How to Apply for a Golden Visa for Your Spouse

    How to Apply for a Golden Visa for Your Spouse

    In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of applying for a golden visa for your spouse so they can live and work legally in Europe. We’ll cover everything you need to know from eligibility requirements and application procedures to documentation needs and estimated processing times.

    By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what it takes to obtain residence through investment programs—also known as “golden visas”—and be well-positioned to make an informed decision on whether pursuing this route is right for your family.

    Let’s get started!

    What is a Golden Visa?

    A golden visa, also sometimes called an investor visa or citizenship by investment program, is a special type of resident/citizenship permit designed to attract wealthy foreign nationals who are willing to invest a significant sum of money in a country.

    In exchange for the large financial commitment, golden visas provide visa-free travel, permanent residency status, and potential citizenship rights for approved applicants and their families. They allow individuals to live, work and study in the host nation without needing additional permits.

    Some of the countries that currently offer golden visas include Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Austria and more. Programs vary in terms of investment amounts required and residency/citizenship benefits provided.

    Am I Eligible to Apply for a Golden Visa for My Spouse?

    To qualify your spouse, you must meet the core eligibility criteria for the golden visa program in the country you’re applying to. Here are some common eligibility requirements across European nations:

    Nationality: Most demand that either the main applicant or spouse holds a valid passport from a country outside of the European Union/European Economic Area.

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    Family status: Programs typically allow inclusion of a legally married spouse as well as dependent children under the age of 18 or 21. Unmarried partners usually can’t be added.

    Investment amount: Ranges from €250,000 to €1 million. Real estate purchases tend to be the most common qualifying investment type.

    No criminal record: Applicants and included family members can’t have any serious criminal convictions in their background check.

    Minimum residency: Some programs expect the main applicant to live in the country for at least 2 weeks per year.

    Carefully review the specific rules for your target country of choice to determine if your family situation fits all the prerequisites before starting the application.

    Golden Visa Application Process

    While specifics vary slightly between nations, there is a general process most golden visa programs follow:

    1. Make a Qualifying Investment

    You must first make the required level of approved investment in the country, such as purchasing a property. Real estate deals usually take 4-6 months to complete from offer to closing.

    2. Assemble Required Documents

    Pull together documentation like passport copies, police clearance, marriage/birth certificates, proof of investment and funds, rental agreements if required.

    3. Submit an Online Application

    For the primary applicant and any family members being included. Provide personal details and upload necessary files, paying application fees.

    4. Schedule Biometric Appointments

    Have fingerprints and photo taken at an appointment for background screening to be conducted.

    5. Receive Approval in Principle

    If preliminary checks pass, families are typically issued an approval certificate starting the permanent residency/visa process. Valid for 6-12 months.

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    6. Acquire Residence Cards

    Once settled locally, families must apply for residence ID cards providing physical proof of status. Renewed every 5-10 years.

    Total processing periods are usually 4-6 months but can take up to a year. Have patience since results aren’t instant. Also note some countries offer faster VIP processing for larger investments.

    Required Documentation for Spouse

    Alongside general documents, ensuring you provide complete paperwork specifically showing your spouse’s eligibility is crucial:

    • Passport: Must be valid for 6 months past intended residency start date.
    • Marriage certificate: Translated with consular certification proving legal union.
    • Birth certificate: For each dependent child. Certified translation if not in the country’s official language.
    • Photos: Passport style headshots of each applicant.
    • Police records: Clear background check from all places lived 6+ months in past 5 years.
    • Proof of relationship: Shared property/kids/bank accounts/vacations/messages showing real ties.
    • Address verification: Bank statements/bills/rental agreements establishing residency history.

    Take care to submit only factual, legible documents without errors for smooth processing. Have certified translations ready if utilizing another language originally.

    Golden Visa Application Timeline and Fees

    Once documents are complete, here are typical estimated timelines and fee structures to expect:

    Processing Period:

    • Standard application: 4-6 months
    • Express processing: 2-4 months (higher fees apply)

    Residence Card Validity:

    • Initial period: 2-5 years
    • Renewals: 5-10 years thereafter

    Application Fees:

    • Primary applicant: €1,000-€5,000
    • Each additional family member: €500-€1,000
    • Property purchase taxes: 3-10% of value
    • Annual residency renewal: €100-€500

    Fees are non-refundable even if the application is rejected. Make sure to budget a few thousand extra euros to cover all potential costs smoothly. Payment is typically required upfront via bank transfer.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

    Do I have to live in the country?
    Most programs mandate you visit a minimum of 2 weeks per year, while others don’t enforce residency unless renewing permits. Check rules of the specific program.

    How long until we get citizenship?
    Citizenship is not guaranteed but residency permits can often be converted to citizenship after 5-10 years of living locally with no criminal record. Eligibility and process varies between nations.

    What if we divorce after approval?
    If the relationship ends, residency permits linked to the family sponsorship are voided. You’d need to apply separately based on citizenship or work visa qualifications.

    Can I work or study locally?
    Permanent residency via a golden visa allows full access to schooling and employment nationwide without restrictions like work permits or quotas.

    Does my spouse need language skills?
    Language proficiency isn’t typically a requirement for residency applications. But being able to communicate at basic daily levels proves helpful for settling into a new culture and community long-term.

    Hopefully this guide has helped provide a clear roadmap and answered your questions about applying for golden visas internationally. Careful preparation by adhering to instructions and deadlines is key for approval.

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