Golden Visa Portugal

Updated on Sunday 24th January 2021

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The Portuguese golden visa is a manner of acquiring residency in the country (and in some cases even Portugal citizenship) through investments in real estate for third-country nationals. Initially launched as a program to encourage foreign investors to seek opportunities in the country, it has been largely popular and receives significant applications every year.

Individuals who are interested in immigration to Portugal and wish to obtain a golden visa in Portugal can reach out to one of our immigration agents for complete details as well as assistance during the application procedure.
 

What are the conditions for obtaining the golden visa?


The conditions for those interested in obtain a golden visa in Portugal is to invest in real estate, irrespective of its nature (commercial or residential). The owner can then rent the property as needed and obtaining a mortgage is also possible in some conditions.
 

What is the real estate investment amount?


The minimum real estate investment under this program is 500,000 euros and a smaller investment of 350,000 euros is possible when the property that is acquired will also go through a renovation and is located in an urban regeneration area. The amount can also be reduced to 400,000 euros when the investment is made in a low-density territory (understood as a location with less than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer or with the PIB per capita of less than 75% of the country average). 

Because the investment amount can vary according to the region in which the property is located, it is often useful to explore the available options. Investors are advised to carefully consider their options and talk to a constructor or a real estate consultant when evaluating their options and moving to Portugal.

An individual who has applied for and obtained the golden visa in Portugal may receive a residence visa waiver for entering the country, live and work in Portugal provided that he or she stays there for more than 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the following ones. Moreover, the golden visa holder may be exempt from traveling with a visa within the Schengen Area. In case you need other types of legal services in another European country, for example in assistance in divorce cases in Spain or in drawing up a will this country, we can put you in contact with our Spanish partners.

The investor is required to provide ownership or the pre-contract agreement. He may acquire the property in full or in a co-ownership regime, provided that the applicant’s part in the investment is equal or above 500,000 Euros or 400,000 Euros in a low-density territory. The property can be leased or held for commercial, agricultural, industrial or tourist purposes.
 
For the minimum of 350,000 Euros investment, the property needs to have been constructed for at least 30 years or it needs to be located in an urban rehabilitation area (and in this case its construction date can be less than 30 years). Foreign investors who wish to apply for the golden visa in Portugal may prefer this version, given that the investment costs are lower, however, they will want to speak to a real estate specialists about the types of constructions that qualify. Our agents can provide more details. The reduced investment option is also available in this case (20% off the initial value, making the minimum investment of 280 thousand euros) when the construction is located in a low-density territory, one that has the PIB per capita of less than 75% of the national average or one that has less than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer. For this investment, investors may acquire real estate or a set of real estate properties. Like in the case of the 500,000 Euro property, the 350,000 Euros one can be used for commercial, industrial, agricultural, or tourist purposes.
 
Three special conditions apply for those who wish to obtain the golden visa in Portugal via 30-year-old real estate. The following three points should be noted in addition to the other documents presented in this article by our immigration specialists. The special documents that attest to the rehabilitation and the age of the construction and the following:
 
  • prior notification for engaging in urban rehabilitation operations;
  • supporting evidence for the real estate construction date (attesting that the construction is at least 30 years old if this information is not stated in the legal description);
  • a statement attesting that the real estate is located in a rehabilitation area.
 
Please keep in mind that further documents may be needed, depending on particular factors. You can always reach out to our Portugal immigration specialists for complete assistance before making the investment and once the purchase has been made, for the purpose of preparing the golden visa application file before submission with the authorities.
 

How can one apply for a golden visa in Portugal?


The applicant is required to first make the investment in real estate and then apply for the golden visa in Portugal. This may take some time as securing the property purchase can take between one month and even three months in some cases. The applicant will also need to provide adequate documentation to prove that he has no criminal record and also provide proof that he has medical insurance in the country.
 
The required documents are as follows:
  • passport or another valid travel document;
  • evidence of health insurance;
  • criminal record extract from the country of origin;
  • tax identification number evidence;
  • authorization for the consultation of the Portuguese Criminal record;
  • statement of compliance with the time and amount requirements;
  • tax obligation fulfillment proof (negative debt declaration).
The applicant can also be required to fill in an address and a telephone number, preferably in the national territory. A legal representative can be appointed to handle the application for a residence permit for investment. In this case, the individual acting in this capacity will need to register for this purpose online (using the same portal as the investor would) and follow the guidelines presented as such. Some foreign investors may prefer this method. If so, you can reach out to our Portugal immigration agents who can help during this procedure.
 
