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Portugal Golden Visa program

Alexey Nosovsky

Alexey Nosovsky

A representative of the Legal Department at iWorld. Author of articles on Migration Law.

January 20, 2022

16 minutes read

Flag of Portugal, an EU member country where the Golden Visa is issued

The Portugal Golden Visa is a government program that provides foreigners with a residence permit in the state by investing 280,000 EUR and more in the national economy. Holders of this residence permit must stay in the country for at least 7 days per year in order to retain it, in other cases the mandatory period of residence is 183 days. The process of obtaining a residence permit includes the choice of investment method, opening an account at a local bank, submitting an application and biometrics. In this article, we will look at the benefits of this program, as well as possible ways to participate in it.

The benefits of Portugal Golden Visa Program

  • Eligibility for permanent residence permit 5 years after issuance of residence permit and in another year — for citizenship;
  • reduced minimum period of stay in the country, compared to other options for obtaining a residence permit (from 7 days instead of 183);
  • no need to apply for a residence visa to visit the country;
  • possibility of obtaining a residence permit for spouse, children under the age of 26 in the care of the investor, parents over the age of 65, and siblings under the age of 18 years old who are in the custody of the applicant;
  • return on investment — the residence permit is renewed as long as the immigrant owns the property and can be sold after the permanent residence permit is issued;
  • the right to a special tax status, which means no income tax for the first 10 years;
  • the ability to travel throughout the Schengen Area without having to obtain an entry permit;
  • European level education and medicine.

Tax system

Persons who live in the country for 183 days or more a year receive the status of non-habitual resident, that is tax resident. This status provides foreigners with certain advantages: for 10 years, income received from another state (salaries, pensions, etc.) is not subject to tax. It is necessary to pay 20% income tax to the state treasury on profits received in Portugal. If a foreigner is not planning to stay in the territory of the state for 183 days or more, he/she will be taxed at 25% on the income within the country, and income from abroad will not be taxed.

In order to receive preferential status, an immigrant must submit an application to the tax office and register as a taxpayer. Every year, it is necessary to submit a self-declaration on the portal of the tax office or in a hard copy. Failure to submit the tax return on time will result in a fine ranging from EUR 200 to EUR 2,500.

Distinctions from Golden Visa Greece and other programs

Minimum investment

Program Minimum investment, €
Portugal Golden Visa 250 000
Spain Golden Visa 500 000
Greece Golden Visa 250 000

Citizenship acquisition period

Country Period
Portugal 6 years
Spain 10 years
Greece 7 years

Tax privileges

Country Tax privileges
Portugal Yes, for 10 years
Spain No
Greece Yes, for 15 years

Mandatory length of stay

Country Period
Portugal 7 days during the first year, 14 days for each following year
Spain No
Greece No

The right to work

Country Work permit
Portugal Yes
Spain Yes
Greece No

Ways to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa

According to Article 90-A of the Law on the Entry, Stay and Departure of Foreign Nationals, the applicant can choose one of 7 options:

  • transfer of capital (e.g. opening a deposit in a Portuguese bank) of €1,500,000 or more;
  • the purchase of any type of real estate with a value of €500,000 or more;
  • the purchase of real estate over 30 years old or located in a renovation zone, with a value of €350,000 or more;
  • creation of at least 10 jobs;
  • investment of at least 500,000 € in science and research;
  • transfer of at least 250,000 € in support of the arts and cultural heritage of the nation;
  • investments in venture capital and investment funds of at least 500,000 €;
  • starting a business and investing from 500,000 €, subject to the creation of 5 jobs.
Portuguese property, through the purchase of which they receive a Golden Visa in Portugal

As of January 1, 2022, restrictions have been imposed on the purchase of real estate in certain regions. Properties located in Lisbon, Porto, Setubal, Algarve and the Silver Coast will not qualify for the Golden Visa. This will not apply to commercial real estate.

Requirements to applicants:

  • no EU or EEA citizenship;
  • having the means to stay in the country;
  • no criminal record for offences punishable in Portugal by more than one year’s imprisonment;
  • medical certificate, confirming that the applicant is not a carrier of dangerous diseases;
  • no bans on entry to all Schengen states.

Real estate investments

The purchase of real estate is the most popular option for obtaining a Golden Visa to Portugal. According to the country’s migration service, 9,514 applications have been approved as of November 2021, and the total investment amounted to about 5.5 billion EUR. Most foreigners are interested in buying new housing: 8 540 investors have chosen to invest between 500,000 EUR in residential or commercial properties.

The program Golden Visa in Portugal allows you to buy one or more objects of realty. If the property was built in a region with a small population (less than 100 people per 1km2), or the level of GDP is less than 75% of the average in Portugal, the buyer will receive a 20% discount on the purchase from the state. On January 1, 2022, the changes came into force, which limited the number of regions for the purchase of real estate.

The amount specified in the conditions of the Golden Visa must be paid at once. If the price of the object above 350 000 or 500 000 € (depending on the type of property purchased), the balance can be arranged on a mortgage. For example, if the house is sold for €750,000, the buyer must pay €500,000 in one payment and €250,000 can be paid later in installments. The property must be owned for 5 years, then it can be sold.

Buying property for renovation

Golden Visa Portugal implies the issuance of residence permits by investments in real estate worth 350,000 EUR or more, in cases where the object was built over 30 years ago, or is a cultural and historical heritage in need of restoration. This option is less popular than the previous one, with only 974 foreigners taking advantage of it during the entire history of the program. As in the case of new real estate, the buyer can get a discount of 20% for the object, if it is located in an area with little population or GDP.

