A Complete 2024 Guide To The Portugal Golden Visa (Residency By Investment)

To The Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa, an appealing vehicle to Portuguese residency for non-European Union investors, has gained global traction since its inception in 2012.

This guide serves as your in-depth introduction to this program and the wealth of benefits it presents. From visa-free travel across the cherished Schengen area to the prospect of immersing oneself in Portugal’s thriving cultural and economic climate.

Read on to get the clear, practical guidance you’ll need to confidently move forward with this investment opportunity.

Understanding Residency by Investment in Portugal

Launched by the Portuguese government in October 2012, the Golden Visa program is specifically designed to draw in citizens from outside the EU/EEA who are looking to secure permanent residency through investing.

The program has hit its mark in boosting Portugal’s economy, bringing in a remarkable €7 billion in investments and rising to become one of the top residency by investment initiatives across the globe.

Initially, the program offered a range of investment choices, such as buying property or engaging in capital investments. However, it’s essential to recognize that investing directly in real estate or related funds is no longer on the table. Still, the program remains attractive, offering a variety of other beneficial investments that continue to draw prospective investors looking for residency in Portugal.

The residency that comes with the Golden Visa is a significant step—it’s your entry into living, working, and learning in a country known for its high living standards and affordability. Portugal stands out as a favored location for many. The residency permit also opens doors to easier travel, offering the freedom to visit 188 countries without the need for a visa, including those within Europe’s Schengen Area.

And there’s more to it than just short-term benefits. The Golden Visa also offers lasting opportunities and advantages.

After maintaining residency for five years, investors can pursue permanent residence, Portuguese citizenship, and an EU passport, elevating the program’s allure. This path to Portuguese citizenship is increasingly popular, attributed to the enviable quality of life it offers its residents.

Eligibility Criteria Portugal Golden Visa

To start the process of getting a Portugal Golden Visa, people must meet a set of specific requirements. These are meant to make the process easier and make sure that applicants are qualified to make a good contribution to the country’s economy and society.

1. Pre-requisites for the Golden Visa Program

If you’re thinking about going for the Portugal Golden Visa, you’ll need to check off a few simple boxes first. You’ve got to be over 18—that’s the law. It means you’re ready to make your own financial decisions.

Also, you need to be someone everyone can trust.

2. Clean Criminal Record

Everybody wants to feel safe where they live. So, Portugal asks that you don’t have any criminal history back home or in Portugal. They actually check into this. It’s just their way of keeping things friendly and safe for everyone.

3. Non-EU, Non-Swiss, or Non-EEA Nationality

If you’re from outside the EU, Switzerland, or the European Economic Area, you’re in luck—you can apply for this visa. Portugal is on the lookout for folks from other countries to bring new money and know-how. It’s something a lot of European countries do to get their economies buzzing and mix things up with new talents.

4. For Americans Eyeing Portugal

Americans find this visa pretty tempting. Why? It lets you spread your investments across borders and potentially even save on taxes if you’re living in the U.S. Plus if you’re an American with a business, Portugal’s got some sweet tax breaks that could make doing business there pretty great.

5. UK Citizens Looking at Portugal

For British folks, Brexit shook things up quite a bit—especially when it comes to traveling around Europe. So now, they’re eyeing Portugal for a couple of big reasons. It’s a door back to easy travel around Europe, it’s got a great way of life, and there’s even the chance to become a citizen of the EU by putting your money into Portugal.

Ever since Brexit was sealed at the start of 2021, UK citizens can sign up for this Golden Visa. It’s a smart way to get back some of those travel freedoms lost with Brexit.

6. Minimum Investment of €250,000

You need to put at least €250,000 into Portugal for this visa. But you’ve got options: grab some real estate, move some serious cash to Portugal, or set up some jobs for people. You can pick a path that fits what you can afford and what you’re interested in. Because there are different choices, more people can join in and help Portugal’s economy grow.

