Up To Date Guide On The Portugal Golden Visa
Portugal is one of the most picturesque destinations in the world. Now you too can call this Mediterranean haven home thanks to the Portuguese Golden Visa program. This is one of many opportunities that offer citizenship by investment within the European region. It’s also one of the most popular for a number of reasons.
If you’re interested in the Portuguese Golden visa program and would like to find out more about its qualifying criteria, then you’ll enjoy this article.
Background of the Portuguese Golden Visa
Although the Portugal Golden Visa programme is one of the most prominent in all of Europe, it’s hard to find reliable and current information about it. That’s why we’re going to start with an overview of its history, as you may be interested to find out how it originated.
The Portugal Golden Visa program was introduced in 2012 as the Golden Residence Permit Program. It was established with the intention to offer special residency in Portugal to non-EU/EEA residents that are willing to invest in the country for 5 to 6 years.
Unlike other Golden Visa programs that require you to spend up to a month in the investment country, this particular program requires the investor to spend only 7 days a year in Portugal. The program has earned 4 billion EUR for the Portuguese economy, thanks to investment put in by more than 6, 500 investors of foreign origin.
The good news is that this program is backed by all the country’s major political parties from the conservatives to the current socialist regime.
Fun Fact! Chinese nationals make up a majority of the foreign investors that are part of the Portugal Golden Visa Program so far. Other nationalities that have participated in the program include South Africans, Brazilians, Russians, and Turkish citizens.
Eligibility Requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa
This program is open to anyone who is not of Portuguese origin, with the exception of EU/ EFTA citizens. Investors can participate in the program individually or through a duly registered legal entity. The minimum requirements that you need to fulfill in order to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa include:
- Maintain the required investment for 5 years or more.
- Spend no less than 7 days per year in Portugal for the first year of your investment. This will increase to 14 days per year from the second year onwards.
The Application Process
The application process for the Portugal Golden Visa is pretty straightforward and has been updated to allow for online submission of the required documents. Applications are reviewed and approved by the Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF), who will then request an in-person interview with you. You may bring family members as well if you like but you’ll have to provide their documents and pay extra fees.
Here’s a step-by-step view of the Portuguese Golden Visa application process:
- First, you must obtain a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF) which your lawyer will assist you with. Then, open a bank account with a local banking institution.
- Identify an investment that you’re interested in among the provided options and consult with a local independent lawyer to help you make the best investment.
- Collect all the required documents at least three months prior to submitting your application. The documents include:
- A valid passport
- A valid visa
- Proof of healthcare insurance cover
- Certified criminal records from your home country
- Documented proof that you’re in good standing with the Portuguese Social Security system as well as the Tax and Customs Authority
- A sworn declaration of compliance with minimum investment requirements
- Receipt of the application processing fee as proof of payment
- Have a lawyer help you with translating your documents into Portuguese and legalizing them.
- Ask your lawyer to help you collect all the necessary documents from Portugal.
- Fill in your application form with the help of your lawyer.
- Pay the processing fee.
- Allow for a six month waiting period before your application is approved by the SEF.
- Schedule a date, time and venue for your in-person interview with the SEF. Make sure to bring the original documents whose copies you submitted along with your application form.
- Once your application has been approved, you’ll receive your residence card.
Approval of your application can take up to 6 months and it’s advisable to hire an experienced lawyer to help you through the whole process. While you may want to go it alone, the process of acquiring a Portugal Golden Visa can be lengthy and demanding, so you need an expert by your side who knows what they’re doing.
The following fees are required when you apply for a Portugal Golden Visa:
- A processing fee of €527.60 for the principal applicant.
- A processing fee of €82.30 for each subsequent family member.
- An approval fee of €5,274.40 for each candidate.
Once all of these fees have been paid and approval granted, you’ll receive a residency card within 10 to 20 days and it will be valid for 12 months.
The Different Investment Options Available to you
To qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa program, you need to meet one or more of the following investment criteria:
- Make a capital transfer of no less than 1, 000, 000 EUR.
- Create employment for at least 10 Portuguese nationals.
- Make a capital transfer of 350, 000 EUR which will go towards private or public scientific research. The institutions you choose to transfer these funds to must be a part of the national scientific and technological framework.
- Invest a minimum of 350, 000 EUR in the purchase of real estate that’s located in an urban rehabilitation area, or a property that was constructed a minimum of 30 years prior.
- Purchase real estate to the tune of 500, 000 EUR or more.
- Make a capital transfer of at least 250, 000 EUR as an investment in artistic production or a project that seeks to preserve the country’s cultural heritage.
- Make a capital transfer of at least 350, 000 EUR which will go towards incorporating a company with physical offices in Portugal, or to increase the share price of an existing Portuguese company. The investment should also contribute to the creation of at least 5 permanent jobs that should last for a minimum of 3 years.
- Make a capital transfer of 350, 000 EUR minimum, for the purpose of investing in a venture capital fund that offers capital to qualifying companies.
Why is the Portuguese Golden Visa so popular?
- The program offers a wide range of investment options that are highly accessible.
- You’re offered a chance to become a permanent resident of the country within 5 to 6 years.
- You only need to spend about 7 days per year in Portugal in order to qualify and retain your citizenship.
- Portuguese citizenship enables you to work, live and travel anywhere within the EU/ EEA area.
- The Portuguese passport is considered to be among the top 5 passports for jet-setters and global citizens, and the country has several well-connected airports.
- Portugal boasts a beautiful climate with favorable year-round weather conditions.
- The country offers economic and social stability with a good quality of life.
- Portugal is an affordable country to inhabit with good quality education and healthcare.
Within 11 months of receiving your card, you’ll need to undergo the renewal process to acquire a new residency card. It’s important to renew your residency card one month before the old one expires to avoid paying additional fees.
During the renewal process, you’ll be asked to provide your criminal records again, update your biometrics and pay a fee of €2,637.20 per applicant. The primary applicant has to pay a processing fee of €527.60 once again, while other applicants will pay a processing fee of €82.30.
From year 2 onward, you’ll need to be in Portugal for at least 14 days per year, and your new card will be valid for 2 years this time. Towards the end of the third year, you’ll need to renew your card again following the exact same process described above.
Your second residency card will be valid for another two years and requires that you spend a minimum of 14 days in the country. After the first five years, you’ll qualify for permanent residency and citizenship.
The Portugal Golden Visa program allows you to live and work in Portugal without a special visa. You can add as many family members to the application as you like, and the card will allow you equal access to the Portuguese education and healthcare systems.
During the first year of your residency, your card will enable you to travel to any country within the Schengen region without the need for a visa. All you need to bring is your passport and you’re good to go. Within five years of receiving your residency card, you’ll qualify for permanent Portuguese citizenship and then Portugal will officially become your second home, as it were.