Retirement in Europe in 10 years

Hi all,

My wife and I are planning to retire in Europe, on Mediterranean, likely Spain or Greece. Our time horizon is pretty long - we still have about 10 years of corporate work life in us. In 10 years we would like to move to a sunnier place while continuing on a less demanding remote job.
I came across Portugal GV program with a path to citizenship and the program looks very appealing for our case. If we apply now we should be able to complete full path to citizenship in hopefully 6-7 years with only nominal requirements for stay in Portugal. Once naturalized we would be able to live and work in any EU country.

What are the alternatives for this plan? I looked at Cyprus and Malta citizenship programs but they are a lot more expensive. They give citizenship much faster, but that is not important for us.
Montenegro one is interesting but risky in case they don’t become part of EU in 10 years. Also, it’s more expensive than path via Portugal.

If we decide on a particular country, for example Spain, we can apply for their GV program but it requires higher investment than Portugal, so what gives? And we will be limited to stay in Spain for at least 5 years till we get their citizenship.

What are the downsides of going the Portugal GV path today besides opportunity costs and risks for parking EUR 280k + all other expenses + time commitment for going through all this. How high of a risk of not actually getting the citizenship? Are there real examples of people getting Portuguese citizenship based on the GV program, who never lived in Portugal? I saw people asking this on a forum but didn’t see any real success/fail stories.

I believe there is some concern about not getting citizenship if you do the bare minimum for maintaining your gv residency. Might not matter much for you since you can keep your investment and just sit on permanent residency in the worst case, which might be good enough.

First off, recognize that you’re talking about events 6-10 years from now. You are attempting to project with an assumption that the world won’t change, and it has a habit of changing. You can start on a path, but that doesn’t mean the path won’t wash out along the way.

Second, do you really care about citizenship? There are more options if you are fine with residency. What are you hoping for out of citizenship?

Third, it sounds like you’re making an assumption here that the EU will still be around in its current form in 10 years. Consider whether you want to make that bet.

As Garrett mentioned - the rules for PT GV residence are nominal. The rules on paper for citizenship are nominal, but in practice this is more uncertain and assuming you can get by on minimums is perhaps not your best plan, especially since you’re talking 5-7 years and rules can change. The thing is, the rules for residence and the rules for citizenship exist in two different laws administered by two different ministries, and most importantly, there is no official link whatsoever between residency and citizenship. GV helps you fulfill one of the mandatory criteria of reaching citizenship. That’s all. There is otherwise nothing special about GV that “helps” you get citizenship any more than any other path. Most probably, acting like you don’t even plan to stay in Portugal at the end is probably not going to look all that great - you can perhaps imagine that the Portuguese may not appreciate it.

The ads say “path” but the end of the path is not well lit. This is probably true of any program, honestly. While the program has been around for a while, there haven’t been that many applicants, fewer still who have been in the program long enough to have gotten citizenship, and fewer still whose primary language is not Chinese or Russian. This results in a fairly small number of such people who are likely to be on a relatively newly set up English-language digital nomad board. So it is unsurprising there aren’t yet any tales about citizenship here.

Some of our lawyers say there have been people but the tales are spare and lacking of detail.

If something looks too easy, it probably is.

IMO you might want to spend some time actually boots-on-ground looking around to see where you might want to be, then go from that.