Portugal’s Golden Visa program is one of the most popular residency by investment programs in Europe and in the world. The program started in October 2012 and since then more than 12,000 applicants have applied for their Golden Visas.
What You Will Find in This Article:
Your Guide to Portugal Golden Visa
At Get Golden Visa, we helped hundreds of investors and families from 37 different countries obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal.
Contact us and speak to our independent advisors who can assist you with all your investment and Portugal Golden Visa Program related questions.
Portugal Golden Visa In a Nutshell
- Portuguese Golden Visa 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,
- Portugal Golden Visa Program gives you visa-free access to the Schengen states,
- You can become a Portuguese citizen within five to six years,
- Portugal is a safe, secure, affordable country with a high quality of life, solid infrastructure, superb climate, and good health and education systems.
What Is 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 over €6 billion since then.
Portugal offers a dreamy landscape, a wide coastline, a climate full of sunshine, hospitable people, and 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?
- You can qualify for residency by investing €280,000 which is one of the lowest investment thresholds in Europe,
- You don’t have to move to Portugal to keep your residence permit. Staying in the country for seven days on average per year will suffice,
- You can be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years. This is one of the quickest in Europe,
- Once you become a Portuguese citizen, you get visa-free access to 188 countries.
1. Visa-Free Travel
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 188 countries without the need for a visa.
2. Living, Working, and Studying in Portugal
Portuguese Golden Visa allows you to live, work, and study in Portugal.
If you decide to live in Portugal full-time with your Portuguese Golden Visa, then you will be required to have medical insurance. You will, however, have full access to all public services including healthcare and education.
State schools follow the Portuguese curriculum, though there are numerous private British and American international schools.
The work permit allows you to work anywhere, as well as start and run your own business in Portugal.
3. Family Reunification
As the main applicant, you may extend your Portuguese Golden Visa to your family members. The application process is simultaneous for the main applicant and the dependents.
The following members of the family are eligible to apply along with the main applicant:
- Children under the age of 18,
- Dependent children under the age of 26, provided that they are full-time students and not married,
- Parents of the main applicant, if over the age of 65 years old.
4. 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.
5. Tax Benefits
Portugal Golden Visa Program will not bring any tax responsibility to you unless you spend more than 183 days of the year in Portugal. In case you do, then you become a tax resident in Portugal.
Portugal has a favorable tax regime for foreigners who consider relocating to Portugal and becoming tax residents. Through the non-habitual residency (NHR) program, the country offers certain exemptions from income tax for the first 10 years of residence. The program slightly changed in 2020, exempting foreign pensioners from getting tax breaks on their pension income.
6. Overall Benefits
As a Portuguese Golden Visa applicant, you have the right to live and work in Portugal, but there is no requirement to do so. The country offers a favorable tax regime if you decide to relocate to Portugal. With your Golden Visa, you can enjoy free travel within the European Schengen visa zone. After holding a Golden Visa for five years, you can apply for citizenship or permanent residency in Portugal, leading to a passport. The Portuguese passport allows you to live, work, study anywhere within the European Union.
Eligibility: Who Is Eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal?
Any non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa.
You’re required to be at least 18 years old and hold a clean criminal record from your 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 Portugal’s Golden Visa, 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, you 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 for 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.
British investors in the UK and around the world are planning for the repercussions of Brexit in terms of their travel abilities. In 2021, UK passports lost their freedom of movement in the Schengen Area. UK citizens target Portugal for three reasons: travel rights across Europe, a desirable lifestyle, and ultimately European citizenship by investment.
As of January 1st, 2021, UK citizens became eligible to apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa program. This provides them with the right to travel within the Schengen Area.
Portugal Golden Visa for non-EU Nationals
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Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options: What Types of Investments Qualify for the Golden Visa?
Portugal Golden Visa program offers different investment options.
Real Estate Acquisition (soon to stop)
Acquire real estate worth more than €500,000 in Portugal,
→If in a low-density area in Portugal, the minimum amount drops 20 percent to €400,000
Acquire real estate that is older than 30 years old, in an urban rehabilitation area, and renovate it for a minimum of €350,000 in Portugal.
→If in a low-density area in Portugal, the minimum amount drops 20 percent to €280,000
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 for a larger purchase amount, they may also combine their investments. This means that if two siblings purchase real estate worth €1 million, they may each apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, as they each spend €500,000 in total.
*Note that residential properties in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal towns of the mainland don’t qualify investors for a Portuguese Golden Visa. However, you can choose a commercial property in these locations and still qualify.
Capital Transfer (soon to stop)
Capital transfer of a minimum of €1,5 million to Portugal.
