Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Table of Contents

Overview & Introduction

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is one of the most popular residence by investment programs in Europe and in the world.  The program started in October 2012 and since then almost ten thousand families have received their Golden Visas.

What makes the Portugal Golden Visa so sought after? In a nutshell:

  • It provides a range of relatively affordable investment options for you to choose from in obtaining your residence permit
  • You are only required to spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal per year
  • It gives you visa free access to the Schengen states
  • You can become a Portuguese citizen within five to six years
  • Portugal is not a blacklisted country and its Golden Visa program is not a blacklisted residence program either
  • Portugal is a safe, secure, affordable country with a high quality of life, solid infrastructure, superb climate, and good health and education systems.
Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

What is the Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa program, also known as the residence permit for investment activity (ARI), is a residency by investment scheme designed for non-EU citizens.

Portugal launched the program in October 2012.  The main objective was to attract international capital into the country, as it was much in need after the 2008 economic crisis.  The program proved to be a great success, raising 5.5 billion Euros in a little over eight years.

Portugal offers a dreamy landscape, a wide coastline, a climate full of sunshine, hospitable people, and a delicious cuisine.  Better yet, it provides this high quality of life at a very affordable cost of living.  These features make Portugal a very attractive destination for international investors to invest in and obtain the right to live, work, and study in the country.

Furthermore, the Portugal Golden Visa program provides the opportunity to become a permanent resident or a citizen in Portugal in only five years.

Benefits: What are the Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa?

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Visa- free Travel  186 countries

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Minimum Investment €280.000

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Time to Residency  3- 6 months

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Time to Citizenship  5 years

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Minimal Residence 7 days

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Travel And Visa- Free Countries

The Golden Visa permit registers you in the Schengen Area central system.  So, you can freely travel within Europe without an additional visa.

At the end of five years, if you decide to get Portuguese citizenship, you can get a Portuguese passport.  The Portuguese passport allows you to travel to 186 countries without the need for a visa.

Living, Working and Studying

The Portuguese Golden Visa allows you to live, work, and study in Portugal.

If you decide to live in Portugal full-time with this permit, then you will be required to have medical insurance.  You will, however, have full access to all public services including healthcare and education.  Read more about the Healthcare System in Portugal.

State schools follow the Portuguese curriculum, though there are numerous private British and American international schools.  For more information, you may read our guide on the Portuguese Education System and International Schools.

The work permit allows you to work anywhere, as well as start and run your own business in Portugal.

Family Reunification

As the main applicant, you may extend the Golden Visa to your family members.  The application process is simultaneous for the main applicant and the dependents.

Following members of family are eligible to apply along with the main applicant:

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Spouse

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Children under the age of 18

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Dependent children under the age of 26, provided that they are full-time students and not married

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Parents of the main applicant, if over the age of 65 years old

Citizenship and Passport

You may apply for citizenship after five years of holding a Golden Visa in Portugal.

In order to qualify for citizenship, you must have:

  • No outstanding tax payments in Portugal,
  • Clean criminal records from Portugal and from your home country,
  • Entered and passed a basic language test in Portuguese.

Later in the article, we will touch on the specifics of the Portuguese language test.

Tax Benefits

The Golden Visa program will not bring any tax responsibility to its applicants unless you spend more than 183 days of the year in Portugal.  In case you do, then you become tax residents in Portugal.

Portugal has a favorable tax regime for foreigners who consider relocating to Portugal and become tax residents.  Through the non-habitual residency (NHR) program, the country offers certain exemption from income tax for the first ten years of residence.  The program slightly changed in 2020, exempting foreign pensioners from getting tax breaks on their pension income.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Overall Benefits

Golden Visa applicants have the right to live and work in Portugal, but there is no requirement to do so.  The country offers a favorable tax regime to those who decide to relocate to Portugal.  The applicants enjoy free travel within the European Schengen visa zone. After holding a Golden Visa for five years, the applicants can apply for citizenship or permanent residency in Portugal, leading to a passport.  The Portuguese passport allows the owner to live, work, study anywhere within the European Union.

Eligibility: Who is eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

Nationalities

Any non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa.

Pre-requisites

The main applicant must be at least 18 years old and hold a clean criminal record from the home country, as well as from Portugal.  The funds for the investment should arrive from outside of Portugal.

Golden Visa Minimum Investment

In order to qualify for the program, a qualifying investment has to be made.  Investment categories include real estate, venture capital fund, transfer of capital, company formation, and donation.  Later on in this guide, you can find a list of qualifying investments.

Family Members

Under family reunification, the main applicant may extend the Golden Visa to the rest of the family members.  A comprehensive list of eligible dependents is listed in the previous section.

