The Netherlands is the latest European country to abolish its Golden Visa, following Ireland, and Portugal’s partial discontinuation of the program by no longer enabling Real Estate as a qualifying option, both in 2023. These changes reflect a general negative trend with European Golden Visas, though all is not lost, and obtaining European Residency and Citizenship is still possible for the foreseeable future.
What was the Netherlands Golden Visa?
Officially known as the Residence Permit for Foreign Investors, the Netherlands Golden Visa was originally introduced in 2013. Unlike other Golden Visa programs, the Dutch program never gained much international traction, largely in part due to its unappealing options.
When it existed, the program only awarded Residency status in the Netherlands if a third-country national invested a staggering €1,25 million in the country. The original options also pertained only to business opportunities, including investing in a Dutch-based company, in a fund compliant with the SEED scheme, a venture capital company, or a contractual joint venture investing in a Dutch company.
The program, from its inception, also always excluded the purchase Real Estate as a qualifying option and had stricter eligibility conditions as well as a higher number of requirements. At the same time, Portugal, which had introduced its Golden Visa only a year prior, allowed foreign investors to purchase properties at €250,000 with lighter requirements and become EU Residents.
Due to Portugal’s enormous popularity, which truly started to boom from 2013 onward, the Netherlands Golden Visa never managed to stand out among the more appealing Residency by Investment options. The government revised the program a few times, in attempts to rejuvenate interest in its Golden Visa to no avail. It all culminated in October 2023, when the Netherlands announced the program would fully terminate starting January 1st 2024.
What other investment options are out there for European Residency?
The Golden Visa programs are undergoing a change, albeit a slow one, across Europe, and the Netherlands is the perfect example. 2023 witnessed the end of the Ireland Golden Visa, the announcement of the Netherlands Golden Visa, and the partial discontinuation of the Portugal Golden Visa. At the same time, though nothing has yet been officialized, the Spanish government is also considering either further increasing its €500,000 minimum investment amount or canceling it altogether.
In the wake of these disastrous decisions, only one country has endured these changes across the European Golden Visa landscape. Greece.
The country has not been immune to modifications, since 2023 also witnessed an increase in the minimum investment amount of €250,000 to €500,000 in certain key areas, including the Athens city center, Thessaloniki, and the iconic islands of Mykonos and Santorini, among others. However, the crushing majority of the country’s territory, including the island of Crete, has remained at the same amount of €250,000.
The country’s commitment to remain an investor-friendly location has produced its dues, and in 2023, it became the most successful Golden Visa program, outpacing other European countries, like Spain, Malta, and Cyprus. However, recent rumblings across the Greek parliament have been suggesting an increase in the minimum investment amount nationwide.
In 2023, Portugal discontinued Real Estate acquisition as an eligible option for the Golden Visa. This option had always been the Golden Visa’s backbone and a major economic pillar for the country, having contributed €6,5 billion to the Portuguese economy. Bear in mind all the Golden Visa options generated €7,3 billion between 2012 and September 2023, which means Real Estate was responsible for almost 90% of the program’s success.
However, the other Golden Visa options are still available. In 2024, Portugal accepts a minimum €500,000 investment in qualified funds, €250,000 contributions for artistic projects and physical cultural heritage maintenance and preservation, and €500,000 donations to scientific and technological programs, among other remarkably unappealing options.
Despite the significant program overhaul, Portugal continues to be an enticing option for investors, all because of the D2 Visa. Though it has existed for quite some time, it has always been overshadowed by the Golden Visa. Now, as the program has become lackluster, the D2 Visa has taken the spotlight as the best Residency program. This investment-driven Golden Visa alternative provides the fastest and most affordable path to EU Residency, with a processing time of up to 3 months. This option also leads to Portuguese Citizenship after 5 years, similarly to the Golden Visa.
How to get European Residency by Investment?
With the European Union frowning upon investment immigration programs, whether for Residency or Citizenship, and increasing pressure in its member states to further regulate and tighten their programs, the time to act and invest is now. With the Netherlands being just the latest example of European countries undoing their Golden Visa programs, more could follow soon. Currently, Europe offers Residency by Investment programs in Spain, Cyprus, and Malta, but the best are undoubtedly Greece and Portugal.
There is only one guaranteed way to have an easy and smooth experience toward a brighter future in Europe, and it starts with contacting Investment Visa. Our team of investment advisors, who have over 3 decades of experience, have successfully guided thousands of investors worldwide to their second residency and citizenship, many of them in Europe.
Our reach is worldwide, and while we are present in Europe, we are prevalent worldwide, across the Caribbean, to the South Pacific, and wherever new partnerships are to be found. Get in touch with Investment Visa today, obtain your Golden Visa and unlock a brighter future!