If you're considering moving or investing abroad, there’s no need to think small. In an age when the entire world is at your fingertips, you can easily select any country in the world to live or invest in. The good news is that not all countries have strict immigration policies, and many of them incentivize you to become a resident through special programs. 

Keep reading and discover some of the most popular countries and their residency by investment programs.

“Residency by investment” – what is it, how does it work?

Through investment in the local economy, most often in either business or property, or both, individuals can obtain a residence permit or even citizenship in many countries around the world. Countries offer “residency by investment” programs to encourage foreign investment and boost their economies. As far as benefits and requirements go, these programs vary greatly.

In order to qualify, you typically need to invest in businesses (existing or new), real estate, bonds, etc., you must have a clean criminal record and sufficient financial resources (acquired legally). In some cases, you are required to keep the investment for a set period of time or meet the rules on minimum stay. 

In what ways can a residency by investment benefit you?

By obtaining residency through a country's residency by investment program, you are entitled to many benefits and privileges, including:
  • a temporary or permanent residency permit (renewable), for you and your family, usually leading to citizenship
  • possibility to explore new business opportunities, take advantage of favorable business conditions, tax-free policies and benefits 
  • freedom to travel without visa restrictions, unrestricted access to a number of countries
  • having the option to work and live in a country with a stable economy, social environment and politics (extremely important, especially in the midst of the current world turmoil)
  • a higher standard of living and access to better or free education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc.

When applying for the program, what do you need?

For most "residency by investment" programs, you need the following documentation:
  • application form
  • photograph
  • valid passport
  • document accrediting legal entry and stay in the country
  • documents accrediting the investment and financial means
  • clean criminal record certificate
  • health insurance 
  • proof of payment of the visa fee

Comparative tables

With so many countries to choose from, we prepared a table you can use to compare countries and their residency by investment programs. Here are the minimum investment amount, types of investments, and validity of visas in order to help you make an informed decision.
Table 1/2
Country Program Minimum Investment (USD) Minimum Investment (local currency) Type of Investment Validity
Australia Business Innovation and Investment visas $788,875 AUD 1,250,000 Business 5 years (renewable)
Austria Investor Residency Program $100,000 €100,000 Business 2 years (renewable)
Bahamas Bahamas Residency By Investment (aka Bahamas Golden Visa) $750,000 BSD $750,000 Real Estate, Business Valid for life
Brazil Permanent Residency Investor Visa VIPER (aka Golden Visa) $29,000 BRL 150,000 Business, Real Estate Permanent as long as the investment is maintained
Bulgaria Bulgarian Immigrant Investor Program $125,000 €125,000 BGN 245,000 Real Estate, Business, Government bonds 5 years (eligible for citizenship)
Canada Startup Visa Program $55,000 CAD 75,000 Business Permanent as long as the investment is maintained
Cayman Islands Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means $1,212,000 KYD 1,000,000 Business, Real Estate 25 years (renewable)
Colombia Resident Investor’s Visa $162,500 COP 769,439,125 Real Estate, Stock Permanent (renewed every 5 years)
Costa Rica Investor Visa (Inversionista) $200,000 CRC 122,067,860 Real Estate, Business, Stocks, Securities 2 years (renewable)
Cyprus Golden Visa / Permanent Residence Scheme $300,000 €300,000 Real Estate, Share Capital 5 years (renewable)
France Talent Passport Scheme $20,000 €20,000 Business 4 years (renewable)
Germany Entrepreneurial Visa, or Self-Employment Visa $360,000 €360,000 Business 3 years (renewable)
Greece Golden Visa Program $250,000 €250,000 Real Estate, Government bonds, Capital 5 years (renewable)
Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme $500,000 €500,000 Philanthropic donation, Business, Real Estate 5 years (renewable)
Italy Investor Visa Program $250,000 €250,000 Business 2 years (renewable)
Table 2/2
Country Program Minimum Investment (USD) Minimum Investment (local currency) Type of Investment Validity
Japan Japanese Investor/Business Manager Visa $23,400 JPY 2,500,000 Business 5 years (renewable)
Luxembourg Investor Program $500,000 €500,000 Business 3 years (renewable)
Malta Permanent Residence Programme $10,000 €10,000 Real Estate 5 years (investment needs to be maintained)
Mexico Golden Visa Investor Program $100,000 MXN 1,996,655 Capital investment, Real Estate 1 year (renewable)
Monaco Investor Residency Program / Golden Investor Visa $1,000,000 €1,000,000 Real Estate, Business 1 – 10 years (renewable in stages)
Netherlands Foreign Investor Scheme $1,250,000 €1,250,000 Business 3 years (renewable)
Portugal Residence Permit for Investment (ARI/Golden Visa) $350,000 €350,000 Real Estate, Capital transfer 1 year (renewable)
Serbia Permanent Residency by Investment N/A N/A Real Estate, Business 1 year (temporary, renewable); eligible for permanent after a 5-year interrupted stay
Spain Investor Visa $500,000 €500,000 Real Estate, Stock, Shares, Securities 1 year (if requested from abroad); 2 years (in Spain)
Sweden Self-employed Residence Permit $18,000 SEK 200,000 Business 2 years (renewable)
Switzerland Swiss Residence Program $200,000 CHF 200,000 Lump-Sum Tax, Business 1 year (renewable)
UK UK Tier 1 Visa $57,000 £50,000 Business 5 years (renewable)
United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) UAE Golden Visa $544,500 AED 2,000,000 Real Estate, Business 10 years (renewable)
USA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program $900,000 N/A Capital investment Conditional green card valid for 2 years then renewed
Disclaimer. The amount above represent illustrative and approximate values based on the exchange rate at the time of writing (18 October, 2022).
The above table outlines the minimum investment you need to make in order to qualify for a visa. There are additional options, requirements, rules or restrictions for each country listed in the table, so please refer to the information below. Also, we recommend visiting government websites or contacting immigration/visa grant officials before applying or investing.

