Everything You Need to Know About Portugal's Golden Visa

10,000 foreign investors have benefited from the Portuguese Golden Visa

People from all over the world have been moving to, investing and buying properties in Portugal, mainly because of the country’s quality of life and tax benefits. A growing trend that is supported by EU agreements, which makes this process quite simple for EU/EEA citizens from countries like France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. However, there is also a solution for non-EU citizens who wish to live or work in Portugal that has become increasingly attractive: Portugal’s Golden Visa. 

What is Portugal’s Golden Visa?

Created in 2012 by the Portuguese government, the Golden Residence Permit Program (ARI) enables non-EU/EEA citizens to attain a special residence permit in exchange for a 5-year investment in Portugal. With approximately 10,000 Golden Visas already issued to foreign investors from China, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Russia, the program includes a wide array of advantages and benefits:

  • Different investment options that provide permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship in 5 years.
  • Quality of life in a safe, well located European country that has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle and cost of living, including top quality health care and education systems.
  • Visa exemption to Portugal and the possibility to travel anywhere in the Schengen area. 
  • As a Portuguese citizen, also comes the opportunity to live and work anywhere in the EU/EEA.
  • The program is extensive to spouses, children, and financially dependent parents.

Golden Visa application: minimum requirements

Who is eligible for a Golden Visa? Anyone that is a non-EU citizen can apply for this status after proving that they have invested in Portugal – and there are numerous investment options that meet the necessary requirements. First off, understand that this investment can be made by an individual or a legal entity; and that there are two physical presence requirements that must be met: the investor must spend a minimum of 7 days in Portugal during the first year of the investment, followed by at least 14 days during each subsequent 2 year period; and the investor must uphold the investment for at least five years.

Regarding the investment in Portugal, these are some of the available options:

  • A transfer of capital to Portugal in the value of €1,000,000.
  • A transfer of capital in the value of €350,000, for the investment in research activities in the national scientific and technological system.
  • A transfer of capital in the value of €250,000, for the investment in artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage.
  • A transfer of capital in the value of €350,000, for the purchase of units in investment or venture capital funds aimed at the capitalization of Portuguese companies.
  • Transfer of capital in the value of €350,000, to increase the share capital of a Portuguese company and the creation of five jobs for at least 3 years.
  • Creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs.
  • The acquisition of Portugal real estate in the value of at least €500,000. 
  • The acquisition of Portugal real estate whose construction dates back at least 30 years or which is located in an urban rehabilitation area, requiring rehabilitation works. The minimum investment is reduced to €350,000.
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Golden Visa changes for 2022

The Portuguese government announced changes in the current Golden Visa scheme which will become effective starting January 1, 2022. There are two significant changes that should be duly noted:

  1. Required investment amounts:there will be an increase in the different available investment options, namely, the investment fund option will increase from €350,000 to €500,000 and the capital transfer option will increase from €1,000,000 to €1,500,000.
  2. Real estate option locations:Golden Visa applicants will no longer be permitted to acquire property in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve, nor in coastal areas such as Setubal and the Silver Coast. The remaining options for buying properties include the interior territories and the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.

This means that if an investor is currently interested in acquiring real estate in one of Portugal’s hot spots and under the Golden Visa program, they may do so until December 31, 2021.

How to apply for the Golden Visa?

Applying for Portugal’s Golden Visa is a fairly straightforward process that can be completed individually or with the support of a legal professional who is experienced in the Golden Residence Permit Program. There are a total of 9 necessary steps to complete the entire process:

  1. Obtain a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF).
  2. Open a Portuguese bank account.
  3. Complete your investment.
  4. Gather the necessary documents from your country of origin: these must be legalized and translated into Portuguese.
  5. Gather the necessary documents in Portugal.
  6. Fill out and submit the application for the Golden Visa.
  7. Pay the processing fee.
  8. Once the preliminary approval is received from SEF, choose a date, time, and place for your in-person appointment. Be sure to take with you all the documents submitted with your application.
  9. With the approval of your application, you will receive your residence card.
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