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April 1, 2024
7 min

How to Get Portugal Golden Visa: a Detailed Overview

Brittany Collins - head of legal department

Portuguese residency can be obtained with a minimum investment of €250,000. The guide will provide the necessary insights into Portugal's Golden Visa program, its key features, tax benefits, investment options and application process.

We delve into the program's additional costs, such as legal fees and property taxes. We also shed light on recent changes to the program in 2023 and their impact on potential investors.

How to get Portugal Golden Visa

How to Get Portugal Golden Visa: a Detailed Overview

What is the Portugal Golden Visa Program?

The Portugal Golden Visa Program is designed to attract foreign investment into Portugal. It provides a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal, with the added benefit that they may gain access to Schengen Area countries.

Under the Golden Visa program, non-EU citizens are eligible for Portuguese residency if they undertake certain types of investment in the country, including:

  • €250,000 investment in culture heritage;

  • €500,000 investment in research activities;

  • €500,000 of funds units purchase;

  • €500,000 in small and medium-sized Portuguese companies.

The Golden Visa program grants a temporary residence permit in Portugal for 5 years, requiring the holder to spend at least 7 days in Portugal in the first year and at least 14 days in each subsequent two-year period.

After five years, holders of the Golden Visa can apply for permanent residence, and after six years, they can apply for Portuguese citizenship if other legal requirements are met.

Portugal Golden Visa Program Changes in 2023

Contrary to media sites reported during the previous months, the Portuguese Golden Visa program remained open. Instead, the program is reorganised under the new legislation to restrict the range of particular investment categories, particularly those involving real estate.

Under the current bill proposal, the program will remain under the four investment categories:

  1. €250,000, applied to investment or support for artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage.

  2. €500,000, applied to research activities by public or private scientific research institutions.

  3. €500,000, applied for the acquisition of shares in funds.

  4. €500,000, applied for the incorporation of a commercial company with a registered office in Portugal, combined with creating permanent jobs.

The proposed bill will then be sent to the President of the Republic following approval in Parliament. Therefore, the regulations in existence will govern all applications submitted at the time of submission, which is the current system, at least until the proposed law takes effect.

If you want to invest in real estate to obtain a residence permit, here are other ways in European countries. Compared to Portugal, the application process under the following national programs takes less time.

Golden Visas Alternatives in Europe

Countries

Minimal investment

pt-flag

Portugal

€250,000+

8—10 months

€150,000+

2—4 months

€250,000+

3 months

€500,000+

2—3 months

€250,000+

2—6 months

Portugal Golden Visa: a Wealthy Individual’s Ticket to Europe

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers non-EU nationals a chance to become permanent residents of Portugal by investing in qualifying investments. Additionally, you get to enjoy tax incentives and high-quality public services like healthcare.

Portugal Golden Visa advantages:

  • residency rights: live, work, and study anywhere in Portugal and travel visa-free within the Schengen Area;

  • tax benefits: the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime provides significant tax advantages, including potential exemption from foreign income tax;

  • ease of travel: enjoy visa-free travel throughout Europe’s 26-country Schengen Zone;

  • familial inclusion: Bring your family along. Spouses, children, parents and siblings can also qualify for residence permits under this scheme.

The Portugal Golden Visa program does not accept EU or EEA nationals applicants. There are no limits on foreign nationals taking part in the investment program. The number of family members investing has no bearing on the amount.

4 Investment Options to Get the Portugal Golden Visa

1. Fund Investment. An investment fund is a financial organisation seeking to increase and attract capital. The fund raises money and invests at least €500,000 in limited assets, including Portuguese businesses, industrial properties, and the European stock market.

2. Cultural heritage. Donate at least €250,000 to maintain national heritage sites or support artistic production and recovery of cultural heritage through accredited institutions.

3. Research investment. Invest at least €500,000 in research activities conducted by recognized public or private scientific research institutions operating within Portugal.

4. Business investments. Contribute at least €500,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved with bio-tech innovation. The company must be registered in Portugal, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for three years.

