DECEMBER 2023 UPDATE: In the original draft, the Hungary Golden Visa was set to be relaunched in September 2024. The final version of the bill, which will become the law, anticipates this by 9 months, and now states the new Hungary Golden Visa will take full effect in January 2024.
Hungary Golden Visa: Was It Suspended?
It is important to note this new Guest/Visitor Investor program is different from the previously existing Hungary Golden Visa. That program was also known as the Hungarian Residency Bond Program, and it was in force between 2012 and 2017. During that time, the program was deemed to be the most affordable in Europe. Each bond cost around €300,000, plus a processing fee of €60,000. Over its existence, it sold over 7000 Residency Bonds, allowing visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone and Residency in Hungary. It was ultimately suspended in 2017 due to high criticisms and controversies surrounding the program.
The Guest/Visitor Investor Program: The New Hungary Golden Visa?
This new Guest/Visitor Investor Visa brings an altogether different context and is looking to effectively become the new Hungary Golden Visa, fully replacing the previous program, and granting Residency for ten years. While the details and the complexities are unknown, this new program takes inspiration from existing ones across Europe. Mirroring other Golden Visas, Hungary outlines Real Estate as one of the three options through which Residency can be obtained.
- An investment of €250,000 in a Real Estate Fund registered in the National Bank of Hungary.
- The purchase of residential property in Hungary in the amount of €500,000.
- Or donate €1 million to a public institution – educational, scientific, artistic, among others – that is maintained for the public interest of Hungary.
The focus on Real Estate comes as no surprise, as it has proven an immense success in other countries offering Golden Visas. For instance, though no longer available, the option to purchase Real Estate in Portugal for its Golden Visa program contributed more than €6 billion to the economy between 2012 and 2023, a truly staggering amount. Likewise, the Greece Golden Visa has also produced significant contributions to the economy, more than €2,5 billion in a shorter time frame than Portugal, especially through the Real Estate option, with numbers only looking to increase as it currently stands as the most affordable Residency by Investment option in the European Union. Thus, it stands to reason Hungary is pursuing similar numbers with its tentative outlook for a Real Estate proposal with this new Hungary Golden Visa program, and the market will undoubtedly boom once this new law comes into effect.
In the meantime, Hungary presents itself as an interesting possibility for the future. There is also one important aspect to consider, and that is the tense relationship between Hungary and the European Union. While Hungary is fully part of the Union and the Schengen Area, the two entities are known to often be at odds with each other, and one never knows what the future holds in store. It is always advisable to keep the options wide open, and starting to explore current alternatives right now is one of them.
Golden Visas: What Solutions Exist Now?
While Hungary certainly is a possibility to keep in mind, waiting is a luxury many cannot afford. Not when there are solutions which are available right now.
The Greece Golden Visa is, currently, the best Residency by Investment program in the European Union, with the investment amount required to acquire Residency starting at €250,000. And even though Portugal has suspended the option to directly purchase Real Estate as a qualifiable path for the Golden Visa program, a new opportunity arises in the form of the Portugal D2 Visa.
Both these options provide Residency in the European Union, and access to a higher standard of life across all aspects: healthcare, education, transportation, and, of course, the much-coveted ability to travel the world without the need to concern oneself about visas. Portugal and Greece hold, respectively, the third and fourth most powerful passports in the world, and these countries also have the easiest paths toward securing Citizenship in the European Union.
Golden Passports: An Alternative Solution
Citizenship by Investment programs are also a possibility. These mechanisms offer a straightforward path to Citizenship, bypassing the need to reside in the country, and granting investors full, legal rights in the country. They are particularly commonplace in the Caribbean, though they exist in Europe, particularly in Malta and Türkiye.
Usually, these countries tend to typically have more modest economies. This is reflected in the more affordable paths provided by these programs than in comparison to the Golden Visas in Europe. In the Caribbean, countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts and Nevis compete by offering more benefits taxation-wise. The requirements also tend to be more relaxed than most Golden Visas while offering many of the same benefits, such as visa-free travel, though not to as many countries.
Deciding which one may prove trickier than one might initially think, but this is where Investment Visa can help you. The entire philosophy behind our mission is to ensure a better and brighter future for every one of our partners. We accomplish this by delivering the utmost personalized service with the highest level of care, and our reach has thousands of clients worldwide. Our advisory team stands upon more than 25 years of experience and know everything there is to know about acquiring a Residency abroad or a second Citizenship.