Cash flow and capital appreciation are two main reasons to buy property overseas.
But depending on where you make your purchase, your new property could also make you eligible for unexpected fringe benefits.
The main one to consider is legal residency in another country.
If the country you’re buying in has a residence-by-investment (or golden visa) program, you can qualify for residency by meeting certain investment thresholds.
Now more than ever, obtaining a second residency is crucial.
Practically speaking, it’s your legal right to live in another country long-term. On a more profound level, a second residency represents freedom.
It allows you to choose something different from your current reality, whether you simply want a change or whether the political, economic, or social situation at home has become insufferable.
If a second residency is freedom, a property purchase can be the key that unlocks it. That’s on top of all the usual stuff that an overseas property can supply (potential cash flow and capital appreciation, tax benefits, and so on).
To get a full picture of why, how, and where to invest to unlock your own freedom, you need to join Lief Simon and his team for The “Golden Parachute” Strategy Session, taking place Thursday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. EDT.
It’s free for OPA readers to attend, and there’s no obligation. All you have to do is sign up by clicking here.
Meantime, I want to highlight some of the other benefits that residency through a property purchase can unlock for you and your family…
A property purchase in Spain can make you eligible for Spanish residency through its golden visa program.
To qualify, you need to invest 500,000 euros in real estate.
Any type of real estate on the open market qualifies. This includes not just houses but also rustic land, urban plots, buildings, commercial premises, offices, parking spaces, and more.
This grants you a one- or two-year residence permit that lets you live and work in Spain. It’s renewable so long as you continue to hold the investment, and you can include your spouse and various dependents in your application.
What else can residency through a property purchase in Spain unlock?
- It puts you on a path to Spanish citizenship, which you can apply for after 10 years of residency. A Spanish passport is also an EU passport, adding the 26 other member states to the list of places you can legally relocate to.
- Access to free or subsidized Spanish health care. Spain has the seventh-best health care system in the world, according to the WHO. That’s a big upgrade if you’re from Canada (ranked #30) or the States (ranked #37), and as a resident, you can access it at reduced rates.
- Access to subsidized public education. Spain has some of the lowest tuition fees in Western Europe, which residents can take advantage of. You (or your kids) don’t have to choose between higher education and being debt-free as residents of Spain.
A property purchase worth US$300,000 can get you immediate permanent residency in Panama under the “Qualified Investor Permanent Residency” (golden visa) program.
This is a competitive price compared to the minimum thresholds for investment among Europe’s golden visas… but you must act quickly to get in on it. Panama will double its minimum threshold in October 2024.
You need to hold your investment for five years to maintain your permanent residency status. You also need to visit Panama once every two years—a minimal physical presence requirement.
These are the fringe benefits of residency through a property purchase in Panama:
- It puts you on a fast track to citizenship. You can apply for naturalization after five years of legal residence in Panama. You’ll have to pass a Spanish language and Panamanian history, geography, and civil rights test to qualify.
- Immediate permanent residency. Panama offers many types of investor visas—some with lower investment thresholds… but they don’t all grant immediate permanent residency, which is sturdier than temporary residency.
- Access to one of the world’s most favorable tax environments. Panama residents are taxed only on their locally sourced income. Depending on your situation, you could eliminate your tax burden by living in Panama.
- Panama offers generous benefits to residents of retirement age (55 or older for women; 60 or older for men). You can enjoy discounts of up to 50% on recreation and entertainment activities and hotel stays, 25% at restaurants, 15% at private hospitals and clinics, and more…
In Greece, you can gain residency by buying a property worth at least 250,000 euros, so long as it’s located in a low-density area.
If you buy property in Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, Mykonos, or another population or tourist hot spot, the minimum investment amount rises to 500,000 euros.
Greece’s golden visa gives you a five-year residence permit with no physical presence requirement, and you can include various dependents on it.
These are some of the fringe benefits of gaining Greek residency through a property purchase:
- It puts you on the path to citizenship, which you can apply for after seven years of residency and tax residency. You must pass a Greek language test as part of the application. Just like Spain, a Greek passport is highly coveted because it enables you to live in any of the EU’s 26 other member states.
- You and your dependents can gain access to free or subsidized Greek health care (ranked the 14th best in the world by the WHO) and education systems.
- Greece can be a low-tax environment… It offers Non-Dom Regimes for investors and retirees. The latter allows residents with pension or passive income from abroad to pay a flat tax of 7% for 15 fiscal years.
Bonus Pick: Montenegro
Montenegro is another country where a property purchase can qualify you for residency…
But unlike the other countries on this list, there’s no minimum threshold that you’re required to meet in order to qualify.
That’s right—a property purchase of any value makes you eligible for residency in Montenegro.
And right now, while this place remains off the average investor’s radar, you can find seriously affordable and attractive property deals.
What makes Montenegro residency exciting?
Aside from being an up-and-coming country that’s been likened to Monaco and flagged as the next Mediterranean hot spot, Montenegro is on track to join the EU as soon as 2030.
Montenegro residency today could be EU residency—the most affordable you’ll find anywhere—in just a few years.
Editor, Overseas Property Alert