American Applicants to the Portugal Golden Visa

US citizens are eligible to apply to the Portuguese Golden Visa.  Foreign-owned real estate has many advantages for tax residents of the United States, making the real estate investment option of the program especially interesting.

American business owners may also choose to expand their businesses to Portugal, taking advantage of the Golden Visa program.  The tax incentives in Portugal make it an attractive destination to relocate to.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

UK Citizens

British investors in the UK and around the world are preparing for the repercussions of Brexit in terms of their travel abilities.  As of the end of 2020, UK passports lost their freedom of movement in the Schengen Area.  UK citizens target Portugal for two reasons: desirable lifestyle and European citizenship by investment.

As of December 31st, 2020, UK citizens are eligible to apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa program.  This provides them with the right to travel within the Schengen Area.  You can read our article on the Portugal Golden Visa for UK Citizens.

LGBTQ+ Partners

Portugal is very progressive in terms of LGBTQ+ rights. It is among the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world.  Same sex couples are recognized and same sex marriage is legal in the country.  Accordingly, same sex partners are eligible to get the Golden Visa as dependents, under family reunification.

To learn more, you can read our guide on Portugal for LGBT Expats.

Requirements: What are the Golden Visa Portugal requirements?

Minimum Residence Requirement

Portugal Golden Visa program has a low stay requirement.  Portugal requires the Golden Visa residents to spend a minimum of seven days annually on average in the country.

Validity PeriodStay Requirement
Initial GV Residence Permit Two (2) years Fourteen (14) days within two years
Subsequent GV Residence Permits Three (3) years Twenty-one (21) days within three years

 

Important Note: As of April 2020, the initial residence permits became valid for two years (used to be one year) and the subsequent permits became valid for three years each.  This was due to a legislative change in the Portuguese immigration law.  In case the change is permanent, it is expected that the initial card that is valid for two years will require the cardholder to spend at least fourteen days within that two year period physically in Portugal.  Then the renewal cards will be valid for three years each and the applicants will need to spend at least twenty one days physically in Portugal within the three year periods.

Make and Maintain a Qualified Investment for Five Years

The applicant is required to present supporting evidence that he or she has individually made the investment of the minimum amount required.  As the main applicant, you must maintain the investment as long as you and your dependents hold the Golden Visa residency status.

If and once you become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen, the investment no longer needs to be maintained.  You can then liquidate whichever investment you made.

Proper Documentation

You need to provide the following documents in order to apply for the Golden Visa;

1) Copy of a passport or other government issued travel document

2) Proof of evidence of the qualifying investment made by the main applicant individually:

→ If real estate; a deed or promissory sale agreement with proof of deposit payment

→ If investment fund; proof of fund subscription from the fund management

3) Declaration from Portuguese financial institution confirming transfer of funds

4) Proof of healthcare coverage:

→ If in Portugal, from the National Health System in Portugal

→ If outside of Portugal, from an internationally covered insurance company

5) Criminal record of current country of residence

→ Must be issued within three (3) months of the form submission

6) A completed form authorizing SEF to access criminal record in Portugal

7) A sworn declaration on compliance with the minimum investment requirements for the necessary time period of five years

8) Documents outlining good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system

→ Must be issued within 45 days of the form submission

9) Receipt of ARI application payment

Unless otherwise stated, it is best to have the documentation issued within three months of your Golden Visa application submission.

Legalizing Documents

All the above documents issued by a non-Portuguese entity need to be legalized.  The legalization must have an apostille if the subject country is part of the Hague convention.

Translating Documents

Any original document that is not in Portuguese needs to be translated into Portuguese and certified.  The certification is typically performed by a notary.

Related Fees

Below is a chart of Portugal Golden Visa government application fees;

FrequencyAmount
Processing Fee Once at the beginning and then at each renewal 533.90 Euro (+ 83.30 Euro/dependent)
Initial Application Fee Once at the beginning 5,336.40 Euro per person
Renewal Application Fee At each renewal 2,668.20 Euro per person
Legal Fee Progress payments Differs between Law Firms and investment types

Bank Account and NIF Number

Portugal requires you, the main applicant, to make the investment from your bank account in Portugal.  Accordingly it is mandatory for you to have an account in a Portuguese bank.  You must also have a NIF number, which is a tax identity number in Portugal, to open the account.

Both obtaining a NIF number and opening a bank account in Portugal are pretty straightforward.  They can both be done in half a day.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Getting a NIF Number

  • Get a proof of address from your country of residence
  • Bring a government issued identification and your proof of address to a Finanças office in Portugal
  • Get your NIF number on the spot within an hour

You can also provide your lawyer with a power of attorney and they can complete this step without you even being present in Portugal.

