European Residency Programs Options and Eligibility
EU residency and Golden Visa programs are the perfect solution for a high-net-worth person in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. From the culture, beauty, and diversity of Greece and Cyprus to the financial opportunities in Malta and Portugal, what's not to love? Moreover, EU residency provides visa-free travel and access to education, health care, and investment opportunities, as well as a potential pathway to citizenship, among many other benefits in Schengen Zone countries.
Options for Obtaining European Residency
There are several ways of obtaining residency in the EU: ancestry, startup programs, passive income, marriage, getting a job offer, and residency by investment. For a person in MENA or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, the best way to get a European residency is via a residency by investment program. Some of the best programs include the following:
1. Portugal Golden Visa – Portugal is an excellent holiday destination, with a favorable corporate and private business environment, first-class health care, and outstanding universities and schools. Its Golden Visa program provides visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone. With one of the most affordable and fastest residence permit programs in Europe, you can get permanent residency within five years of becoming eligible, which is typically by purchasing government-approved real estate.
2. Greece Golden Visa – A country full of historical and cultural beauty and one of the oldest civilizations in Europe, with a thriving tourism industry, Greece is an enticing option for European residency. The Golden Visa provides visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone and the entire EU. Greece also offers a fast track program that grants residency within three months of purchasing a residential property. In addition, you will not have to physically live in Greece to retain residency, as long as you maintain your residential property.
3. Malta Permanent Residency – Located in the Mediterranean, the island of Malta has a lot of cultural links to the Middle East and is a member of the Schengen Zone and EU, making it an attractive country for EU residency. Benefits of Maltese residency include opportunities to invest in the EU, open offshore accounts, and obtain tax exemption on worldwide income in addition to visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone. By purchasing government-approved real estate and making a one-time donation, you can get residency within six months of becoming eligible.
4. Cyprus Permanent Residency – Cyprus, a Mediterranean island nation at the crossroads between Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, provides one of the most affordable and convenient residency programs available. With Cyprus, you can choose either the fast track program that gets you a residency within three months or the usual route that takes up to a year.
Eligibility for Permanent Residency in the EU
With the proliferation of residency programs, the EU has put in place rules and regulations for eligibility for European residency. Some of the most common eligibility criteria are as follows:
A valid passport
Evidence of utility bills and rental contracts
Proof of health insurance
Registration certificate indicating the date of arrival into the destination country
Passport size photo that conforms to Schengen standards
Proof of income, which may include work contracts, bank statements, and/or pay slips
Evidence of residence (varies from country to country)
Proof of accommodation (e.g., a rental contract or residential home ownership deed)
With residency, you will have all of the usual benefits, including first-class education and health care and the unrestricted right to live, work, invest, and study in the Schengen Zone. It is important to note, however, that while the EU provides guidelines on eligibility, programs in different countries each have their own eligibility criteria. As such, some countries may provide residency without requiring applicants to have been physically present in the country for at least five years, or even requiring them to have a physical residence in the country. An applicant may also be granted citizenship in as little time as 3 to 6 months in fast track programs such as those in the Caribbean and Commonwealth. Therefore, it is critical to check each program’s requirements before deciding which one is the best for you. If you are a high-net-worth individual, it is worth investing in a EU residency or a Golden Visa to obtain all the benefits they offer and become a true global citizen.
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