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Residence and Citizenship by Investment

Residence and Citizenship by Real Estate Investment: A Comprehensive Guide

Henley & Partners

Publishing date 13.3.2024
Reading time 8-10 minutes

Thinking about acquiring residence or citizenship through investment? Real estate is a lucrative option. It can grow in value and provide rental income. Furthermore, an upscale residence in Europe, the Caribbean, or another coveted spot could be the perfect retreat for you and your family. In this guide, we explore residence and citizenship by investment, highlighting the benefits of investing in real estate. We look at the process and provide some examples of successful programs for your consideration.

What is residence or citizenship by investment?

Residence or citizenship by investment programs give you the opportunity to become a resident or citizen of a country by making a financial contribution. This is a legitimate pathway that secures your family’s future in a new location.

What investments qualify me for residence or citizenship?

It all depends on the residence or citizenship program you select. Some destinations may require a contribution to a national development fund; for others you may have to purchase government bonds.

Many programs offer residence or citizenship by real estate investment. With the Greece Golden Visa Program, if you invest a minimum of EUR 250,000 in property on mainland Greece, Crete, or one of the other islands, you get unlimited residence in Greece for you and your immediate family, visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area, and a beautiful Mediterranean residence on top.

For citizenship by investment, picturesque Antigua and Barbuda is an option. To qualify, as well as contributing to a national development fund or educational project, you could purchase real estate with a minimum value of USD 200,000. Holding a passport from this Caribbean nation unlocks visa-free travel to around 150 destinations including the UK.

What are the benefits of a residence or citizenship by real estate investment?

Securing citizenship or residence by real estate investment offers a wealth of opportunities for you and your family. With the potential appreciation of your property’s value over time, your investment grows stronger. Additionally, you are granted greater freedom to travel and pursue business, career, and lifestyle opportunities worldwide.

  • Diversification of your investment portfolio: Lack of diversification can leave you vulnerable to market fluctuations and economic downturns. By adding real estate to your investment portfolio, not only do you spread your risk, you also enjoy stable returns, potential appreciation, and passive income streams. Investing in real estate in Malta, for instance, can yield steady rental income due to strong local housing demand. Plus, as property generally goes up in value in Malta, it’s a good long-term investment option.
  • Visa-free travel: Securing citizenship or residence by real estate investment opens a world of visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel perks. Picture hassle-free trips to exciting destinations, where you can explore new cultures and conduct business without the headache of visa applications. Under the Spain Residence by Investment Program, acquisition of real estate with a minimum value of EUR 500,000 gets you visa-free access throughout Europe’s Schengen Area for you and your family.
  • Enhanced lifestyle: Once you secure residence or citizenship by property investment, you tap into an array of lifestyle benefits like top-quality healthcare and educational services. In a new and vibrant community, you’ll also have fresh opportunities for personal and professional growth.

What factors should I think about before investing in real estate?

You know what part of the world you want to relocate to. So what do you need to think about before you start shopping for real estate there? What key aspects do you need to take into consideration?

  • Investment amount: Before diving into purchasing real estate for residence or citizenship, it's crucial to understand the total investment amount required upfront. This figure is made up of the real estate purchase amount and other associated expenses. It is the cornerstone of your financial planning, allowing you to assess the commitment you need, plan effectively, and tackle any unexpected financial bumps along the way. Moreover, with this information you can evaluate the potential return on investment and determine if your program of choice aligns with your big-picture financial objectives.
  • Minimum investment threshold: This is the minimum investment you need to make in real estate to be eligible for residence or citizenship. Knowing this figure upfront helps you plan your overall investment strategy. The table below shows you the official minimum real estate investment required for residence or citizenship in a selection of countries.

Real estate investment threshold for residence or citizenship

Minimum real estate investment in EUR















Minimum real estate investment in USD

Outside Europe



Antigua and Barbuda






St. Lucia









St. Kitts and Nevis





Data accurate at time of online publication. The value of a real estate investment may not always reflect minimum contribution for citizenship or residence by investment. Minimum real estate investments shown are subject to requirements. Please visit Henley & Partners or reach out to our experts for further details.

  • Picking the right property type: Imagine investing in real estate for residence or citizenship, only to discover that the property you chose doesn't meet eligibility criteria. This scenario highlights the importance of understanding real estate categories and selecting the right property type from the outset so that you don’t face unexpected complications, delays, or even rejection of your application. It’s crucial to do your research and seek professional advice to ensure that your chosen property aligns with requirements and maximizes your chances of success. Pick a property type that fits the rules of a residence or citizenship by investment program and you're on the right track for approval. Also, match the property type with what you want from your investment, like steady rental income or growth potential, so that you’re on target for success.

What are the top destinations for securing residence or citizenship through real estate investment?

Let's explore some of the destinations that offer you the best path to residence or citizenship through real estate investment.

The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program

To qualify for citizenship of this beautiful Caribbean paradise, you can invest in property valued at least USD 200,000 from an approved project. Just look at some of the beautiful villas and high-end executive residences on offer in locations such as Jolly Harbour or Tamarind Hills. If buying with a partner, both of you need to invest USD 200,000 each. You can sell the property five years after purchasing it.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, between 2.5–5% on residential property.

Citizenship processing time: Around four months.

Key benefit: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to around 150 destinations including the UK and Europe’s Schengen Area.

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

Consider acquiring citizenship of the breathtaking Nature Isle of the Caribbean — Dominica. If you decide to invest in real estate there, the minimum value for an approved property development is USD 200,000. The capital city Roseau is one of the most popular locations for investors in Dominica. A five-year holding period is necessary should you decide to offload.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, you can expect a rental income opportunity of 2–5% on residential property.