Investing in the Portugal Golden Visa program comes with additional costs that applicants must consider. These include legal fees, government application fees, property taxes, and rental income taxes. It’s important to factor in all potential expenses upfront to avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.

Portugal Golden Visa by real estate investment

Investing in real estate via the Portugal investment program is no longer available for foreigners

Portugal Residence by Investment Eligibility

The Portugal Golden Visa program is open to third-country nationals — meaning non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens — who conduct an investment activity as an individual businessperson or through a business set up in Portugal or another EU member state.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have no criminal record and must be able to spend a minimum amount of time in Portugal: 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent two-year periods.

Requirements for Applicants

Investor

  • Over 18 years old

  • No criminal record or prosecution

  • Money for investments is earned outside of Portugal

  • No debts in Portugal

  • Capable of confirming the legality of the income

  • Medical insurance

Spouse

Children

Children under 18 — no requirements

Children aged 18 to 26: financially dependent on the investor, live with the investor or study at a university

Parents

Financially dependent on the investor

Siblings

Under 26, in the investor’s custody

6 Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa Program

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers more than just residency in a beautiful country. Successful applicants and their families gain access to high-quality public services, can travel freely within the Schengen Area, and become eligible for permanent residency or citizenship after five years.

1. High-quality living standards. Portugal provides all its citizens with a high living level, including good healthcare, education, safety, and a low crime rate. Golden visa holders have access to top-notch healthcare and education services in Portugal.

2. Freedom to travel. A golden visa allows you to roam around Europe without access, allowing hassle-free travel within the Schengen Area.

3. Affordability of living. Portugal is a popular location for expats worldwide because it offers a lower living expense. Expat families feel at home because their living standards are maintained, and their purchasing power grows. Living standards are raised for expats from developing nations without a considerable increase in the cost of living.

4. Tax Incentives. Get the most out of your golden visa by taking advantage of the NHR status. You could pay no taxes on foreign-source pensions, dividends, royalties, and interest income. Plus, you may enjoy reduced or deferred taxes on certain types of Portuguese-sourced income, such as rental income from property located in Portugal

5. Family eligibility. Spouses, kids, siblings and parents can all be included in the same application process, making it an excellent selection for households seeking to move.

6. Obtaining a Portuguese passport in five years. You are eligible for Portugal citizenship or permanent residency if you have maintained Portuguese residence for five years. In contrast to many other nations, Portugal does not require permanent residency before citizenship.

Portugal Tax System: Benefits and Obligations after Obtaining Golden Visa

Here are some general tax implications associated with the Portuguese Golden Visa Program:

  1. Tax residency: obtaining a Golden Visa can have implications for your tax residency status. If you spend 183 or more days in Portugal within a tax year or have a permanent residence in Portugal, you may be considered a tax resident and subject to Portuguese taxation on your worldwide income.

  2. Personal income tax: as a tax resident, you’ll generally be subject to personal income tax (IRS) on your worldwide income. Portugal has a progressive tax system with different tax rates depending on your income level. It’s important to review the specific tax rates and thresholds in effect at the time of your residency.

  3. Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Regime: the Non-Habitual Resident regime is a special tax regime available to individuals who become tax residents in Portugal. It offers attractive tax benefits for certain types of income, such as foreign-source income, pensions, and certain professions, by providing exemptions or reduced tax rates.

  4. Wealth tax: Portugal does not currently have a wealth tax, which means there is no specific tax on net worth or assets.

  5. Capital gains tax: Portugal imposes capital gains tax on the sale of real estate, including properties held under the Golden Visa program. The tax rate is generally 28% for non-residents, but it can be lower for residents who meet certain conditions.

  6. Inheritance and gift tax: Portugal has an inheritance and gift tax, which applies to transfers of property and assets. The rates and exemptions can vary depending on the relationship between the donor and recipient.

  7. Double taxation treaties: Portugal has signed it with many countries to prevent double taxation and provide relief for certain types of income. These treaties can help determine how your income and assets will be taxed in Portugal and your home country.

It’s important to note that tax regulations and rates can change over time, so it’s crucial to consult with a tax professional or immigration lawyer who can provide up-to-date information and guidance based on your specific circumstances.