A minimum of €500,000 subscription in a qualifying Portuguese fund. (soon to stop for real estate related funds)
Creation of a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs in a Portuguese business that is owned by yourself as 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 €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, where the incorporated business must create a minimum of five new full-time jobs for at least three years.
Invest a minimum of €250,000 in preserving national heritage in Portugal.
Invest a minimum of €500,000 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 you 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.
Real Estate vs. Funds: Which Portugal Golden Visa Investment Route To Take
Choosing the best route for your Golden Visa investment can be difficult. In this video, our Regional Partner Werner Gruner explains the pros and cons of real estate and fund investment routes.
Requirements: What Are the Golden Visa Portugal Requirements?
Minimum Residence Requirement
Portugal Golden Visa program has a low stay requirement. Portugal requires Golden Visa residents to spend a minimum of seven days annually on average in the country.
|Validity Period||Stay Requirement|
|Initial GV Residence Permit||Two (2) years||Fourteen (14) days within two years|
|Subsequent GV Residence Permits||Two (2) years||Fourteen (14) days within two 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 two 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 also be valid for two years each and the applicants will need to spend at least fourteen days physically in Portugal within the two-year period.
Make and Maintain a Qualified Investment for Five Years
You’re required to present supporting evidence that you have 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 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.
You need to provide the following documents in order to apply for Portugal Golden Visa Program:
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 manager.
3) Declaration from a Portuguese financial institution confirming the 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 the current country of residence,
→ Must be issued within three (3) months of the form submission.
6) A completed form authorizing SEF to access criminal records in Portugal,
7) A sworn declaration of 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.
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.
Any original document that is not in Portuguese needs to be translated into Portuguese and certified. The certification is typically performed by a notary.
Below is a chart of Portugal Golden Visa government application fees;
|Processing Fee||Once at the beginning and then at each renewal||€533 per applicant (+ €83 /dependent)|
|Initial Application Fee||Once at the beginning||€5,325 per person|
|Renewal Application Fee||At each renewal||€2,663 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 identification 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.
Getting a NIF Number
- Get 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/payslip,
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.
How To Get a Golden Visa in Portugal: Application Process
The Golden Visa application in Portugal is quite straightforward. If you take the necessary steps, such as investment, legal steps, and the right documentation, you’ll have a successful Portugal Golden Visa application process. Check the steps below for more clarification:
Step One: Speak to Get Golden Visa Team and 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 percent 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 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 and 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 and 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.
As Get Golden Visa, we’re committed to assisting you through your Golden Visa journey.
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 and Four
Your renewed Golden Visa residence permit will be valid for two (2) years. Within those three years, you must spend at least fourteen (14) days in Portugal.
Once you renew your card again for a two (2) year period and lapse one year of it; 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 cardholders, including the main applicants and their dependents.
Fees and Costs: What Are the Government Fees and Legal Costs Related to Portuguese Golden Visa Program?
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.
|Processing Fee||Once at the beginning and then at each renewal||€533 (+ €83 /dependent)|
|Initial Application Fee||Once at the beginning||€5,325 per person|
|Renewal Application Fee||At each renewal||€2,663 per person|
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 all the way up to €30,000 for a family of four, taking into account the complete five-year span. The good thing is, you will not have to pay this upfront, 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 Property||Capital Transfer||Investment Fund|
|Minimum Investment||€350,000||€500,000||€1.5 million||€500,000|
|-IMI Transfer Tax||4,58%||6,5%||0%||0%|
|-Performance Fee||0%||0%||0%||35% of the profit*|
|Management Fees||0%||0%||0,5%||1,5% annually**|
|Total (approximate without Exit Fees, Management Fee, or Legal Fee taken into account)||€369,840||€537,500||€1.5 million||€500,000|
* Varies on the fund, it is typical for the performance fee to be between 20 percent-50 percent above a hurdle on the profit
** Varies on the fund, it is typical for the annual management fee to be between one percent-two percent 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 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 foreign pensioners from tax breaks on their pension income.
Real Estate Tax Implications
Buying a property in Portugal comes with a number of acquisition costs that we laid out earlier 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 percent to 0.8 percent 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 percent.
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 someday, capital gains tax applies for property purchased after 1988.
Statistics on Portugal Golden Visa
Below you may find the overall Portugal Golden Visa statistics program between October 8th, 2012, and July 31st, 2023.
The total number of main applicants reached 12,396 with 20,000 dependents accompanying them. These applications directed roughly €7.2 billion of global funds into Portugal.