Opening a Portuguese Bank Account

Unlike many countries in the world, Portuguese banks make it quite easy to open a bank account for non-residents and foreigners.  The banking and maintenance fees are also quite low compared to the rest of Europe.  Just follow the below steps:

What you will need:

  • Passport or government issued travel document
  • NIF Number
  • Portuguese phone number
  • Proof of address from your country of residence
  • Proof of income / pay slip

What you will do:

  • Go to the bank branch and open your account

Simple as that.  Typically, each law firm has one or more banks and branches they work closely with.  It is best to get their advice in order to keep things moving quickly.

Investment Types: What types of investments qualify for the Golden Visa?

Real Estate

Acquire real estate worth more than 500,000 Euro in Portugal

→If in a low-density area in Portugal, the minimum amount drops 20% to 400,000 Euro

Acquire real estate that is older than 30 years old, in an urban rehabilitation area, and renovate it for a minimum of 350,000 Euro in Portugal

→If in a low-density area in Portugal, the minimum amount drops 20% to 280,000 Euro

→The minimum amount contains both the property investment price plus the cost of renovation works

The real estate acquisition does not need to pertain to one property necessarily.  As long as the minimum amount is met in total, the transaction may include the purchase of multiple properties.

Conversely, if multiple applicants are purchasing one property of a larger purchase amount, they may also combine their investments.  This means that if two siblings purchase a real estate worth 1,000,000 Euro, they may each apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, as they each spend 500,000 Euro in total.

Capital

Capital Transfer of a minimum of 1,000,000 Euro to Portugal

Funds

A minimum of 350,000 Euro subscription in a qualifying Portuguese fund

Company

Creation of a minimum of ten new full time jobs in a Portuguese business that is owned by the main applicant

→Create a minimum of eight new full time jobs in a Portuguese business formed in a low-density area in Portugal, owned by the main applicant

Invest a minimum of 350,000 Euro in an existing Portuguese business, where the incorporated business must create a minimum of five new full time jobs for at least three years

Donation

Invest a minimum of 250,000 Euro in preserving national heritage in Portugal

Invest a minimum of 350,000 Euro in a research and development activity in Portugal

Are Loans allowed for the Golden Visa investment in Portugal?

A common question is if you can use a loan or a mortgage in making your Golden Visa investment in Portugal.  Portugal expects the main applicant to bring in the minimum required amount from outside of Portugal into the country.  So the minimum amount cannot be taken out as a loan from a Portuguese financial institution.

However, you can take the amount as a loan from a non-Portuguese financial institution and then bring it into Portugal.  Additionally, if your investment exceeds the minimum amount, there is nothing stopping you from taking a loan for the exceeding amount from a Portuguese bank.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Application & Process: What Is The Step By Step Process For The Golden Visa Portugal?

The Golden Visa application in Portugal is quite straightforward. Below is a detailed list of steps to take toward a successful application process.

Step One: Decide on Your Investment Type

First things first.  You need to analyze the list of available investment types and decide on which investment you will move forward with.  Tip: more than 90% of all Portugal Golden Visa applicants have chosen to move ahead with a real estate investment.  Nevertheless, the fund option also started gaining traction in recent years.

Step Two: Gather All the Necessary Documents

You need to gather all necessary documents for yourself, the main applicant, as well as all those for your dependents, if you have any.  This step may get a bit tiring, especially with all the translations, notarizing, apostilles, and certifications.  However, a professional advisor will help alleviate the boredom.

Step Three: Get a NIF & Open a Bank Account

As mentioned above in the article, getting a NIF and opening a bank account in Portugal can practically both be done within a day.  This is a task that you can delegate to your lawyers to complete without your presence in the country.

Step Four: Finalize the Investment

Now that you chose which investment type to go with, it’s time to pay up and lock in your investment in Portugal.

Step Five: Submit Pre-Application

With your qualifying investment made and your paperwork ready, you will submit your pre-application online to SEF.  In most cases, your law firm will do this on your behalf and notify you if there is anything missing.

In standard times, it takes roughly two months from the time you submit your documents until your appointment date.

Step Six: Schedule & Attend Your SEF Appointment

After analyzing your pre-application, SEF will provide you with a set of available dates for a biometrics appointment.  On the chosen appointment date, you and your dependents need to physically show up at the corresponding SEF office in order to submit your fingerprints and make your application official.

Step Seven: Get Your Golden Visa and Renew

Bingo! You and your dependents receive your Golden Visa residence cards.  Your law firm or your professional advisor will collect the cards and send them your way.  Each card is valid for two years and at the end of the validity period, you will renew your Golden Visa card to receive a new one.