Part of the required documents will be mandatory for proving the investment. Investors should be aware of the following:
 
  • natural or legal person investment: the investment can be made (in part or in full) through a limited liability company in which the applicant is a shareholder.
  • proof of investment: pre-contract agreement or the real estate deed and the legal description of the real estate, if applicable.
  • proof of international transfer: a declaration from the credit institution attesting the transfer of assets for the real estate payment.
  • certificates: the land register certificate with the attached documents, proving the ownership of the real estate. 
 
A mandatory online pre-registration is required. When the applicant is opting for a family reunification purpose, he will need to create a group profile for application and will need to identify each family member as well as the degree of relationship.


How does one acquire residency through the golden visa program?


When entering into the golden visa program, the applicant can apply for permanent residency after five years without having to reside in Portugal. The conditions are much more flexible than for those who would wish to acquire residency through conventional methods. When using a golden visa, the applicant and the families need to come to Portugal for less than one month every two years in order to renew the golden visa. An immigration lawyer in Portugal who works in our team can give you more details.

The permanent residence permit for investment purposes, including investments in real estate, is subject to case analysis and it is regulated by amendments to a special ordinance. One of our immigration lawyers in Portugal can provide investors with complete details about the legal framework governing this type of visa. Certain fees apply for the issuance of the residence permit for investment activities, and they are approximately 5,000 euros for the initial issuance. Other fees apply for the renewal of the investment activity residence permit as well as for the residence permit for the family members (separate fees are payable by the holder and by the family members).

Obtain Portuguese Golden Visa

The permanent residence permit in Portugal, which may be obtained after having held the golden visa in Portugal, is issued once the applicant has made a proper application for long-term resident status and he has submitted all of the needed documents. These are the following:
 
  • two identical color photographs and there is a requirement for them to be taken against a blank background allowing for proper identification of the applicant;
  • a valid travel document or a certified copy thereof;
  • proof of having stable and regular inform, sufficient for one’s own subsistence and that of the relatives, without applying for the welfare subsystem in the country;
  • proof of accommodation;
  • authorization for the authorities to consult the criminal record;
  • proof of tax and social security payments;
  • proof of having held a temporary residence permit for at least five years;
  • proof of having sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.
 
Those who apply for the golden visa in Portugal will need to keep in mind that the language requirement is an important one and, in the five years before they apply for permanent residence, they have several options to present as proof of language proficiency, including: 
  • a certificate of eligibility issued by an official Portuguese teaching institution or a private teaching establishment recognized by law;
  • the certificate of completing the Basic Portuguese issued by the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training;
  • the certificate of completing the Basic Portuguese course and the passing of a test in an Assessment Centre of Portuguese as a foreign language, recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science;
  • an alternative is to provide in addition to these a certificate of completing the level A” of higher of the Course on Portuguese as Host Language; one o four Portugal immigration lawyers can provide more details on the specific requirements that apply in this case.
 
Another important condition for obtaining the permanent residence permit in Portugal is for the applicant to not have been subject to a custodian sentence or sentences that individually or jointly exceeded one year of imprisonment in the five years immediately preceding the application for the permit. This is a condition even if the enforcement of the sentence has been suspended (in case of felonious crime).

We invite you to watch the following video about the Golden Visa:
 


Additional information about Portugal immigration

 
The residence permit for investment purposes or the ARI/Golden Visa is one that is granted to third-country nationals who conduct investment activity. This activity is not necessarily linked to investments in real estate. Other possibilities are as follows:
 
  • capital transfers with a minimum amount of 1 million euros;
  • the creation of at least ten job openings;
  • capital transfer of at least 350,000 euros in research activities;
  • capital transfer of at least 250,000 euros for supporting the arts, the reconstruction of national heritage, public foundations, artistic activities, and others;
  • capital transfers of at least 350,000 euros for acquiring units in investment funds or venture capital funds (subject to certain conditions) or for the formation of a corporate entity with the head office in the country, plus the creation of five permanent jobs.
In case of applications for investment by capital transfer of at least 1 million Euros, the applicant is also required to provide a sworn statement by which he states to comply with all of the minimum quantitative requirements for the investment activity performed in the country (and the minimum time requirement of five years).
 
