Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 13 July 2021

If you’re an international investor or are interested in residency and citizenship by investment, you probably heard of the European “Golden Visa” programs.

These programs are offered throughout Europe, and they allow foreign investors to obtain residency or citizenship in return for an investment.

Countries like Greece, Malta, Spain, and Portugal all offer Golden Visa Programs.

This article focuses on the various qualifying investment options for the Golden Visa Portugal program and dissects them individually.

Golden Visa Portugal

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program is a residency by investment (RBI) program, created to encourage foreign investors to boost the Portuguese economy. The program offers a quick way to obtain a residence permit through a qualifying investment.  The applicant can then apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years. So, although indirectly, Portugal Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is possible.

The Portuguese government launched this program in 2012. Since then, over 9,500 applicants have subscribed to it. As of 2021, Golden Visa applicants invested more than 5.7 Billion Euros in Portugal.

Any residence or citizenship in Europe is popular and valuable, which is why the “Golden Visa” programs draw many investors. 

The Portuguese Golden Visa program is particularly attractive due to its many investment options. You can choose how you would like to invest your funds.

In this guide, we will go through the investment options and discuss them to help you choose the option that works best for you.

Investment Options for the Portuguese Golden Visa

Before making any investment in Portugal, you’ll need to obtain a NIF Number and open a Portuguese bank account.  

Then, you need to choose an investment option. We’re going to list your options and then go in-depth into each one:

  1. 500,000 Euro Investment in Real Estate
  2. 350,000 Euro Investment in a Fund in Portugal
  3. 350,000  Euro Renovation of a Property that is 30 Years Old
  4. Low-Density Areas (400,000 Euro in Real Estate or 280,000 Euro in the Renovation of Property)
  5. 1M Euro Capital Transfer
  6. Creation of 10 Jobs in Portugal
  7. 350,000 Euro capital transfer to increase shares of a company and creation of 5 jobs
  8. Donation of 250,000 Euro to Arts/National Heritage/Culture
  9. 350,000 Euro Investment in Scientific and Technological Research

Important February 12, 2021 Update: The above minimum investment requirements for Portugal Golden Visa’s investment are valid for the year 2021.  They will increase significantly as of January 1, 2022.

You can read more about the Portugal Golden Visa 2022 changes.

This investment route is what most investors choose to go through. It can be any type of property, located anywhere within Portugal.

Portugal has no restrictions on foreigners acquiring real estate. This option is appealing as you have the opportunity to invest in the ever-growing Portuguese real estate market. You can then choose to rent the property, live in it yourself, and even sell it when you become a permanent resident or obtain Portuguese citizenship. 

For more information on real estate in Portugal, you can read our Guide on Buying Real Estate in Portugal.

350,000 Euro Investment in a Fund in Portugal: High Risk, High Reward

This particular option gained popularity as of 2019 because it has a low minimum investment amount and low costs. The investment fund has to meet specific qualifications to be valid for the Golden Visa.  There are currently a few dozen qualifying funds available in the market.  Some focus on real estate, while others focus on equities, companies, startups, or commodities.  They are each regulated by CMVM and each has a unique investment strategy.

Investment in funds is never for the faint of heart, and there are usually many things to consider before investing in one. Here is a list of pros and cons:

Pros

  • You don’t have to look for a property through tedious visits
  • It offers a relatively low minimum investment amount of 350,000 Euros
  • No extra costs, unlike real estate acquisition (IMT or IMI taxes, furniture, legal fees, transfer fees, etc.)
  • Someone else manages the fund, which means you don’t have to worry about your investment, unlike real estate management (tenants, termites, zoning issues, etc.)
  • You’ll diversify your investment, rather than investing in just one or two real estate properties

Cons

  • It’s harder to find and identify qualified funds
  • It’s riskier than conventional investments like real estate
  • Exiting can be difficult if you wish to get out before the fund dissolves – the maturity date differs for each fund
  • Someone else is in control of your investment

If you choose to invest in a fund, you’ll find that, in general, they can be split into three main categories:

Venture Capital Funds

This is where the old adage “High Risk, High Reward” comes to play. Venture capital funds usually focus on maximizing capital gains rather than yearly dividend payments.