More on each country

1. Australia

Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Visa program has several sub-categories based on the amount of investment:
  • Business Innovation Stream – $788,875 (AUD 1,250,000) net assets
  • Investor Stream – $946,650 (AUD 1,500,000)
  • Significant Investor Stream – at least $3,155,500 (AUD 5,000,000)
  • Premium Investor Stream – $9,466,500 (AUD 15,000,000) in Australian investments and/or philanthropic contributions 
  • Entrepreneur Stream – no minimum amount with a third-party funding agreement
2. Austria

To obtain a visa through investment in Austria,  you need to:
  • invest in your own business or a majority-owned business in Austria and create new jobs
  • establish a start-up to launch innovative products or services (with proof that capital amounts to €30,000 (€30,000) minimum and an equity share is at least 50%)
3. Bahamas

If you invest in real estate or business in the Bahamas, you can obtain a permanent residence permit that is valid for life. The minimum investment amount is $500,000, however, buying a property for at least $750,000.00 means you will be considered more quickly. In most cases, the investment is in the range of $1,500,000. 
4. Brazil

Investing $29,000 (BRL 150,000) in business to boost the local economy and creating 10 local jobs or buying $132,543 (BRL 700,000) worth of real estate in the north and northeastern regions of Brazil (or $189,347/BRL 1,000,000 in other regions) will get you a permanent visa in Brazil as long as the investment is maintained. 
5. Bulgaria

If you want to invest in government bonds, then you need at least $511,292 (€511,292). Other options include: 
  • investing $125,000 (€125,000) or acquiring at least 50% of the capital in a Bulgarian company that operates in an underdeveloped region
  • opening a new company and investing $250,000 (€250,000) or acquiring at least 50% of an existing company (+10 new jobs)
  • investing at least $3,000,000 (€3,000,000) in the share capital of a private Bulgarian company 
  • investing in real estate or buying a property worth at least $300,000 (€300,000).
6. Canada

A minimum investment of $55,000 (CAD 75,000) is required if the investment is from a designated Canadian angel investor group. If that’s not the case and it comes from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, then you need at least $145,843 (CAD 200,000).
7. Cayman Islands
A sandy beach in the Cayman Islands featuring palm trees, blue skies and crystal clear waters.
To become a resident of the Cayman Islands, you need to invest in real estate and demonstrate a continuous source of annual income. Another way is to make a minimum deposit of $480,000 in a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority-regulated and locally licensed bank account. 
The Grand Cayman: 
  • Annual income $145,439 (KYD 120,000)
  • Account at least $484,798 (KYD 400,000) in assets
  • Investment of $1,211,997 (KYD 1,000,000), of which at least $605,998 (KYD 500,000) must be in developed real estate in Grand Cayman. 
Cayman Brac or Little Cayman
  • Annual income $90,899 (KYD 75,000)
  • Account at least $484,798 (KYD 400,000)
  • Investment of $605,998 (KYD 500,000) of which at least $302,999 (KYD 250,000) must be in developed real estate in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.
8. Colombia

Resident Investor’s Visa will be yours if you make a direct foreign investment in the form of property purchase or acquisition of stocks in a corporation of the value of 650 minimum Colombian Salaries with foreign money converted to pesos in your name.
9. Cost Rica

Costa Rica offers Investor Visa (Inversionista) to all individuals who invest at least $200,000 in active business, real estate, stocks or securities or $100,000 in forest plantations.  
10. Cyprus

