Portugal Golden Visas: How, How Much & 2024 Tips

Looking to gain Portuguese residency through investment? The Portugal Golden Visa Program provides a pathway for non-EU citizens to do just that. By meeting certain investment criteria, individuals can obtain a residency permit and pursue permanent residency or citizenship. Our in-depth guide breaks down the types of qualifying investments, key benefits, and application processes necessary for potential investors to get started.

Key Takeaways

  • The Portugal Golden Visa program offers non-EU citizens a residency permit in exchange for qualifying investments, with a minimal physical presence required, and a potential path to permanent residency or citizenship after five years.
  • Investment options for the Golden Visa include investment funds, business investment, and job creation, or donations for cultural investment, each with different requirements and benefits.
  • Portugal Golden Visa holders enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen Area, the potential for favorable tax treatment under the NHR Tax Program, and family reunification rights, along with a straightforward application process that involves government, legal, and processing fees.

Understanding the Portugal Golden Visa Program

Portugal Golden Visa Program

Non-EU citizens who make a qualifying investment in the country can receive a residency permit known as the Portugal Golden Visa. Implemented in 2012, this program was primarily aimed at enticing international capital into Portugal in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. A key attraction is the minimal physical presence necessary to uphold your Golden Visa status. Just seven days annually on average in the country, with a total of fourteen days during the validity of each two-year residence card, is all that’s needed.

However, there’s more to it than just that. The Portugal Golden Visa program offers a pathway to permanent residency or even citizenship after maintaining your investment for five years. The eligibility requirements aren’t too daunting either. You simply need a clean criminal record, comprehensive health insurance, and a Portuguese bank account. Renewal is also straightforward. Just spend a minimum of two weeks in Portugal every two years and maintain your initial investment.

What is the Portugal Golden Visa?

Non-EU citizens who make a qualifying investment within the country are granted a residency permit through the Portugal Golden Visa program. But what does qualifying investment mean? The participation requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa program entail:

  • Being a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national
  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having no criminal record
  • Making a significant investment in Portugal

There are a variety of investment options available. They include purchasing real estate valued at a minimum of €500,000 or investing €350,000 in a property situated in a Portuguese urban regeneration area. Furthermore, applicants are required to meet the minimum residence obligation by spending at least 14 days in Portugal within a 2-year timeframe.

The Portugal Golden Visa program stands out from other EU Golden Visa programs by offering a range of investment options, including:

  • Investment fund
  • Real estate investment
  • Business investment and job creation
  • Donation and cultural investment

Who can apply?

Who then qualifies for this advantageous opportunity? Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are at least 18 years old and have no criminal record are eligible for Portuguese Golden Visas. They must also hold a clean criminal record from their home country and Portugal, and the funds for the investment should originate from outside Portugal.

US citizens also fit the bill. They are required to fulfill the standard prerequisites for Golden Visa applicants, including age, a clear criminal record, and verification of external sources of investment funds. How about post-Brexit UK citizens? The news is good. As of January 1st, 2021, UK citizens can also apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, granting them the privilege of traveling within the Schengen area, residing, and working in Portugal, provided they uphold temporary residency by spending a minimum of seven days annually in Portugal after making the investment.

Investment Options for Portugal Golden Visa

A variety of investment options, each with its own unique features and advantages, are offered by the Portugal Golden Visa program. These options include:

  • Fund investment
  • Business investment and job creation
  • Donation and cultural investment

Choosing the right option depends on your personal circumstances, financial capacity, and long-term goals.

Investing in funds is a popular choice. It requires a minimum investment of €500,000 in a Private Equity or Venture Capital fund registered under Portuguese law. These funds, managed by fund managers accredited by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, need to have a minimum maturity of five years, and at least 60% of the investment must be in companies with a head office in Portugal.

Real estate investment, once a popular choice, is no longer available. Investment funds can no longer have any direct or indirect connection to real estate. However, loans can be used to finance investments exceeding the minimum investment amount required for the visa. Interestingly, cryptocurrencies can also be used for the acquisition of the Portugal Golden Visa, either through real estate purchases or other qualifying investments.

Business investment and job creation options require the creation of a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs in a Portuguese business owned by the main applicant, or an investment of a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business that creates a minimum of five new full-time jobs for at least three years.

