For the first time, India has emerged as one of the top four
nations to obtain the Portugal Golden Visa in 2022, an investor visa
programme that benefits individuals and families, providing them
the right to live, work, study, and/or retire in Portugal and the
Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 130 visas have been issued to Indian nationals. The Portuguese
Golden Visa Residence Permit (ARI) is a residency by investment program designed to encourage investment in
Portugal from non-EU/EEA citizens. It provides a quick way to get a residence permit in Portugal.
India has risen in the ranks among successful applicants for the Portugal Golden Visa, climbing to 4th place in
2022 from 5th place in 2021 and 9th place in 2020. From just 33 visas in 2019, the number of ultra-rich Indians who
have opted for the programme has jumped to 56 in 2022, shows data analysed by LCR Capital Partners – a global
private investment and advisory services firm . These ultra-high net worth individuals have shelved out anywhere
between Euro 350,000 and Euro 600,000 in the last year to invest in apartments in Lisbon suburbs or in less
expensive locations to obtain residency permits.
Such visas were most commonly issued to Indian nationals to allow them to perform professional activities
(78.9%) and to reunify their families (14.2%).
In order to qualify for Portugal’s Golden Visa, a qualifying investment has to be made. Investment categories
include real estate, venture capital fund, transfer of capital, company formation, and donation.
““The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is in high demand, enjoying top spot on Henley & Partners’
Global Residence Programs Index in 2022. With a minimum contribution of 200,000 euros in three to six months
you can acquire residence rights in Portugal and visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area,” said Nirbhay
Handa, managing director and head of global South Asia Team, Henley & Partners.
The program also has a real estate option, where a minimum 350,000 euros property investment has the
additional advantage of enhancing your options for relocation or retirement (or both). After five years of
residence, you are eligible to apply for citizenship of this EU country,” he said.
Why are Indians opting for this visa?
One other reasons why people from India prefer to live in Portugal is the tax relief. Portugal offers many tax
breaks for expats. For example, for expat homeowners, there is no taxation on wealth tax, inheritance tax, or gift
Portugal has also signed a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with more than 60 countries. Algeria, United Arab
Emirates, India, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Tunisia, and Turkey are among them. You can benefit
from the agreement at both individual and corporate levels. Basically, if you pay taxes for your foreign income in
your country of origin, then you won’t pay the same tax in Portugal. However, you need to prove to the
Portuguese authorities that you are already paying taxes in the other country.
“Indians who move to Portugal can also benefit from The Non Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime under which
they get special tax treatment for 10 years. You can get tax exemption on most of the foreign source income and
have to pay tax 20% on certain Portuguese source incomes ” said Paresh Karia, CEO of Acquest Advisors.
The Portugal Golden Visa has granted 10,515 residency permits since its introduction in 2012. It’s a residency by
investment scheme that presents investors with residency rights in the country either through property
acquisition or other investment routes. In addition, the residency permit is issued in less than 10 months after visa
application. The fastrack visa for non-European Union nationals mandates a minimum investment of around Rs
4.35 crore in real estate, making a capital investment or creating employment opportunities.
“Portugal Golden Visa seems to be more attractive to rich Indians in comparison to the Dubai Golden Visa as the
climatic conditions are much better in Portugal. Further the Portugal Golden Visa opens the gate for 188
European Union Countries for the purpose of travel, work and study. So a visa holder has a great opportunity not
only in Portugal but other EU countries as well. Further after holding a Portugal golden visa for 5 years, one can
apply for citizenship however in case of Duabi, this time period is 10 years,” said Tushar Agarwal, advocate
Supreme Court of India.
You don’t have to move to Portugal to keep your residence permit. You have to stay in the country
for seven days on average per year. You can be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years. This is one
of the quickest in Europe. Once you become a Portuguese citizen, you get visa-free access to 188 countries.
Opens doors to Europe:
The Portugal Golden Visa also allows investors and their family members to have access to professional
development and educational opportunities in all European Union countries, with the ability to apply for
Portuguese permanent residency and citizenship after five years, said Suresh Rajan, executive chairman and
founder of LCR Capital Partners.
The reason most Indian High networth Individuals and families have been lately opting for the Portugese Golden
Visa scheme is the fact that it gives the visa holder a freedom to access any of the Schengen countries, part of the
European Union. The eligibility criterias are relatively simpler as it involves a quantified amount of investment
either in Real Estate or investment funds. In comparison to Dubai, which has been a favourite for years, Portugal
gives an option to eventually avail Portugal citizenship on completion of five years of holding the Visa. Even
though Dubai on the other hand maybe a more convenient destination in terms of connectivity to India, there is
no option, so far to secure a citizenship in the UAE for Indians by virtue of holding its Golden Visa,” said Zaheer
Memon, Partner, Vesta Legal.
“What is more, the stark polarization of politics in many developing countries, ongoing speculation about fiscal
policies, and changing stances in bilateral trade relations with each new political term are exposing
entrepreneurs to risk and leaving many unsure about what the future holds for their businesses. This has piqued
their interest in diversifying their domiciles so that their futures are not dependent solely on geopolitical
developments in their home countries,” said Handa.
The rich want a better quality of life
India continues to experience a boom in wealth generation, with the number of HNWIs increasing exponentially
every year. “The traditional base of industrialists is unchanged, but joining their ranks is a new generation of tech
entrepreneurs, who are keen to diversify a portion of their wealth in jurisdictions offering a slew of incentives and
high tax efficiencies. The appeal of a higher standard of living, including better educational and health facilities
for the family, also continues to be a key driver, perhaps even more so in the wake of Covid. Increasingly stringent
tax residency rules (introduced in 2020 and 2021), with no relief in individual taxation rates for HNWIs, coupled
with a desire for visa-free travel are also consistent primary motivators for alternative residence and citizenship,”
said Bijal Ajinkya, Partner in the Direct Tax, Private Client and Investment Funds Practices of Khaitan & Co.
“Portugal offers quality life at affordable price” the cost of living in Lisbon for an affluent family is similar to or even
lower that in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. This coupled with the excellent weather and pollution free
environment makes Portugal an attractive retirement destination,” said Karia.
Changes that you should be aware of?
However, if you are opting for the visa now through the real estate investment route, there are same limit the
locations where you can invest in a property for a Golden Visa now. The minimum investment amounts remain
the same, while there are geographical restrictions on the qualifying areas. You are no longer able to get
residential property in major cities such as Lisbon or Porto or in coastal towns of the mainland. Only property
investments inland and possibly rural or low-density areas are eligible. The changes will not be retroactive to
anyone who submitted a Golden Visa application before December 31st, 2021