Out of all the applications, the investment types were:
Real Estate Acquisition: 11,181 residence permits
→Real Estate at a minimum value of €500,000: 9,398 residence permits
→Real Estate urban rehabilitation at €350,000: 1,783 residence permits
Capital Transfer: 1,193 residence permits
→Capital Transfer in a Portuguese Bank: 549 residence permits
→Investment Fund: 617 residence permits
→ Capital Transfer + Creation of Jobs: 8 residence permits
→Donation to cultural heritage in Portugal: 13 residence permits
→Donation to research activities: 1 residence permit
Creation of Ten Full-Time Jobs: 22 applications
Portugal Golden Visa Ending in 2023? Not Quite.
On February 16th, the Portuguese government announced measures to address the housing problem in the country, including changes to the Golden Visa program. Details as to the nature of these changes are emerging.
As of July 19th, 2023, the Portuguese Parliament approved the final version of the “More Housing” bill that significantly impacts the Golden Visa program. It now awaits the President’s approval to pass as a law.
Then, on August 21st, 2023, the Portuguese President vetoed the package, sending it back to the Parliament. The parliament will likely pass the same bill once it reopens.
It’s important to note that
Will the program continue? The Golden Visa program will remain active with certain investment options. However, you will no longer be able to apply for a Golden Visa through a real estate investment or a real estate related fund investment.
What will happen to the existing Golden Visa holders? Existing rights, including renewals, family reunification, and permanent residency applications, are not affected by the new changes.
When will it be effective? The law did not pass, yet. It awaits the President’s approval.
- Pending applications and future renewals will be converted to the D2 Entrepreneur’s Permit without the usual 183-day residency requirement. Instead, a special regime of 7 days per year will be implemented.
- New applications for residence permits related to investments, support for artistic production, or the recovery and maintenance of cultural heritage in the country will still be accepted.
We do not know how many days he will take to declare his decision. However, the bill is a complex one, so he would possibly make use of this period to decide.
Once and if the President approves, these changes will be effective the day after their official publication, with no grace period.
Changes in Investment Paths
The amendment means that several investment opportunities will no longer be available:
- Capital transfers of €1,500,000 or more.
- Acquisition of real estate property
- Investment into funds that have direct or indirect real estate investments
Remaining Investment Opportunities
In contrast, the residency program will still be operational through other investment alternatives:
- Capital transfers equal to or exceeding €500,000 in qualifying venture capital funds (with no real estate investments)
- Creation of at least 10 jobs
- Capital transfer equal to or more than €500,000 in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions
- Capital transfers of €250,000 or more in supporting artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage
- Capital transfers of €500,000 or more for forming a commercial company based in the national territory with the creation of five permanent jobs
The amendment provides a more reasonable and coordinated approach to the Golden Visa program, leading to diversified investment alternatives while preserving its appeal.
Investors wishing to proceed with the real estate method should continue with the paperwork and time-consuming steps (getting a NIF and opening a bank account in Portugal), in order to save time.
Get Golden Visa will actively participate in the discussion of the changes, and we will closely monitor the situation, keeping clients and partners aware of any developments. Please check our article on Portugal Golden Visa Ending to find out the latest details.
2022 Portugal Golden Visa Changes
The Portuguese Parliament passed a budget proposal in February 2020, which seeks to change 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.
IMPORTANT February 12, 2021 Update: In February 2021, the official changes and their timeline were announced by the Portuguese Government.
Check out our article on the Portugal Golden Visa Changes in 2022.
What Are the Changes?: Portugal Golden Visa New Rules
The approved changes refer to two different aspects:
- The required investment amounts in the various Portugal Golden Visa investment types were raised
- The investment fund option increased from €350,000 to €500,000
- The capital transfer option increased from €1 million to €1,5 million
- The required investment amounts in the various Portugal Golden Visa investment types were raised
Other options went through a change, too
- The real estate investment route locations only cover property investments made in low-density areas within Portugal
- This means that buying residential real estate in Lisbon or Porto will no longer qualify for the Golden Visa program
- The properties have to be located in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira or in the interior territories
- The real estate investment route locations only cover property investments made in low-density areas within Portugal
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 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.
When Were the Changes Be Implemented?
The Portugal Golden Visa changes came into effect on January 1, 2022.
Objectives Behind the Proposal
The Portuguese Parliament chose to propose changes to possibly the most popular residence by investment program in Europe. There are a number of reasons for 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 in the interior parts of Portugal,
- To alleviate the pressure of the European Commission on the Portugal residence by investment program.
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 investment destinations, with a landslide.
