10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe


In this article, we will take a look at the 10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe. You can skip our detailed analysis of the “Golden Visa” and go directly to the 5 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe.

While contemplating residency or citizenship in another country, the question that comes to mind is: Why would somebody migrate? The answer to this perplexity could be extremely subjective. For some, the idea of leaving their birthplace could be emotionally exhausting, but for others, it could mean a fresh start. Some might want to enjoy and experience this diverse, vast world rather than spend their whole lives in one culture and country. Then there are those who might feel lost in a new setting. In addition, there are practical reasons as well, such as a higher quality of life, access to better education, healthcare, etc. Therefore, the presence of the cheapest residency or citizenship-by-investment program in Europe holds great allure.

The European Parliament outlines factors such as social, political, demographic, economic, environmental, and climatic conditions as potential drivers of migration. According to the IOM World Migration Report 2022, an estimated 281 million people live in a country other than their birthplace, representing 3.6% of the total world population.

During this period, Europe (87%) and Asia (86%) emerged as the most favored regions for migration. The report also highlighted that 48% of immigrants were women and girls, 13% were children below 18, and 11% fell within the 15-24 age range.

Eurostat, the official website of the European Union, reported that as of January 1, 2021, 23.7 million people were living in EU member states who belonged to non-member countries, constituting 5.3% of the EU population. Germany, Spain, France, and Italy were identified as countries with the highest number of non-nationals.

Furthermore, a significant number of US citizens, especially high-net-worth individuals, have been drawn towards European residency and citizenship. Portugal, in particular, is considered the easiest European country for American expats to move to.

You Can Indeed, Buy Your Happiness….To a Certain Extent

For all those captivated by the diverse, unique, and high-quality European life, numerous avenues exist to turn their dreams into reality. Over the last decade, an unprecedented surge towards European citizenship and residency has unfolded. This surge may be attributed to improved opportunities for jobs, healthcare, education, and religious freedom. Furthermore, factors such as financial security and tax incentives are propelling individuals towards acquiring residency and citizenship.

Obtaining residency or citizenship through investment programs in Europe is often one of the fastest and, in some cases, the most cost-effective ways. Residency by Investment (RBI) or Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs are formalized procedures that enable third-country nationals (TCNs) to obtain residence or citizenship in a host country by making a passive financial contribution, which may include government bonds, real estate, or bank deposits. These programs aim to grant individuals and their family members temporary or permanent residency, providing the right to live, work, study in the European country, and travel within the beautiful EU, along with the Schengen Area.

Is Golden Visa a Commodity?

Known as the Golden Visa, residence or citizenship by investment program, or immigrant investor program, these schemes have burgeoned into a prosperous European industry. In 2019, the highest investment reached €5.5 billion (approximately $6 billion). What is even more astounding is that this figure more than doubled in the next four years, with expectations of the trend continuing in the coming years. While the option of EU passports or “golden passports,” sold by Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta, is no longer available, golden visas are still prevalent. Residence or citizenship programs in European countries such as Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Malta have significantly contributed to their economies. Portugal alone amassed €5.8 billion (approximately $6.32 billion) through its real estate sector. In Greece’s real estate industry, this figure was reported at €3 billion (approximately $3.27 billion). However, recent events foreshadow a decrease in the trend towards golden visa types. Fears that these investments are being used as covers for money laundering and tax evasion, as well as concerns about possible corruption and security problems, have led EU authorities to demand strict diligence. Consequently, many countries have canceled some programs, and others are planning to do so.

To support the growth of this burgeoning sector, numerous companies operate with diverse specialties, all aiming to facilitate a smooth and profitable transition for immigrants into their new countries. One notable example is H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB). H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB), an American tax preparation company, offers a range of tax-related services, including those tailored for expatriates. Their international tax advisors can provide valuable assistance to individuals relocating abroad. Moreover, their online do-it-yourself tax software for U.S. expats offers a quick and easy solution, ensuring that those living abroad can file their taxes in a timely fashion and avoid penalties. In addition, H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) recently introduced a conversational artificial intelligence chatbox to address any queries from tax filers, showcasing the company’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of its clients. Let’s now head over to the list of cheapest residency or citizenship by investment programs in Europe.

10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe

10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe

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Methodology

To identify the most cost-effective citizenship or residency by investment programs in Europe, our methodology involved selecting programs with the lowest required investments for obtaining either citizenship or residency. In cases where multiple programs featured comparable investment thresholds, we conducted an additional assessment of the personal income tax rates in these European cities. This additional step served as a decisive criterion, allowing us to pinpoint citizenship and residency programs that not only require minimal investment but also come with a lower tax burden in comparison.

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After carefully sifting through a multitude of sources, we present to you the 10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe.

10 Cheapest Residency or Citizenship by Investment Programs in Europe

10. Spain

Minimum Investment: $545,000

For those aspiring to move to European nations, Spain stands out as one of the best options. The reasons are diverse, but let’s summarize them in a two-fold approach. Firstly, the country is adorned with historical marvels and beauties. Its diverse and rich culture, combined with a low cost of living, attracts many to establish their roots amid such attractions. In fact, it is considered one of the top alternatives for retirement, comparable to Hawaii, on a global scale.

