Please note that Investment Visa will use the above details to contact you only. By submitting this form, you confirm that you agree to our website terms of use, our privacy policy and consent to cookies being stored on your computer.
Please note that Investment Visa will use the above details to contact you only. By submitting this form, you confirm that you agree to our website terms of use, our privacy policy and consent to cookies being stored on your computer.
Become EU Residents

How has Brexit changed Residency Status in the EU for British citizens?

Before Brexit, British nationals enjoyed all the freedoms of being EU citizens, including freedom of movement, a right that is protected and enshrined in the foundational treaties of the European Union and the Schengen Zone. This right afforded U.K. citizens to travel visa-free, to live, work, and study in any other country within the Schengen Zone, while only being required to inform each country’s respective immigration authorities.

Another right the EU facilitates all its Citizens is the ability to buy property in any of its participating countries and be treated in the same way as a native national. This facilitated process of property led to many U.K. nationals choosing to buy a second home overseas to either enjoy their holiday or retirement. However, as a holiday home inevitably meant a shorter stay of fewer than 90 days, most British homeowners in EU countries never felt the need to establish Residency status. In the post-Brexit landscape, many British retirees, and homeowners, unable to enjoy their properties for a longer period, had no choice but to sell their homes and return to the United Kingdom.

This is just one of the many examples British citizens were particularly affected. As EU citizens, British nationals were also able to access other countries’ healthcare systems, something unfortunately no longer possible unless the U.K. national holds Residency status in an EU country.

While British citizens continue to have visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, this is only applicable to short stays meant for tourism. Any intent to stay for longer, whether for work, study, seeking healthcare, or just living in a warmer, sunnier country will inevitably mean getting a Schengen Visa.

Become EU Residents

What rules do British tourists have to follow when traveling to Europe?

Despite Brexit, the United Kingdom and the European Union continue to have excellent international and diplomatic ties. The most notable example is the fact that British nationals continue to have visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, the borderless, common travel area shared by most European Union (EU) countries and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries.

Following Brexit, though, the United Kingdom became a third-country. The EU defines this term as “a country that is not a member of the European Union as well as a country or territory whose citizens do not enjoy the European Union right to free movement, as defined in Art. 2(5) of the Regulation (EU) 2016/399 (Schengen Borders Code).”

As third-country nationals, British tourists are subject to the Schengen Zone’s 90/180-Day rule, which essentially restricts the ability to indefinitely stay in a Schengen country and forces U.K citizens to return home upon the expiration of the 90 days. Their passports are also no longer eligible for most EU countries fast-track lanes at airports, rendering longer queues and waiting times. The upcoming Smart Borders technological system will also particularly affect British citizens, since there are further requirements that will need to be upheld before traveling to the rest of Europe.

Become EU Residents

How can British Citizens obtain Permanent EU Residency?

The most common path for U.K. nationals to obtain Permanent Residency is actively living and residing in an EU country for a set amount of time. This may vary greatly according to the chosen country - most EU countries enable Permanent Residency after 5 years, like Portugal or Greece.

However, Permanent Residency does not unlock any extra benefits that the British passport does not already possess. For instance, a British citizen with Permanent Residency in Portugal can freely live in Portugal but is still bound by the 90/180-Day when it comes to other European countries.

The solution is found in EU Citizenship - the key to living free in Europe and never having to worry about long airport queues and international mobility again, with all the bases covered by a second passport. EU Citizenship, by default, also means EU Permanent Residency. With a Portuguese or Greek passport, for instance, British nationals can live, work and study in almost all of the other EU countries.

Unfortunately, there is no direct way of getting EU Citizenship in most countries. Obtaining Residency first is a must and there is no other conventional path around it. Luckily, Residency by Investment programs do exist and there are several available throughout Europe. These initiatives are open to British citizens and provide an alternative, faster and more efficient path to EU Permanent Residency & Citizenship.


Best EU Residency by investment programs in the EU for U.K. Citizens

Investment Visa asked its British born and raised team members about the best countries to live in other than the United Kingdom, taking into consideration factors such as English proficiency. We also asked our Advisory team on the best EU Residency by Investment programs. Relying on their real-world experience, the following list was created.


