Portugal Golden Visa:
The Ultimate Guide 2023
Portugal has been a long-standing favorite for many investors seeking to get residence permits abroad. Portugal Golden Visa, in this respect, has been a much-preferred route for investment migration, having received more than 11,500 applications since its release in 2012.
Read on to learn all about this favorable program, including the details we know so far that are relevant to its possible termination.
What Is Portugal Golden Visa?
Portugal Golden Visa program is a residency program designed for non-EU citizens to invest in Portugal.
The program was launched in October 2012 with the objective of attracting international capital into the country after the economic crisis of 2008; and has been successful in raising over €6 billion since its launch.
Portugal has many attractive features, including a beautiful landscape, a long coastline, a sunny climate, friendly locals, and delicious cuisine. The cost of living is also affordable, making Portugal an attractive destination for international investors who want to live, work, or study abroad.
Portugal Golden Visa Program also offers the opportunity to become a permanent resident or a citizen of Portugal in just five years. Hence, it’s appealing to many investors who seek a profitable investment and an opportunity to step into a brand-new life abroad.
Advantages of the Golden Visa Portugal
The Portugal Golden Visa program allows family inclusion, which means that investors can bring their family members along with them to Portugal.
No requirements to stay in Portugal to hold on to the Golden Visa
There is no minimum stay requirement, giving the investor more flexibility and freedom to travel or work elsewhere.
Portugal offers a very attractive tax regime for non-habitual residents, which can result in significant tax savings for those who choose to relocate to the country.
The Golden Visa holder can travel freely within the Schengen zone without needing any visas and explore Europe effortlessly.
Residency in Portugal
The Golden Visa holder can obtain a permanent residence permit and eventually citizenship in Portugal, granting them full access to the country’s healthcare, education, and social services.
Living and working in Portugal
The Golden Visa program allows the investor to live and work in Portugal, giving them the opportunity to experience the country’s appealing culture, lifestyle, and mild climate while pursuing business interests.
Lowest investment option in Europe
The Portugal Golden Visa program has one of the lowest investment thresholds in Europe, making it an accessible option for investors seeking European residency.
Who’s Eligible for the Golden Visa to Portugal?
- Being a citizen of a non-EU/EEA/Swiss country
- Being at least 18 years old
- Holding a clean criminal record both in Portugal and your home country
- Having made the required investment through a fund that derives from outside of Portugal
Investment Options for the Portugal Golden Visa Program
As part of Golden Visa Portugal requirements, the applicants are required to make a specific investment. The Golden Visa Program offers a number of options to obtain Portugal residency by investment. These investment options are as follows:
- Real Estate Investment
- Fund Subscription
- Direct Capital Transfer
- Establishing a Business
- Making a Donation
Real Estate Investment
- Purchasing property in Portugal that’s worth at least €500k
- Purchasing property in a low-density area in Portugal that’s worth at least €400k
- Purchasing property that’s over 30 years old and worth at least €350k in a Portuguese urban rehabilitation area and renovating it
- Purchasing property that’s over 30 years old and worth at least €280k in a low-density urban rehabilitation area in Portugal and renovating it
The said amounts can be invested in multiple properties so long as the investment total reaches the required minimum. Correlatively, investing an amount that corresponds to twofold the minimum investment amount required allows you to make two Golden Visa applications simultaneously. That is, if you and your sibling have invested €1m in one property, you both can apply for Golden Visas separately.
- Making a direct capital transfer of at least €1,5m to Portugal.
- A fund subscription of at least €500k in a Portuguese fund that qualifies.
Establishing a Business
- Creating full-time employment for at least 10 people in a Portuguese business that’s owned by the main applicant
- Creating full-time employment for at least 8 people in a business established in a low-density area in Portugal by the main applicant
- Investing at least €500k in an already existing Portuguese business to create at least five full-time employment for a minimum of three years
- Donating at least €250k in the preservation of the national heritage in Portugal.
