Portugal Citizenship By Investment: All You Need To Know Before You Decide

Golden Visa Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa Program’s inception dates back to October of 2012. The Portuguese government essentially introduced it to contribute to the country’s wealth. In Europe, the program acts as the pioneer of residency by investment programs and can also count as citizenship by investment program after five years of living there. Countries with stagnant economies –especially with stagnant property markets- frequently resort to this option of introducing a residence or citizenship by investment program. These programs generally require the applicants to make a substantial investment in real estate.

Portugal Golden Visa scheme, however, employs many options for its prospective applicants around the world. For investors seeking different methods to choose from while applying for one of these schemes, the Golden Visa Program has no shortage of options. The costs and returns on investment vary depending on the investment methods of choice.

Portugal Citizenship by Investment Benefits

You’re Not Required to Move to Portugal

Most European citizenship by investment programs require the investor to hold on to their investment and spend most of the year in the country. As for Portugal, throughout the 5 years until you qualify for citizenship, you only need to spend 7 days per year there, and 35 in total.

Variety of Investment Options

There are numerous investment options to obtain a golden visa to Portugal, including capital transfer, property purchase, and investing in a fund. The multiple choices mean that each investor can use the route that works the best for them. We will go through the investment options briefly in this article, and we have also prepared a Definitive Guide on Portugal’s Golden Visa Investment Options.

Portugal Has Many Attractive Tax Programs

One of the benefits that attract many investors to Portugal’s citizenship by investment program, is the non-habitual tax regime (NHR). Briefly, the (NHR) program allows investors to enjoy significant reductions and exemptions from taxes for ten years. Read our How to Become a Non-Habitual Resident in Portugal Guide for comprehensive information on the program and how to qualify for it.

Cheap Investment Options and Strong Returns

Portugal boasts an increasingly improving economy especially when it comes to the tourism sector. It has been a prime destination for tourists and expats alike, especially those from the United Kingdom. This means that making an investment in Portugal is a smart economic move, as it allows you to get in on one of the strongest economies in Europe. That means that you’ll get great returns on fund investments or even on rentals, especially in cities such as Lisbon and Porto.

Even though Portugal has an impressively stable economy and a high life quality, it is still one of the cheapest countries in Europe when it comes to buying property. The diversity of the investment options also offers many cheap options, with one of them starting at 280,000 Euro!

Access to Health Care and Social Security in Europe

When you become a citizen in Portugal, you are entitled to all the benefits this highly developed country offers its citizens. Such as social security and health care.

Social Security

The social security system in Portugal covers employees and self-employed individuals. It offers them various benefits in various areas such as:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Occupational diseases benefits
  • Invalidity benefits
  • Maternity benefits
  • Pension benefits
  • Death benefits

Health Care

If you are a permanent resident or citizen in Portugal, then you can get access to free health care. Very few procedures, such as visiting the emergency room or family doctor can you cost a small fee of 5-20 euros.

Keep in mind that while you’re a temporary resident in Portugal you’ll need to have private insurance, which would cost between 400 euros a year for a simple plan and up to 1000 euros a year for a comprehensive one.

Read our Portugal’s healthcare system guide to learn more.

Investment Options to get a golden visa for Portugal

There are many options to qualify for Portugal citizenship by investment program, including:

Money Transfer

In this method, the investor transfers at least €1 million to Portugal. They might choose to follow these different routes:

  1. A bank deposit.
  2. The purchase of a shareholding in a Portuguese company or the incorporation of a single-member private limited company having a paid-up share capital of at least €1 million; the subject company is then free to invest the capital freely.
  3. The purchase of Portugal sovereign debt instruments.
  4. The purchase of Portugal traded securities.

If the investor chooses to make a bank deposit, then the deposit must not dip below €1M until the investor obtains their permanent residence permit or Portuguese citizenship.

Real Estate Investment

The investors may choose to invest in Portuguese property of at least €500,000. They may choose to invest as an individual or as a joint legal entity. If the property is in a “low-density area,” the minimum requirement gets reduced to €400,000.

Rehabilitation of 30-Year-Old Property

The investors may choose to invest in Portugal property that is in need of rehabilitation and restoration. In this case, the minimum requirement gets decreased to €350,000. The property either has to be built more than 30 years ago or has to be located in a designated area of urban rehabilitation. If the property is in a “low-density area,” the minimum requirement gets reduced to €280,000.

Business Investment and Creation of 10 Jobs

Investors might prefer to create a business that creates ten new permanent jobs. The number gets decreased to 8 if the business in a “low-density area.”

Scientific Research Investment

The investors may select the option to invest €350,000 in scientific research that is conducted by accredited institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system. If the project is in a “low-density area,” the amount gets decreased to €280,000.

Cultural Contribution

The investors can also invest at least €250,000 in the artistic production or the recovery or maintenance of the national cultural heritage that is conducted by accredited institutions. If the contribution is made in a “low-density area,” the minimum requirement gets decreased to €200,000.

Portuguese Fund Investment

The investors might choose to invest at least €500,000 in units of a Portuguese fund that invests in the share capital of small or medium-sized businesses.

Don’t forget to check out our Investment Options guide, for more info on Portugal citizenship by investment options.

Requirements for Portugal’s Citizenship by Investment Program

To obtain citizenship by investment in Portugal, you need to live 7 days per year for 5 years there, which is the requirement for your Golden Visa. Additionally, you need to have a clean medical record when you apply for the golden visa. If you commit any crime punishable by jail, whether in your own country or Portugal during the duration of your temporary residence (5 years), then your golden visa will be revoked.