7. Residency Requirement

And finally. You don’t have to live in Portugal all year round. If you can make it there for about a week each year, that’s plenty. They have this rule so that people like you, with busy lives and other places to be, can still enjoy living in Portugal without turning your whole life upside down.

Advantages of the Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers a unique blend of advantages for those seeking not just an investment opportunity but also a gateway to Europe. Its benefits range from travel freedoms, and a chance to set up a new home in a welcoming country, to financial incentives that are hard to match.

Below, we will take a closer look at each of these benefits.

1. Unhindered Travel Across the Schengen Zone

One of the standout perks of the Portugal Golden Visa is the seamless access it provides to the Schengen Area. This advantage means that Golden Visa holders can freely move across 27 European countries without the need for a separate visa, staying for up to 90 days within any 180 days.

This flexibility is ideal for those who love to travel for leisure or have business engagements across Europe.

2. Establishing a Secure Base

The Golden Visa acts as an assurance of safe harbor. It ensures that holders can enter Portugal when they need to, regardless of global uncertainties or travel restrictions. This makes Portugal an always accessible retreat or a permanent home if chosen.

The minimal requirement of staying for only seven days annually in Portugal to maintain the visa status offers a flexible approach to residency that suits various lifestyles and commitments.

3. Relocating to Portugal

The charm of Portugal goes beyond its geographic and strategic advantages. The country is renowned for its warm climate, diverse landscapes ranging from beautiful beaches to historic towns, low living costs, and high safety levels.

These qualities make Portugal an appealing choice for those considering a move, whether for retirement, to raise a family, or simply to enjoy a higher quality of life.

4. Opportunities for Work and Business

Portugal’s robust economy and supportive business environment open up numerous avenues for Golden Visa holders. Whether you’re looking to expand your business ventures, explore new career opportunities, or even start a new enterprise, Portugal offers a conducive setting.

Its strategic location within Europe, coupled with a government keen on attracting foreign investment through incentives, makes it a fertile ground for professional and entrepreneurial growth.

5. Tax Benefits

One of the most compelling reasons to consider the Portugal Golden Visa is the potential for tax optimization. The Non-habitual Resident (NHR) status, available to investors, means a 10-year hiatus from taxation on worldwide income, alongside a capped rate of 20% on income derived within Portugal.

Given the highest income tax rate could reach 48%, this represents substantial savings and solidifies Portugal’s position as a financially strategic residency choice.

6. Access to High-standard Healthcare and Education

Golden Visa holders not only enjoy the privilege of living in Portugal but also gain access to its high-standard healthcare and education systems. Portugal is known for its excellent healthcare services, which are ranked among the top in Europe for quality and accessibility.

As a Golden Visa holder, individuals and their families can benefit from these healthcare services, ensuring peace of mind regarding health and wellness. This includes the right to visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, specifically for medical treatments, offering a broader range of healthcare options.

Moreover, Portugal offers quality education from primary school to higher education levels. Golden Visa holders have the opportunity to enroll their children in top-notch educational institutions, providing them with an excellent start in life through access to diverse learning environments and high-quality education standards.

7. A Steppingstone to EU Citizenship

The Portugal Golden Visa program represents more than just residency; it offers a clear and attainable path to European Union citizenship. After maintaining their investment and fulfilling the specific stay requirements of the program for five years, investors are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

 Importantly, the program does not necessitate permanent residence in Portugal.

As long as applicants meet the renewal and stay conditions, they can maintain their global lifestyle while on the path to EU citizenship. Achieving Portuguese citizenship opens the door to an extensive range of benefits, including the ability to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU and gain a passport that offers exceptional travel freedom.

8. Facilitating Family Reunification

One of the key benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa is its inclusive approach to family reunification.

The program recognizes the importance of family, allowing investors to include their dependent family members in the application. This means that spouses, children, and dependent parents can also enjoy the benefits of residency in Portugal.