The amount of at least $300,000 (€300,000) will be more than enough for you to obtain the Cyprus Golden Visa if you use it to: 
  • buy a brand new residential (or commercial) property
  • invest in a Cyprus-based company’s share capital or 
  • invest in Units of the Cyprus Investment Organization of Collective Investments. 
11. France

You can’t obtain a residence permit by investing in securities, bonds or real estate but you can invest in a business and take advantage of the Talent Passport Scheme. This scheme requires you to invest: 
  • at least $300,000 (€300,000) in a new or operating company
  • at least $30,000 (€30,000) for starting a new business, or
  • at least $20,000 (€20,000) for establishing an innovative start-up.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France next to the River Seine.
12. Germany

Germany’s investor visa scheme is meant for foreign entrepreneurs or self-employed business people who invest at least $360,000 (€360,000) in opening a business or a company in Germany. 
13. Greece

The Golden Visa Program in Greece offers quite a few options if you’re interested in living or investing in the country. When it comes to real estate, you can:
  • invest at least $250,000 (€250,000) in real estate property or 
  • conclude an agreement for at least a 10-year lease of hotel accommodation or furnished tourist residences in tourist accommodation complexes. 
On the business investment side, you can obtain a golden visa if you:
  • make a capital contribution of at least $400,000 (€400,000) in securities or a bank deposit in Greece
  • make a capital contribution of at least $400,000 (€400,000) in bonds or shares of a venture capital fund, private equity fund, or a mutual fund based in Greece, or
  • invest $800,000 (€800,000) in shares, corporate bonds, or Greek Treasury bonds listed in trading facilities operating in Greece. 
14. Ireland

Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme offers 4 possibilities: 
  • investing $1,000,000 (€1,000,000) in an Irish business
  • investing $1,000,000 (€1,000,000) in an approved investment fund
  • investing $2,000,000 (€2,000,000) in any Irish Residential Properties (listed on the Irish Stock Exchange), all for a period not less than 3 years
  • making a philanthropic donation to a project that is of public benefit in the fields of arts, sports, health, culture or education in the country.
15. Italy

Under the Investor Visa Program in Italy, you can secure residency if you:
  • invest at least $2,000,000 (€2,000,000) in Italian government bonds
  • invest at least $500,000 (€500,000) in Italian shares
  • invest at least $250,000 (€250,000) if investing in innovative startups or
  • donate at least $1,000,000 (€1,000,000) to projects of public interest in Italy, such as culture, education, ecology, immigration management, research and development, arts, and heritage.
16. Japan

Japanese Investor/Business Manager Visa is for individuals who wish to invest in (at least US$ 46,800/JPY 5,000,000) or manage a business in the country/occupy a senior management role in Japan (reduced US$ 23,400/JPY 2,500,000). 
A Japanese temple in front of Mount Fuji's snowy peak in the background.
17. Luxembourg

Under its Investor Program, Luxembourg grants you a residence permit as long as you: 
  • invest at least $500,000 (€500,000) in an existing business
  • invest at least $500,000 (€500,000) in a new business 
  • invest at least €3,000,000 (€3,000,000) in a management and investment structure (new or existing), or 
  • deposit at least $20,000,000 (€20,000,000) in a financial institution. 
18. Malta

Permanent Residence Programme in Malta is characterized by several steps. If you’re into real estate, then you should:
  • buy a property worth at least $300,000 (€300,000) in the South of Malta/Gozo ($350,000/€350,000 in the rest of Malta), or 
  • rent a property with the minimum amount of rent of $10,000 (€10,000) in the South of Malta/ Gozo ($12,000/€12,000 in the rest of Malta) annually.
19. Mexico

For those interested in investing and living in Mexico, the Golden Visa Investor Program specifies eligibility criteria as an investment of at least $188,674 in real estate or capital investment in a Mexican company of at least $100,000. 
20. Monaco

Investor Residency Program/Golden Investor Visa in Monaco enables you to either rent or buy real estate or invest in business to obtain residency. Specifically, the investment should be at least $1,000,000, (€1,000,000), $500,000 (€500,000) of which is reserved for a bank deposit and the other $500,000 (€500,000) to purchase a property. When it comes to business, you can establish a new company and create at least 10 jobs. 
21. Netherlands

If you invest at least $1,250,000 (€1,250,000) in a Dutch company (start-up, venture capital, etc.) and create at least 10 jobs within 5 years, then you’re eligible to become a resident in the Netherlands in accordance with the Foreign Investor Scheme
22. Portugal

