Publication 19 October 2022
The Golden Visa Residence by Investment Programme was introduced in 2012 in Portugal, and is a five-year Residence Permit Programme, after the first residency card has been issued, for non-EU nationals. Portugal is a full member of the EU, and therefore successful applicants of the Golden Visa Residence by Investment Programme benefit from visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area.
The permit requires a low physical presence requirement with an average stay of just seven days a year, or fourteen days in a period of two years in Portugal, over the five-year period. Benefit of the programme include the right to live, work and study in Portugal, with the key benefit of obtaining citizenship at the end of the program and the entitlement to European citizenship.
Portugal has, in recent years, extended its excellent reputation, with many discovering this beautiful Mediterranean region in Europe.
It is considered one of the world’s most globalised and peaceful nations, with a high quality of life. It has been ranked highly on several index rankings (including that of education and living), and offers a warm climate, superb cuisine, and a relatively low cost of living.
Portugal is a place that families want to move to and where businesses can expand and grow, with the forecast Portuguese growth rate expected to exceed the European average.
Step 1: Hire a Legal Advisor
The Golden Visa programme is a relatively complex visa that requires an expert with sufficient experience and knowledge of the programme. Things to consider when selecting a legal advisor are experience in the market specifically in the Golden Visa programme, and the track history of the firm.
Once a legal advisor is appointed, they will assist you in hiring a tax representative, the opening of a Portuguese bank account, and will explore the different investment programs options available in Portugal with you.
Step 2: Choose an Investment Programme
The investment options available under the Golden Visa programme are a capital transfer, a property acquisition, or investment into a business.
The options available in relation to a capital transfer are:
A capital transfer of €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account or an approved investment€500,000 for the acquisition of investment or venture capital fund units committed to the capitalisation of companies incorporated under Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years and with at least 60% of the investment portfolio in companies with a registered office in the national territory of Portugal€500,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system (€400,000 in a low population density area*)€250,000 in support of artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage (€200,000 in a low population density area*)
The two options in terms of property acquisition are:
350,000 minimum real estate purchase for the refurbishment of residential properties older than 30 years or in an area of urban regeneration, including the cost of renovations (residential property is limited to designated interior areas), (€280,000 in a low population density area*)
*A low population density area is defined as less than 100 inhabitants per km², or with a GDP per capita lower than 75% of the national average.
The options for the establishment of a business are:
Creation of a minimum of ten new jobs (eight new jobs in a low population density area*)€500,000 for the incorporation or increase of the share capital of a company that is registered in Portugal, creating, or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for a period of three years
Step 3: Legal Formalities
The next step is preparing all of the necessary information to be submitted to SEF (Portuguese Border and Immigration Service). Some specific documents will be requested by your legal advisor, depending on the type of investment that is chosen, together with other documents, including criminal record details and tax number of the country of origin.
Step 4: Final Steps
Once all of the documents have been provided to your legal advisor, these are submitted to SEF for acceptance. Once accepted, you will be notified to schedule a biometric appointment at SEF, and after this procedure has been completed, will be followed by a residence card which represents the golden visa.
Renewals need to take place every two years, with documentation being updated and biometric appointments to take place in Portugal.
The following criteria are applicable for the golden visa programme:
Minimum average seven day spend in Portugal per year, over the five year period, after the concession and until the first renewalMinimum fourteen day spend in Portugal for the period of two years between renewalsMaintain the investment for a five year period, after receipt of the residency card
After the five year residency programme is completed, the investor can keep renewing the temporary residency card as long as wanted while keeping the investment, apply for permanent residency in Portugal where a five year residency card will be issued, or apply for Portuguese citizenship and get a Portuguese passport.
For the second two options, it is mandatory to pass a A.2 level Portuguese exam.
The tax consequences for each investment option vary depending on the investment programme selected.