How to get a Portugal Golden Visa
A complete Guide On Obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa With Step-By-Step Instructions
The Golden Visa is a popular way to obtain a residency permit in Portugal through numerous investment options. The Golden Visa program can also ultimately lead to obtaining Portuguese citizenship. Therefore, it is one of the most popular residency programs available in Europe. Since its inception in 2012, thousands of families, who have received their Golden visa, have relocated to Portugal successfully.
Portugal offers sunny beaches, charming architecture, and incredible coastlines. Portugal also provides a high quality of life, a low cost of living, an attractive tax regime, a great education system, and excellent healthcare, all making it an attractive option for investors who wish to live, work or retire in Portugal.
If you need any information on the types of Visa available for travel to Portugal you can consult our Extensive Guide on The Portuguese Visa Application and Appointment Process.
In This Post We'll Look At:
- What is the Portugal Golden Visa?
- The Portugal Golden Visa's benefits
- Who can apply for a Golden Visa?
- What Are The Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options?
- 2022 Golden Visa changes Very Important
- The Portuguese Golden Visa Requirements
- Portugal Golden Visa Application fees
- The Golden visa application process A Step-by-step Guide
- What Are The Requirements for application renewal
- What's The Timeline for the Portugal Golden Visa Application?
- And Finally, well Look at some FAQ’s
What is the Portugal Golden Visa?
In October 2012, the Portuguese Government launched a residency program known as the Portuguese Golden visa. It allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residency permit through citizenship by investment initiative. The Golden visa is a very straightforward and flexible program, with simple and clear legal requirements, and can be easily obtained as long as the applicant makes the necessary investments. Furthermore, the Golden visa provides applicants an opportunity to apply for citizenship after 5 years of residency.
The Golden visa program was implemented in an effort to boost Portugal's economy with foreign investment funds after the 2008 economic crisis. Since its launch, the program has accumulated over €4,851,321,701, almost €5 billion. It is safe to say, from a Portuguese point of view, that the program has been successful.
Another attractive feature of the Golden visa is that applicants only have to spend several days in Portugal per year to maintain their permanent residence status, while still enjoying all the benefits EU residency has to offer.
Portugal Golden Visa Program benefits
The Portuguese Golden Visa compares well with other investment programs available throughout the European Union. In fact, only the Greece Golden Visa is a more affordable program.
The benefits that a Portugal Golden visa offers makes it the most popular visa in other European countries and around the world.
Golden visa holders can enjoy numerous benefits which include:
You are not obligated to live in Portugal full-time to keep your residency permit. You only need to stay in the country for 7 days per year.
It is possible to apply for dual residency for you and your family. This includes your spouse and any dependent children. You can also include any dependent parents.
You can apply for citizenship after five years of residency, making it one of the fastest ways to obtain residency. You will have to complete a language test, but this will only cover the basics of the Portuguese language. Not too high a price to pay for Portuguese residency and ultimately, a Portuguese passport!
You can enjoy visa-free travel throughout Europe and the Schengen area.
If you stay in Portugal for less than 183 days you will not be classified as a tax resident, meaning that you are exempted from paying taxes in Portugal.
You are allowed to live, work and study in Portugal.
You have the option to start your own business in Portugal.
There are, of course, other ways of making Portugal your home, as we discuss in our comprehensive Portuguese Visa Guide. Many people opt to go with obtaining permanent residency through their occupation or length of stay, while some may choose to go the retirement visa route through a Portuguese National Type D7 Visa.
An entire new generation is making Portugal their base of operations while reaping the benefits of a new and established remote working culture, all thanks to Portugal's Digital Nomad Visa. In all cases, you can rest assured knowing that Atlys has your travel needs and preferences covered in one of our expertly written guides.
Who can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa Program?
Any non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can apply for a Golden visa as long as they meet the necessary requirements. It is also possible to extend the Golden visa to the rest of your family members. In order to qualify for the Golden visa you will need to be 18 years or older, have a clean criminal record in both your home country and Portugal, and make a qualifying investment (includes capital transfer, real estate, company formation).
The Portugal Golden Visa Investment opportunities
If you wish to obtain a Golden visa you will need to meet one of the following investment requirements.
