Update: If you are assessing applying for the Portuguese Golden Visa program as of late-November 2021, you should consider applying at the new 2022 rules. You no longer have sufficient time to apply at the 2021 rules.
Portugal Golden Visa regulation is going to change as of 1st January 2022. According to the announcements, there will be two important changes in the scheme:
- Investors will not be eligible for a Portugal Golden Visa if they purchase residential property in Lisbon, Porto, or any coastal regions.
- The minimum investment threshold for fund subscription will increase to €500,000 from €350,000
With these expected changes, applying for a Golden Visa in Portugal as quickly as possible becomes more important. As there are only a few months left, you can now apply and benefit from the current scheme. Here is what you need to know and how you can start your application today.
What You Will Find in This Article
- Golden Visa Application Process: Where To Start Your Application
- How Long Does the Application Process Take?
- Investment Fund or Real Estate Investment: Which Is Quicker?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Golden Visa Application Process: Where To Start Your Application
Get Your Portuguese Tax Number (NIF)
Getting your NIF is an important step when you’ve decided to apply for Portugal Golden Visa. It’s a document you’ll need when you’re making your transactions. However, note that acquiring a NIF does not imply that you become subject to tax in the country. To apply for NIF, you will need the following documents.
- Address proof
- NIF application submission form
- Declaration forms for assigning NIF representative
These documents need to be certified by a Portugal lawyer or by a notary. If you’re abroad, your lawyer can do this on your behalf.
Time Frame: It usually takes one week.
Open a Bank Account in Portugal
As the main applicant, you’ll need a Portugal bank account. Every bank has different processes and regulations. For instance, not all banks in the country allow you to open a bank account remotely. However, they are banks that are flexible with their approaches. The documents you will need to open a bank account include:
- Address proof
- Tax ID
- Tax return
- Pay slip
- Employment letter
- Bank account opening forms
These documents need to be signed by a Portugal lawyer and by a notary. Once certified, you will have to mail or post these documents to the bank.
Time Frame: This process might take around 3 weeks, considering the fact that you’ll mail the documents and some delays might occur.
Bank Transfer and Payment (Real Estate Acquisition or Fund Subscription)
Note that the process for fund subscription is quicker than property purchase. This is because real estate purchase involves more analysis as there are a lot of market choices. Plus, real estate investment is usually a family decision and most investors would like to check the neighborhood, state of the property, size of the property, etc. However, fund subscription depends mostly on numbers and analysis and can be easily done remotely.
You’ll be required to have certain personal documents ready for the process, such as a marriage certificate, police report, birth certificate, etc. And all these documents must be apostilled. Thereafter, you will need to get them translated into Portuguese and certified.
One of the main documents is the criminal record. Countries issue criminal records for residents differently. In some countries, the applicants have to submit a request letter derived from the Portugal Consulate. Getting all the documents ready and apostilled can take around 2 to 3 months.
Apart from documents from your home country, you will also need to submit some documents in Portugal. These documents include:
- No debt certificate from Portuguese tax and national insurance office
- Your permission for authorities to access Portuguese criminal records
- A signed statement that certifies that you fulfil the investment requirements
- Proof that you have adhered to the minimum investment threshold. You will have to submit documents like property purchase papers, renovation contracts, and a declaration letter from the fund manager
- Declaration from the Portugal banks verifying the transfer of funds
Time Frame: This could take around two to three months.
Once your documents are ready, you’ll submit all the documents to the SEF portal. Assigning a lawyer makes the whole process easier.
How Long Does the Application Process Take?
The entire process usually takes around 3 to 4 months. Here is an average timeline of the process:
Expected application time: 6 to 14 weeks
|4-6 weeks||2-4 weeks||2 weeks|
|Provide a PoA / get NIF / open a bank account||Go through the Fund KYC / Real estate negotiations||Make sure all your Golden Visa documents are set|
|Simultaneously choose your fund or real estate||Make the fund or real estate investment||Your lawyers submit your application to SEF online|
Depending on your situation, this process may take less or more time. Some of the situations include:
- If you reside in a country with a representative Portuguese bank office, then you speed up the bank account opening step.
- If you have lived in several countries, it may delay the process. This is because you will need to get police reports from all those countries.
- Sending documents by post can cause delay as some nations have slow posting services.
- An omission of signature or mismatch in the signature can cause a delay in your process.
- Complications in your property purchase process may lead to a delay.
- COVID-19 can cause delays as many government offices might shut down temporarily.
Investment Fund or Real Estate Investment: Which Is Quicker?
Like we’ve mentioned above, an investment fund is less complex and quicker. For the purchase of property, you will need to travel to Portugal. Furthermore, you will want to personally visit each of the properties and shortlist your preferred ones. From assessing the property to choosing the right one, the whole process can take a couple of days.
Additionally, you will assign a lawyer to complete the process. Once you hire a lawyer, you can go back to your country and fulfill other requirements. The lawyer will act on your behalf and complete the procedure. Ensure that you pre-arrange the viewing schedule before you visit Portugal.
Due to the pandemic, more people are viewing and purchasing property remotely. If you plan to do so, ensure that you have a reliable buyer agent to act on your behalf.
Additionally, if you are buying a property remotely, you will need a POA for your lawyer to purchase or sign the documents.
As we’ve outlined, the application for Portugal Golden Visa is a straightforward process, however, it needs good planning. With help from a professional team, you can complete your application on time and benefit from the current rules.
Get Golden Visa is an investment immigration company that provides a full range of services. In a number of countries throughout the world, we provide end-to-end solutions for residence and citizenship by investment programs.
In Portugal, we have offices in Lisbon and Porto. Our team includes legal specialists as well as qualified real estate professionals.
We work with clients from all over the world who are interested in obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa.
Contact us to speak with one of our team members who can assist you with any and all of your queries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I still have time if I haven’t even started?
The existing regulations are valid until December 31st, 2021. So if you start your process latest by the beginning of November 2021, you can still make it. If not, don’t worry, the program does not end. Only some of the rules are changing.
How long does the property buying process in Portugal take?
There are two important steps in buying property in Portugal. The first is the promissory contract, and the second is the final deed. Typically you will have to wait for 15 days between both for the City Council to execute its rights of purchase preference.
Where can you invest in real estate to qualify for Portugal Golden Visa?
The new changes limit the locations where you can invest in acquiring a golden visa. You will not be able to purchase property in major cities like Porto or Lisbon as of January 2021. Coastal towns of the mainland are now off-limits. You can only invest in properties in inland or certain low-density areas.
What are the other changes to Portugal Golden Visa?
- The capital transfer amount will rise from €1 million to €1.5 million.
- The research and development amount will rise from €350,000 to €500,000.
- The minimum investment amount for company setup will increase from €350,000 to €500,000.
- The job numbers will remain limited at 5.
Will current applicants be affected by the new changes?
No, the changes will not affect anyone who submits their Golden Visa application prior to December 31st, 2021.
Will all kinds of real estate acquisitions be impacted by new changes?
No, geographical restrictions are only placed on the purchase of residential properties. Other types of real estate property can be purchased anywhere in Portugal and qualify for a Golden Visa.