What's the difference between golden visa and golden passport?

Golden visas typically allow temporary stays, although some countries grant permanent residency to those who stay in the country for a temporary period. Photo: Shutterstock

Prominent figures who have been granted golden visas by various countries often announce it ecstatically on social media. Over 60 nations offer this privilege to foreigners, providing them with unique opportunities for travel and investment. We also hear about golden passports often these days. But, how is a golden visa different from a golden passport? What are their benefits? Here's what we found:

Golden Visa
The golden visa, also known as the Residence By Investment (RBI) programme, permits foreigners to stay in a country for a temporary period by making a substantial investment. Some countries may convert this temporary permission into a permanent one under specific conditions. Normally, those who receive the golden visa are allowed to stay in the country for a fixed period and also work. Some countries require a minimum period of stay and a stipulated amount of investment for granting a golden visa. Such conditions may vary from country to country.

While the eligibility criteria and conditions may differ, the common requirements include:
Completion of 18 years of age
Investment of the minimum stipulated amount
Wrapping up the investment within a fixed time frame
No criminal antecedence
Possession of good health

Golden Passport
The golden passport, or Citizenship By Investment (CBI), grants citizenship and a passport to foreigners without the obligation to stay in the country for a predetermined period. Those possessing a golden passport enjoy nearly equal treatment as the citizens in various aspects. Although the conditions for granting a golden passport are different among the issuing countries, below are some of the common requirements.
Completion of at least 18 years of age
Not hailing from a barred country
Legal investment of a minimum stipulated amount
No criminal antecedence
Possession of good health

Comparing golden visa and golden passport
Countries like Austria, Saint Kitts, and Nevis issue golden passports without mandating a fixed stay period. In contrast, golden visas typically allow temporary stays, although some countries grant permanent residency to those who stay in the country for a temporary period. Saudi Arabia is among countries that do not allow dual citizenship. In such countries, the golden visa offers more attractive benefits than golden passports. Golden visa holders can visit and enjoy the facilities in all countries that recognize the document. The Henle Passport Index states that golden passports yield more benefits in such situations.

The golden passport grants the holders benefits equal to those that are enjoyed by the citizens of the issuing country. In contrast, the golden visa grants visiting rights. The holders of the visa are eligible to work and pursue studies in the host country. On the other hand, golden passport holders can pay taxes in those nations. The difference is that through this, the passport holders will become eligible for all the benefits under social security schemes, including health care benefits, as are available to the citizens of that country.

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