Portugal has long been many British people’s favorite summer darling, with the Algarve region almost becoming a Little Britain when the sun shines the brightest. Portugal’s warmth and sunshine is far from the only reason U.K. nationals keep on returning to mainland Europe’s westernmost country.

Portugal offers the most variety in terms of programs, having 3 distinct avenues from which British citizens can pursue Portuguese Residency & Citizenship.

The Portugal Golden Visa continues active in 2024 through more investment-focused options, including a subscription to venture capital or private equity funds in the minimum amount of €500,000.

The D7 Visa is a passive income visa that is often used for retirement by the British community in Portugal, and a suitable non-investment alternative.

The D2 Visa is a business-oriented visa that involves setting up a company in Portugal – a process made effortless with Investment Visa’s own Mátria Co-Working D2 Visa solutions.

portugal d2 visa banner v3


Greece came into the international spotlight with its Golden Visa in 2023, when it shocked the world by announcing a staggering number of applications, revealing the immense interest expats & investors had in the country that birthed the concept of democracy.  

The Greece Golden Visa is the country’s best Residency by Investment program, and currently has one of the lowest points of entry across all Europe - €250,000 is all it takes for a British person living legally and holding Greek residency, with the added benefit of owning a second home abroad. The Golden Visa minimum amount is set to increase in August, making the time to invest now, while the lower cost of admission is still available.

greece golden visa banner


As a former British colony, Cyprus retains a historic legacy from the United Kingdom that has become an undeniable part of the Cypriot charm, including English as a common shared language. British nationals will undoubtedly feel a deeper connection to Cyprus even if only on a subconscious level, which should come to no surprise, as Britons make up a not insignificant part of the Cypriot population.

The Cyprus Golden Visa is the perfect Residency by Investment program, combining a low threshold amount, varying between €300,000 to €350,000 depending on the location, and the country’s emerging real estate industry. By investing to become a homeowner in Cyprus, U.K. nationals can use it for making a steady profit through rental income, use it as a holiday home, or as the backdrop for a Plan B solution. It is noteworthy to mention Cyprus is not part of the Schengen Zone yet – when it joins, its Golden Visa prices will undoubtedly soar.



Malta is yet another country with a shared history with the United Kingdom, having been its colony for 150 years. Unlike Cyprus, Malta does recognize English as an official language, which is a comforting reassurance for British citizens seeking to obtain Permanent Residency in an EU country.

Malta holds the distinction of being the only EU country with a Citizenship by Investment program, offering a path to the Maltese passport at the end of the process. However, this process is considerably stricter and requires a vastly larger investment and true commitment to Malta.

In comparison, its Permanent Residence program, albeit a longer-term commitment, also opens the potential for its British holders to become Citizens through the exclusive Real Estate option – letting British citizens owning a home in Malta for €300,000 and become EU Residents.

malta valetta landscape


Hungary might be a surprising choice for some, but this Central European country, besides being part of the European Union and the Schengen Zone, is soon revitalizing its Golden Visa program exclusively through a Real Estate option. U.K. citizens looking a calmer, quiet alternative will find the perfect solution in Hungary. Its upcoming residency program will enable British nationals to acquire property starting at €500,000 and become EU Residents, all the while setting up to EU Citizenship as well.

budapest landscape panoramic view

Investment Visa Coming to the U.K. to help British Citizens find the best EU Residency by Investment Programs

In 2017, British-born and raised Gary Harland & David Poston joined forces to create the Harland & Poston Group, a multifaceted company operating across several industries, including Real Estate Residency & Investment Visas, Property Management, Project Development & Construction, and Travel.

In 2023, they took the next step and collectively pooled the 20+ years of experience and expertise to create Investment Visa – a new investment immigration subsidiary company entirely focused on Golden Visas, Residency & Citizenship by Investment. Ever since, the two founders, plus their trusted investment advisory team have traveled the world to consult with prospective clients, always raking in successful second residency & citizenship applications.

In June 2024, they are returning home to the United Kingdom for a new batch of Private Consultations, share their knowledge as industry experts, and present the best EU Residency by Investment solutions to their fellow British citizens. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming consultations in the United Kingdom right here on Invesment Visa and make sure to book yours as soon as they are available.


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