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Want to Move Abroad? 6 Countries Where You Can Buy Your Way In

SmarterTravel

Moving to another country to live and work may be something you’d like to do but you can’t just leave the United States and reside in another country without proper paperwork. Unlike a short tourism visit, an extended residency requires a work visa or residency card, which can be complicated to obtain. 

However, some countries offer individuals the chance to invest in real estate, open a bank account and deposit money or outright pay a big fee in exchange for having access to reside in the country for a set amount of time. Residency grants you more rights, including being able to stay for long periods of time or indefinitely, depending on the country and their requirements, without worrying about overstaying a tourist or student visa.  

Here are six countries that allow you to invest or pay for access to reside in the country.

Germany 

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Despite lots of hoops to jump through and plenty of boxes to check, you can obtain temporary residency in Germany. But you’ll need to invest a minimum of 360,000 euros in a regional development fund for at least three years. After the three year time frame, you can apply for permanent residency. 

Greece

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Greece offers a residency program based on real estate investments. If you invest approximately 250,000 euros (depending on the Euro exchange rate) in real estate in the country, you can qualify for a five year residency permit that lets you live and work in Greece. And there aren’t any requirements or limits on the amount of days or months you must stay in Greece per year, which is good news if you travel a lot and don’t need added restraints. If you have children, they’ll also be allowed to live in Greece until they are 21 years old. 

Portugal

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This long slender country hugging the Atlantic ocean on one side and Spain on the other offers several opportunities to pay for access to residency, referred to as a golden visa.  However, all require investing a significant chunk of change (500,000 euros) in real estate. However, if you purchase a property that is 30 years or older, in an urban setting and renovate it and spend at least 350,000 euros, you’ll also qualify. If you’d rather live in a small town, the minimum price is lowered to 280,000 euros. You’re required to show that you don’t have a criminal record and spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal per year. Residency is usually processed within three to six months. 

Spain

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This Mediterranean country offers a golden visa that requires a real estate investment of at least half a million euros in exchange for temporary residency that is valid for two years. As long as you maintain your investment, you can stay as long as you want with zero requirements to live in or visit the country. But if you want to have access to permanent residency, you’ll need to live in the country for six months each year for five years before you can apply. You’ll also need to show proof that you don’t have a criminal record and take out health insurance in Spain. But be prepared for plenty of red tape and bureaucracy and speaking Spanish will definitely be beneficial. 

Turkey

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If you’re curious about living in this country wedged between the continent of Europe and Asia, Turkey has set up a program to make it easier to obtain residency through various investment options. You’ll still have to have a thick wad of cash (or rather a briefcase full of it) as the least expensive option for residency starts with a real estate purchase of $250,000. You’ll need to own the property for at least three years. If you don’t want to purchase a place but have a lot of money sitting in the bank—half a million— to be precise, you can open a bank account, deposit this amount and you’ll be granted residency as long as the money stays in the account for three years. 

Thailand

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If you want to reside in this beautiful country, Thailand offers three different options. The cheapest option, called Elite Easy Access, still requires parting with a chunk of cash—600,000 THB (around $19,500, depending on the exchange rate). This visa allows you to reside in the country for five years without any additional fees. If you want to move abroad with the whole family, you can opt for the ten year visa, known as Elite Privilege Access but be prepared to spend around $32,500 for the primary applicant, and roughly $25,000 per child. This visa option also offers a yearly health check up, airport, transport and concierge services. And if you’re certain that you’re going to want to stay for a couple decades, then choosing a 20-year residency visa may make sense. It incurs a yearly fee of $650, after you’ve handed over a one time fee around $65,000. 

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