EU Retirement Visas & Recurring Income Visas 2021

Looking to retire in Europe but not interested in getting a Golden Visa? Discover five affordable, lesser-known EU retirement and recurring income visa programs below, or contact us now for more information.

The Portugal D7 Visa, Spain’s Non Lucrative Visa, the Greek FIP, French Long Stay Visa and Italy Elective Residency Visa offer a viable path to EU residency for retirees and individuals or families with stable recurring or passive income.

We’ve also included a handy comparison table below to give you a clear sense of the respective passive income requirements, along with the expected applications fees for each of these financially independent visa programs.

Who should consider a Golden Visa?

Golden Visas were made famous through a combination of government PR and the efforts of citizenship by investment firms marketing these programs around the world. Given that Golden Visa investments are typically in the 6-figure range (or even higher), this is not a product for everybody.

It is also not surprising that the client fees associated with these can range from €30,000+.

The price point for Golden Visas is typically justified by the fact that they have incredibly low minimum stay requirements, making them highly suitable as a “Plan B” option. Most Golden Visa holders don’t relocate to their new country of residency – at least not immediately.

These individuals and their families use Golden Visas as an insurance policy, as a place to run to should the situation in their home country deteriorate suddenly.

In exchange for this peace of mind, they are typically happy to buy a home in an overheated property market, paying a significant premium on what the property should be worth with a view to obtain the Golden Visa. Some of them use their Golden Visa property as vacation accommodation or as a second summer home. Others rent it out in order to generate a typically low return on their investment, up until the point they’re ready to retire there.

And this is absolutely fine – for these people.

What Golden Visa marketers and Citizenship By Investment firms typically won’t tell you is that you don’t need a Golden Visa to settle in European countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Why?

Because it is not in their financial interests to do so.

Fortunately, there is a far more affordable way to immigrate to the EU.

For people seeking to relocate and settle in Europe on a long-term (6 months per year+) or full-time basis, there exists a variety of alternative visa options worthy of exploration – and they’re significantly cheaper than your typical Golden Visa…

The EU residency programs compared at a glance

Country Apply Based On Savings Only Time To Citizenship & Passport Easiest To Obtain Minimum Stay Requirement Can Apply For Local Employment You have to be retired Digital Nomad / Remote Worker Friendly?
Portugal: D7 Visa Program No (unless a VERY substantial amount) After 5 years 9/10 6 months+ per year Yes No Yes
Spain: Non Lucrative Visa Program Yes (€25,817+ for a single applicant) After 10 years 8/10 6 months+ per year No No Yes
Italy: Elective Residency Program No (unless you have a VERY substantial amount of savings) After 8 years 3/10 6 months+ per year No Ideally Potentially
France: VLS-TS Long Stay Visa Program No (unless you have $100,000+ in cash) After 5 years 2/10 No minimum stay enforced presently, but 6 months+ per year could be required. No Ideally Potentially
Greece: Financially Independent Visa Program Yes (€48,000+ per single applicant) After 7 years 6/10 No minimum stay enforced presently, but 6 months+ per year could be required. No No Yes

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Comparing the EU income visas – more detail

Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece all offer alternative, stable income based residency programs, enabling you to settle in these countries, obtain permanent residency, and eventually apply for citizenship:

  1. Portugal D7 Visa Program

  2. Spain Non Lucrative Visa Program

  3. Italy Elective Residency Visa Program

  4. Greece Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa Program

  5. France Long Stay Visa Program

Typically referred to as pensioner visas, financially independent visas or non-lucrative residency visas, most of these programs require you to spend more than 6 months per year living there in order to keep your residency permit renewable and apply for permanent residency.

(France is the exception in this regard; the French immigration authorities are currently not enforcing any minimum stays for renewals and issuance of subsequent residency permits – although it is important to note that legally, they could.)

What’s more, none of these residency programs require a mandatory investment in property or securities. And should you choose to buy a home, there is no minimum value requirement either.

What these residency programs also have in common, however, is that you will need to be able to prove having the means to support yourself in-country without having to rely on salaried income. In Portugal and Italy, you’re required to have a stable source of passive income.

In Spain, significant savings can be used to meet this requirement, but in that instance the annually accessible savings requirement can be up to 400% higher than the annual passive income requirement in Portugal.

Moreover, in Spain, you’re not allowed to seek gainful local employment for the first 12 months of your residency, and in Italy you’re not allowed to take up local employment at all.

While you can apply on the basis of savings only in France, you’ll need to show at least $100,000 in accessible savings. Greece also accept savings, but there you’ll be required to deposit and keep at least €48,000 in a local Greek bank account for the entire duration of your residency.

While these residency programs typically appeal to retirees and pensioners, they are also open to younger, non-retired applicants – provided that they can meet the respective program requirements.

What are the recurring income requirements?

MINIMUM PASSIVE INCOME / SAVINGS REQUIREMENTS (2021) PORTUGAL
D7 VISA
SPAIN NON
LUCRATIVE VISA
ITALY ELECTIVE
RESIDENCY VISA
GREEK FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT PERSON VISA
Individual €665+ p.m.

( €7,980+ p.a. x 2 =€15,960 )

€2,151+ p.m.

(€25,817+ p.a.)

€2,597+ p.m.

(€31,160+ p.a.)

€2,000+ p.m (€24,000+ p.a.)
Married Couple €997.5+ p.m.

(€11,970+ p.a. x 2 years = €23,940)

€2,689+ p.m.)

(€32,271+ p.a.)

€3,166+ p.m.

(€38,000+ p.a.)

€2,400+ (20% extra, or €400+ for the spouse, so €28,800+ p.a.).
Per Additional Adult Dependent €199.50+ p.m.

(€2,394+ p.a. x 2 years = €4,788)

€538+ p.m.

(€6,454+ p.a.)

€167+ p.m.

(€2,000+ p.a.)

€300+ (15% extra, or €300+ per minor dependent, so €3,600+ p.a.).
Per Additional Minor Dependent €199.50+ p.m.

(€2,394+ p.a. x 2 years = €4,788 )

€538+ p.m.

(€6,454+ p.a.)

€167+ p.m.

(€2,000+ p.a.)

€300+ (15% extra, or €300+ per minor dependent, so €3,600+ p.a.).

NOTE: Under certain circumstances, you may also be able to apply for the D7 Visa on the basis of accessible savings, rather than passive income, or based on a combination of the two types of funds. Find out more here.

What are the professional service fees for applying?

ESTIMATED MINIMUM APPLICATION FEES PORTUGAL
D7 VISA
SPAIN NON
LUCRATIVE VISA
ITALY ELECTIVE
RESIDENCY VISA
Individual €2,500 €1,700

€3,500

Married Couple €3,000 €1,200

€1,500

Per Additional Adult Dependent €600 €1,200 €900
Per Additional Minor Dependent €600 €1,200 €900

Ready to gain EU residency without investment? Contact us now.