DNA Explainer: What is 'privilege visa' and why is it in high demand despite travel restrictions?

In the midst of the pandemic, demand for 'privilege visas' has increased despite travel restrictions.

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DNA Explainer: What is 'privilege visa' and why is it in high demand despite travel restrictions?

Even after flights are temporarily banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 'privilege visa' is proving to be a great weapon for travellers. Despite flights being banned in COVID-affected countries, the use of ‘privilege visas’ has grown exponentially during this pandemic.

Recently, two families from Kerala made headlines when they reached Dubai on an Emirates flight despite the temporary suspension of flights from India.


Nadapuram native Yunus Hassan, Chairman and managing director of a business group in the Gulf with his family, along with another family from Kochi, travelled to Dubai in Emirates flight.


According to Khaleej Times, Yunus, his wife and children have received the Golden Visa under his sponsorship. The family spent AED 9,000 (Rs 1.80 lakh) on tickets.


They have 10-year golden UAE residency visas which are exempted from the travel restrictions. Hassan had travelled with his family to Kerala on vacation in April and returned to Dubai before the suspension of flights.


What are Privilege Visas?


The privilege visa system allows a non-resident to obtain residence or citizenship of a county in exchange for making qualifying investments. It is a type of immigrant investor programme which can provide citizenship through investment - also known as Golden Passports or Cash for Passports.


Many countries provide Privilege Visa to big and small investors. Rich and poor countries promote their economy to give stability. Under this, investors can invest in government funds or can create employment by engaging in a particular business and more. Rich and poor countries around the world want to promote investment in their country therefore many countries make such offers to foreign nationals.


During this COVID-19 era, many people want to get this visa.


How many types of visa are there?


Generally, visas are divided into two to three categories. One tourist visa and the other functional or commercial (used for professional, business, work, student, conference, cultural events). In the third category, people live as refugees or extradites in a country without a visa, until their stay is legalised by their country.


Privilege visa is given only under the functional category based on the investment of the person or by buying a long-stay visa.


About D-Visa

As for 'D-Visa', this category varies from country to country. In some countries, the 'D' category is known as the long-stay visa. However, in other countries such as the US, it is available to the crew members of airlines and sea vessels who cannot acquire a visa for their every trip.


‘Type D Schengen visas’ in the European Union countries refers to a long-stay visa, which is categorised under functional visa. Only those people can apply for a 'D visa' for the purpose of travel, who have to go for the purpose of tourism, professional activity, and studies.


Which countries give 'citizenship by investment' or privilege visa?


Citizenship can be acquired through investments in St. Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Dominica, and Turkey. Investors have to invest in these countries after which they become eligible for a privilege visa.


Which are the countries exempt from the investment?


An applicant can get residence through investment programmes. For this, one has to buy property, or invest in a business, after which the residence permit is obtained.


Many countries offer these programmes. These include Abkhazia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Latvia, Monaco, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Residence-Citizenship Programmes


Residence-citizenship programmes run in some countries. In such a situation, applicants first get residence then citizenship is given after completing at least 2 years. Many countries, including Bulgaria, Mauritius and Samoa, have such facilities.

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