In which countries will the purchase of real estate give Ukrainians the right to a residence permit or citizenship?

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Apart from the newly emerging possibility of obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit in the EU as a war refugee, a Temporary Residence Permit through the purchase of real estate has always been one of the easiest and most linear options to settle in Europe. Provided you invest a sufficient amount, of course.

Traditionally, some of the most attractive countries for obtaining a residence permit through the purchase of real estate are Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, and Spain.

Let's take a look at today's options for citizens of Ukraine to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit, Permanent Residence Permit, or citizenship by purchasing real estate in the EU, the pros and cons of such a decision.

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What are the minimum financial thresholds for real estate expenses?

In the EU, rather high thresholds for the purchase of the real estate, so it is safe to say that this program will not be available to everyone:

  • Spain – EUR 500,000;
  • Greece – EUR 250,000;
  • Malta – from EUR 220,000 to EUR 275,000;
  • Portugal – from EUR 280,000 to EUR 500,000;
  • Cyprus – from EUR 300,000 (entitles to a permanent residence permit).

In this case, depending on the type of property (residential, non-residential) – the minimum financial thresholds may also vary. For example, in Portugal, in the case of investment in commercial real estate, which is more than 30 years old, and which is located in the cultural and historical areas, the investment threshold is reduced to EUR 280,000.

You can buy both primary and secondary housing.

The number of applicants (children, spouse, parents) can affect the final amount of the investment, upwards. In addition, the relatives to be able to participate in the program on an equal basis with the main applicant will need to prove that they are financially dependent on the applicant.

Sometimes the investment program allows you to purchase real estate not only in the name of the individual (investor), but also in the company where s/he is the beneficiary (for example, in Spain), and often the registration of real estate in the company can be even more profitable (from a tax perspective).

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What do you need to qualify for a residence permit through investment in Europe?

Not everyone can buy real estate, but only those applicants who can pass certain tests. Traditionally, these include:

  • Verification of the legality of income – you must be ready to confirm the source of funds, i.e., where the funds were previously earned, as well as to confirm that taxes have been paid on these funds;
  • Verification of compliance with the terms of the program;
  • Credibility check – i.e. a person is not on the wanted list, is not included in the "grey"/"black" lists, etc. By the way, we note that the geography of buying real estate for the Russians in connection with recent events has greatly narrowed (they are now mainly considering Montenegro, Serbia, Armenia, Turkey, and Georgia);
  • Checking financial solvency – usually involves opening an account at a local bank and placing there a certain amount of money - in Spain, for example, it will be at least 4 times the annual minimum wage - that is, you will need to deposit EUR 27,000.

Depending on the country you choose, we will provide information on the possibility of obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit or Permanent Residence Permit through the purchase of real estate and the special conditions for participation in such a program.

As for the procedure for obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit through investment, it is quite simple. First, you need to acquire the basis for obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit (literally - to buy real estate), and then apply for a Temporary Residence Permit. The package of documents for a Temporary Residence Permit is fairly standard and uncomplicated. Differences will arise only in the case of different grounds for obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit. 

As a rule, to participate in the program you must collect the following package of documents: 

  • an international passport; 
  • 3,5х4,5 photo; 
  • a document confirming the absence of a criminal record; 
  • a medical certificate and health insurance; 
  • a document confirming the sufficiency of funds for accommodation (certificate from a local bank indicating the balance in the account / placed deposit); 
  • a receipt of payment of state duty; 
  • a document confirming the place of residence (if the investment is not made through real estate);
  • a document confirming the basis for the Temporary Residence Permit. In the case of real estate, this document is an extract from the cadastral register or the contract of sale of real estate. 

Then the entire package of documents is submitted to the migration service, and can be considered there from 1 to 6 months (depending on the selected country and program).

How to quickly obtain a Temporary Residence Permit through the purchase of real estate in the EU, and what is its validity period?

The fastest procedure is in Greece - in 1 month. In other countries, the procedure can take up to six months. The longest period is in Portugal (6-8 months).

A Temporary Residence Permit is issued for different periods, depending on the conditions of the program. In Greece, for example, it is issued for 5 years.

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What are the benefits of a Temporary Residence Permit through the purchase of real estate in the EU for Ukrainian citizens?