In standard times, it takes roughly four months from your biometrics appointment until you receive your cards.

Step Eight: Become a Portuguese Citizen

After you renew your initial Golden Visa card twice and complete a total of five years, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.  The citizenship application typically takes anywhere from six months up to a year.  Once you receive your permanent residence or citizenship, you will no longer need to maintain your investment in Portugal.

Timeline: What is the timeline for the Golden Visa process?

The initial application and the supporting documents are submitted online to Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF).  SEF is the official immigration and border services office in Portugal.  Once they approve your application, you then need to appear for an interview in person.

There are numerous SEF offices across Portugal, and you may apply for any of them, regardless of where you made your investment.  That way, you can avoid districts with long waitlists such as the SEF office in Lisbon.  It can take up to six months for SEF to approve and provide a biometrics appointment date, as long as it is not one of the high-demand locations.

As the main applicant, you and all your dependents can book the SEF appointment simultaneously.  After the in person interview, you will receive your Golden Visa cards.  It typically takes around four months to receive these residence permit cards.

Your residence clock starts ticking on the day your Golden Visa card is issued.

Year One and Two

Your initial Golden Visa residence card will be valid for two (2) years.  In these two years, you must spend a total of fourteen (14) days in Portugal.

At the end of this period, you need to renew your residence permit.  So, between 30-90 days prior to the expiration date of your card, you need to repeat the above SEF appointment to renew your cards.  For the renewal, you need to re-submit the up-to-date documentation (ie. criminal records), biometrics, and necessary application processing fee.

Year Three, Four, and Five

Your renewed Golden Visa residence permit will be valid for three (3) years.  Within those three years, you must spend at least twenty one (21) days in Portugal.

Year Five

At the end of the fifth year, you have three options:

  • Apply for Permanent Residence in Portugal
  • Apply for Citizenship in Portugal
  • Continue with the Golden Visa temporary residence program

If you decide to become a permanent resident or a citizen in Portugal, you no longer need to maintain the Golden Visa investment you made in the country.

The above application, stay, and renewal requirements always apply to all Golden Visa card holders, including the main applicants and the dependents.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Fees and Costs: What are the Government fees and legal costs related to Golden Visa?

In addition to the minimum investment you make and the necessary fees related to the transaction of the investment property, you will be faced with legal fees and government application fees.  Below, you may find a detailed list of all the associated costs.

Government Fees

FrequencyAmount
Processing Fee Once at the beginning and then at each renewal 533.90 Euro (+ 83.30 Euro/dependent)
  Initial Application Fee Once at the beginning 5,336.40 Euro per person
     Renewal Application Fee At each renewal 2,668.20 Euro per person

 

Legal Fees

The legal fees depend on the law firm you choose to work with.

The Portugal Golden Visa investment is quite a sizable one, so it is best if you assign an experienced law firm to take care of your due diligence, as well as the application and renewal process.  The legal fees can add up to a significant amount, but it is best not to take chances by going with a newbie in the field.

The fees can land somewhere between 10,000 Euro all the way up to 30,000 Euro for a family of four, taking into account the complete five year span.  The good thing is, you will not have to pay this up front, but in installments depending on the completed tasks within the five years.

We would be happy to guide you to a number of different experienced law firms in the field of Portuguese Golden Visa.

Costs Related to Investment

Depending on your preferred type of investment, the associated costs differ. Below, you can find a table that covers the costs associated with the most popular investment types; real estate acquisition, fund investment, and transfer of capital:

Real Estate PropertyCapital TransferInvestment Fund
Minimum Investment 350,000€ 500,000€ 1,000,000€ 350,000€
TAXES
 -IMI Transfer Tax 4,58% 6,5% 0% 0%
 -Stamp Duty 0,8% 0,8% 0% 0%
 -Notary Cost 1,000€ 1,000€ 0% 0%
Exit Fees 5%+VAT 5%+VAT 0% 0%
 -Commission 5%+VAT 5%+VAT 0% 0%
 -Performance Fee 0% 0% 0% 35% of the profit*
Management Fees 0% 0% 0,5% 1,5% annually**
Legal Fees*** varies varies varies varies
Total
(approximate without Exit Fees, Management Fee, or Legal Fee taken into account)
369,840€ 537,500€ 1,000,000€ 350,000€

* Varies on the fund, it is typical for the performance fee to be between 20%-50% above a hurdle on the profit

** Varies on the fund, it is typical for the annual management fee to be between 1%-2% of the invested amount

*** Legal fees vary widely between law firms, the number of dependents, and other variables; it would not greatly differ between different investment routes

Taxes: What are the Portuguese Golden Visa Tax Implications?

