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Threat to security: What are golden visas and why they being abandoned in Europe?

Threat to security: What are golden visas and why they being abandoned in Europe? Gold passports in exchange for investments (Photo:

Just a few years ago, some European countries actively issued so-called golden visas – permits for residence or even citizenship in exchange for investments. Now, EU countries are massively abandoning this option.

In October 2022, the European Commission called on Albania to refrain from developing a scheme for investor citizenship – golden passports. They explained that this "poses risks of security, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorism financing, corruption, and organized crime infiltration and will be incompatible with EU norms." Since then, the country has suspended its plans to introduce golden visas.

What are golden visas, and why are European countries rejecting them, according to Euronews Travel.

Which countries have canceled golden visa schemes

In winter 2022, the UK government abolished the golden visa acquisition scheme. It allowed wealthy foreigners to settle in the country in exchange for investments. The decision to end the program was seen as part of a move to restrict dirty money from Russia.

Threat to security: What are golden visas and why they being abandoned in Europe?

Photo: More and more European countries are rejecting golden visas (

In February 2023, Ireland also canceled the "golden" visa scheme – an immigrant investor program. It offered residence in the country in exchange for investments of €500,000 or an annual investment of €1 million for three years.

Ireland had already suspended the scheme for Russian citizens in March 2022 as part of sanctions imposed on the country for invading Ukraine. Later, the government wholly discontinued golden visas.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced plans to end this scheme that same month. This was done to "overcome speculation with real estate and housing rent." From January to August 2022, this program brought the country almost €398 million.

From October 6, 2023, applying for a golden visa in exchange for real estate investments in Portugal will no longer be possible. However, "old" visa holders will not lose their status.

Where golden visas are still available in Europe

Only a few EU countries still offer "golden passports." One of them is Malta. Here, the minimum investment amount starts from €690,000. This offers residence in the country for 12 to 36 months.

Threat to security: What are golden visas and why they being abandoned in Europe?

Photo: Europe calls on countries to refuse to issue visas in exchange for investments (

The option still exists in Spain as well. To obtain a golden visa to live, work, and study in Spain, one must invest €500,000 in local real estate. This visa can also be obtained by running a business or having bank deposits of €1 million in Spanish financial institutions. Alternatively, one can buy government bonds for at least €2 million.

There have been lengthy debates in Spain about discontinuing the golden visa scheme, but a decision has not yet been made.

Italy is another popular destination for those who want the right to reside through investments. Citizens of non-EU countries can obtain a residence permit for two years by investing at least €500,000. Those who have lived in Italy for ten years under this scheme can obtain citizenship.

One of the most popular countries for obtaining golden visas is Greece. You can get one the fastest: within 60 days after applying.

Previously, it was sufficient to invest €250,000 in local real estate. An investment of €500,000 is required if you buy property in the Athens area, the municipality of Thessaloniki, and on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. In other regions, the threshold of €250,000 will remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, Italy has discontinued the "golden visa" program for citizens of Russia and Belarus. RBC-Ukraine wrote about which countries have stopped issuing "golden visas" to Russians.

It has also been reported that Germany has issued tens of thousands of national visas to Russians.