This potential change prevents applicants from buying residential 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 the transfer of capital or the creation of a company will continue to be available to prospective Golden Visa applicants.
Get Golden Visa: Who We Are and How We Can Help You
Get Golden Visa is a bespoke investment advisory firm. We help people get an additional residency and citizenship by making a qualifying investment through property acquisition, fund subscription, or other investment vehicles.
With our team of specialists in Lisbon and Porto offices, we offer our clients a tailor-made and transparent journey in their quest for Portugal Golden Visa through real estate acquisition and investment funds.
Contact us and talk to one of our experienced team members to help you with any and all your questions.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Portugal Golden Visa
- Is Portugal Golden Visa ending?
- Is Portugal Golden Visa ending?
- How is Portugal Golden Visa changing in 2023?
- Which Golden Visa program is the best? Comparison: Portugal vs Spain vs Greece
No, Portugal Golden Visa is not ending. It is, however, going through a very significant change in 2023.
Portugal Golden Visa is significantly changing in 2023. According to the Portuguese Parliament’s ‘Mais Habitaçao’ proposal, applicants will no longer be allowed to apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal through real estate acquisition, capital transfer, or through investment into funds that have direct or indirect real estate ties. Other investment methods such as investing 500,000€ in a non-real estate related fund will continue continue.
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 European citizenship, Portugal Golden Visa stands out in comparison to Spanish and Greek Golden Visas. You can find out more in our guide comparing Portugal vs Spain vs Greece Golden Visa Programs.
- 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 or buying real estate in an urban rehabilitation project worth at least €350,000. Both amounts drop 20 percent further, as long as the investment is in a low-density population area in the country.
Transfer of funds: €1.5 million transfer of capital to a Portuguese bank account or €500,000 subscription in one of the qualifying Portuguese venture capital funds.
Job creation: Creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal.
Financial contribution: €250,000 contribution to cultural heritage or €500,000 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 €1.5 million as capital into the company. Then the limited company may make investments on behalf of the investor with that capital.
- Can I take a mortgage to make my investment?
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. Learn more about foreigners getting a mortgage in Portugal.
- Can I do the Golden Visa Portugal process on my own?
You may. However, you’ll be making a significant investment in order to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa. So, it’s 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’re not required to get a lawyer to apply for the Golden Visa, however, it’s 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 in Portugal doesn’t automatically make you a tax resident in Portugal. Unless you become a tax resident in Portugal, you don’t 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 won’t 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 percent in Portugal. Real estate investments that are not rented out or generating income do not lead to any income tax.
- Does the investor have to pay taxes in Portugal on his/her worldwide income?
No. If the investor doesn’t spend 183 days or more in Portugal within a year, the investor is not a domicile. In that case, the investor doesn’t pay taxes in Portugal on the worldwide income, apart from that in Portugal.
- Is the cost of living in Portugal low or high?
Portugal has a low cost of living compared to the rest of Europe.
- Do I have to register and pay Social Security contributions in Portugal?
No, you’re 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.
- What is a fiscal number?
A fiscal number in Portugal is called a NIF. You’ll 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 five percent to seven percent depending on the type and price) and stamp duty (0.8 percent). Costs include notary fees, which would be around €1,000, 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 doesn’t require you to live in the country full time if you have a Golden Visa. You merely need to stay in Portugal for 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, the Portuguese government does not accept the Portugal Golden Visa investment to be made in any other currency than Euros.
- Can Americans apply for Golden Visa for Portugal?
Yes, American citizens can apply for Golden Visa Portugal. There is nothing against your country of origin being the United States.
- Can people from Hong Kong apply for the Golden Visa to Portugal?
Yes, Hong Kong citizens can apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa. The program has been very popular in Hong Kong in the years 2020 and 2021.
- Can UK citizens apply for Golden Visa Program Portugal?
Yes, now that Brexit is complete, British citizens can now apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa as of January 1st, 2021. The program allows British nationals to gain access to free travel across Europe. Read more about Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens.
- 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 shortlist 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 have 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 in 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 Golden Visa in Portugal 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 Portuguese 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 the above in this article.
- Do I need a language test for Golden Visa program Portugal?
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.
- 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, the A2 level Portuguese language test is the only accepted exam in order to satisfy the Portuguese citizenship requirement.
- 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 Golden Visa in Portugal?
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 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 two-year period; you should satisfy the stay requirement of 14 days in two 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 three 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 for 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?
- 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 in Portugal?
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 five years.
- What is the most common investment route for Golden Visa in 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 a permanent residence in Portugal?
Five years after you start your Golden Visa scheme, you’re eligible to get permanent residency in Portugal.