is so appealing that, mixed with its safety, its proximity to other European cities, its healthy way of life and its welcoming attitude toward foreigners, you'll quickly find that you're going to love your new home-away-from-home.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Netherlands
Strategic location in terms of access to the western European market;
Residence permit covers spouse and children
EU citizenship after 5 years
Excellent education and healthcare
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Netherlands
Freedom: Netherlands offers great freedom, including the freedom of speech. You are permitted to say almost anything. The LGBTQ community is also quiet active and flourishing in the country.
Infrastructure: Netherlands has a remarkable road infrastructure. You won’t find any startling potholes, or half-done or unsafe streets.
Public Transportation: The country has a great public transportation system, which includes trains, metros, trams, and buses.
Child Benefits: Parents are provided quarterly payments by the Dutch government to help them look after their children (0-18 years old).
Food Centers: There are food centers throughout the country that offer free food to the less privileged.
European Citizenship in Portugal
Beyond the Golden Visa, Portugal’s alluring coastline, and beautiful landscape is irresistible – an ideal country to relax.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Portugal
Short stay requirement: the Portuguese Golden Visa program allows you to spend a minimum of seven days per year;
Access to a quality life, medical care, rich culture, work, and a high level of security;
Family benefits: Golden Visa Scheme guarantees individual and their family members the right to live, travel, work and study in Portugal.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Portugal
Environment: Portugal is ranked 26th out of more than 260 countries in the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy. It is famous for its vast number of eco-friendly beaches.
Security: Portugal ranks second among European countries in terms of safety. Residents are approachable and law-abiding citizens that treat guests and immigrants very well and are always ready to help.
Standard of living: Portugal is one of the most popular countries for people who want to move to warm areas. It has a relatively low cost of living and offers great tax benefits.
Education & Healthcare: The country has a high level of medicine and education.
No Language Barrier: Portuguese is a difficult language but local people often speak English so the language shouldn’t be a barrier.
European Citizenship in Spain
With beautiful seashores, tantalizing foods, and exceptional weather, Spain offers secure and steady lifestyle in the heart of Europe. The high quality of life, world-class resort centres, and extravagant cuisines make Spain an ideal nation to live and invest to.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Spain
Visa-Free Access to 26 EU nations including Switzerland, Luxemburg, Italy and Germany;
Only 1 day per year stay requirement;
Acquisition of Spanish residence permit within 60 days of application;
Freedom to live, work, and study in Spain;
Temporary residence can easily be renewed;
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Spain
Pleasant Weather: In Spain, you will find the ideal temperature throughout the whole year. You can walk down the street with just a jacket in winters, and hot summers make it perfect to relax on the beach.
Rich Culture: Spain has a rich, diverse, and divided culture. It’s a set of regions with their own traditions and specialties.
Healthcare: It has one of the best public healthcare systems in the entire world, as stated by Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ).
High Quality of Life: You can enjoy a better life quality due to the low cost of living. Even accommodation and rentals are much cheaper than in any other European country.
Education: Spain has made education compulsory from 6 to 16 years. You can enroll children aged 0-6 years in schools that offer preschool and pre-primary education.
European Citizenship in Switzerland
Asides ranking among top countries in the world, Switzerland is popular for its multicultural society, political and economic environment. Arguably one of the best places to live in the world (frequently topping polls for high quality of living), Switzerland is an expat's dream.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Switzerland
Visa-Free Access to 132 countries including USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan;
A reliable banking system: Switzerland has the most secure banks in the world;
Favourable tax regime: no need to declare any income received from outside the country;
Political, social, and economic stability;
Fast-track to citizenship: for most foreign nationals, it’s required that you live in Switzerland for a minimum of 12 years before you’re eligible to become a citizen. But if you’re from Canada or the US, it’s take you only five years.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Switzerland
Healthcare: Life expectancy is very high, 79 years for men and 84 years for women, showing they have a quality health care system. Switzerland has a universal healthcare system, and insurance providers are non-profit and government approved, ensuring their policies are affordable.
Education: The Swiss education system is known all over the world for being among the best. If you are emigrating with your family they have an array of public, international and even English schools for your children.
Diversity: Switzerland is a very multi-national country which is open to foreigners, currently more than 20% of the population is made up of resident and temporary foreign workers.
Safety: The country is often voted one of the safest countries to live and raise a family in Europe.
Switzerland - an all-round ‘best’ country: Switzerland finds itself on the top of the rankings for the fourth year in a row, followed by Canada, Japan, Germany and Australia. With the rankings starting off in 2016, no other country has ever been named on top.
European Citizenship in Turkey
While Turkey is not fully European with limited access to the Schengen region, it offers a standard of living that is similar to Europe. Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country, with Istanbul embracing Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus Strait. Its location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a nation of momentous geostrategic reputation.
Advantages of citizenship by investment in Turkey
Visa-Free travel to 96 countries including Japan, Hong-Kong, Singapore;
Quality Standard of Living;
No residency requirement;
Turkey citizenship in 2 months;
Turkish citizens can apply for a US residency through the E-2 Visa treaty;
Turkish citizens can also apply for a UK business visa through the Turkish Businessperson Visa programme;
Citizenship by investment guarantees spouse, children, and parent the right to live and study in Turkey.
Top 5 benefits of second passport by investment in Turkey
Low Cost of Properties: The similar properties in Turkey cost 3.5 times less than in Spain. Purchasing a house in the country is simple and transparent. No matter what budget you have, you can easily manage to pay for the annual taxes.
Economic Situation: Turkey is much progressive than other countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece – thanks to its real estate value, low taxes, financial development, and cost of living.
Pleasant Weather: Turkey has a remarkable climate with large part of the year being sunny. Winters are also mild. Overall, you’ll experience enjoyable comfortable temperatures all year long.
Healthcare: The quality of healthcare in Turkey is quite high. Yet, when compared to the quality, the prices are affordable and much less than other developed countries.
Lifestyle & Food: Turkey is known for its delightful and healthy food, with fruits and vegetables grown naturally. Its beaches are some of the best across the globe.
FAQs About European Citizenship By Investment
1. How to become an EU citizen?
Should you decide to get an EU Citizenship, there are 4 different routes to take:
Citizenship by investment;
Citizenship by descent;
Citizenship by naturalisation;
Citizenship by exception.
2. What is Citizenship by Investment?
Citizenship by investment is a process by which you can obtain a second citizenship by investing in the local economy - usually in the form of property investment. In simpler terms, you get citizenship in exchange for your investment in the country. The citizenship by investment confers citizenship status on willing individuals without disrupting the investor’s life provided that all documentations are correct and requirements are met.
3. Which EU Countries are Offering Citizenship by Investment?
4. What is the Quickest Path to Citizenship in an EU Country?
Citizenship by Investment is the quickest path to get an EU passport.
5. Who is an EU Citizen?
An EU citizen is an individual who is a part of the European Union member state. EU citizenship guarantees increasing global mobility, personal security, business advantages, tax exemption, etc.
6. Is there European Citizenship for Americans?
It works for Americans just the same way it does for every other race. You obtain one by descent, by naturalisation, by investment, or by exception.
7. Is there European Citizenship for UK citizens?
Britain recently pulled out of the European Union, hence, the process of acquiring European citizenship for UK citizens is now similar to that for other non-EU member states.