Cyprus Golden Visa Rises as Top Choice as Greece and Portugal Adjust Programs

In the dynamic landscape of investment migration in the European Union (EU), Cyprus has recently surged ahead, catching the attention of individuals seeking golden visa programs for lifelong residency.

This shift in preference is primarily due to changes in the golden visa schemes of Greece and Portugal, thrusting Cyprus into the spotlight, especially among affluent individuals from Israel, Arab countries, China, and Russia.

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Changes in the Greek Golden Visa Program

The Greek golden visa program, which has been a popular choice for investors seeking residency in Europe, is facing significant changes as of January 2024.

The government’s recent announcement of increased investment thresholds has caused concern among potential applicants. The new requirements, which now stand at €800,000 for major cities and popular islands, and €400,000 for other areas, indicate a shift towards a more exclusive and selective program.

These changes are likely to impact the accessibility of the golden visa program, making it more challenging for individuals to qualify for residency in Greece. The higher investment thresholds may deter some investors who were previously considering the program, as the increased costs may not be feasible for all applicants.

While the Greek golden visa program continues to offer a range of benefits, including access to the European Union and the ability to live and work in Greece, potential applicants will need to carefully consider the new requirements and assess whether they meet the updated criteria before applying for the program.

This shift comes amidst a backlog of nearly 30,000 applications, indicating significant demand coupled with substantial processing delays.

Residency through investment changes in Portugal

On the other hand, Portugal’s decision to remove the real estate purchase option from its golden visa program marks a significant shift in the country’s approach to attracting foreign investment.

The golden visa program, which was originally designed to stimulate the Portuguese economy by offering residency to individuals who made substantial investments in the country, has been a popular choice for wealthy investors looking to gain access to the European Union.

By eliminating the real estate purchase option, Portugal is signaling a move towards a more sustainable and diversified approach to investment migration. This decision not only reflects the changing priorities of the Portuguese government, but also sets a precedent for other EU member states to reevaluate their own golden visa programs.

The removal of the real estate purchase option may have a significant impact on the real estate market in Portugal, as investors who were previously drawn to the program for its residency benefits may now look elsewhere for investment opportunities. However, this shift also presents an opportunity for Portugal to attract a different type of investor, one who is more interested in contributing to the country’s economy through other means.

Overall, Portugal’s decision to narrow the path to Portuguese residency through investment is a bold move that is likely to have far-reaching implications for the investment migration landscape in Europe. It will be interesting to see how other EU member states respond to this change and whether they will follow Portugal’s lead in reevaluating their own golden visa programs.


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Cyprus shines with its Golden Visa program

In contrast, Cyprus shines with its golden visa program, featuring a notably low investment threshold of EUR 300k, plus applicable VAT. This program not only offers a straightforward property investment option but also provides an efficient route to enjoying the benefits of Schengen visa-free travel—despite Cyprus not being part of the Schengen Zone.

Cyprus’ strategic position in the EU investment migration scene is further emphasized by its appeal to specific investor groups. Israelis, Arabs, Chinese, and Russians, in particular, see Cyprus’ golden visa program as the most attractive option. Notably, Russians, facing limitations under other EU golden visa programs, see Cyprus as the sole European gateway available for investment-based residency.

The appeal of the Cypriot program goes beyond financial accessibility. The simplicity of investment, especially in real estate, attracts a diverse range of investors seeking efficient pathways to EU residency.

Moreover, the opportunity to use this residency for Schengen visa-free travel adds to its appeal, offering significant mobility and lifestyle advantages within the EU.

Additionally, Cyprus has recently revised its naturalization regulations, establishing a streamlined three-year path to Cypriot citizenship for highly skilled labor candidates. This initiative represents the fastest route to EU citizenship based on physical residency currently available, highlighting Cyprus’ commitment to attracting and retaining top-tier talent.


As Greece and Portugal recalibrate their golden visa programs to adapt to new economic realities and strategic goals, Cyprus stands out as a beacon of opportunity in the EU investment migration landscape. The Cypriot golden visa program’s low investment threshold and simplified real estate investment pathway provide a compelling and accessible option for international investors seeking EU residency.

With its tailored approach to attract diverse investor groups and the added benefits of Schengen visa-free travel, Cyprus is not only setting a standard in investment migration but also demonstrating a commitment to maintaining its allure in a rapidly evolving global context.

As other nations reconsider their immigration policies, Cyprus’ proactive adaptations and enhancements to its program are poised to keep it at the forefront of preferred destinations for discerning investors worldwide.


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