This provision ensures that families can stay together and enjoy the numerous opportunities provided by the Portuguese residency, from healthcare and education to the quality of life Portugal is famed for.

9. Promising Investment Landscape

Portugal provides a fertile ground for investors, characterized by its promising and growth-focused economic environment. The country offers a range of investment options that are not just diverse but also backed by government incentives designed to foster economic development.

Whether you’re interested in traditional real estate, technology startups, or green energy, the Portuguese market is rife with potential. Augmented by a thriving startup scene, it presents an incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship. The government often rolls out support programs and incentives aimed at attracting foreign capital and boosting local economic growth.

Investing in Portugal doesn’t just potentially yield high returns on investment, but it also places you at the heart of a dynamic and forward-looking economy.

10. Minimal Stay Requirement

One distinct advantage of the Portugal Golden Visa is its minimal stay requirement.

Unlike some residency programs that require a substantial physical presence in the country, the Golden Visa program only asks that you spend seven days in Portugal each year. This is an especially advantageous aspect for international investors who have global commitments and cannot be tethered to one location for prolonged periods.

This requirement ensures that investors have the flexibility they need to manage their business interests globally, without sacrificing the benefits of Portuguese residency.

It is a thoughtful provision that respects the busy lives of investors and forms an integral part of why the Golden Visa is a leading choice for those seeking international residency options.

Investment Options for Portugal Golden Visa

Let’s address the pivot in Portugal’s Golden Visa Program and the revised pathways it offers for prospective investors.

As of 2024, with real estate off the table—a previously popular choice among applicants—the doors have opened to a broader spectrum of investment opportunities. These alternatives not only align with the country’s economic and social development goals but also provide intriguing options for international investors looking to gain residency in Portugal.

Investment Options for Portugal Golden Visa

 

Here’s a rundown of the options now available:

1. Capital Transfer

The option of a capital transfer involves moving a minimum of €1.5 million into Portugal. This sizable sum can be placed in a variety of vehicles, such as depositing it directly into a Portuguese bank account you hold or investing it in a manner that aligns with the program’s requirements.

This level of investment is substantial and signals a strong endorsement of both the Portuguese economy and its financial systems. It’s a direct way to participate in the Golden Visa program and establish a financial foothold in Portugal.

2. Investment in Research and Development (R&D)

Committing at least €500,000 to research and development ventures presents a path rooted in progress and innovation. This investment is directed toward projects overseen by accredited institutions that play a pivotal role in Portugal’s scientific and technological ecosystem.

Beyond contributing to your Golden Visa eligibility, this option aids in pushing the envelope of what’s possible in Portuguese science and technology, offering substantial benefits to the sector’s growth and international standing.

3. Support for Artistic Production or National Heritage

With a minimum investment of €250,000, investors have the opportunity to support the realms of artistic production or the preservation and maintenance of national heritage. This pathway is designed for individuals who are drawn to the cultural, artistic, and historical fabric of Portugal.

By choosing this investment, you become a part of the ongoing effort to safeguard and promote Portugal’s cultural identity and legacy, ensuring that it flourishes for generations to come.

4. Investment in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Investing a minimum of €500,000 in Portugal’s SME sector opens the doors to directly influencing the economic landscape of the country. This can be achieved through direct investments or by channeling funds into qualified SME-focused investment vehicles. The SME sector is a vital component of Portugal’s economic machinery, often heralded as a key driver of innovation, employment, and growth.

By choosing this route, investors not only aid in the development of the Portuguese economy but also stand to benefit from the dynamism and potential of its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

5. Investment Funds

Placing at least €500,000 into accredited Portuguese investment funds or venture capital schemes constitutes another avenue for prospective Golden Visa applicants. These funds are primarily focused on the capitalization and support of companies poised for growth or those requiring a developmental push.

Opting for this investment route is a testament to the investor’s belief in the potential of Portugal’s corporate sector, providing much-needed capital to businesses and contributing to the overall vitality of the local economy.

