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‘High demand for ‘Privilege Visas’ amid Covid-19′: All you need to know…

In recent days, the golden visa has been a subject of discussion ever since two families from Kerala arrived in Dubai via Emirates amid the temporary suspension of flights because of COVID-19, from India. ‘Privilege visas’ are very valuable since they permit people to travel even during travel bans. Let’s look at how they work and what they are.

Privilege Visas: What Are They?
In the United States, these visas are a type of immigrant investor program where the investor can qualify for citizenship or permanent residence by investing in a qualifying country. It can either be a ‘golden passport’ program or a ‘cash-for-passport’ program, both via investments, homeownership through investments called ‘golden visas’, or it can be a hybrid program where you get immediate residence followed by accelerated citizenship.

Investments: What Are They?
There are many types of investments. The commitment can take many forms, including contributions to government funds, purchasing qualifying real estate in government-approved projects, investing in qualifying businesses, or even creating a set number of jobs. Amrendra Khatua, who was also head of the visa and passport division at the Ministry of External Affairs, explained to a leading daily that many countries hire the stability of their economies and societies to attract investors through this special category of visas. Easy entry and exit, as well as longer stays, are made possible as well as facilities equivalent to those provided to a citizen of that country.

Visa categories
Visas are permissions on a passport for entry into a country. General and functional visas are generally divided into two groups. The General category is for tourism, while the Functional category is for work, students, spouses, businesses, cultural programs, transit, and so on. Asylum seekers and refugees – people staying in a country without a visa – fall into the third category. Their visas are valid until they are regularized by the destination country. Individuals who get ‘privilege visas’ are included in the functional category; these are granted based on investments as explained.

D-visa in EU
‘Type D Schengen visa’ refers to a long-stay visa in the countries of the European Union. ‘The national visa is the long-stay Schengen visa type D,’ according to the Schengen visa website. A Schengen visa is required for all foreigners wishing to study, work or live in a Schengen country for more than 90 days (up to 1 year). The visa grants the holder the right to travel and reside in the Schengen area outside of the originally chosen Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days over 180 days and during the duration of the visa’s validity.

When Can You Apply For it:

  • Professional activities
  • For studying, or an internship
  • Tourism or private visits
  • Family reasons

‘The national visa of type D visa is issued by the consular authorities of the intended Schengen country in accordance with national legislation. Therefore, it is necessary to contact the services of the country to know the different conditions and formalities that need to be met. Under certain conditions, it can be granted as either a single or a multiple-entry long-stay visa,’ said the website.

D-Visa in the US
D-visas are classified differently from country to country, depending on the country. D-visas are usually for long-term stay in some countries. In the US, it is for crew members of airlines and sea vessels who can’t obtain a visa for every trip. The website of the US State Department describes crewmember (D) visas as nonimmigrant visas for persons providing services required for normal operation onboard commercial sea vessels or international airlines in the United States and intending to depart the United States on the same vessel or any other vessel within 29 days. As a crew member, you are required to have a crewmember (D) visa and a transit (C-1) visa if you are traveling to the United States to join your vessel.

Countries That Offer Citizenship By Investment

  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • Malta
  • Dominica
  • Turkey

Countries That Offer Residence By Investment

  • Canada
  • Portugal
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Controversies Around Golden Visas
Across many countries, there have been many controversies surrounding the issue of these visas. Questions have been raised about the benefits of these visas and their security implications. According to Amrendra Khatua, a former diplomat, small and corrupt countries use special visas as a way to protect money launderers and white-collar criminals.

There have also been some money laundering scandals in the banks of Latvia and Malta that have drawn attention to the citizenship granted. The problem was exacerbated when there was a surge in Russian funds entering EU countries. The Golden Visa Programme has been updated and revised and it would be worthwhile to check the visa websites for each country for the latest information.


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