Secondly, Spain offers a highly attractive residency-by-investment program. The Spanish government, aiming to encourage foreign direct investment in the country, grants visas to individuals who make a substantial investment. This investment can take various forms, including a real estate purchase amounting to at least $545,000 (in one or more properties), a minimum investment of $1,090,000 in investment funds, bank deposits, or listed company shares in Spanish financial institutions, or a minimum investment of $2,180,000 in government bonds.

There are various benefits associated with it. The program allows the individual applying to bring their immediate family members (spouse, partner, financially dependent children, and financially dependent parents) with them. Applicants also become eligible for a temporary residency permit within a month and can attain permanent residency in five years, with an opportunity for citizenship later. For certain ethnic groups and nationalities, the citizenship period is only two years. This plan enables people to maintain a high quality of life and enjoy the Schengen Area without incurring additional travel costs. The property prices are low, and the personal tax rate is set at 47%. The Global Residence Program Index for 2023 has ranked this program at 7th place out of 26 programs.

9. Luxembourg

Minimum Investment: $545,000

As an economically robust European nation, Luxembourg is a veritable hot-spot for entrepreneurs and investors. The country’s thriving business environment can be tapped profitably by affluent individuals seeking long-term investment opportunities. Luxembourg’s Residence by Investment Program, introduced in 2017, presents a highly attractive opportunity offered by the government to encourage more foreign investment. What sets it apart is that it doesn’t impose a real estate purchase obligation concerning the minimum investment.

Several investment actions can be taken to secure this residency, primarily involving a minimum outlay of about $545,000 in property, business, securities, and funds. Furthermore, this plan represents one of the fastest routes to residency or citizenship through an investment program in a European country. Applicants can achieve resident status in as little as six months, with the possibility of citizenship within five years. While providing a range of investment options, the country also requires a sufficient physical presence for investors to fall within the applicable tax bracket. The personal income tax rate in this country is 42%. However, it’s noteworthy that there is no wealth tax, and favorable inheritance and capital gains tax policies are in place.

This program offers numerous benefits. With thriving business conditions and a politically stable nation, it allows for maintaining a high living standard. Additionally, the program provides the advantage of visa-free travel to 189 places, including Europe, Schengen areas, and the United States, which is a significant plus point. The presence of favorable corporate law is another advantage, ensuring greater business success and thereby justifying the original investment.

8. Germany

Minimum Investment: $381,500

As the largest economy among European nations, Germany stands out as an excellent choice for young entrepreneurs. While not a typical Golden Visa, Germany’s Active Investor Visa sets investors on the path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. Under this visa, individuals interested in establishing a business or working as a freelancer in any “liberal profession” in the country become eligible to apply. A temporary residence permit is typically obtained within 6-9 months, and permanent residency can be achieved within three to five years. Citizenship can be attained in less than eight years.

While the German authorities have not specified a minimum investment amount, various service providers have gathered evidence suggesting the figure is around $381,500. Investment options include business investment or providing proof of available funds for financing a project. No requirements for physical presence have been mentioned. Holding a German passport can enable visa-free travel to 192 destinations, including the US and Schengen territories. As one of the most cost-effective residency or citizenship-by-investment programs in Europe, this option is particularly attractive.

7. Cyprus

Minimum Investment: $327,000

While the majestic Mediterranean allure of this land has captivated many with its tropical weather and breathtaking beaches, there is much more to discover. For those seeking to establish permanent residence in this exotic island, an attractive opportunity presents itself in the form of the Cyprus Golden Visa. This program offers the possibility of permanent residency for non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss nationals.

While the Cyprus citizenship program has been suspended since 2020, the Golden Visa offers an avenue for obtaining residency through investments in real estate ($327,000 + VAT), shares in a business ($327,000), or in a Cyprus Collective Investment Organization ($327,000). This program stands out as one of the most cost-effective and efficient paths to acquiring a Cypriot passport, with permanent residency achieved in just 2-3 months and citizenship requiring a physical presence over 5 years. The program also extends the privilege of bringing one’s family, including a spouse and children, with dependent children up to the age of 25. Notably, constant physical presence is not mandated; a visit once every two years is sufficient to maintain residency.

This program can pave the way for numerous opportunities. Firstly, the island boasts a high quality of life, offering access to top-tier education and healthcare. Secondly, the return on investment is attractive, complemented by various favorable tax schemes. The personal income tax rate is also lower than in some other European countries, standing at 35%. Additionally, Cyprus recognizes dual citizenship, and the passport obtained through this program enables easy visa-free travel to 176 places, including the Schengen areas.

6. Greece

Minimum Investment: $272,500

Greece offers one of the cheapest residence by investment programs. The country, renowned for its beautiful array of islands and wildlife, attracts many visitors and expatriates who settle down to relish the high quality of life, coupled with a low cost of living and picturesque surroundings. For those seeking permanent residency, an excellent option comes in the form of a residency-by-investment program. It has been the most renowned European residency investment program in recent years. While various investment avenues are available, including property investment, bank deposit, business investment, bond investment, public shares investment, and fund investment, the most economical route to residency or citizenship requires a real estate purchase of $272,500. This program stands out as one of the quickest paths to residency, allowing investors to attain permanent status in about 2-4 months and setting them on the trajectory for Greek citizenship naturalization in 7 years.

Among the numerous benefits associated with this plan, visa-free travel to 185 countries, including…



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