Residence Permit for Investment (ARI/Golden Visa) for non-Portuguese, EU and EEA nationals (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), gives the right to live, work and study in Portugal if you:
  • transfer capital at least $1,500,000 (€1,500,000)
  • create at least 10 job positions
  • buy real estate property worth at least $500,000 (€500,000)
  • buy 30-year-old real estate property or older, located in urban regeneration areas, that needs refurbishing, for a total value of at least $350,000 (€350,000)
  • transfer capital with a value of at least:  
  • $500,000 (€500,000) for investing in research activities
  • $250,000 (€250,000) for supporting the arts
  • $500,000 (€500,000), or higher, for acquiring units of investment funds or venture capital funds of funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies
  • $500,000 (€500,000), or higher, for constituting a commercial society with a head office in Portugal. 
23. Serbia

With no minimum investment requirement, Serbia grants temporary and permanent residency to investors. Either as a natural or legal person, by purchasing real estate, investing or establishing a company in Serbia you not only acquire residence (a higher level of investment can even lead to citizenship) but also enjoy a wide range of tax (and other) benefits. 
Nightscape of Belgrade, Serbia featuring a lighted bridge, riverfront and high buildings.
24. Spain

Investor Visa in Spain is given to foreigners who:
  • purchase unmortgaged real estate for a minimum of $500,000 (€500,000)
  • invest at least €2,000,000 (€2,000,000) in Spanish public debt securities
  • invest $1,000,000 (€1,000,000) in stocks or shares in Spanish companies, investment or venture capital funds incorporated in Spain, or 
  • make bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
25. Sweden

Sweden doesn’t have a specific program through which it attracts foreign investment or gives temporary and/or permanent visas. However, there’s an investor visa for non-EU nationals who are self-employed and wish to open a business (50% owners, investing at least $18,000/SEK 200,000) in Sweden (only if it’s beneficial to the economy).
26. Switzerland

The quickest method to acquire a Swiss residence permit is to pay $200,000 (CHF 200,000) as a lump sum tax to the Swiss canton where you live (the amount can vary from canton to canton). The Swiss Residence Program also has an option for company formation where you invest at least CHF 1 million in a pre-approved business or establish a new Swiss company or invest in an existing Swiss company, with a turnover of no less than $1,000,000 (CHF 1,000,000).
27. UK

UK Tier 1 Visa has two sub-categories: 
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), initially requiring a $226,245 (£200,000) investment in business has been substituted by Innovator Visa which requires an investment of only $57,000 (£50,000) in innovative business. 
  • Tier 1 (Investor) is more suitable for people who want to make a more significant investment in the UK (not less than $2,262,018/£2,000,000). 
28. United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai)

UAE Golden Visa has seven sub-classes (real estate investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and frontline heroes). 

You obtain a Golden Visa in the UAE as a real estate investor if you: 
  • buy a property worth at least $544,500 (AED 2,000,000) in any of the freehold zones
  • buy a property with a loan (from specific local banks only)
  • buy one or more off-plan properties worth at least $544,500 (AED 2,000,000) (from approved local real estate companies only).
You obtain a Golden Visa in the UAE as a real estate investor if you: 
  • become the owner or the partner in a start-up company, registered in the UAE as an SME (small and medium enterprise), that generates at least $272,250 (AED 1,000,000) revenue annually
  • obtain approval for a start-up idea from an official business incubator, the Ministry of Economy or other competent local authorities
  • have sold your own entrepreneurial project for the total amount of at least $1,900,000 (AED 7,000,000)
Dubai skyline at night dominated by a number of high-rise buildings.
To see what else Dubai’s offering and how you can get a Dubai visa click here.
29. USA

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is aimed at reducing high unemployment rates which is why you’d only need to invest $900,000 and create jobs in an enterprise that is located in Targeted Employment Area (‘TEA’, rural or high unemployment). If the company is not within the TEA, then the capital investment should be $1.8 million or more.
Disclaimer. The amounts above represent illustrative and approximate values based on the exchange rate at the time of writing (18 October, 2022).

Next steps

Having learned more about the residency by investment programs in these 29 countries, you probably feel more prepared and confident about investing. If one of the countries that sparked your interest is Serbia, the USA or the UAE, we can help you.

We specialize in real estate and mortgages in the UAE, so take a look at our services, check out our growing portfolio of Dubai properties, or get help from one of our experts here

In the US, we provide mortgage services to residents and foreign nationals alike whether they are buying a home or investing. Check out our US-based services here or get in touch with our US experts.

We also offer real estate and mortgage services in Serbia. If you want to invest in luxury property, check out our property page, find the perfect financing option through our mortgage portal, or contact one of our experts. 

As we have contacts all around the world, we can connect you with our international mortgage experts, wherever you are interested in investing. 
Photo credits:
  1. Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich | Pexels 
  2. Photo by Azzedine Rouichi | Unsplash 
  3. Photo by stevanaksentijevic | Pixabay 
  4. Photo by Nextvoyage | Pexels 
  5. Photo by Chris Karidis | Unsplash 
  6. Photo by David Edelstein | Unsplash 

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