- Donating at least €500k in an activity of research and development in Portugal.
Golden Visa Portugal Requirements
There are certain requirements you must meet to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa Program. These include the minimum stay requirement, delivering a series of documents, making the required investment, getting a NIF number and opening a Portuguese bank account, and paying the relevant fees. Find these required items below in detail.
Meeting the Minimum Stay Requirement
Meeting the minimum stay requirement for the Golden Visa for Portugal is almost a walk in the park. Golden Visa holders are required to stay in Portugal only seven days annually in order to hold on to their Portugal residency.
The minimum stay requirement is 14 days biennially for the initial Golden Visa Portugal residence permit, whereas it’s 21 days in three years for the subsequent Golden Visa Portugal residency.
Making and Maintaining of the Qualifying Investment for Five Years
To apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, you need to provide evidence that you’ve made the required minimum investment personally. As the primary applicant, you must maintain this investment as long as you and your dependents hold Golden Visa residency status.
Once you become a permanent resident or citizen of Portugal, however, you’re no longer required to maintain the investment, and you can sell it if you wish.
Required Documents for Golden Visa to Portugal
To become a valid applicant for the Golden Visa Portugal, you’re required to deliver the following documents:
- A valid passport/other travel document,
- Proof that the required investment was made by the main applicant
- Proof from a Portuguese financial institution that confirms the transfer of funds
- Evidence of healthcare coverage
- Criminal record from the home country (issued within the last three months prior to the Portugal Golden Visa application)
- A filled-out form that authorizes SEF to access the applicant’s criminal record in Portugal
- A sworn declaration of compliance with the rule to keep the minimum investment for the required period of five years
- Documents outlining good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system (issued within the last 45 days prior to the form submission)
- Receipt of the application fee payment
All documentation should be legalized and apostilled. Any non-Portuguese documents should be translated into Portuguese and certified by a notary.
Getting a NIF Number and Opening an Account in a Portuguese Bank
A NIF number is a Portuguese tax identification number, to acquire which you need to demonstrate proof of address and a government-issued identification to a Tax Office in Portugal. Getting a NIF number takes only a couple of hours.
Another requirement you must meet to get a Portugal Golden Visa is to open a Portuguese bank account. To do so, you need the following:
- A valid passport/other travel document
- A NIF number
- Proof of address
- Proof of income
- Portuguese phone number
Fees and Costs for Portugal Golden Visa
In the process of getting a Golden Visa for Portugal, the applicant is required to pay certain fees and costs, in addition to the minimum investment amount required. These additional costs and fees are as follows:
|Processing Fee||€533 per applicant (+ €83 per dependent)|
|Initial Application Fee||€5,325 per person|
|Renewal Application Fee||€2,663 per person|
|Legal Fees||Differs between Law Firms and investment types|
Golden Visa Program Portugal: Application Process
Although the application process for the Portugal Golden Visa is pretty straightforward, there are a few steps that you’re required to follow in order to qualify as an eligible applicant. Find below a detailed list of the step-by-step process for Portugal residency by investment through the Golden Visa Program.
Step#1 Choose the Right Investment Type For You
Step#2 Collect All the Required Documents
Step#3 Get a NIF and Open a Portuguese Bank Account
Step#4 Finalize Your Investment
Step#5 Submit Your Pre-Application
Step#6 Schedule a SEF Appointment and Attend It
Step#7 Obtain Your Golden Visa
The Potential Termination of the Golden Visa for Portugal
The Portuguese government green-lighted the potential termination of the much-favored Portugal Golden Visa Program. The reason for the elimination of such a convenient route to Portugal residency by investment that also provides considerable dynamism to the country’s economy seems to be the effort to quench the ongoing housing crisis.
In light of what we know so far, the program is to be eliminated for new applicants, whereas existing visas will only be renewed if certain requirements are met by the holder. However, a complete termination of the program is not entirely off-table.
