The 10 easiest countries for securing EU residency

Britain might be leaving the EU – but that doesn’t mean you have to. Various countries on the continent have programmes that allow foreign citizens to invest their way to residency. So where best to buy into?

A study by the citizenship consultancy firm Henley & Partners analysed various programmes around the world, ranking them by value and quality, amongst other metrics. Here are the 10 EU nations that performed best overall. Warning: you’ll need to have plenty of spare cash to gain residency in most of these places.

1. Austria

Topping the list was Austria, offers 10 different types of residency permit, none of which require investment in the country. Such permits would allow visa-free travel across the Schengen Area, which includes most EU nations.

2. Belgium

In second place is Belgium where merely securing a job in the country can be enough to qualify for residency, thus negating the need to invest. The process reportedly takes as little as two weeks.

3. Portugal

Time to talk to your bank manager because getting residency in Portugal is going to cost you. So what’s the damage? Well, the minimum you can get away with is €500,000 (£450,000); buy a house for that price and you’re in. Alternatively, transfer €1 million (£900,000) into a Portuguese bank account or create 10 jobs in the country.

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4. Malta

Low tax rates (permanent residents pay just 15 per cent) and a sunny climate make Malta an attractive destination for those seeking EU citizenship.

Initial contribution of €600,000 receive a three-year residency, after which time citizenship may be applied for, whereas a €750,000 contribution enables citizenship to become eligible after only one year. Investors must also decide whether to purchase a property at a minimum real estate value of €700,000 or rent a property at €18,000 minimum per annum. Also, applicants must donate €10,000 to a registered charitable organisation.

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5. Spain

Like neighbouring Portugal, resident permits can be obtained by purchasing a house worth €500,000, which will get you a lot of bricks and mortar in some parts of the country. Alternatively, wannabe residents could opt to invest €2 million (£1.8m) in government debt.

6. Latvia

Property again, this time to the tune of €250,000 (plus a five per cent government fee), which should be enough to get you a temporary residence permit.

7. Monaco

As well as benefitting from visa-free travel across the Schengen Area, residents of Monaco are also not obliged to pay income tax, capital gains tax or wealth tax. To secure residency foreigners must deposit a minimum of €500,000 into a bank account, which must stay with the bank during the residency period.

8. Cyprus

Buy real estate worth €300,000 or more and that should be enough to secure citizenship on this Mediterranean island, which is also a popular holiday destination thanks to its warm weather and sandy shores.

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9. Greece

A country crying out for investment, Greece offers residency to anyone purchasing properties with a total value of up to €250,000, which can get you a nice little bolthole somewhere hot.  

10. Bulgaria

Deposit €500,000 into a Bulgarian government bond portfolio, leave it there for five years and voila: you have qualified for Bulgaria’s residency programme.

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