Since 2012, the Golden Visa Program in Portugal has been in effect, and it maintains its attractiveness thanks to its favorable offers. The program aims to encourage investors to invest in Portugal. Since the start of this program, the total investment amount has reached several billion euros, with more than a thousand family applications each year.
Does the Golden Visa Portugal Lead to Portuguese Citizenship?
Yes, this program may lead to citizenship. Applicants to this program can obtain Portuguese citizenship after five years of their application, provided that they pass a citizenship exam and a basic Portuguese language test.
Important Note for UK Citizens
UK citizens can not currently apply to this program. However, when Brexit takes effect at the end of 2020, they’ll be able to apply. This program will grant the UK citizen the right to travel freely around the Schengen area. A right which, unfortunately, Brexit will take away.
Furthermore, Portugal is very popular among UK expats, especially the Algarve region for retirement. The number of registered UK expats in Portugal already reached 35.000 in 2020. This is just the number of registered expats. The total number of UK expats in Portugal is almost twice the number of registered ones.
Golden Visa Program in Portugal
Citizens not from EU and EEA countries, who are at least 18 years old, and have a clean criminal record can apply for this program. The first step to obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa is to make an investment in the country. There are different methods to invest in the country. These include:
- Purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of €500.000.
- If the property is in a low-density area, the minimum investment amount is €400.000.
- Purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of €350.000 which is older than 30 years and needs renovation.
- If that kind of property is in a low-density area, the minimum investment amount would be €280.000
- Investing an amount of €500.000 in Portuguese investment funds or venture capital
- Owning a company which creates a minimum of ten jobs for citizens of Portugal
- Investing an amount of €350.000 in a Portuguese risk fund
- A capital transfer of €1.000.000 to Portugal
- Investing a minimum amount of €250.000 in the arts or in the reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage projects
The process of purchasing property takes around one to three months. The second step after the purchase is preparing the necessary documents for the Golden Visa application, and then submitting this documentation online. Following this step, a visit to Portugal is necessary for a biometrics appointment at a SEF office. SEF is the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service. After that, you need to make a payment of Government Analysis processing fees. Investors then receive their approval and their Golden Visa Residence cards.
You can find all the information on this program in our Portugal Golden Visa Guide.
Portugal Golden Visa Benefits for UK Citizens
Faced with the recent issue of Brexit, citizens of the UK have been searching for alternative ways to maintain their European citizenship. When Brexit comes into effect, it will be tricky for UK citizens to move about freely in the EU. The Gloden Visa Portugal is a great method to assure you unincumbered access to the EU, as well as a route to obtain Portuguese citizenship. Direct and indirect benefits of the program include:
Visa-Free Travel to 186 Countries in the World
Portugal is already a member of the European Union (EU). When you gain a Portuguese passport, you will gain the same rights as other EU citizens in terms of visa-free travel. When the investors obtain their Portuguese passport, they immediately gain the right to visa-free travel to 186 countries in the world.
The Right to Live, Work, and Study in EU/EEA Countries
After five years of successful residency, the individual gains the right to become a citizen of Portugal. Since Portugal is an EU member country, the investors and their family members directly become EU citizens. So, they automatically gain the right to live, work, or study in any EU country.
The program grants you a temporary residency for two years. This can be renewed provided that the investor resides at least seven days per year in Portugal. So, you can still maintain your old lifestyle in the UK while waiting for the permanent residency and citizenship of Portugal. Or you can also live in Portugal if you want to, the choice is yours.
One of the most favorable advantages of this program is that the Golden Visa includes the family members of the investor as well. The reunification covers the investor’s spouse and children under 18 years of age. It may also include children older than 18 years of age if they study full-time and are dependent on the investor.
Low Cost of Living and Healthcare
The general consumer prices in Portugal are 23.09% less than it is in the UK. Furthermore, the more you move away from the main cities, the cheaper the cost of living will be. Similarly, healthcare is also quite affordable compared to that of the UK.
Finally, Portugal ranks the third most peaceful country in the world according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. Hence, it is a very safe place with low crime rates compared to the UK and other European countries.
International Schools with British and International Curricula
In Portugal, expats with children can find it easy to choose the best school for their children. There are various international schools in Portugal with different curricula including the international and British curricula. Some of the best ones are namely:
- British School of Lisbon (with a British curriculum)
- Astoria International School (with both British and Portuguese curriculum)
- Redbridge School (with British, French, and Portuguese curriculum)
- International College of Porto (CLIP) (with a British curriculum)
- International Preparatory School (IPS) (with a British curriculum)
- St. Julian’s School (with both British and Portuguese curriculum)
- Nobel International School Algarve (with both British and Portuguese curriculum)
- Peter’s International School in Setúbal
- Oporto British School in Porto
Other than the British curricula, some schools in Portugal offer international curricula as well. So, there are many alternatives for UK expats to choose the best school, and in this way, they don’t need to worry about the quality of schools in Portugal.
Favorable Tax Treatments in Portugal for UK Citizens
Portugal has Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with many countries including the UK. DTA aims to prevent the circumstance of having to pay taxes on the same income in two different countries. With this agreement, if you earn income outside of Portugal as a UK citizen, the income will not be subject to taxation in Portugal. This means that you will be taxed on the same income only in one country.
Besides DTA, taxation in Portugal is favorable for expats compared to other European countries. Another taxation program Portugal offers is the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime. Under this program,
- Most of your foreign source income is exempt from taxation for ten consecutive years
- If the foreign income is from a country Portugal has DTA with, then it will not be taxed
- If you have a “high-added-value” profession, you will get generous tax exemptions
- Even if your income is not from a Portuguese source, the taxation is still lower for the expats
You can see the list of the high-added-value professions here.
Normally, citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland can apply for the NHR program by being a resident in Portugal. However, as a UK citizen, you can directly benefit from NHR via Portugal Golden Visa.
Less Crowd and More Sunshine Compared to the UK
UK expats can enjoy the constant sunshine and the mild climate in Portugal as a side benefit of the investment program. Besides that, they can also enjoy the tranquility and the slowness of life which they cannot find in the UK. This is because the population in the UK is around 68 million whereas it is only 10,2 million in Portugal.