Portugal tax system

In Portugal, the Número de Identificação Fiscal, NIF, is the tax identification number assigned to individuals and entities for tax purposes. The NIF number is a crucial identifier in Portugal, and it is necessary for various financial transactions

Document Requirements to Obtain Portugal Golden Visa

General documents:

  1. International passport.

  2. Evidence of entry and legal stay in Portugal.

  3. The tax identification number of the country of residence.

  4. Healthcare coverage.

  5. Criminal record certificate.

  6. A completed form authorising SEF to access criminal records in Portugal.

  7. Evidence of an effective transfer of funds for investing.

For purchasing fund shares:

  1. The document attesting the holdership of the units of investment.

  2. The declaration issued by the holding company of the respective investment fund attesting the feasibility of the capitalization plan, the maturity of at least five years, and the application of at least 60% of the investment in commercial companies with head office in the national territory.


For investment in the company’s capital:

  1. Company registration certificate.

  2. Individual contracts of employment between the employer and the employees.

  3. Certificates from the Office of Social Security and the Register of Employment Contracts for the employees.

  4. Supporting document of the constitution of a commercial company with share capital equal to or above €500,000 and associated updated extract from the register of companies.

For investment in the arts: the declaration issued by the Strategy, Planning and Cultural Assessment Office, where the culture service with competencies in the sector have been consulted, attesting its investment nature or of supporting the arts, restoring and maintenance of the national cultural heritage.

For investment in research activities: the declaration issued by a public or private scientific research institution involved in the national scientific or technological system attesting to the effective transfer of capital for research activities.

What Is the Timeline for the Portugal Golden Visa and Application Process?

After choosing the type of qualifying investment, you must complete it and gather all necessary documentation. It includes, among other things, proof of investment, a valid passport, criminal record certificates, and proof of legal entry and stay in Portugal.

The application and all required documents are submitted to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). This can be done online. SEF will review the application and make a preliminary approval or rejection. This process can take several months.

If your application is approved, you must schedule an appointment with SEF for biometric data collection. It typically includes an interview, although the specifics may vary. If all goes well with your appointment and interview, your Golden Visa will be issued. The initial visa is valid for one year.

Each applicant’s circumstances are unique, so it’s always best to consult a professional advisor to ensure you meet all necessary criteria before proceeding.

1

2 weeks

Decide on your investment type

Investors don’t have to visit Portugal: all processes can be finished remotely.

2

2 weeks

Set up a Portuguese bank account and tax number

This stage requires visiting the Portugal tax office and bank to obtain NIF and open an account for future investment transactions.

3

2 months

Complete your investment

When the account is opened, transfer the money to it and then redirect it to investing.

4

4—6 months

Gather all necessary documents and submit your application

Copies of the papers are sent for consideration to SEF, the Portuguese Immigration Office.

5

4 months

Schedule and attend your SEF appointment

Investors and their relatives have to come to Portugal and provide biometrics and the originals of the documents.

6

1 month

Receive your Portugal Golden Visa residence cards

After approval, the investor pays the fee for issuing residence permit cards. From then, they will be ready within two weeks. The investor can receive them in person or with the help of their lawyer.

After holding residence permit cards for 5 years, investors can apply for Portuguese permanent residency or citizenship. They must prove basic Portuguese knowledge at the A2 level to get the status.

Why You Need Professional Advisors for Portugal Golden Visa Application

Professional advisors are experts in the field and can guide you through the application process. They’ll help you understand the requirements, provide advice on documentation, and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

They can give you the knowledge to make wise decisions regarding your investments. They’ll conduct due diligence checks to verify the legitimacy of potential acquisitions and protect you from fraudulent schemes or non-compliant transactions.

Conclusion

Get residency in Portugal with the Golden Visa program — invest in qualifying investments and enjoy tax benefits and other advantages.

Don’t get lost in the complex and costly application process — work with professional advisors to ensure compliance and choose the suitable investment.

Even with potential changes to the program, understanding how to get a Portugal Golden Visa now can offer many benefits for those seeking residency in this beautiful country.

Frequently Asked Questions

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