Since 2012, Portugal Golden Visa offers the right to live and work in Portugal and travel freely across the EU in exchange for a qualifying investment in the country. The program collected close to 6 billion Euros from almost 10,000 families.
UK citizens can now apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa as of January 1st, 2021. If you are a British national, the program poses you the right to free travel across the Schengen area.
Does the Golden Visa Portugal Lead to Portuguese Citizenship?
Yes, this program may lead to citizenship. You can obtain Portuguese citizenship after five years of the application, provided that you have (2) a clean criminal record, (2) no unpaid taxes in Portugal, and (3) pass a basic Portuguese language test.
Important Note for UK Citizens
UK citizens were not able to apply to this program before Brexit. However, now that Brexit is in full effect, British citizens can now apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal. This program will grant the UK citizen the right to travel freely around the Schengen area. A right which, unfortunately, Brexit partially took 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 by 2021. This is just the number of registered expats. The total number of UK expats in Portugal is almost twice this number.
Golden Visa Program in Portugal
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, at least 18 years old, and have a clean criminal record, then you are eligible to apply to this program. The first step to obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa is to make an investment in the country. The qualifying investment methods include:
- Purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of 500.000 Euros
- If the property is in a low-density area, the minimum investment amount is 400.000 Euros
- Purchase of a real estate property with a minimum value of 350.000 Euros 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 Euros
- Investing an amount of 500.000 Euros in Portuguese investment funds or venture capital
- Owning a company that creates a minimum of ten jobs for citizens of Portugal
- Investing an amount of 350.000 Euros in a Portuguese risk fund
- A capital transfer of 1.000.000 Euros to Portugal
- Investing a minimum amount of 250.000 Euros in the arts or in the reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage projects
The process of purchasing property in Portugal takes between 1-to-3 months.
The next step after the property purchase is to prepare the necessary documents for the Golden Visa application and then submit them 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.
You will then receive your approval and your Golden Visa Residence cards.
Portugal Golden Visa Benefits for UK Citizens
Faced with Brexit, citizens of the UK have been searching for alternative ways to maintain their travel rights across Europe. With the Brexit process complete, it is harder 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, British 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 a British and a Portuguese curriculum)
- Redbridge School (with a British, French, and Portuguese curriculums)
- International College of Porto (CLIP) (with a British curriculum)
- International Preparatory School (IPS) (with a British curriculum)
- St. Julian’s School (with both a British and a Portuguese curriculum)
- Nobel International School Algarve (with both a British and a 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 expats from the UK 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.
The NHR program is very popular among British citizens. Normally, citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland can apply for the NHR program by being a resident in Portugal. 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.
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