Transfer of funds equal to or above € 1,000,000 in Portugal
Transfer of funds equal to or above € 350,000 for research activity
Transfer of funds equal to or above € 250,000 for artistic or cultural activities
Transfer of Funds above € 350,000 for Investment/Venture capital funds
2. Property Investments
- Purchase of property above € 500,000
The property investment must be a minimum of € 500,000 and you are allowed to purchase one or multiple properties (any type of property). If you choose to invest in low-density population areas the investment amount is reduced by 20% (€ 400,000). As soon as you invest in a property you are free to use it as you like. This can include personal use, rent, or lease.
- Purchase of property equal to or above € 350,000
For properties of 30 years and older, or located in urban areas, the value includes the purchase of the property and any renovations made to the property. Property investment in low-density areas will be reduced by 20% (€ 280,000). After your purchase, you are free to use the property as you like. This can include personal use, rent, or lease.
3. Job creation
- Create a minimum of 10 jobs
You are allowed to invest in a company and create a minimum of 10 jobs. These positions must be filled by Portuguese citizens. There is no minimum investment amount and no limitation to areas or activities. Investments that are made in low-density population areas will be reduced by 20% (8 employees). This investment option also provides possible grants, incentives, and benefits.
- Dual investment
You have the option to create a minimum of 5 jobs together with an investment of € 350,000 in a startup company, or investment in a local company.
2022 Golden Visa changes
Take note that the Portuguese parliament has made official updates to the law regarding foreign investors applying for a Portuguese Golden visa. Changes to the law will take effect on January 1, 2022. They mainly affect the real estate market.
Applicants will not be able to make any residential property investments in metropolitan and coastal areas including Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve. Furthermore, capital transfer investments will increase from €1 million to €1.5 million and the fund investment minimum will increase from €350,000 to €500,000.
If you are planning to make any investments within this year be sure that you do so as soon as possible, as the process for the Golden visa can take up to 8 months to complete. We recommend that you start the application process with these changes in mind.
The Portuguese Golden Visa requirements
Ensure that you have all the correct documents before you start the process. This will make the process faster and easier.
You'll need the following documents:
Copy of your passport or any other official travel document
Proof of investment
Portuguese Fiscal number (NIF)
Clean criminal record from your home country
Tax identification from your home country
Portuguese criminal record report
Health Insurance that is valid in Portugal (if you plan to live in Portugal)
Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements
Declaration from Social Security proving the absence of debts to Security Authorities
Legalize Your Required Documents
All the above-mentioned documents that have been issued by foreign authorities, need to be legalized before being submitted in Portugal. The legalization must include an apostille if the subject country is a member of the Hague Convention.
Translate Your Required Documents
All documents need to be translated to Portuguese (if not already in Portuguese) and submitted with the visa applicants. These translated documents must also be certified.
Are There Any Minimum Stay Requirements For The Portuguese Golden Visa?
An attractive feature of the Golden visa is the flexible minimum stay requirements. Golden visa holders are required to stay a minimum of 7 days per year in Portugal. As of April 2020, the residency permit became valid for a two-year period, which requires a minimum stay of 14 days in Portugal (within 2 years). It can be renewed for another 3 years, meaning the minimum stay equals 21 days in Portugal (within 3 years).
What Are The Investment Requirements For A Golden Visa To Portugal?
To qualify for a Golden visa you will need to make a minimum investment. You are required to maintain your investment for as long as you hold the Golden visa residency status. If you do not wish to maintain your visa you do not need to maintain the investment.
After 5 years you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship. Once you are a permanent resident of Portugal you are not required to invest or maintain any investments.
Do I Need A Portuguese NIF (Tax number)?
The main applicant will need to acquire a Portuguese tax number. It can be done remotely by a power of attorney without you entering Portugal. Without a Portuguese tax number, you can't carry out any fiscal activities in the country.
Do I Need A Portuguese bank account?
All investment transactions must be made through a Portuguese bank account. Luckily Portuguese banks make it easy to open a bank account for non-EU citizens.
You will need the following documents:
A passport or government-issued travel document or residence card,
Portuguese phone number,
Proof of address from your country of residence,
Proof of income,
Take all these documents to your nearest bank branch to open your account. You can also have a power of attorney to open a bank account on your behalf.
What Are The Golden Visa Fees?
Applicants will have to pay the following fees during the entire process.
Golden visa application process. A Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1 - Decide on Your Investment option
You will need to decide on an investment option. Whichever option you choose, be sure that you analyze it carefully and that you are confident in your decision.