Citizenship processing time: Around three months.

Key benefit: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 140 destinations.

The Greece Golden Visa Program

To get a minimum five-year residence of Greece, purchase a property with a minimum value of EUR 250,000 or invest at least EUR 500,000 in real estate in parts of Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, or Thessaloniki.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, expect a rental income opportunity of up to 4.5% on residential and up to 7% on commercial property.

Residence processing time: Three to four months.

Key benefit: Visa-free travel in Europe’s Schengen Area.

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme

Open the door to a vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle, a sunny climate, and a high standard of living in Malta. There is a mixed capital requirement for residence of this Mediterranean oasis that includes a property purchase in the south of the country with a minimum value of EUR 300,000.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, you can expect a rental income opportunity of 3–5%.

Residence processing time: Four to six months.

Key benefits: Visa-free travel in Europe’s Schengen Area and indefinite residence.

The Mauritius Residence by Investment Program

Invest in a luxury property with a minimum value of USD 375,000 in a government-approved real estate scheme for residence of this African hotspot. Amidst its thriving economy and rising foreign investment, finding the perfect property in Mauritius may be challenging, but the rewards are unparalleled.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, expect a rental income opportunity of around 3%.

Residence processing time: Six to eight months.

Key benefit: Full residence rights for you and your family.

The Spain Residence by Investment Program

If you would like to expand your investment horizons in the fifth largest economy of the European Union, the Spain Residence by Investment Program is an enticing opportunity. Enjoy the financial and lifestyle benefits by investing a minimum of EUR 500,000 in real estate on the Spanish mainland or islands.

Return on investment: Under normal economic conditions, expect a rental income opportunity of 3–5% on residential property.

Residence processing time: Around 20 days.

Key benefits: Unrestricted travel across Europe and a high quality of life.

Am I eligible for one of these programs?

Ready to check out residence or citizenship by investment programs? See if you're eligible. First, check out different programs to understand what they're all about. You can find detailed information on different government websites or take a quick look at our overview. In this way, you will find out what documents you require, whether you need references or not, how long the process takes, and what investment amounts are necessary. Save yourself time and get the answers you need fast by getting in touch with our experts at Henley & Partners.

What risks are there when investing in real estate?

When investing in real estate, be aware of the potential risks involved, such as volatile property values and cash flow limitations.

Property values can go up and down because of changes in the economy or new government rules, so research and solid expert advice is crucial for making informed decisions. As a global leader in residence and citizenship by real estate investment for wealthy individuals, we can identify and acquire the best property to meet your financial and lifestyle needs.

Another issue is liquidity. Real estate investments tie up cash, making it hard to access funds when needed. We recommend taking a long-term approach before investing, whereby you take potential liquidity into consideration. There are several options for mitigating this risk. Talk to us about developing a strategy that works for you.

What about hidden costs?

While on paper, the investment amount may look attainable, knowing your return on investment and being fully aware of associated costs, fees, or taxes is important. That’s where our experience and expertise come into play. If you know your approximate investment amount, we can guide you toward a program that fits with your financial requirements and expectations.

How do I apply for residence or citizenship by investment by real estate?

Applying for residence or citizenship through real estate investment varies depending on the destination. Let's look at Spain to get a general understanding of the process involved.

  • Apply for a Spanish tax ID number to carry out property purchase.
  • Select property and pay a first non-refundable deposit to hold the property.
  • Agree on the final transaction terms and pay an additional deposit of between 5–10% of the property value.
  • Allow several months for financial processes and then transfer remaining amount.
  • Sign the property purchase deed yourself or using a representative before a public notary.
  • Register as the new property owner at the local property registry and settle the property tax.
  • Proceed with citizenship or residence application with supporting documentation including your proof of purchase.

Seems complex. Can you help me through the process?

Henley & Partners is a global leader in residence and citizenship by investment programs for high-net-worth individuals. In many cases, we designed these programs in cooperation with the governments of the individual destinations. We can help you and your family to get residence or citizenship by investment through our comprehensive service. We start by advising you on appropriate residence and citizenship by investment program options and we guide you right through the entire process. We also specialize in finding real estate in highly desirable locations worldwide, so that you can get citizenship or residence in a place that enhances both your financial standing and lifestyle.

You can gain legal residence in a destination of your choice through residence by investment. In this case, you make a capital contribution to the country through a property, business, or development investment.

Citizenship by investment is your opportunity to legally obtain citizenship through financial means — like purchasing real estate, funding local businesses, or contributing to community projects.

There are real estate investment programs that put you on the path to residence or citizenship of a country. This involves a significant financial commitment, but it offers many benefits like the opportunity to establish a second home in a desirable location, potential appreciation of your property’s value, access to healthcare and education systems, and the ability to travel freely within the country and beyond its borders.  

To secure residence or citizenship through a real estate investment, you need to research eligible countries, select suitable properties, and arrange financing. Alongside that, you will have to deal with the legal and tax requirements of your selected destination. Our experts can simplify this process for you, saving you time and hassle.

Does the property that you select align with the rules of your chosen residence or citizenship program? Will it grow in value over time? What rental potential does it offer? These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when it comes to picking the investment property type for residence or citizenship.

Henley & Partners can advise you on residence and citizenship by investment programs and we guide you through the entire application process. We are a global leader in this field with a team of highly qualified professionals in over 55 offices worldwide. Take advantage of our free initial consultation where we get to know you, understand your personal needs, and help you choose a residence or citizenship by investment program that perfectly suits you and your family.

For the latest information, please visit the relevant program pages on

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Should you have any questions, or if you would like a detailed breakdown of the exact costs for your family, kindly contact us and we will be delighted to help you.


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