Let’s begin by saying that certain European countries allow foreigners to purchase and own property, while others have restrictions in place for the acquisition of real estate.
In most cases, the purchase process for foreign buyers is similar to that of local citizens; however, you can come across additional requirements or restrictions. For instance, in some European countries, foreign buyers may be required to obtain special permits or residence visas before purchasing a property. Additionally, foreigners are subject to taxation related to the ownership and sale of real estate in most countries.
Overall, purchasing property in Europe as a foreigner may be complex and requires additional research and understanding of the specific country’s laws and regulations. It is essential to take time to educate yourself on the process before making any purchase decisions. A good idea for foreign buyers is to consult with a qualified legal or tax professional to ensure compliance with local laws.
At the same time, there are also countries in Europe that offer incentives for foreign buyers, such as special tax breaks or residency programs. Understanding the regulations and incentives of different countries can help guide foreign buyers to what could be a great investment opportunity.
What countries in Europe give citizenship or permanent residency by buying a property?
A lot of European countries offer various forms of residence and citizenship in exchange for property investments. These include:
- Greece: Through the “Golden Visa” program, foreign investors who invest €250,000 or more in Greek property are granted permanent residency in the country. After seven years, they can apply for full citizenship.
- Portugal: The Portuguese Golden Visa grants foreign investors the right to live and work in Portugal, as well as free access to travel within Europe’s Schengen Area. To qualify, investors must invest at least €500,000 in real estate over five years.
- Spain: Investors can obtain Spanish residency by investing in property worth at least €500,000. After five years of legal residence, citizenship can be applied for.
- Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s “Fast Track” Investor Visa Program offers investors a fast track to permanent residency if they make an investment of at least €512,000 in real estate or financial instruments.
- Cyprus: Through the “Citizenship by Investment” program, foreign investors may gain citizenship in exchange for a €2 million investment in real estate. It entitles them to full Schengen visa-free travel and residency rights within the European Union.
- Malta: The Malta Individual Investor Program offers foreign investors a Maltese passport in exchange for an investment of €750,000 (plus other fees). It gives them full Schengen visa-free access and the right to live and work in Malta.
- Hungary: Budapest has a “Bond Residency Program” for foreign investors who purchase government bonds worth €250,000 or more. It allows them to apply for permanent residency, with the option of applying for citizenship after eight years of legal residence in Hungary.
- The United Kingdom: Through the “Investor Visa” program, foreign investors may apply for residency status by investing €2 million or more in UK bonds, shares, or real estate. After five years, they can apply for full British citizenship.
Additionally, some European countries such as Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands offer options for residency by investment but not necessarily a path to citizenship.