6. Job Creation

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Golden Visa program also rewards the creation of a minimum of 10 jobs in Portugal (or 8 in areas of lower population density).

This approach appeals to those interested in starting or expanding a business in Portugal, allowing them to tangibly impact the local economy by fostering employment. It’s a proactive way to contribute to the livelihoods of the Portuguese people while achieving residency status through meaningful economic participation.

Process for Acquiring the Portugal Golden Visa: Thorough Instructions

Here’s a step-by-step overview of the journey towards making Portugal your new home or investment haven.

Step # 1: Preliminary Verification

At JH Marlin, our first step in engaging with prospective investors involves an exhaustive background verification. This procedure, carried out by our adept professionals well-versed in compliance and anti-money laundering norms, leverages international databases to assess potential risks.

Our thorough examination process aims to minimize the chance of application refusal to a mere 1%.

Clients need to recognize that this primary verification is fundamental to our operations. 

In instances where there’s an increased likelihood of application failure, we proactively suggest remedial measures. This may include the submission of extra documentation or steering towards an alternate investment route tailored to meet program criteria.

Step # 2: Securing a Portuguese Tax Number

Every applicant must obtain a Portuguese tax identification number, known as a NIF. This nine-digit number is indispensable for various transactions in Portugal, including opening a bank account, acquiring or leasing property, and setting up a company, among other key activities.

Step # 3: Opening a Bank Account in Portugal

For the Golden Visa Program, the necessary investments must originate from a Portuguese bank account in the applicant’s name.

We assist investors with both the account opening and the activation process. Once everything is in place, applicants can then proceed to transfer the funds necessary for their chosen investment.

Step # 4: Making the Investment

The investment phase depends on the path chosen by the applicant. This could involve purchasing shares in investment funds, setting up a business and creating jobs, or allocating funds to support the arts or scientific research.

Our legal team will gather all necessary documents to validate the investment made.

Step # 5: Document Preparation and Application Submission

Our legal experts will provide a tailored checklist of documents needed for the residence permit application. They’ll also take care of completing government forms and assist with the translation and notarization of documents. This step typically takes around two weeks.

We then submit digital copies of these documents to Portugal’s immigration agency, AIMA, for their review process, which usually lasts 4 to 5 months.

Step # 6: Biometric Data Appointment

Both the investor and their family must visit Portugal to present the original documents and provide their fingerprints, which are necessary for the residence cards. Booking this biometric appointment needs to be done beforehand through an electronic system.

Step # 7: Receiving the Residence Permit Cards

AIMA will review the investor’s submission for up to eight months after the original documents and biometrics have been submitted.

Once approved, the investor will pay the fee for issuing the residence permit cards, which are typically ready within two weeks. These cards can either be picked up by the investor in person or by an authorized lawyer who will then forward them to the investor.

Step # 8: Residence Permit Renewal

To retain residency, the investor and family must spend at least seven days per year in Portugal. Renewing the residence permit every two years involves a process similar to the original application, with document collection, online submission, biometric verification, and receiving the new cards.

Understanding the Golden Visa Process Timeline

Understanding the Golden Visa Process Timeline

Portugal’s nationality law has been revised. Now, time spent waiting for a temporary residency permit approval contributes to the required five-year residency for naturalization.

This change makes the path to Portuguese nationality more direct for Golden Visa applicants, shortening their wait time for citizenship eligibility.

Starting the Application

The journey begins with you submitting your application and necessary documents through the online portal of SEF, Portugal’s immigration authority. Following the online submission, approval from SEF is required before you’re invited for a face-to-face interview.

Choosing a SEF Office

You have the flexibility to choose from various SEF offices across Portugal for your interview, regardless of your investment location. This strategy allows you to bypass longer waiting periods, especially in busy offices like the one in Lisbon. Typically, securing a biometrics appointment from SEF can take up to six months, unless you’re applying in a highly sought-after area.

