Purchase property in a foreign country and acquire legal residence there: top 20 options

Dozens of countries offer their citizenship or legal residency to foreigners who purchase some real property on their territories. As a rule, the larger the required amount of investment, the simpler the process of passport/ residence permit acquisition. Let us look at the top ten options of acquiring foreign citizenship or legal residency.   

Citizenship and Real Estate - Photo

Economic citizenship and golden visa programs are in high demand with wealthy individuals. Citizens of China, Russia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar make use of legal opportunities to obtain the right of abode in a foreign country most often. Millionaires from India, South Africa, Vietnam, and Ukraine constitute the second largest group of foreign passport buyers.

Would you like to obtain a second passport when buying real property abroad? Five countries in the Caribbean basin are at your service. Would you like to have a European passport? Acquiring one is easy as well as Montenegro runs a citizenship-by-investment program. What is more, you do not have to wait for more than three months before you can hold the passport of any of these countries in your hand.

As far as legal residence permits are concerned, Portugal, Greece, and Spain issue ‘golden visas’ to foreign investors into real property. These visas act as residence permits that can turn into second passports if you are prepared to wait for five, seven, or ten years to become a full citizen of one of these European states by naturalization.

Below please find brief reviews of the possibilities to obtain citizenship or legal residency in twenty countries on the condition that you purchase residential accommodations there or some other type of real property.

1. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Portugal

  • 280,000-euro worth of property (a house, a villa, an apartment) in Portugal.
  • The residence permit holder is entitled to permanently reside in the EU.
  • Freedom of movement across the Schengen zone.
  • The residence permit holder does not have to live in Portugal all the year round.
  • Possibility to acquire full citizenship of the country after five years of holding the residence permit (you will have to spend a week in Portugal every year to be eligible to apply).
  • Probably the most popular golden visa program in Europe.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: four to six months.

2. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Malta

  • The Malta Residency Visa Program provides for an opportunity to acquire a golden visa when purchasing a 270,000-euro worth piece of real property in the country.
  • A Maltese permanent residence permit is valid in any EU country.
  • There is no need to constantly reside in Malta.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: three months.
  • The golden visa obtained via the Malta Residency Visa Program does not lead to full citizenship acquisition.

3. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Spain

  • 500,000-euro worth of property (a house, a villa, an apartment) in Spain.
  • The residence permit holder is entitled to permanently reside in any EU country.
  • Freedom of movement across the Schengen zone.
  • The residence permit holder does not have to live in Spain all the year round.
  • Possibility to acquire full citizenship of the country after ten years of holding the residence permit on the condition that you reside in Spain (not in another EU country) for the best part of the time period.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: three months.

4. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in in Cyprus

  • A 300,000-euro investment into real property to acquire a golden visa.
  • European residence in a low-tax jurisdiction.
  • No need to permanently reside in Cyprus to keep the golden visa.
  • Possibility to acquire full citizenship of the country after seven years of holding the residence permit on the condition that you reside in Cyprus for the best part of each year.
  • Free movement across Europe and Great Britain with a Cyprus ID card.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: three to five months.

5. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Greece

  • A 250,000-euro investment into real property in Greece.
  • European residence.
  • Freedom of movement across the Schengen zone.
  • No need to live in Greece to retain the residence permit.
  • Possibility to acquire full citizenship of the country after seven years of holding the residence permit on the condition that you reside in Greece for the best part of each year.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: six months.

6. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Ireland

  • An investment of 1,000 000 euros into an Irish property trust or 2,000,000 as a combined investment into residential property in the country.
  • Full citizenship of Ireland after living in the country for five years on the legal residence permit.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: three months.
  • This is a relatively simple way to acquire a second passport of an EU member state.

7. Full citizenship of Montenegro for purchase of real estate in the country

  • The Montenegrin citizenship-by-investment program was launched in the autumn of 2019 and it is scheduled to close after three years or after the limit of 2,000 approved applications for citizenship is reached.
  • An investment of 250,000 euros into real property and a non-returnable donation of 100,000 euros to the state fund for a second passport of Montenegro.
  • Freedom of movement across the Schengen zone.
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: three months.
  • Montenegro is an official candidate for EU membership.

8. Full citizenship of Dominica for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 200,000 investment into government-approved real property (house, apartment, condominium hotel suite).  
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: four months.
  • No need to live in Dominica nor even to visit the island.
  • The passport of Dominica gives visa-free access to the UK and Schengen zone countries.
  • Dual citizenship is allowed.
  • No personal income tax nor many other taxes.

9. Full citizenship of Grenada for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 220,000 investment into government-approved real property will bring you citizenship of Grenada.
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: four months.
  • The passport of Grenada gives visa-free access to China, the UK, Schengen zone, and other countries (120 countries in total).
  • The Grenadian passport holders are entitled to apply for an E-2 investor’s visa to the USA.
  • Lifelong citizenship for all members of the family.

10. Full citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 200,000 investment into government-approved real property (you can own the whole piece of property or only part of it). The property can be sold after seven years.
  • The passport of St Kitts and Nevis gives visa-free access to the UK, EU, Brazil, and many other countries.
  • Fast citizenship acquisition procedure: the applicant family members will obtain passports of the country after six weeks since the date of filing the application.
  • No need to live on the islands nor visit St Kitts and Nevis when applying for citizenship of the country.
  • No personal income tax (if you are a tax resident in the country).

