The Portugal Golden Visa is a type of residence visa that is issued solely to non-EU nationals. To qualify for this visa, you must have made a significant investment in Portugal (including mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores). The Golden Visa allows you to live, work, study, earn an income, and start a business in Portugal.
The Portuguese Golden Visa, also known as the residence permit for investment activity (ARI), allows qualifying individuals to obtain residency in Portugal for five years, following which they can apply for permanent residency (PR) or citizenship in Portugal. For this reason, the Portugal Golden Visa is considered a fast-track process for obtaining PR status or Portuguese citizenship.
Qualifying Portugal Golden Visa investments can include:
The Golden Visa program was created to attract international capital and investments into Portugal. However, there are also multiple benefits to the Portuguese Golden Visa holder. For example, once you have received a Portugal residency visa, you will be automatically registered in the Schengen Area, allowing you to travel within Europe without a visa (in the majority of cases). Once you become a Portuguese citizen under this scheme, you will also receive visa-free travel to 188 countries around the world.
The eligibility criteria for this type of visa are very specific. To fulfill the Portugal investment Visa requirements, you must:
When applying for a Portugal Golden visa, you may be able to include family members in an application that runs concurrently with your own. The family members listed below are eligible to submit an application form alongside you (the main applicant):
To qualify for this visa, you must have made one of the following investments:
Keep in mind that when making an investment, the funds should arrive from outside of Portugal. It is also important to note that each type of investment will also have other costs associated with it (e.g. legal costs). These costs are NOT included in the total value of your investment. For example, if you purchase a property for €480,000 and are charged €30,000 in additional fees, this does not mean you have made an investment of €510,000.
There are multiple advantages associated with having a Portugal Golden Visa. Some of the Portugal Golden Visa benefits include:
Visa holders are permitted to travel within the European Schengen Area without a visa. After five years, if you choose to apply for Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport, you will be able to travel to 188 countries without a visa.
You do not need to live full-time in Portugal or even spend the majority of your time in the country. If you want to maintain your visa and plan to later apply for Portuguese citizenship, you only need to spend seven days in the first year of your residency in Portugal. Following this, you are required to spend a minimum of 14 days in each two-year period in Portugal.
Unless you spend more than 183 days a year in Portugal, you will not be responsible for paying Portuguese taxes. If you do become a tax resident, you may be eligible for the non-habitual residence (NHR) program, which exempts you from income tax for the first 10 years of residency.
Once you are a resident or citizen of Portugal (under the Golden Visa Portugal scheme) you will have access to national services in Portugal, including education and healthcare.
Once you have held a Portugal Golden Visa for five years, you will be eligible to apply for Portuguese Citizenship and a Portuguese passport.
The Portugal Golden Visa program offers a variety of investment options, allowing investors to choose the most suitable path to meet their goals.
The application process for a Portugal Golden Visa involves several steps. It includes planning your investment, preparing your application, and submitting it. Once you have submitted your application, the Portugal Golden Visa processing time can vary, but is usually between 6-9 months. Once your application has been approved, your residence card will be automatically issued.
When applying for a Portugal Golden Visa, you will need to comply with the steps listed below.
If you are planning to apply for a Portugal Golden Visa, your first step will be to choose your investment. Once you have chosen your investment type, you will then need to take appropriate steps to make your investment. For example, you may visit Portugal to meet with an estate agent or view properties, communicate with scientific research institutions, or meet with an investment manager.
You will need an NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal), which can be obtained from the Tax and Customs Authority. To obtain a NIF number, you will need to provide a government-issued identification (e.g. passport) and proof of address.
You will need to set up a Portuguese bank account and tax number before you finalize your investment. Your bank account should be with a financial institution authorized by the Banco de Portugal. You may need to set up your bank account in person and provide the bank with the relevant documentation, including:
o Your passport.
o Your NIF number.
o A Portuguese contact number.
o Proof of address from your country of residence.
o Proof of income.
Once you have chosen an investment and set up your bank account, you can then finalize the investment. Keep in mind that you cannot begin your Golden Visa application until your investment is finalized.
There are multiple steps to follow when preparing and submitting your visa application. You will need to:
a. Register your application with the ARI portal.
b. Attach the required documentation (attachments should be in PDF form. Each document should be a maximum size of 4MB).
c. Make the required payment.
The Portugal Golden visa costs are listed below:
o Visa Processing Fee: €533 per applicant
o Visa Processing Fee: €5,325 per applicant
o Visa Processing Fee: €2,666 per applicant
o Legal Fees: Varies depending on the type of investment
d. Submit your application.
e. Wait to receive confirmation from the SEF.
f. Attend an SEF appointment to make your visa application official and submit your biometrics (i.e. fingerprints). If you are unable to attend an in-person appointment, you may give a legal representative Power of Attorney to complete the application on your behalf.
There are specific requirements you must fulfill when applying for a Portugal Golden Visa. If you do not provide the relevant documentation, your visa application will likely be refused.
When preparing your application, it is important to ensure that any documentation that you submit should be translated into Portuguese, notarized, and apostilled (authenticated so they can be recognized internationally).