Donation and cultural investment options include making a minimum investment of €250,000 in the preservation of national heritage or €500,000 in a research and development activity in Portugal, both of which can be considered as forms of capital transfer.

Fund Investment

As previously stated, investing in funds is a common path to obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa. This option requires a minimum investment of €500,000 in a Private Equity or Venture Capital fund registered under Portuguese law.

The eligible fund types for this option include venture capital funds and private equity funds. These funds are listed in a designated catalog, providing investors with a range of options to choose from.

Real Estate Investment No Longer Qualifies

Late in 2023, Portugal changed the Golden Visa program such that real estate is no longer a qualifying asset. You can no longer obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal by investing in real estate.

Business Investment and Job Creation

The option of business investment and job creation presents an alternative route to obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa. The main applicant is required to create a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs in a Portuguese business as part of this option. This will contribute to the local economy and employment opportunities..

You can also choose to invest at least €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business. Doing so will help create a minimum of five permanent jobs, which must be full-time and maintained for at least three years.

Investors are required to generate a minimum of ten full-time jobs, or eight in low-density population areas, in accordance with Portugal’s labor and social security regulations.

Donation and Cultural Investment

Donation and cultural investment options present an alternative route to securing a Portugal Golden Visa. These options include making a minimum investment of €250,000 in the preservation of national heritage or €500,000 in a research and development activity in Portugal.

The arts and culture option for the Portugal Golden Visa program involves making a minimum investment of €250,000 into qualified projects in Portuguese Arts, National Heritage, or Culture.

The funds invested in the cultural sector in Portugal are utilized to provide support to arts, cultural heritage, and artistic production, ultimately resulting in the acquisition of residency in Portugal as the primary advantage of this investment.

Advantages of Obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa

Advantages of Obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa

A plethora of benefits come with obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa. These include:

  • Visa-free access to the entire Schengen Area
  • Cost-effective investment opportunities
  • The potential to qualify for a European passport within five years.

The Golden Visa also allows individuals to become a non-habitual resident and benefit from favorable tax conditions for ten years. The minimal stay requirement enhances the program’s appeal for those who do not wish to permanently relocate to Portugal.

Families of Portugal Golden Visa holders experience substantial benefits as they gain access to the Portuguese national healthcare and education systems, thereby ensuring high standards of living.

Individuals holding the Portuguese residence permit card, acquired through the Golden Visa program, are afforded the following privileges in Portugal:

  • The liberty to reside and work in Portugal without restriction
  • The same privileges as Portuguese citizens and residents
  • Engagement in the domestic economy
  • Access to business prospects
  • Complete utilization of public services

Living and Working in Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa holders gain the right to live, study, and work in Portugal, enjoying the same privileges as European Union citizens.

Portugal provides an excellent standard of living for Golden Visa holders, characterized by:

  • Favorable climate
  • Expansive natural landscapes
  • Diverse attractions
  • High living standards
  • Quality educational opportunities

Those with the Portugal Golden Visa can access public services like healthcare and education, just like other residents in the country. This provides them with essential benefits and support.

Travel Benefits

Significant travel benefits come with the Portugal Golden Visa program. The program offers visa-free access to the Schengen Area, enhancing mobility within Europe.

The potential for obtaining a Portuguese passport adds to the appeal. Acquiring a Portuguese passport via the Portuguese Golden Visa program provides access to EU citizen privileges, such as freedom of movement and entry into the European market.

A Portuguese passport allows for visa-free travel to 158 countries and territories, opening up a world of opportunities for international travel.

Family Reunification

The Portugal Golden Visa program features the appealing aspect of family reunification. Spouses, dependents, and other family members eligible for family reunification can be included in a Portugal Golden Visa application.

Family reunification in the Portugal Golden Visa program offers the opportunity for family members to have the same freedom of opportunities and establish a second residence in a safe and stable country.

In order to be included in the Portugal Golden Visa application, dependents must:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years old
  • Have a clear criminal record
  • Dependent parents who are over 55 years of age need to provide evidence of dependency unless they are over 65 years old.

Furthermore, there is an extra fee for including dependents in your Golden Visa application.