The Objective of the Change
The Portuguese government has significantly modified the Golden Visa program before. In the early stages of 2022, the Portugal Golden Visa program was revised to address the issue of rising housing prices in the country.
The changes at the time involved implementing restrictions that prohibited applicants from buying residential properties in the specified areas, including Lisbon, Porto, and the coastal regions, and only allowing commercial properties to qualify for the program.
The arrangements implemented then proved that the Golden Visa program had little or no impact on the Portuguese residential housing market.
Therefore, however genuine the Prime Minister’s reasons for the proposed changes may be, speculations arise that unexpressed motives may be at play in the elimination decision for the Golden Visa Program.
How Will the Change Proceed?
It’s worth noting that the Portuguese government isn’t authorized to unilaterally amend the Golden Visa program. Any proposed changes must be approved by the assembly of the Republic, and a public hearing process must be held for a certain period.
Currently, the law governing the program is expected to remain unaltered until at least March 2023, if not longer. However, there is a risk of the program’s termination in the short-to-medium term.
Since 2012, the government has made numerous significant modifications to the program, and they’ve always given ample notice before the changes took effect. It is reasonable to anticipate a coherent approach with the currently hinted changes
The recent news of the impending changes has prompted a flurry of applications before the revisions come into effect.
As for the previous or current applications: they’re supposed to be free from the influence of upcoming changes by law firms.
The existing legislation is predicted to stay the same until at least the end of March 2023, and conceivably for a more extended period.
What Are the Alternatives?
Although Portugal ending the Golden Visa program is an indicator that the immigration policies are changing in the country, there are other visa types that welcome foreigners. The chief among these is the D7 Visa: an ideal route to residency in Portugal for remote workers and entrepreneurs. Other options include the D2 Visa and the Temporary Stay Visa.
Even though Portugal is a peerless destination with all the sunshine, the appealing lifestyle, great food and drinks, and countless other perks it offers, it’s not the only place to consider relocating to. Many other European countries offer similar programs that allow foreigners to obtain residency by investment. Greece and Spain, for instance, have their own Golden Visa programs, differing slightly from that of Portugal and each other.
The Portugal Golden Visa program is a residency by investment program that allows non-EU nationals to obtain a Portugal residence permit by making a qualified investment in the country.
There are several investment options, including investing in real estate, making a capital transfer, fund subscription, job creation, donating to a scientific research project, or preservation of Portuguese heritage.
The minimum investment required for the Portugal Golden Visa program varies depending on the investment option chosen. The most popular option is real estate, with a minimum investment of €500,000. The amount can decrease all the way to €280k if you prefer to buy in a low-density urban rehabilitation area in Portugal and renovate the property.
The benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa program include Portugal permanent residency, visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, and the opportunity to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years.
Are there any restrictions on the type of Portugal Golden Visa properties that the applicants can invest in?
Yes. With the regulations made in early 2022, Portugal Golden Visa properties that foreign investors can buy were restricted to commercial properties.
Can I purchase multiple properties to meet the investment requirement under the Golden Visa Program Portugal?
Yes, you can purchase multiple properties, so long as the total investment amount is at least €500,000.
Yes, you can sell your property after obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa. However, you must maintain the investment for at least five years to maintain your visa status.
The duration of waiting for the Golden Visa application varies and largely relies on the SEF (Immigration and Borders) office where you submitted it. SEF offices located in bigger cities such as Lisbon generally have longer wait times compared to those in more rural locations. Currently, the time it takes to obtain your Golden Visa residence card is estimated to be around six to eight months from the time you make your investment.
The Portuguese government announced the potential elimination of the Golden Visa for Portugal in an effort to fix the ongoing housing crisis in the country. According to what we know so far, the program seems to be eliminated for new applicants, while current Golden Visa holders will be required to meet certain criteria to hold onto their visas.
The D2 Visa, D7 Visa, and the Temporary Stay Visa are some of the visa options for short-term residency Portugal you can opt for if the Golden Visa gets terminated at some point in the near future.
Get in touch