Finally, you’ll need to pass a basic language test that shows you have sufficient knowledge of Portuguese.

Required Documents

  • Passport, ID, or a Birth certificate
  • A certificate stating that you passed the Portuguese language test (CIPLE) 
  • Clean criminal record certificate
  • Portuguese residence permit
  • Document fro SEF to prove that you have been a resident in Portugal for at least 5 years

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do You Have to Live in Portugal to Become A Citizen

To be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship, one has to have a valid residence permit in there for at least 5 years. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you have to live in Portugal for that whole time, you are only required to spend 7 days a year there to keep your residence permit valid.

If the application is through marriage, this period is reduced to 3 years.

How Long Does It Take to Obtain Portuguese Citizenship Through Portugal Golden Visa Program?

In 2018, the Portuguese government changed the Portuguese Nationality Law and reduced the required period of residency to 5 years from 6 years. Therefore, the residents that acquired the right to reside through Portugal Golden Visa can obtain citizenship after five years of residence.

Which Countries Can I Travel to With A Portuguese Passport?

Portuguese Golden Visa has significant travel advantages. An average European Union passport provides its holder with visa-free travel to at least 150 countries around the world. As a European Union country, Portugal certainly has its perks in terms of visa-free travel. Portugal residents can travel freely to all the EU countries and the Schengen Area.

Can I work in The United Kingdom With a Portuguese Passport?

The United Kingdom is currently in a blurry situation with the European Union, but the Portuguese passport allows its holder to live, work, and study in any EU country.

Can I Work in Canada and The United Stated with A Portuguese Passport?

Portuguese passport grants visa-free travel to Canada, but to be able to work, passport holders go through a different application process. A trip to the United States needs a visa since Portugal citizenship does not grant that. Because these countries are not EU members, working in these countries requires separate permits.

Can I Travel Visa-Freely to The United States and Canada With A Portuguese Passport?

Portuguese passport grants his/her holder the right to freely travel to and from Canada, but not the USA.

Does Portugal Allow Dual Citizenship?

Portugal allows dual citizenship, but if the applicant’s home country does not allow it, the applicant may have to renounce their citizenship of their own country.

How Strong Is The Portuguese Passport?

To start with, Portugal is a European Union country, meaning that holding Portuguese citizenship grants its holder the right to live, study, and work in the EU. The country is ranked 18th according to the Passport Index. In terms of visa-free travel, it is one of the strongest passports in the world.

After I Obtain Portuguese citizenship, Do I Have to Maintain The Property or Am I Allowed to Sell It And Keep The Citizenship?

Yes, after the Portuguese citizenship is granted, the owner is allowed to sell the property or hold it and keep their citizenship.

Can I Include My Children Later On?

Portugal Golden Visa allows entrance to the country without a visa. It grants the right to live and work in Portugal, and to bring the resident’s family into the country. If one person in the family holds a residence permit, Portugal’s Golden Visa program allows their family to also gain access to a permanent residence permit and Portuguese citizenship in accordance with the legal provisions. They may also enter the country without a residential visa.

Comments (14)

YOU SAID: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO OBTAIN PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP THROUGH PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM?
In 2018, the Portuguese government changed the Portuguese Nationality Law and reduced the required period of residency to 5 years from 6 years. Therefore, the residents that acquired the right to reside
through Portugal Golden Visa can obtain citizenship after five years of residence.
I WOULD LIKE TO ASK: PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA DOES NOT REQUIRE PHYSICAL RESIDENCE IN PORTUGAL. THAT MEANS I CAN APPLY FOR CITIZENSHIP AFTER 5 YEARS OF GOLDEN VISA WITHOUT PHYSICAL RESIDENCE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I UNDERSTAND RIGHT? THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Hi Nguyen, the Portuguese Golden Visa Program allows you to obtain citizenship within the program requirements. It means there is a stay requirement of 7 days on avg each year. It already confirmed by cases that you can obtain citizenship without physical residence in Portugal.

Before getting passport, with gooden visa do I have permission to work in Porugal and other EU countries also UK?
Another question, can I rent my property during first 5years of residency?

Hi Roofia, Portugal Golden Visa Program gives you the right to live and work only in Portugal before you obtain Portuguese citizenship. The program allows you to obtain a yield from your property, and you may rent it out on the day you acquire a property.

What regions in Portugal can I purchase real estate that qualifies for the $350,000 program? i couldnt find available regions online.someone help?

After I am granted and receive golden visa will I be able to travel to the United States with it?

with portuguese passport?yes.
with golden visa?no.
the portuguese passport allows you to travel to US under the visa waiver program which allows you to travel to US indirectly. but golden visa offers residency, not citizenship. you can only apply for citizenship after complating 5 years of golden visa programme.

Is 2020 still a good year to buy real estate in Portugal?

in just 2019 prices went 10%… i would doubt of anyone’s intention behind it saying no.Portuguese real estate market is still a booming one.

I dont know Portuguese real property market and I dont want to buy an overvalued property. I dont know either how to filter them or how to compare them. How to decide them?? Do this firm help about it if i apply for consultation?

this agency works with the database of Portugal’s real estate and offered rational choices for me, personnaly. Call them because it is important to define your requirements first, before jumping into market.

what if you overpay and get lowquality property in exchange of tons of money?

in the process is there any interview or something like that that requires me to come portugal? do i need to come??

no…no inverviews or anything. i only suggest you to go portugal to choose your property.
i dont suggest you to buy your property with just looking pictures from your mobile!!

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