Today, most Ukrainians who have left their country remain in the territory of the EU based on temporary protection granted. But some are already planning to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit, in particular through the purchase of real estate. In this case, a Temporary Residence Permit has the following benefits:

  • Global mobility - unlimited period of stay in the EU (legally, of course, there is a rule about 90/180 days of stay per year, but in fact, the borders of EU countries are poorly controlled, which makes it possible to freely stay in any country as long as you want);
  • A "backup airfield" in case of unforeseen circumstances (such as a war in Ukraine, for example);
  • Capital protection - investing in real estate has always been considered one of the safest ways to invest; European real estate (given political and economic stability in the EU) over the past few decades, has not fallen in price, and in connection with that, there is reason to believe that it will continue to be so;
  • Access to the European system of education and medicine;
  • The ability to open an account in a European bank (such an opportunity is of course available to third-country nationals, but having a European residence permit, you can certainly count on a more favorable compliance procedure than the one that applies to non-EU nationals);
  • In the future you can consider obtaining the citizenship of the EU;
  • The right to work in the chosen country.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the policy of certain European countries is not always loyal to the desire of a citizen of Ukraine living under protection to leave the country, to go to Ukraine for a while, etc. There is a risk of losing protection. Also, protection in almost all European countries is valid until March 2023, and no one knows whether it will be extended.

Having real estate in the EU, in addition to the fact that you can live there (send your children to school) and spend your holidays, you can also rent it out and earn good money. 

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Do you need to live in the country and know the language to "maintain" a Temporary Residence Permit?

It depends on the conditions of the particular program. In Malta, Greece, and Spain, no. In Portugal - yes, at least 7 days a year.

Knowledge of the language is not required to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit. But it will be needed if you want to get a job (the obvious fact). And you will need to prove it by passing an exam if you decide to apply for citizenship.

Can I buy property anywhere in the country?

As a rule, yes. But in some countries, there are certain restrictions. For example, Portugal allows you to buy real estate (for the purposes of obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit) only in certain cities. That is, for example, you can't buy an apartment in Lisbon or other major cities to get a residence permit. This restriction has been in force since 2022.

In Malta, if you buy a property in the north or central part of the country, the amount of investment will be EUR 220,000, and when buying property in the south or on the island of Gozo, the amount of investment will increase to EUR 275,000.

Do I have to buy real estate or can I rent it?

It all depends on the terms of the program. For example, Greece allows the option of long-term rental property (land for agricultural purposes or tourist complex for a period of at least 10 years). 

Can I then sell real estate abroad?

Yes, but usually you have to "keep" the property until you need to hold a Temporary Residence Permit. That is, if you want to take advantage of the residence permit, you're obliged to keep the property. In Spain, for example, real estate can be sold only after 5 years.

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Can I obtain a passport (citizenship) for the purchase of a real estate in Europe?

You can, but as a rule, it will be underdeveloped countries, particularly the Caribbean (Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts, and Nevis, Grenada, Vanuatu, Antigua, and Barbuda), and Turkey.

If you are planning to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit, Permanent Residence, or Citizenship in Europe through the purchase of the real estate, we offer you complete support throughout the process.

Our services include:

  • Advising on various EU residence permit programs and selecting the best option for the client, based on their goals and needs; 

Note: You can obtain a Temporary Residence Permit not only by buying real estate but also by registering a company / sole proprietorship, placing a deposit in a bank, investing in government bonds, etc. Depending on the applicable requirements, the minimum investment threshold can be much lower than in the case of real estate;

  • Assisting in choosing the country to buy real estate;
  • Advising on the conditions of the programs in different countries (investment thresholds, requirements, the procedure, timeframes);
  • Assisting with the selection of a profitable and promising property in the selected country, which could provide a certain level of profitability, if rented out;
  • Calculating the taxes and costs for the purchase of real estate;
  • Structuring the financial aspects of the transaction, scheduling the real estate payment procedure: opening an account in a foreign bank, depositing the necessary amount of money, preparation of supporting documents for the bank, supporting the transfer of funds from Ukraine (within the existing e-limits and restrictions);
  • Supporting the applicant's participation in the residence permit program for investments: Collecting necessary documents for a residence permit (including confirming the source of funds), opening of an account in a local bank to deposit the required amount of money, communication with the notary and real estate agent on all organizational issues of the transaction, collecting the necessary package of documents and application for the residence permit.

See our service fees here.

If you have any questions about obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit for buying real estate in Europe, please contact our experts for a personal consultation.

Publication date: 14/11/2022

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