11. Full citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A five-year US$ 200,000 returnable investment into government-approved real property in the country.
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: three months. All family members are eligible to apply.
  • No need to live on the islands nor visit Antigua and Barbuda when applying for citizenship of the country. However, to keep the passport valid the holder has to stay on the islands during five days per year over the first five years of holding the passport.
  • The passport of Antigua and Barbuda gives visa-free access to the UK, EU, and many other countries.
  • No wealth tax, nor inheritance tax, nor gift tax. Fiscal residents of the country are also exempt from the personal income tax.

12. Full citizenship of St Lucia for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 300,000 investment into government-approved real property (houses, hotels, resort complexes).
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: three months.
  • The passport of Antigua and Barbuda gives visa-free access to 125 countries including the EU and UK.
  • No residence requirements, nor visit requirements. No tests need to be taken in order to become a citizen of St Lucia.

13. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Bahamas

  • An investment of US$ 500,000 into real property in the country.
  • The investor and the members of his/ her family are eligible for residence permits. The permits are issued quickly.
  • No income tax, nor inheritance tax, nor gift tax, nor capital gains tax are levied in the Bahamas.
  • Possibility to acquire full citizenship of the country by naturalization after living there for ten years.

14. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Andorra

  • 400,000 euros invested into residential accommodations in Andorra will make you qualified for a temporary residence permit in the country.
  • No freedom of movement across Europe (Andorra is not a signatory of the Schengen agreement).
  • There is no personal income tax, not wealth tax, nor capital gains tax, nor dividend tax, nor inheritance tax in Andorra.
  • Possibility to acquire a permanent residence permit after ten years on the condition that you live in the country during the best part of each year.
  • Citizenship of Andorra after twenty years of residence.

15. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Mauritius

  • An investment of US$ 375,000 into real property or a development project in the country will make you qualified for a residence permit.  
  • It is a twenty-year permanent residence permit that does not require living in Mauritius in order to keep it.
  • If you live on the island for two years after making the investment, you are eligible to apply for full citizenship of Mauritius.

16. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Monaco

  • A 1,000,000-euro investment into real property in Monaco.  
  • It will bring a temporary residence permit in the country and thus the possibility to live there.
  • Monaco is a European tax haven: there is no income tax for fiscal residents, no inheritance tax, no capital gains tax, and minimal inheritance tax in the country.
  • Monaco has signed no agreements with other countries on double taxation avoidance.
  • Freedom of movement across the Schengen zone.
  • A permanent residence permit after five years of living in Monaco.
  • Full citizenship of Monaco after ten years of permanent residence there (dual citizenship is not allowed).
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: two months.

17. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Seychelles

  • A US$ 400,000 investment into real property in Seychelles (houses, villas, apartments).
  • Foreign investors and members of their families are granted permanent residence permits for five years.
  • Citizenship of the country can be acquired after living there for ten years.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: two months.

18. Full citizenship of Turkey for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 250,000 investment into real property in Turkey (there are alternative routes leading to the Turkish passport, however).
  • Full citizenship of the country allowing the investor to live and work in Turkey.
  • Dual citizenship is allowed.
  • Access to the E-2 investor’s visa to the USA.
  • Citizenship acquisition timeframe: two to three months.

19. Legal residence permit for purchase of real estate in Cayman Islands

  • An investment of 250,000 Cayman Islands dollars (KYD) / US$ 300,140 into real property on Cayman Brac or Little Cayman islands or, alternatively, an investment of 500,000 KYD / US$ 600,280 into real property on Grand Cayman.  
  • Residence in a low-tax jurisdiction. 
  • The right of abode in a tropical paradise with high living standards.
  • Residence permit acquisition timeframe: two months.

20. Full citizenship of Egypt for purchase of real estate in the country

  • A US$ 500,000 investment into real property in Egypt.
  • Dual citizenship is allowed.
  • A second passport of a popular tourist destination.

Professional assistance in acquiring foreign passports/ legal residence permits

The experts of InternationalWealth portal collaborate only with reliable immigration agents and other partners in dozens of countries. We guarantee that our services are highly professional!

Please send us an email or contact us via WhatsApp or the live chat if you are interested in acquiring citizenship of a foreign country or legal residence there. We will be happy to discuss the possible options with you in every detail. Please bear in mind that acquiring a second passport at the lowest price costs over US$ 100,000.

What country offers the least expensive citizenship for investments into real estate?

Antigua, St Kitts, and Dominica have the most attractive offers. All these countries require an investment of US$ 200,000 into real estate to qualify for their citizenship. The most attractive offer in Europe is made by Montenegro. The required amount of investment into real state there is 250,000 euros, however, an additional donation of 100,000 euros needs to be made.

What country has the shortest citizenship acquisition timeframe for investors into real property?

Citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis can be acquired in the fastest way. If you pay some extra for accelerated application processing, you are going to be issued the passport in 6 weeks after filing the application. Otherwise, the application process will extend to 3 to 6 months. The amount of the required investment into real property in the country is US$ 200,000.

What is the best country to apply for legal residence in?

It depends upon what you mean by ‘the best country’. If you are looking to ultimately acquire full citizenship of a European state, please consider Portugal. The golden visa opportunity that this country offers requires investing minimum 280,000 euros. If you stay in Portugal for a short time each year during the first five years of holding the golden visa, you will become eligible to apply for full citizenship of the country and thus, the European Union.

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