Because the requirements you need to fulfill when applying to the Portugal Golden Visa program are extensive, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully submit an application yourself. It is recommended that you consult legal experts who can offer you advice on your investment options, your eligibility, and the application process. A legal expert can also review your documentation to ensure compliance.
Below is a complete list of the documentation you will likely require when applying for a Golden Visa:
You will need a passport or another valid travel document with at least six months of validity. You will need to provide a scan of your passport’s biodata pages.
You will need two identical passport-sized color photographs that were taken in the last six months. Your photographs should be an accurate reflection of your appearance.
You will need to complete your application form using the approved model. As part of your application, you will need to state:
You are required to provide evidence that you have obtained health protection before entering Portugal. This could be:
You will need a criminal record certificate from your country of origin OR from any country where you have resided for more than one year. The certificate must be:
You will need to provide proof of your tax identification number (or the equivalent) from your country of origin, country of residence or country of tax residence.
You will need to present a negative declaration of debt from the Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security. This declaration can only be issued a maximum of 45 days before your application date. Alternatively, you must declare that you are not registered with either the Tax and Customs Authority or the Social Security office.
You will need to provide proof that you are legally entitled to enter and stay in the National Territory of Portugal (mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores).
Your application should include a payment receipt from the ARI portal to demonstrate that you have paid all the relevant fees.
Applicants are required to provide documents that serve as proof of their fulfillment of the investment requirements. These documents may include real estate titles, certificates of share capital increase, or evidence of business creation, depending on the chosen investment option. These documents are crucial in demonstrating compliance with Portugal Golden Visa program regulations.
Once you have obtained your visa, you need to ensure you comply with Portugal’s minimum residence requirements. Golden Visa residents are required to spend a minimum of seven days per year in Portugal (or 14 days over a two-year period).
Any investments you made as part of your application must be maintained for the length of time that you hold Golden Visa residency. If you later choose to apply for permanent residency or citizenship, your investment no longer needs to be retained.
When your visa application is approved, you will be issued a residence permit card that is valid for two years. You will need to renew your residency card every two years. After five years, you will be eligible to apply for your Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency.
When renewing your Portuguese residency card, there are certain stipulations you will need to fulfill:
To renew your residency permit, you (or your legal representative) will need to schedule your renewal application on the Autorização de Residência para Investimento (ARI) portal and submit your application and any supporting evidence to the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF). You will also need to pay the associated costs.
The documentation you are required to provide includes:
Once you have held your Portugal Golden Visa for five years, you are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency. Portugal allows its citizens to have dual citizenship, meaning you are permitted to have multiple passports from different countries.
Applying for Portuguese citizenship through naturalization involves meeting certain conditions. If you want to obtain Portuguese citizenship, you must comply with the following requisites:
If you have held your Portugal Golden Visa for five years and wish to apply for citizenship by naturalization, you will need to make an in-person application.
You will need to submit the following documents for your application:
You may be asked to provide additional documentation with your application. Applications for citizenship can take as long as 12 months. You can check the status of your application throughout the process. Once your application has been accepted, you will be registered as a Portuguese citizen in the Civil Registry of Portugal.
Portugal is a country rich in culture and history with an abundance of cultural heritage. It has beautiful coastlines, picturesque towns and cities, expansive countryside, a warm climate, and delicious food and wine.
Whether you choose one of Portugal’s vibrant cities, such as Lisbon or Porto, and enjoy their blend of modern amenities and traditional charm, or enjoy the diverse landscapes and natural beauty of the country, from its picturesque islands to its mountainous regions, Portugal has something for everyone. There is also an abundance of cultural events, festivals, and recreational activities that residents can enjoy throughout the year.
Portugal has a low cost of living, compared to its European neighbors. This, combined with the excellent healthcare and education system, the high quality of services available to residents, the excellent transport system, and the high quality of living and it is easy to see why more people from around the world want to live in Portugal.
Contrary to some reports, the Golden Visa scheme in Portugal is not ending. However, there are some important changes taking place that may affect the way you can obtain a visa. Proposed changes to the Portugal Golden Visa (2023) may mean you cannot apply for a Golden Visa by making an investment in real estate, by capital transfers, or by investing in a fund that has direct or indirect real estate connections. Because these new rules have not yet come into effect and the law has not yet changed, current or ongoing applications (e.g. those submitted in 2022 or 2023) and applications that are submitted before the law change will not be affected. It is not yet know when the law change will come into effect.
If you have residency in Portugal, you may have to pay tax – even if your income is obtained abroad. However, you can hold a Portuguese residency card without permanently residing in Portugal and may, therefore, not need to pay taxes. You are only considered a resident for tax purposes if you spend at least 183 days out of the year in Portugal. If you spend less than 183 days in Portugal, you will not need to pay tax. However, if you earn any income in Portugal, this will be subject to tax, even if you do not reside in Portugal.
Although a Portuguese lawyer is not a requirement, the Portugal golden visa requires significant financial investment and is a time-consuming process. A legal representative is recommended to assist you with the application process, offer professional advice, and help you deal with local agencies.
Although documentation translated into Portuguese is preferred, most of the supporting documents you are required to provide will be accepted in English. However, documents in any other language are not accepted. It is recommended that you consult a Portugal Golden Visa advisor or your lawyer before submitting documents in English.