Tax Implications

Tax residency and legal residency are different concepts.  Becoming a Golden Visa holder in Portugal does not necessarily turn you into a Portuguese tax resident.

Even as only a legal resident, however, you will pay taxes related to your investment in Portugal, as long as the investment generates an income.

If you decide to become a tax resident in Portugal, you will need to spend more than 183 days out of a fiscal year in Portugal.  Becoming a tax resident in Portugal has some appealing advantages, thanks to the Non Habitual Resident (NHR) tax program.

Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Tax Program

Through the non-habitual resident tax regime, Portugal attracts professionals and investors of high cultural and economic value to the country.  The program grants significant tax savings to foreigners of qualifying professions, planning to move their tax residence to Portugal.

The scheme started in 2009 and now holds over 10,000 applicants.  In 2020, the program went through a few changes, mainly preventing foreigner pensioners from tax breaks on their pension income.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

Real Estate Tax Implications

Buying a property in Portugal comes with a number of acquisition costs that we laid out earlier on in the guide.

Real estate acquisition taxes are significant, however, the costs do not stop there.  There are also annual local taxes and rental income taxes, in case you rent your property out.

Annual Local Taxes

Imposto Municipal sobre Imoveis (IMI) is the annual tax rate that needs to be paid by property owners in Portugal.  The IMI tax rate ranges from 0.3% to 0.8% depending on the type, age, and location of the real estate.

Property Rental Taxes

Regardless of your residency, the income from Portuguese property rental is always taxable in Portugal.  The net rental income faces a flax tax rate of 28%.

Maintenance, repair costs, and IMI may be deducted from this tax amount.

The rental income taxes may differ if you decide to rent out your property on a short term basis to tourists.

If you decide to sell your property at a profit some day, capital gains tax applies for property purchased after 1988.

Statistics on Portugal Golden Visa

Below you may find the overall statistics regarding the Portugal Golden Visa program between October 8th, 2012 and October 1st, 2020.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

 

Total number of main applicants reached 9,200 with 15,792 dependents accompanying them. These applications directed 5.5 billion Euro of global funds into Portugal.

Investment Type

Out of all the applications, the investment types were:

Real Estate Acquisition: 8,654 applications

→Real Estate at a minimum value of 500,000 Euro: 7,923 applications

→Real Estate urban rehabilitation at 350,000 Euro: 731 applications

Capital Transfer: 529 applications

→1M Euro Capital Transfer in a Portuguese Bank: 482 applications

→350,000 Euro Investment Fund: 46 application

→350,000 Euro Capital Transfer + Creation of Jobs: 1 application

Creation of Ten Full Time Jobs: 17 applications

Nationalities

The highest number of applicants came from:

  • China: 4,708 applicants
  • Brazil: 973 applicants
  • Turkey: 441 applicants
  • South Africa: 384 applicants
  • Russia: 352 applicants

2020 Golden Visa Changes in Portugal

The Portuguese Parliament passed the 2020 Budget Bill in February 2020.  The scope of the bill included changes pertaining to the Portuguese Golden Visa program.  The objective of the parliament is to promote investment in low-density areas, urban renovation, job creation, and cultural heritage.

What are the Proposed Changes?

The approved changes refer to two different aspects:

  • The required investment amounts in the various Portugal Golden Visa investment types to be raised
  • The real estate investment route to only cover property investments made in low-density areas within Portugal
    • This means that buying real estate in Lisbon or Porto would no longer qualify for the Golden Visa program

Lisbon and Porto have been the most popular real estate acquisition destinations among the Golden Visa applicants in Portugal.  However, the proposed changes only allow the real estate purchases in municipalities of the interior or the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira to qualify for the program.  So, this is quite a major proposal.

The above mentioned changes in the non habitual resident (NHR) tax scheme also pertain to the same 2020 Budget Bill.

Objectives Behind the Proposal

The Portuguese Parliament chose to propose changes on possibly the most popular residence by investment program in Europe.  There are a number of reasons behind this proposal.

  • To protect the locals in large cities from having to move out of the cities due to the rising prices,
  • To stimulate investment to the interior parts of Portugal,
  • To alleviate the pressure of the European Commission on the Portugal residence by investment program.

The Effect

The most popular form of investment for the Portugal Golden Visa is the real estate acquisition option.  The Golden Visa real estate investors have chosen Lisbon and Porto as an investment destination, with a landslide.

This potential change prevents the applicants from buying real estate in major cities like Lisbon and Porto.  Nevertheless, there are still attractive destinations among the interior municipalities of Portugal such as part of the Algarve region in the south or areas like Braga and Guimaraes in the north.