Pathway to Citizenship

After five years of legal residency in Portugal, the Portugal Golden Visa program provides a route to citizenship. The eligibility criteria entail renewing the initial Golden Visa card twice and completing a total of five years of residency. Subsequently, applicants can apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.

Acquiring Portuguese citizenship provides the advantages of EU citizenship, such as the opportunity to reside and work in any EU member state, and a passport that enables visa-free entry to 188 countries globally.

Application Process and Timeline

The Portugal Golden Visa program has a straightforward application process. Here are the preliminary measures:

  1. Seek advice from professionals to evaluate the appropriateness of Portugal’s residency investment for your requirements.
  2. Engage a legal representative.
  3. Arrange a visit to Portugal to explore investment opportunities, consult with legal professionals, and arrange essential documentation.

The application necessitates a range of legal documents, which may be altered at the discretion of the Portuguese government. Upon completion of the investment, the applicant is required to submit a pre-application online and arrange an appointment with the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) for the collection of biometrics.

Upon concluding your investment, it is advisable to return home to collect the necessary documents for the visa application. The Portuguese residence card acquired is initially valid for one year and can be extended for up to five years through a simplified procedure.

Fees and Costs Associated with Portugal Golden Visa

Certain fees and costs are associated with the Portugal Golden Visa program. The government fees associated with the program consist of:

  • A processing fee of approximately €550
  • An application fee of €539.66 per person for the initial application and each renewal
  • A Golden Visa application fee of €533.00 for the main applicant and each additional family member.

In addition to the investment sum, supplementary costs for the Portugal Golden Visa program encompass government fees, legal service charges, and fees for consultants or other professionals necessary during the application process.

The average legal fees for the Portugal Golden Visa application typically range from €8,000 to €12,000, encompassing professional services for the application process.

Tax Implications and Benefits

There are certain tax implications and benefits associated with the Portugal Golden Visa program. The NHR Tax Program is a specific tax regime established in Portugal to attract proficient professionals and investors, providing significant tax benefits.

Individuals holding a Portugal Golden Visa and residing outside of Portugal are not subject to income tax on foreign income. However, they are liable for taxation on any income generated within Portugal.

Individuals holding a Portugal Golden Visa are liable to pay capital gains tax when they sell property at a profit. Furthermore, rental income derived from property in Portugal is subject to a fixed tax rate of 28%, although expenses related to maintenance and repairs can be subtracted from this tax.

Success Stories and Statistics

The Portugal Golden Visa program has achieved considerable success. This investment program has granted over 20,000 Golden Visas to families worldwide since its inception, demonstrating its effectiveness in attracting global investors.

The Portugal Golden Visa program, also known as Portugal’s Golden Visa, has channeled approximately €7.2 billion of global funds into Portugal through Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, with 12,396 main applicants and 20,000 dependents applying for the visa since October 8th, 2012.

Americans have emerged as successful beneficiaries of the Portugal Golden Visa program, with 216 golden visas granted to them in 2022, exceeding all other nationalities, including traditionally high applicant groups such as the Chinese.

Future Changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program

The Portugal Golden Visa program is constantly undergoing evolution and changes. It is not a static initiative. Recent legislation, enacted in October 2023, modifies the eligibility criteria for investment.

Real estate options will no longer be available, however, the program will persist with alternative investment options. Investment funds can no longer have any direct or indirect connection to real estate.

Notwithstanding these changes, the investment options that remain eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa Program can still be found in the guide, where more information is available.

Expert Tips for a Successful Golden Visa Application

It’s crucial to give careful thought when applying for the Portugal Golden Visa program. To select an appropriate investment option for your Portugal Golden Visa, it is advisable to evaluate various types such as venture capital funds, company formation, or property investments.

It is advisable to steer clear of common pitfalls such as:

  • Incomplete KYC checks
  • Omission of crucial documents
  • Failure to provide police clearance certificates or proof of origin for funds
  • Misconceptions about investment options
  • Failure to translate documents into Portuguese
  • Inadequate proof of accommodations

By addressing these issues, the application process can be streamlined, enhancing your chances of successfully obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa.

Summary

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers non-EU citizens a golden opportunity to gain access to the EU. With its various investment options, eligibility criteria, and substantial benefits, it has become a popular pathway for international investors seeking to establish a presence in Europe. As with any investment decision, careful consideration and professional advice are key to a successful application.

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