At times, these funds may require an investment that is more than 350,000 Euros and typically has a fixed maturity of ten years on average. 

Private Equity Funds

These types of funds typically focus on yearly dividends. Your investment will be put into financial instruments or traditional markets.

You can choose a fund with a medium to high risk and expect returns accordingly. You might need a bit more than 350,000 Euros, and the length of these funds can be ten years or higher.

Portuguese Golden Visa Funds

These funds are often created with the Golden Visa investor in mind. Their maturity length is about six or seven years. That’s all the time you need to qualify for a permanent residence or citizenship anyway.

Because they are designed for the Golden Visa, the minimum investment in these funds is 350,000 Euros or below.  Many of these funds have real estate assets in their portfolios. If you go with a “Golden Visa Fund,” expect to be presented with low to medium risk options and returns accordingly.

As mentioned above, funds are tricky, and they’re not for everyone. Yet, if you’re an applicant who likes to play the investment game, then this one’s for you.  To learn more about funds in Portugal, make sure and read our Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund Option article.

The government in Portugal offers this lower investment threshold for investors who are willing to purchase a real estate property that is at least 30 years old and renovate it. Keep in mind that the cost of the property and its renovation should add up to a minimum of 350,000 Euro.

This is unfortunately next to impossible to take on alone as an investor without a real estate developer. The developer will take care of all the paperwork and the actual renovation of the property. Though it is a hassle to go through for the developer, this option is still quite popular because the qualifying stock has a handsome profit margin for the developer and the investor alike. 

Keep in mind, though, that it’s highly unlikely that you can find such stock in city centers, especially Lisbon.

If you are going for any of the real estate options, make sure and work with a licensed professional in Portugal.  The right professional will save you time and money.

Get Golden Visa: Who We Are And What We Do

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

We have a local office in Lisbon, Portugal with legal professionals and licensed real estate professionals in 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.

Low-Density Areas: Lower Prices, Fewer Options

To prevent a real estate bubble from happening, the Portuguese government makes an offer that is hard to resist, but it’s not without its downsides.

If you choose to make a real investment or renovate a property in a Low-Density area in Portugal, you get a 20% reduction on the minimum investment required. Why don’t investors go for this all the time? Well, while it is a significant change in the minimum investment, you must remember that properties in low-density areas are harder to rent or sell. 

Besides, there are fewer options for real estate in the lower-density areas, since most of Portugal’s population is located near its larger cities. A property in a low-density area might be a nice place to retire to, but definitely won’t yield the same returns on rent or reselling of property.

This would be an excellent option for you if you’re planning to retire in Portugal.

Where Are The Low-Density Areas In Portugal?

Below you can find a table of all the low-density areas in Portugal as of 2020:

