Interest in Golden Visa programs increases day by day. A total of 9254 investors obtained residency in Portugal between October 2012 and October 2020. The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) has provided this data. A similar interest from investors is also apparent in Greece’s Golden Visa program as well. Enterprise Greece states that a total of 7903 investors obtained residency in Greece between 2013 and September 2020.
Many investors choose these programs because they offer an easy way to become an EU citizen. In addition, they offer benefits such as some tax exemptions and tax reductions. In the case of citizenship, they offer visa-free travel to over 150 countries in the world.
So, how does the process go? Let’s look at the details.
Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa
Portugal Golden Visa is among the top popular residency by investment programs in the world. First, you choose one from several investment options. Following your investment, you can apply for your Golden Visa. Getting EU citizenship with the Golden Visa in Portugal is one of the smoothest processes out there right now. The immediate rights you will gain are temporary residency in the country, visa-free travel within Schengen countries as well as family reunification. The program imposes only a seven-day requirement per year. So, this allows you the flexibility of mobility. If you fulfill this requirement at the end of five years, you can apply for citizenship and permanent residency as well. Portugal citizenship by investment brings with it EU citizenship and visa-free travel to 186 countries. Because you become an EU citizen, you will have the right to live, work, and travel in any European country.
Another important factor of the Portugal Golden Visa is the tax regulations for foreign investors. The Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) program is one of them. It allows tax exemptions on most of your foreign income. In addition, if you have a Portuguese income, you will be taxed at a flat rate which is less than half of the normal income rate for normal Portuguese citizens.
Foreign pensioners are also advantageous in terms of taxation. Under the NHR program, investors’ foreign pension will be subject to taxation at a fixed rate of 10%. All of these are valid for a duration of ten years. To benefit from the pension tax regulation, there are two basic criteria. One is that you need to have the right to residency in Portugal. The other is that you must not be a tax resident in Portugal for the last five years.
You should also note that the lowest investment amount for Portugal Golden Visa starts from as low as €280,000. The minimum investment amount depens on the type of investment and is €350,000 for Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund as an example.
Greece Golden Visa
Greece also offers similar rights as Portugal. The most important part of this Golden Visa is that the minimum investment amount is only €250,000. The lowest investment amount for real estate to get residency in Europe. Another good part of it is that you don’t have to stay in the country at all. Also, you can renew your residency indefinitely every five years.
You should also note that there is no record of obtaining citizenship through golden visa Greece yet. Still, it is a good opportunity to benefit in many other aspects. For example, you can include your extended family as well. This means that besides your spouse and children, you can also include your parents and parents in law.
Tax benefits for foreign pensioners
As a foreign pensioner, you can benefit from a flat rate of 7% taxation on all of your foreign incomes. They can be pensions, business activities, investments, or other incomes. You may ask how. You need to shift your tax residency to Greece. So, this means you need to stay in Greece for at least half of the year. Furthermore, the regulation is valid for ten years.
Normally, the country stated that they will not accept all the applicants. The applicants must come from a respectable country. If your country is no one of them, you still have a chance. Thanks to your Golden Visa, you can still benefit from this if you already obtain residency in Greece.
What other benefits do Portugal and Greece offer?
A common feature of both countries is the low cost of living. Compared to other European countries, you can live on a less budget and enjoy a high standard of life in Portugal and Greece.
Furthermore, Forbes considers Portugal and Greece as the top European countries to live in after the pandemic. It explained that it is because of their strong healthcare system and because fewer people have been affected by the virus compared to other European countries.