When the applicant makes a capital transfer of at least 350 thousand euros for research activities developed by public or private scientific research institutions the following documents are required as proof:
  • a declaration of a credit institution attesting the transfer of the legally required amount;
  • a declaration issued by the public or private scientific research institution attesting the capital transfer; while the usual amount is 350 thousand euros, this is lower in territories that have a low density (280,000 Euros);
  • when the investment is made via a limited liability company in which the applicant is a shareholder then a company register excerpt is also required. 
 
It is important to keep in mind that Portuguese, EU and EEA nationals are not permitted to apply to the Golden Visa Scheme. Foreign nationals from other countries, perhaps from the United States or Canada as well as others can reach out to our immigration lawyers in Portugal for more details.
 
The supporting documents in case of capital transfers made for supporting the arts or the restoration or maintenance of national cultural heritage are the following:
 
  • a statement from an authorized credit institution attesting the actual transfer of the minimum amount;
  • a declaration issued by the Strategy, Planning and Cultural Assessment Office attesting the fact that the investment will support the arts or the restoring and maintenance of the national cultural heritage. 
  • like in other cases, the minimum investment amount is reduced by 20% to 200,000 thousand euros when it is performed in a low-density territory. 
 
For capital transfers of 350,000 Euros for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds, there are certain requirements that refer to the maturity of these funds at the moment of the investment (for example, at least 60% of the investments are in commercial companies with head offices in the national territory). In this case, the supporting documentation will include, among others, proof of holding the units of investment as well as a statement issued by the holding company of the said investment plan that states the feasibility of the capitalization plan. An immigration lawyer in Portugal from our team can provide investors with more details about this particular situation. 
 
Foreign nationals who apply for the ARI/Golden Visa can also apply simultaneously for family reunification. The family members included herein are the spouse, the minors or incapable children who are in the care of both or one of the spouses, the adopted minors, the adult unmarried child in the care of both or one of the spouses who is attending an educational establishment (regardless of the country), the first degree relative in direct ascending line as well as minor brothers who are in the care of the applicant when this decision is one made by a competent authority and it is also recognized by Portuguese law. we recommend reaching out to one of our Portugal immigration specialists for complete details about the conditions for family reunification under the Golden Visa scheme and in general. 

Lawfully living in the country based on a permanent residence permit allows the foreign national to apply for Portugal citizenship after a number of years.
 

Golden visa investment statistics in Portugal 

The Portuguese golden visa scheme is one that attracts many investors and owns its popularity due to its flexibility. Portugal is the country of immigration of choice for many foreign nationals, because of its climate and affordable quality of life. 
 
Some of the data available on the golden residence permit program is as follows:
 
  • 1009 permits issued in 2018;
  • 1810 permits issued in 2018 for family reunification purposes under this scheme;
  • 3952 permits issued to immigrants from China, followed by 590 for immigrants from Brazil; the following countries are South Africa, Turkey, and Russia.
 
The list below presents statistics regarding the country of origin of immigrants (in general), as stated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
 
  • 8,273,296 individuals born in a country within Europe;
  • 10,391 people born in North America;
  • 15,689 born in Asia;
  • 332,393 individuals born in Africa.
 
According to the duration of stay, the statistics, also issued by OECD, are the following for Portugal:
  • more than 10 years of stay, 280,154 individuals from all countries of birth;
  • between 5 and 10 years, 59,067 individuals.
 
The data is for both men and women and for all levels of education. The data was extracted for 2019.
 
Foreign nationals who wish to know more about the Portugal immigration policy can reach out to our agents. We can provide complete information about the types of visas, including the golden visa, as well as guide investors throughout the application process. Entrepreneurs who are planning on making a significant investment in Portugal can reach out to us for an initial consultation regarding the nature of the planned investment and whether or not it is acceptable for obtaining a residence permit for investment purposes.

 For more information on how to obtain a golden visa in Portugal, we invite you to contact us.