Investment options that are not related to real estate such as transfer of capital or creation of a company will continue to be available to prospective Golden Visa applicants.

Timeline

The Parliament approved the government to make changes to the Portugal ARI program in February 2020, along with the 2020 Budget for the country.

Initially it was informally stated by authorities that the changes would only take effect by the end of 2020.  This would mean that the changes would be implemented on the Portugal Golden Visa in 2021.

Covid-19 Update

However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the current plans and the proposed changes were postponed even further.  The pandemic affected all economies drastically and the Portuguese economy is no exception.  Portugal would be motivated to promote the continuity of foreign investment.  Although there are no clear dates, many law firms predict that the changes will either be cancelled or postponed even further due to Covid-19.

As of the end of 2020, informal statements were made by authorities, indicating that the proposed changes to the Portugal Golden Visa program may no longer take effect.

The Get Golden Visa: Who are we and what do we do?

The Get Golden Visa is a full service investment immigration agency.  We provide end-to-end solutions on residence and citizenship by investment programs in numerous countries worldwide.

We have local offices in Lisbon and Porto, Portugal. We have legal professionals, as well as chartered real estate professionals within our team.

We work with clients from all around the world, interested in obtaining Portugal Golden Visas or in making real estate investments in Portugal.

Contact us and talk to one of our experienced team members to help you with any and all your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Portugal Golden Visa

  • Which Golden Visa program is the best? Comparison: Portugal vs Spain vs Greece

It depends. It really depends on the criteria of the investor and there are many variables that go into answering that question.  Nevertheless, for those interested in obtaining a European citizenship, Portugal Golden Visa stands out in comparison to Spanish and Greek Golden Visas.  You can find out more in our guide comparing the Portugal vs Spain vs Greece Golden Visa Programs.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

  • What is Portugal’s golden visa?

It is a residence by investment program offered by the Portuguese government to non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss citizens, willing to make a qualifying investment in Portugal.  It is an investment immigration program bringing funds from foreign investors into the Portuguese economy.

  • What are the advantages of the Golden Visa?

The advantages of the Portugal Golden Visa include visa-free travel across the Schengen states, the right to live and work in Portugal, the ability to include each qualifying family member within the residence program, and the possibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship once you held your Golden Visa for at least five years.

  • Which requirements do investors have to comply with?

The main applicant has to be a non-EU, non-EEA, and a non-Swiss citizen of 18 years or older, and make a qualifying investment within Portugal.

  • What are the specific requirements for each type of qualifying investment?

Real Estate acquisitions: Buying any real estate in Portugal worth at least 500,000 Euro or buying a real estate in an urban rehabilitation project worth at least 350,000 Euro.  Both amounts drop 20% further, as long as the investment is in a low density population area in the country.

Transfer of funds: 1,000,000 Euro transfer of capital to a Portuguese bank account or 350,000 Euro subscription in one of the qualifying Portuguese venture capital funds.

Job creation: Creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal.

Financial contribution: 250,000 Euro contribution to cultural heritage or 350,000 contribution to research carried out by public or private scientific research institutions.

  • Who in my family benefits from my Golden Visa?

The main applicant’s spouse, minor children, dependent children, and dependent parents also obtain the Golden Visa through family reunification.

  • How much does the process of obtaining the Portuguese Golden Visa cost?

The cost of the Golden Visa depends on the investment route that is chosen.  On top of the deployed amount, there are acquisition costs, legal costs, and Golden Visa fees paid to the Portuguese government.  You can find a detailed list of all within the article above.

  • How long is the wait/processing time for the Golden Visa in Portugal?

The wait time for the Golden Visa application changes constantly and it highly depends on which SEF (Immigration and Borders) office you applied to.  Typically SEF offices in major cities like Lisbon have a high wait time, whereas those in rural areas are less.  Currently, from the moment you make your investment, it takes approximately six to eight months to receive your Golden Visa residence card.

  • Should all supporting documents be translated to Portuguese?

Most of the supporting documents to Portugal Golden Visa need to be translated into Portuguese or English.  You may find the details of the necessary documentation above in this article.

  • Can you make the investment through a limited company?

The Golden Visa investment needs to be performed by the main applicant as an individual.  The only exception is if the main applicant establishes a company and invests at least 1 Million Euro as capital into the company.  Then the limited company may make investments on behalf of the investor with that capital.

Portugal requires the minimum investment amount to be brought into the country by the main applicant.  That amount cannot be borrowed from a bank in Portugal.  It can be taken as a loan from a non-Portuguese bank, outside of Portugal.  However, if the investment exceeds the required investment amount, anything above the required amount can technically be borrowed from a Portuguese bank.

