A “golden visa” refers to a type of immigration program that many countries offer that can offer permanent residency to a high-net-worth (wealthy) individual, provided they can show that they are going to bring significant investment into the country. In some countries, it is even possible to get citizenship through investment.
Permanent residency means that you (and your family) are legal residents of the host country, which normally means you are free to live and work without restriction. It is not the same as citizenship, as citizens of a country enjoy additional legal rights and protections.
What Types of Investment Qualify for Golden Visa?
First, you must be able to prove that the money you are investing is your own, not for example borrowed from a bank.
Investment in real estate is a common route to a Golden Visa, but there are usually many other options, including investing in a business, in stocks and shares, and even setting up a business of your own. Job creation and technological innovation can be very attractive to prospective countries.
Countries that offer Golden Visa programs include: Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the United States of America. In addition, there are several territories in the Caribbean that can offer attractive prospects to wealthy individuals.
What is Golden Visa for USA?
While not specifically called “Golden Visa”, the closest visa you can get for the United States is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Green Card. This is an immigrant visa, which means it gives the holder permanent residency, the right to live and work freely in the United States of America. Many green card holders will also choose to apply for U.S. citizenship after a period of time in the country, typically at least several years.
The EB-5 green card normally requires a minimum investment of $1 million, but this may be reduced to $500,000 for areas that are more deprived, e.g. some rural locations or areas of high unemployment (150% of national average). The investment does not need to be entirely cash, but may include cash equivalents, stock, hardware or equipment. Your immigration attorney will be able to advise on how best to negotiate these requirements.
Applicants do not need to have a job offer in place, and they do not have to disclose their total net worth. Another attractive aspect of the EB-5 Golden Visa is that the applicant does not need to be heavily involved in the application process, as the majority can be done by your immigration attorney.
You must be able to demonstrate that the investment will somehow benefit the economy. If you intend to set up a new business, the business must aim to create a minimum of ten new jobs. A further option is to invest in an established business that is currently failing. See our EB-5 page for more information.
The EB-5 Network also offers a combination of immigration legal advice and investment consulting.
The applicant’s spouse and any minor children (under 21 years) will be entitled to enter the U.S. initially for a maximum two years, although these requirements can be removed through an I-829 petition. The EB-5 visa holder’s family members will have the right to work and/or study in the United States.
Overall, if you are in a position to qualify, the EB-5 represents one of the most attractive and easily obtainable U.S. Green Cards, and remains one of the most popular options. If this option may be of interest to you, we recommend that you set up a free consult with one of our immigration attorneys, who will be able to advise you on your options, as well as potential alternatives.