Step 2 - Gather your documents
Gather all the documents needed for yourself and any dependents you might have. This process might get frustrating and tiresome. We recommend that you employ a specialist to help you obtain all the necessary documents.
Step 3 - Obtain a NIF and Portuguese Bank Account
As mentioned above you will need to have a NIF number and open a bank account. This can be done remotely and within a day. This task is rather simple and can be done by your lawyers.
Step 4 - Make An Invest
After you have acquired a NIF and opened a bank account you can now finalize your investment. Make sure to acquire all the necessary documents for your investment/proof of investment as you will need them during your application process.
Step 5 - Apply through The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF)
Once you have all the documents you can apply for your Golden visa through the online portal of the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF)
Follow these steps to submit your application
- Register in the ARI portal. You need to submit your contact details, passport details, address and your legal representative's contact details.
Attach electronic copies of the required documents (PDF not larger than 4MB).
Pay all relevant fees.
Wait for confirmation from SEF.
During your application process, you will need to submit a supporting document that proves you have made an investment or that you have made an initial deposit for your investment.
Family members and other dependents should submit their applications simultaneously. Remember that for each subsequent applicant an extra processing fee of €84 will apply.
The expected processing time after submission is around 3-6 months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it could take up to 8-10 months (or longer). We highly recommend that you employ a specialist to save time and ensure the process is done correctly.
Step 6 - Schedule and attend your SEF appointment
After you have received approval you will need to schedule an appointment with SEF. Afterward, you will travel to your appointment with SEF. You are required to submit your supporting documents once more (check that you have up-to-date police clearance as it might have expired during the application process). Your biometric will be collected during your appointment, the screening includes fingerprints, taking your photo, and your signature.
Step 7 - Residency card
Once processed and approved you are required to pay € 5,325 per person. After your payment is received you can get your residency card within approximately 10 days. Your residency permit will be valid for 2 years and needs to be renewed.
Step 8 - Renewal of the application
After your initial residency card has expired you will need to renew it. The process includes an up to date criminal record, retake biometric data, and payment of processing fees.
Renewal fees are as follow:
Process fee of €533 for the first applicant
Process fee of €84 for remaining applications
Once approved a payment of € 2,663 per applicant
After 5 years you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship. Once successful you do not need to maintain any initial investments that you have.
Requirements for application renewal Of The Portuguese Golden Visa
To renew your Portuguese Golden Visa you'll need the meet the following criteria:
Must be a non-EU citizen and reside from any country except Portugal
Must submit all required documents. Some documents might have expired before the renewal date (for example your police clearance). Be sure that you check that all your documents are up-to-date before starting your renewal process.
Submit your Portugal Golden Visa application.
Pay all associated fees for each approved applicant.
After approval, you must meet the minimum stay requirements (21 days for 2 years). Take note that you must physically be in Portugal to meet the minimum stay requirements.
After approval, maintain your investments for a minimum of 5 years.
Remember that all documents must be translated into Portuguese. This can easily be done in Portugal once you start your renewal application.
Timeline for the Portugal Golden Visa
Once you have started your application for the Golden visa you are one step closer to permanent residency or citizenship. The process will comprise a total of 5 years. Here is what to expect in the 5 years leading up to your permanent residency.
First Year and Second Year
Once you are successful and received your Golden visa, it will be valid for 2 years. You must meet the minimum stay requirements of 14 days within these 2 years. You do not need to stay in Portugal to meet these requirements and are free to travel as you like throughout the 2 years. If you wish to renew your residency permit you will need to start your application process 30 - 60 days prior to your visa's expiration date. You will need to reapply and follow the same process with SEF as the first time (collection of biometric data, submit supporting documents, and payment for related fees).
Years Three To Five
Per new regulations, your Golden visa will be valid for 3 years. During this time you must spend a minimum of 21 days in Portugal and maintain your investments.
Year Five And Onward
After a total of 5 years you have 3 options.
You can choose to continue the Golden visa program which provides a temporary residency permit
You can apply for a permanent residency permit
You can apply for citizenship, provided that you meet the necessary requirements
If you decide to apply for a permanent residency permit or citizenship, you are not obligated to maintain any previous investments that you have made in Portugal.
If during any time, within the 5 years, you do not want to continue with the Golden visa program you can sell or liquidate any investments that you have made.