  • Can I do the Golden Visa Portugal process on my own?

You may. However, you will be making a significant investment in order to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa. So, it is highly recommended that you use a professional advisor and a legal representative in pursuing the program.

  • Do I need to get a lawyer for the Golden Visa application?

You are not required to get a lawyer to apply for the Golden Visa, however it is highly advisable that you have a local Portuguese lawyer in assisting you with your application process.

  • What are the Portugal Golden Visa Tax considerations? Do I have to pay taxes in Portugal?

Having a Golden Visa Portugal does not automatically make you a tax resident in Portugal.  Unless you become a tax resident in Portugal, you do not need to pay any taxes on your non-Portuguese income.  Your income within Portugal, however, needs to be declared in Portugal and you need to pay taxes on that income.  Thanks to Double Taxation Treaties, you will not be taxed multiple times on the same income.

  • What taxes apply to income generated in Portugal?

Your real estate rental income in Portugal is taxed at a flat rate of 28% in Portugal.  Real estate investments that are not rented out or generating income does not lead to any income tax.

  • Does the investor have to pay taxes in Portugal on his/her worldwide income?

No.  If the investor does not spend 183 days or more in Portugal within a year, the investor is not a domicile.  In that case, the investor does not pay taxes in Portugal on the worldwide income, apart from that in Portugal.

  • Do I have to register and pay Social Security contributions in Portugal?

No, you are not required to register or pay Social Security contributions in Portugal.  However, you do need to get private health insurance to cover your healthcare costs in Portugal.

  • What are the Portugal Non-Habitual Resident Regime eligible occupations?

You may find a comprehensive list of eligible occupations in our NHR Guide in Portugal.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

  • What is a fiscal number?

A fiscal number in Portugal is called a NIF. You will need a NIF in order to perform any official transaction in Portugal.  This includes opening a Portuguese bank account, purchasing real estate, etc.

  • What are the taxes and costs for property acquisition and ownership?

There are certain taxes and costs associated with buying a property in Portugal.  These include IMT (ranges between 5% to 7% depending on the type and price) and stamp duty (0.8%).  Costs include notary fees, which would be around a thousand Euros and legal fees, which depend on the law firm.  If you are part of the residency permit by investment scheme, there are also Golden Visa fees to be paid to the government.

  • Do I need to reside in Portugal or can I live in other countries?

Portugal does not require you to live in the country full time if you have a Golden Visa.  You merely need to stay in Portugal at least seven days per year in Portugal.  Besides that, you may live in your country of origin or any other place you wish to live in.

  • Can I use cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

At the Get Golden Visa, we are proud to accept all our fees in Bitcoin.  However, Portuguese government does not accept the Portugal Golden Visa investment to be made in any other currency than Euros.

  • Can Americans apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, American citizens can apply for Golden Visa Portugal.  There is nothing against your country of origin being the United States.

  • Can Russian apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, Russian citizens can apply for a Portugal Golden Visa.  Applicants with Russia as a country of origin actually constitute the fourth largest nationality group in the program’s applicant pool.

  • Can people from Hong Kong apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, Hong Kong citizens can apply for Portuguese Golden Visa. The program has been very popular in Hong Kong in the year of 2020.

  • Should I avoid certain firms offering Golden Visa services?

Absolutely.  Just as in any business, there are many inexperienced individuals and firms claiming to provide services within the RCBI field as well.  Make sure that you go on to vet the firm that will advise you in such a significant commitment.

  • How do I find good real estate investment opportunities in Portugal?

If you want to find good opportunities for real estate investments in Portugal, you can start by working with an experienced chartered real estate investment professional.  You can provide them with your criteria and ask them to come up with a short list of regions, cities, neighborhoods, and then particular properties for you, in order.  The real estate market in Portugal proved to be a robust one, exhibiting great promise for the future.

  • What’s the best way to get a Golden Visa Portugal?

The best way is the way that fits your specific criteria. In other words, it completely depends on the investor and the investor’s needs.  So far, the overwhelming majority of Portugal Golden Visa investors opted to move ahead with a real estate acquisition.

  • What are the investment options for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

The Golden Visa endowment routes include real estate acquisition, transfer of capital, creation of 10 jobs, and financial support in national activities in Portugal.  You may find the specifics of each route above in this article.

  • Which investment funds are available for a Golden Visa?

There are a number of different venture capital funds with different investment strategies and features available in the market, which qualify their subscribers to apply to the Golden Visa Portugal.  For a comprehensive list of funds and their details, feel free to get in touch with us.

  • Should I avoid certain firms offering Golden Visa services?