Scheduling Appointments

As the principal applicant, you have the convenience of scheduling your interview alongside your dependents. Post-interview, the waiting game for your Golden Visa cards begins, usually concluding within four months.

The Validity and Renewal Cycle

  • First Two Years: Your initial Golden Visa card is valid for two years, during which you’re expected to spend at least fourteen days in Portugal. Before the card expires, you’ll need to set up another SEF appointment between 30 to 90 days before renew your residency, update your documents, and provide biometrics again.
  • Next Two Years: Upon renewal, your Golden Visa card remains valid for another two years, with the same requirement of spending fourteen days in Portugal.

Fifth Year Options

After renewing your card for another two years and completing an additional year, by the end of the fifth year, you’re presented with three choices:

  • Applying for Permanent Residence
  • Applying for Portuguese Citizenship
  • Continuing with the Golden Visa program
  • Opting for permanent residence or citizenship liberates you from the initial investment requirements of the Golden Visa program.

 

Remember: These steps and conditions apply universally to all participants of the Golden Visa program, including both main applicants and their dependents.

Portugal Residency By Investment: Frequently Asked Questions

The application fee for the Portugal Golden Visa is €533.90 for the main applicant and each family member when applying. Upon approval, the issuance fee is €5,336.40 per person for the Golden Visa card.

To renew your Golden Visa, you must submit a new set of documents similar to the original application, including updated personal information and proof of maintaining your investment. The renewal process starts 30 to 90 days before your current visa expires. You must also re-submit biometrics. The renewal application fee is €266.75 per person, and the issuance fee for the renewed Golden Visa card is €2,668.20 per person.

Yes, you can include your spouse, children under the age of 18, and dependent family members (including parents above the age of 65 and dependent children over 18) in your Golden Visa application. Each family member will need to pay the same application and issuance fees as the main applicant.

Yes, the minimum investment amount varies depending on the type of investment. For example, real estate investments must be at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if the property is in a low-density area or over 30 years old and undergoing renovation). There are also options for capital transfers, investment in research, or backing small and medium-sized businesses that have different minimum amounts.

Cryptocurrency traders and investors can move to Portugal through the Golden Visa or D7 Visa routes. The Golden Visa scheme offers residency and potential citizenship after five years to qualified investors. The D7 Visa, also known as the passive income visa, enables individuals with specific income sources to live in Portugal.

Portugal considers cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, not assets. Therefore, cryptocurrency transactions are exempt from VAT. Individuals trading cryptos do not have to pay tax on gains from the sale or acquisition of these. However, companies providing crypto-related services face a capital gains tax rate between 28% and 35%.

If trading is regular and involves high profits, Portuguese authorities might view it as a primary income source, making it taxable. Therefore, consulting a tax attorney to understand your specific situation is advisable.

Conclusion

A residency permit through the Portugal Golden Visa program serves as more than just a Plan B; it’s a step towards a new life in a country that values heritage, quality living, and investor contributions.

Moving to Portugal holds the promise of not just a sun-kissed Mediterranean lifestyle, but also a lifetime of opportunities.

Whether you’re an established businessperson, a retiree or simply looking for a secure, stable environment for your family, Portugal’s diverse investment options and the simplified process, especially through the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney, can help make your dreams tangible.

For people who are ready to start this journey, our firm has the expertise and dedication to help them find their way.

With experience in Caribbean citizenship by investment, we bring a global understanding to local processes. Contact us today for a consultation and make Portugal your next home.



Contact Us

Our seasoned team is ready to offer you a tailored consultation that suits your investment and immigration goals. Begin your journey by reaching out to our experts today:

Email: jennifer@jhmarlin.com 

Phone: +1(819)200-9354 

Take the next step with confidence, knowing that our expertise in immigration law will pave the way for Your Golden Opportunity in Portugal.