City/ Municipality Neighborhoods
Águeda União das freguesias de Belazaima do Chão, Castanheira do Vouga e Agadão União das freguesias do Préstimo e Macieira de Alcoba
Amarante Ansiães Candemil
Gouveia (São Simão) Jazente
Rebordelo Salvador do Monte
União das freguesias de Aboadela, Sanche e Várzea União das freguesias de Olo e Canadelo
União das freguesias de Bustelo, Carneiro e Carvalho de Rei Vila Chã do Marão
Amares Bouro (Santa Marta) Goães
União das freguesias de Caldelas, Sequeiros e Paranhos União das freguesias de Vilela, Seramil e Paredes Secas
Caminha Dem União das freguesias de Arga (Baixo, Cima e São João)
Castelo de Paiva União das freguesias de Gondar e Orbacém Real
União das Freguesias da Raiva, Pedorido e Paraíso
Condeixa-a-Nova Furadouro
Guimarães União das freguesias de Arosa e Castelões
Loulé Alte Ameixial
Salir União de freguesias de Querença, Tôr e Benafim
Marco de Canaveses Várzea, Aliviada e Folhada
Ourém Espite União das freguesias de Matas e Cercal
União das freguesias de Freixianda, Ribeira do Fárrio e Formigais União das freguesias de Rio de Couros e Casal dos Bernardos
Pombal Abiul Anais
Ponte de Lima Ardegão, Freixo e Mato Associação de freguesias do Vale do Neiva
Bárrio e Cepões Beiral do Lima
Boalhosa Cabaços e Fojo Lobal
Cabração e Moreira do Lima Calheiros
Estorãos Friastelas
Gemieira Gondufe
Labruja Labrujó, Rendufe e Vilar do Monte
Navió e Vitorino dos Piães Poiares
Serdedelo
Porto de Mós São Bento
Santarém União das freguesias de Casével e Vaqueiros
Silves São Marcos da Serra
Tavira Cachopo Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo
Tomar Olalhas Sabacheira
União das freguesias de Além da Ribeira e Pedreira União das freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira
União das freguesias de Serra e Junceira
Vale de Cambra Arões Junqueira
Valença Boivão Fontoura
União das freguesias de Gondomil e Safins União das freguesias de São Julião e Silva

Capital Transfer: The Most Convenient Option

This is the most straightforward route to reach the Golden Visa. Make a 1M Euro capital transfer to Portugal, and voila, you’re done. This option is the most convenient and easiest to complete since you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding a real estate property and maintaining it, or researching what fund will yield higher ROI, and so on. 

The ticket price for this option is very high, but it is also the most conservative option since your capital will simply move from one place to another without investment risk. However, if there’s no risk, there’s usually no reward. As this is technically not an investment option, your capital would just be sitting there, locked away safe and sound, but without the chance of earning returns.

This could be a good option if you have expendable capital and would like to become a resident in Europe to expand your work or perhaps retire there. The capital needs to be kept in a Portuguese bank for the duration of holding the Golden Visa. If the amount drops under 1M Euro at any point, the Golden Visa status could be revoked. Once you become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen (Which you would be eligible for after five years), you are free to remove the capital from the bank. 

Creation Of 10 Jobs In Portugal: The Cheapest Option

This is technically the cheapest investment option since there’s no minimum amount that you are required to spend. To qualify for this option, you need to found and run a company for at least five years (Until you become a citizen or a permanent resident) and create ten jobs within the company. The ten positions need to be newly created and full-time. 

Also, there always needs to be at least ten full-time employees throughout the Golden Visa process in the company that you created. The business should be a limited company, with a single owner. That owner will qualify for the Golden Visa program with his family members, of course.

This option is trendy, especially in Lisbon, where start-up and tech companies have been popping up more often thanks to Lisbon’s competent workforce. Investors who wish to break into the competitive field of IT or Tech usually choose to found their company in Lisbon.

The best thing about this option is that you don’t even have to manage the company yourself! You can hire a manager (which will count as one of the ten jobs). However, much like any company, there’s a possibility that it can go belly up, which is why this option is a double-edged sword.

While it can be cheap and convenient to start a company and hire an expert to run it for you, you need to have at least ten people employed in this company and pay them full-time salaries (the average salary in Portugal is between $1200 and $2000). For a new company, it might take a while to see any returns on your investments.

 So if you’re a venture capitalist and you want a cheap but slightly volatile investment, then this is the route for you!

350,000 Euro Capital Transfer To Increase Shares Of A Company And Creation Of 5 Jobs: The One In-Between

This option doesn’t seem extremely popular, since it falls somewhere between creating a company and investing in a fund. There are some differences in the sense that you only need to create five jobs and only for three years.

So if you like the idea of creating jobs, but don’t want to start a company from scratch, this option is exactly the one for you!