Yes.  You will be making a significant investment and stepping into a relatively long process.  Make sure you have a professional and experienced team holding your hand throughout the process.  You do not want to suffer the mistakes or misleadings of an inexperienced advisor.

  • How long does it take before I can apply for Portuguese citizenship and passport?

You are eligible to apply for citizenship in Portugal at the end of your fifth year as a Golden Visa holder.  Once you are naturalized as a citizen, you can then obtain your passport right away.

  • How can I get Portuguese citizenship by investment?

You can invest in a qualifying investment to obtain your temporary Portuguese residency permit through Portugal’s Golden Visa.  Once you have your Golden Visa, provided that you maintain your investment for a minimum of five years, you have the right to apply for naturalization in Portugal.

  • Does Portugal allow dual citizenship?

Yes, Portugal allows for dual citizenship.

  • Does Portugal Golden Visa lead to citizenship?

Yes, the Golden Visa Portugal leads to citizenship, indirectly.  Once a five year period lapses with the Golden Visa, you can then become eligible for citizenship.

  • How much does Portuguese citizenship cost?

Assuming that you will apply for citizenship through the Golden Visa Portugal, it depends on which qualifying investment you choose to move ahead with.  For a complete list of these options, you can check above in this article.

  • Do I need a language test for the Golden Visa?

No, you do not need to pass a language test in order to qualify for the Golden Visa.  You only have to pass a Portuguese test if you decide to become a permanent resident or citizen in Portugal after five (5) years of holding a Golden Visa.  You can learn more about the A2 level exam on our Portuguese Language Test Guide.

Portugal Golden Visa: The Definitive Guide 2020

  • What does “basic knowledge” of Portuguese mean?

In order to prove your basic knowledge of the Portuguese language, you will have to be able to write, read, and speak in Portuguese at a preliminary level.  This includes a thorough understanding of common phrases and vocabulary.

  • Is level A2 the only accepted exam?

Yes, A2 level Portuguese language test is the only accepted exam in order to satisfy the citizenship requirement in Portugal.

  • Where can you learn Portuguese and prepare for the test?

There are many resources online that you can prepare for the Portuguese test.  Depending on where you are, the Portugal and Brazil embassies also typically have offline courses available.  In order to learn more about the resources, feel free to contact us.

  • When must the test be taken?

The Portuguese test should only be taken if and once you decide to apply for PR or citizenship in Portugal.  However, you are free to take the test at any time you wish throughout your golden residence status.

  • Do I have to learn Portuguese before getting my citizenship?

Yes, you should learn Portuguese, enough to pass an A2 level language exam.  That corresponds to a basic knowledge of the language.

  • Can same-sex couples also apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, Portugal allows Golden Visa applicants to include their same-sex partners within the program through family reunification.

  • Is Portugal LGBT-friendly?

Yes, Portugal is among the most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe. There is a supportive legislation and a high level of societal acceptance for the community.

  • How long is the Golden Visa valid for?

Your first Golden Visa card is valid for a 2 year period; you should satisfy the stay requirement of fourteen days in 2 years.  You may then renew your Golden Visa residence card and the next cards will each be valid for three years at a time.  Within those 3 years, you should spend at least twenty-one days in Portugal.  As long as you maintain your investment, you may renew your Golden Visa card as many times as you wish.

  • What countries are included in the Schengen Area?

The 26 Schengen countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

  • What happens to the investment after five years? Can it be sold, transferred, etc.?

At that point, you have three options as a Golden Visa holder: (1) to continue with the Golden Visa Portugal, (2) to become a permanent resident, (3) to become a Portuguese citizen.  If you choose to become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen, you can then sell or liquidate your investment as you wish.  You only need to hold on to it if you decide to continue with the Golden Visa temporary residence program instead.

  • Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he/she no longer needs the Golden Visa?

Yes, absolutely.

  • Does the investor need to live in/use the property he/she is purchasing, or can it be rented out?

The investor is not required to live in or use the real estate.  It can be rented out or used as the investor wishes.

  • Why Choose the Golden Visa?

There are many reasons to choose the Golden Visa Portugal.  These include the right to work and live in Europe, as well as travel freely within the European countries, and particularly the right to apply for EU citizenship at the end of 5 years.

  • What is the most common investment route for Golden Visa Portugal?

The most popular route for the Golden Visa Portugal has been real estate investments so far.  You may find the number of applications and their preferred routes in detail in the above Statistics section.

  • How can I get permanent residency in Portugal?

There are a number of ways to get Portuguese permanent residence.  The Golden Visa Portugal is one of the most popular ways of doing so.

  • How long does it take to get PR in Portugal?

5 years after you start your Golden Visa scheme, you are eligible to get permanent residency in Portugal.

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