Real estate, including renovation, is allowed to rent and use for commercial, industrial, agricultural and tourist purposes. The downside of this method of obtaining a Golden Visa is that there are not many ads for the sale of such properties, and the most lucrative options are sold out quickly.

Buying stocks and bank deposits

The most expensive option for obtaining a Golden Visa in Portugal is a capital transfer, which involves opening a deposit account in a local bank, the purchase of bonds, shareholdings or titles worth 1,500,000 EUR or more. It is also possible to obtain a residence permit for a contribution to the development of a private or public institution, working with science and research. The minimum investment is 500,000 EUR, but the threshold will decrease to 400,000 if the facility is located in an area with low population density.

It is possible to invest in support of the arts and the reconstruction of cultural heritage through special public and private foundations, associations and organizations. This option requires the least amount of investment — 250,000 EUR (or 200,000 EUR with a discount of 20%), but at the same time the least popular: since 2012, it was used by only two people.

Another way to obtain the Golden Visa Portugal is to buy shares in investment and venture capital funds. The first fund type pools funds of its depositors and manages them, for example, buys bonds. A venture capital fund also pools the capital of its participants, but allocates it to the development of startups and private companies. A prerequisite: the chosen institution must allocate at least 60% of its investments to organizations headquartered in Portugal. The required amount of investment is 500 000 EUR for 5 years.

Starting a business

A foreigner can obtain a Golden Visa by investing 500,000 EUR or more in the creation of a new company and 5 permanent jobs on the territory of Portugal. It is also possible to invest in an existing local company the same amount for three years with the creation or maintenance of 5 jobs. If the main office of the company is located in Portugal, it is taxed at a simplified rate of 17% on the first 25,000 EUR of profit per year, and 21% on the balance of the amount.

How to get a Portugal Golden Visa

  • Choice of method
    The potential investor needs to determine which Golden Visa Portugal option is the most appropriate for them. If it is the purchase of real estate, it is necessary to select the object.
  • Opening an account
    The transactions will require a tax number (NIF) and an account at a Portuguese bank.
  • Preparation of documents
    A foreigner needs to conclude a purchase agreement for the property, register a new company or sign an agreement with an existing company or enter into an agreement with the fund, depending on the option to obtain a Golden Visa. Also need to collect the required documents for the residence permit, translate them into Portuguese and notarize.
  • Submission of documents
    The applicant must apply at the portal of the Portuguese migration service ARI with scanned copies of documents, pay the fee, make an appointment and submit fingerprints.
  • Visit to Portugal
    On the appointed day, the foreigner needs to report to the migration service for biometrics. It is possible to cross the border with a Schengen visa or in visa-free regime, if this is stipulated in the agreement between the EU and the applicant’s country of citizenship. It is necessary to have the originals of all the documents.
  • Obtaining a residence permit card
    This can be done in person at the office of the migration service or through a trusted person.
Portuguese city that can be moved to with a Portugal Golden Visa

The required documents

  • International passport with a visa;
  • medical insurance valid for the entire period of stay in the country;
  • a certificate of no criminal record from the home country or the state where the applicant has been residing for more than 12 months;
  • document confirming the absence of arrears of tax payments in Portugal;
  • taxpayer number (NIF);
  • a written commitment to comply with the Golden Visa Program requirements for the next five years;
  • application for permission to have the candidate’s criminal record checked in Portugal;
  • a receipt for the payment of the fee;
  • investment documents: certificates of purchase of securities or real estate, company registration, etc.

The cost of obtaining a Golden Visa

Service Cost, EUR
Temporary residence permit 5,325 per person, 2,663 per minor child
Extension 2,663 per person, 1,133 per the minor
Acceptance of application for issuance and renewal 533 for an adult family member, 267 for a child under 18

Renewal of the residence permit

The first residence permit is valid for 1 year, then it can be extended for two years as long as the investor fulfills the conditions of the Portugal Golden Visa program. To maintain the temporary resident status, the foreigner is required to spend a minimum of 7 days in the country during the first year and 14 days for each subsequent period of residence permit. This can be confirmed by tickets, hotel booking documents, etc.

To extend the residence permit, it is necessary to visit the ARI website, through which the application for the first residence permit was submitted. The investor must confirm the absence of criminal record in the country of permanent residence and regular payment of taxes in Portugal. It is also necessary to pay the state duty.

Requirements for obtaining Portuguese citizenship

The acquisition of a Portuguese passport by investors is done through the standard procedure of naturalization. After 5 years, the residence permit holder is allowed to apply for permanent resident status. After another year, they can apply for citizenship.

Terms of obtaining a Portuguese passport:

  • knowledge of the state language at the level A2 or higher;
  • no criminal record for offenses, which are punishable by local law for up to three years;
  • no national security risk on the part of the applicant.

The application for citizenship is submitted to the central registry office in Lisbon, to the territorial registry office in Portugal or to the representative office, if the applicant resides in another country. A fee of 250 EUR is charged for the application.

How to simplify the process of obtaining a Golden Visa in Portugal

There may be pitfalls in the process of obtaining a Golden Visa, which will be handled by immigration specialists. They will accompany the investor at every stage, will help to decide on the option of investment, will find a suitable property for purchase or investment fund, will act as intermediaries in the conclusion of transactions and advise on all matters arising.

Portugal — a sunny country with a mild climate, a member of the European Union and the Schengen area. The program «Golden Visa» is suitable for those who plan to invest in exchange for a residence permit, while remaining in their home country, and immigrants who intend to live in the purchased property in Portugal. Persons staying within the country for more than 183 days can benefit from favorable tax conditions for 10 years. The involvement of specialists in the immigration process will help simplify it and obtain a «golden» residence permit in Portugal at a minimal cost.

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