Donation Of 250,000 Euro To Arts/National Heritage/ Culture: A Mystery

This option seems to be quite ambiguous as offered by the program. In order to qualify for this, you need to donate 250K Euros to Portuguese Arts, National Heritage, or Culture. So far, there hasn’t been enough information for an extensive understanding of what can qualify this donation. Luckily you can always book a free consultation with the experts here at Get Golden Visa

The upside of this route is that it’s cheap and convenient. Once the professionals help you identify the institution to donate to and help with the paperwork, it’s done. The downside is that it’s a donation, so you’ll be saying goodbye to your money forever, but you get a residence and, eventually, Portuguese citizenship!

So if you currently have 350K – 500K Euros in liquid assets and you’re looking for a cheap way to get a European residence, then this option is the best for you!

350,000 Euro Investment In Scientific And Technological Research: The Ambiguous Option

A 350K Euro in scientific or technological research conducted by an accredited national institution in Portugal should technically qualify you for a Golden Visa. Yet, this route’s terms are so unclear that nearly no one chooses to go through it.

If and when more information is released on this route, we will update you promptly.  

A Summary Of The Investment Options

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program is anything but lacking in diversity, as we’ve explored in this article. As a quick summary, you can go the Real Estate route if you want to live or retire in Portugal or if you are looking for a traditional investment. If you’re looking for a high-risk, high-risk reward option, then funds are the way to go.

The 1M transfer capital option is the way to go if your main priority is convenience. If creating jobs in your niche, you can start your company or invest in an already existing one. Alternatively, you can go for the donation to Arts and Culture if you’re a lover of arts and would like to see more of it.

Whichever way you choose, be assured that we at Get Golden Visa will be with you every step of the way!

Portugal Residence By Investment Statistics

The most recent data indicates that as of 2021, more than 9,500 residence permits for investment activities have been issued, along with 16,000+ residence permits for family members.

Portugal Golden Visa:
The Definitive Guide 2021 Read More >

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my 1M Capital Transfer be “Locked” if I go that route for my Portuguese Golden Visa?

The amount should stay in a Portuguese bank throughout the Golden Visa process. After you have permanent residence or become a Portugal citizen, you are free to use your capital as you wish.

If I choose to create 10 Jobs to Get the Golden Visa, Do I have to manage the company myself?

Not necessarily, you can hire a professional to run your company for you (Which might count as one of the ten jobs)

What is the Cheapest Investment Option for Portugal Golden Visa?

Technically, it’s the option to create ten jobs, since there is no minimum investment required. But remember that the employees must be kept on throughout the whole golden visa process and must be paid full-time salaries (the average salary in Portugal is between $1200 and $2000)

Can I Resell my Real Estate property after I obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal?

You must hold on to the property until you become a permanent resident or a citizen of Portugal.

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Portugal?

Absolutely! Portugal has no restrictions on Foreigners Buying Property there.

Is investing in a Fund in Portugal a Good Investment?

As with any funds globally, it’s always risky to invest in a fund. However, to qualify for the Golden Visa Portugal, you can choose from various fund options ranging from low-risk/low-reward to high-risk/high-reward. Remember that it’s always a good idea to consult a professional before making your investment.

Is it Better to Invest in Property in A Low-Density Area in Portugal?

It’s definitely cheaper, but as for “better,” that’s debatable. If you choose to invest in a low-density area, you get 20% off the minimum investment. Keep in mind, though, that properties in lower-density areas are limited, and it would be quite challenging to find a tenant if you wish to rent or to resell.

This could be a smart idea if you’re planning to live or retire in the property yourself and are a big fan of the idyllic lifestyle. 

Can I Buy Multiple Properties to Qualify for the Golden Visa investment?

Yes! You can buy multiple properties as long as the combined value of the properties is 500K minimum (400K in a low-density area)

Can Foreigners Get a Mortgage in Portugal?

Residents and non-residents in Portugal alike can apply for a mortgage, whether for residential or business purposes. For more information, check out our article on mortgages for foreigners in Portugal.

Does Portugal Golden Visa lead to Citizenship?

Not directly, but yes. After five years of having the Golden Visa, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship if you’ve lived there for at least six years and are a tax resident there. In order to obtain citizenship, you need to pass a Portuguese language test.

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