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Guide to Portugal’s Golden Visa

Guide to Portugal’s Golden Visa

Thinking of investing in real estate in Portugal? Find out why the Portugal Golden Visa could be the ideal tool for you



The Portugal Golden Visa program was created in 2012 as a way to earn citizenship in the country through investments.


This “Portugal citizenship by investment” criteria makes it easier for non-EU citizens to become full citizens after a few years.


It’s become a very popular means of settling in Portugal for a number of families looking to get to a warmer climate without the longer, drawn out method of traditional citizenship.


In this guide we’ll take you through the key features of the Golden Visa scheme.


So what is the Golden Visa?


It’s a Portugal residence permit that can be used by non-EU nationals to gain citizenship after five-years of meeting certain investment criteria.


Investors who qualify are able to move to Portugal with their family to live, work and study there during the investment period, as well as benefit from free movement among Europe’s Schengen economic Area.


If the investor continues to live in Portugal and meets the investment criteria of the visa (as well as the other criteria for Portugal’s immigration and nationality laws) they can become a permanent resident or full citizen after five-years.


What are the rules around Portugal’s Golden Visa?


The rules around the permit scheme are set to change from 2022 onwards.


Investors will need a fund of €500,000 to invest to qualify for the visa, with the capital transfer requirement increasing to €1.5 million.


There will also be new restrictions introduced on the areas where you can invest in real estate while qualifying for the scheme coming later this year.


From January 2022, you’ll no longer qualify for a Golden Visa for investing in, or purchasing a property in metropolitan or coastal cities like Lisbon.


This was due to be introduced in July 2021, but was pushed back to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.


However, any investors looking to invest in “low-density areas” can qualify for the visa scheme with a €280,000 investment.


If you’ve already started investing in a high-density area that will be affected by the changes, you shouldn’t experience any problems as the changes are aimed at new projects starting after the January 1, 2022 deadline.


Once your Golden Visa has been approved, you’ll need to spend at least 7 days living in Portugal during the first year.


After this, the application will be reviewed. If it’s renewed, you’ll have to spend at least 14 days in the country during the 2nd and 3rd years.


Another renewal period will take place after the 3rd year to make sure you’re still meeting the investment and immigration criteria.


If you’re successful again, your Golden Visa will be renewed for another two years (you’ll have to spend at least 14 days in Portugal again during this period).


Finally, if you successfully complete the 5-year investment period you can apply for full citizenship.


Some of the things that will be checked during the renewal periods are that you haven’t been convicted of a crime, you can prove your income and that you’re financially independent while living in Portugal.


That you can prove you have permanent accommodation in Portugal and you must pass a basic knowledge test of the country.


Once you’re eligible to apply for full Portuguese citizenship you must also provide proof that you’re over 18, that you haven’t been convicted of a crime.


You must also be able to pass a basic Portuguese language test.


Are there any restrictions?




First, you must be over 18 and have no criminal history.


The money you invest must be owned by you (you can’t borrow and invest on behalf of someone else).


You must commit to the five-year investment period.


And your investment must be deemed beneficial to the Portugeuse economy.


What benefits do I get by using Portugal’s Golden Visa


One of the main benefits investors use the golden visa for is that they can qualify for a European passport within 5-years and get unrestricted access to other EU nations.


It also provides reliable access to one of the world’s growing investment markets.


It’s also a popular option for investors with families, as family members qualify for the short-stay period and can get access to the option of a second residence or citizenship within the 5-year period.


How do I get a Golden Visa?


The first thing you need to do is meet the investment requirements.


If you apply before January 1, 2022, you’ll need an investment of €350,000 - although remember this will rise for applications after January 1, 2022.


From that point you will need to buy a property worth at least €500,000, or €400,000 if you invest in a low density area.


Applications for a Golden Visa can be made online and you must be able to provide digital copies of all the necessary documents and paperwork.


The paperwork you’ll need during the application includes:


  • Proof of investment funds
  • A valid passport and Schengen Visa (needed for Schengen travel)
  • A Portuguese tax identification number (a fiscal number)
  • A clean criminal record statement from your home country and have a clean criminal record in Portugal
  • Proof of no outstanding debts to the Portugeuse Tax and Social Security Departments (this can be obtained in a statement from the departments)
  • Proof of valid health insurance in Portugal (such as a global health card or European health insurance card)


How much does it cost to apply for a Portugal Golden Visa


The initial application costs €533.60.


The fees per application, per family member costs €5,336.40.


During the renewal processes you’ll pay these fees again at 50% of this rate.


There is also a processing fee of about €500 for the main applicant/ investor and €80 for each additional family member.


Are there any tax benefits to using a Golden Visa?


There can be some considerable tax advantages to using the Golden Visa scheme if you’re considering a citizenship in Portugal.


For a start Portugal has spent time developing a favourable tax system for people looking to move and invest in the country.


As an investor you’ll only be taxed on your global income if you spend more than 183 days a year in the country and you won’t be charged tax on income during your first 10 years there.


This includes being tax-exempt on real estate income and capital gains, income from a pension, inheritance or family gifts and any wealth tax.


Portugal also has a relatively low cost of living, making it an affordable place to live.


How does Brexit impact the scheme?


For UK citizens looking to retain some travel rights and freedoms post Brexit, the Portugal Golden Visa scheme can provide some answers as British citizens are now eligible to apply as non-EU residents.


As a British citizen you’ll get all the benefits that go along with the Visa scheme, including visa free travel in the Schengen areas, and you can apply for an EU passport after 5-years.


Want help navigating the Portugal residence permit application process?


Get in touch with us and one of our expert advisors will be able to answer any further questions you might have about the citizenship-by-investment scheme.


You can register with the ARI portal here to start your application.