I have recently seen an older interview (end of 2017) with Ana Gomez arguing about the issues of the so called "golden citizenship" / "golden passports", the practice of giving visas and citizenship to foreigners who invest a certain amount of money in a country. She also urges about regulating them at the end of 2018:

The Portuguese socialist MEP took a stance against the golden visa policy in Europe this Wednesday, considering it to be “utterly immoral” to “sell citizenship” through the acquisition of golden visas.

This BBC article mentions that the EU commission has urged member countries to tighten regulations surrounding this practice:

The EU Commission has told EU states to tighten checks on non-EU nationals who acquire citizenship - so-called "golden passports" - through investments.

Clearly this is not something new and I was wondering if the EU Commission or Parliament have taken concrete steps to get tighter regulation of this issue.

Question: Have there been any concrete measures taken by the European Commission to regulate "golden passports"?

  • 4
    I doubt that the EU can regulate that. They can complain, but regulate? Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 9:06
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    It would be interesting to know why golden passports are "immoral" in the first place Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 9:59
  • @JonathanReez - I have also put a reference to the BBC article diving into more details. Some concerns are related to money-laundering and tax-evasion. My assumption is that the immoral part is to allow persons that have doing money-laundering or tax-evasion in their countries to come into EU to do business. If I remember correctly I saw a documentary about Russian rich people buying entire buildings in London and some of them were really dubious figures in Russia.
    – Alexei
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 10:46
  • What is meant by golden passport? I am not familiar with the term, and have to guess from context. Can you edit the question to include some definitions?
    – bobsburner
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


The member states are each and all still sovereign nations. As such they can decide to confer citizenship by whatever standards they see fit to apply, completely at their own sovereign discretion. The EU has steadfastly stayed out of such affairs and there is no indication that their position (or lack thereof) on this will ever change. Frankly, it's impressive that they even took the step that they did in asking for deeper background checks. It is unlikely they will go any further than that in the current political climate.

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    Yeah. Telling people who can and can't be citizens of their country would give plenty more ammo to those who are leery of the EU taking on the trappings of a state.
    – user19831
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 18:06

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