The Complete Guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme14 August 2019
Since its inception in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa programme has become one the most popular of its kind in Europe. Almost 8,000 individuals have obtained a Portuguese Golden Visa, with a further 12,874 family members also enjoying the same benefits. The most poular way to obtain this sought-after visa is through real estate investment.
The key benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa:
- Only a minimum real estate investment of €500,000 is required
- Instant free travel across the 27 Schengen countries
- One application only is required for the investor and his/her direct family
- The Golden visa process takes only 4-6 months to receive residency cards, allowing applicants to work, live and study in Portugal
- No relocation required (low requirement for staying in the country during & after the application process)
- Obtain the Portuguese Passport after 5 years
- So far more than €4.6 billion has been invested in Portugal through the Golden Visa programme with over 90% of this (€4.2bn) being through property investment, largely within key tourism markets.
Introduction to the Portuguese Golden Visa
What is the Portuguese Golden Visa scheme?
The Portuguese Golden visa is the adopted name for Portugal’s largely real estate-led residency programme which grants non-EU nationals and their families the ability to travel freely to countries within the Schengen zone. After five years, it is then possible to apply for a Portuguese passport and European residency.
Who can apply for a Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa scheme is open to anyone who is not a Portuguese, EU or EFTA citizen.
Can I apply for a Golden Visa through real estate investment?
There are several ways to apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa, but the most popular method is through a real estate investment of €500,000 or more. 90% of Golden Visas are awarded this way.
The application process
- Plan a visit in person — purchase a property (minimum €500,000), obtain a Portuguese tax number (NIF), open a bank account and complete necessary documentation (powers of attorney, investment declarations, etc.)
- Submit all your documents online — a valid passport, property documentation, valid medical insurance, tax numbers from your country of residence and Portugal, criminal record.
- Present the proof of transfer of funds — and a declaration confirming compliance with the visa’s investment requirements.
- Book an appointment — with the immigration authorities (SEF) to obtain final answer/approval – Up to 6 months.
- Obtain a temporary residency card — up to 1 month after approval.
- Are there any other requirements for the Portugese Golden Visa?
Other requirements for Portugal’s Golden Visa include needing to maintain the investment for at least five years and stay in Portugal for seven days per year until you apply for full citizenship or residency.
The path to European citizenship
While obtaining a temporary residency permit is almost immediate (around 1 year), full citizenship is possible after 5 years. Additional requirements for citizenship include passing an A2 Portuguese test, having a clear criminal record, paying all relevant taxes and showing a decent connection to living in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of properties are eligable for a Golden Visa?
Properties can be either commercial or residential. Off-plan properties are eligible for the Golden Visa scheme too.
Can I purchase multiple properties less than €500,000 to apply for a Golden Visa?
Yes, as long as the total amount invested is €500,000 or more.
Can I apply for the Golden Visa through co-ownership?
Yes but all individuals must invest at least €500,000 each to be eligible for the visa.
Do I need to pay taxes in Portugal if I have a Golden Visa?
You do not necessarily need to become a Portuguese tax resident if you apply for a Golden Visa. However, it might be advantageous to become a tax resident as Portugal has a lucrative Non-Habitual Residential tax scheme. Providing that certain conditions are met, the NHR scheme can significantly reduce your taxes during the first 10 years of residency.
Can I get Golden Visas for my family too?
Yes, you can include certain family members on the same Golden Visa application. This includes:
- Spouse or legal partner
- Unmarried children under 26 who are enrolled in full-time education
- Parents or parents-in-law who are 66 years old, or 55 years old and dependent on you
- Siblings under 18, if you are legally responsible for them