Complete Guide to the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme 202002 July 2020
Since its inception in 2012, 8,413 investors and a further 14,000 qualifying family members of international investors have obtained residency through Portugal’s Golden Visa programme. This has made it one of the most popular Golden Visa programmes of its kind in Europe. So far, through property investment alone, the programme has attracted over €5.29bn, which has so far been by far the most popular way of accessing this highly beneficial programme.
Following the proposed changes announced at the start of the year, May has been a record-breaking month for the Golden Visa programme despite the pressures of the Coronavirus pandemic. During May 270 visas were granted bringing in a total of €146m of investment.
How is the Golden Visa changing?
There are some changes being made to Portugal’s highly successful Golden Visa programme. At the beginning of the year, pre-COVID, the Portuguese government announced that they will be updating the eligibility criteria for the Portuguese Golden Visa programme. The new rules, originally planned to come into effect at the end of 2020, will mean that investors will no longer be able to purchase a property in coastal areas (like Lisbon or Porto) in order to obtain a Golden Visa. It’s also important to note that the changes will only apply to Golden Visa applications filed after the enacted date and will not affect submitted applications, be they pending or ongoing.
Why is the Golden Visa changing?
Though Golden Visa investments represent only 3% of all foreign property investment in Portugal, the Portuguese government wants to try to drive this investment into inland areas and the islands to promote regeneration, growth and job creation, all of which have been seen in Lisbon over the last years
However, these plans were announced very early on in the year, before the coronavirus pandemic. It is now expected that the Portuguese government will postpone these changes as the Golden Visa programme generates a substantial income for the country.
The key benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa:
- Instant free travel across the 27 Schengen countries
- Obtain the Portuguese Passport and EU residency after 5 years
- Only a minimum real estate investment of €500,000 is required
- 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)
Overview: Portuguese Golden Visa
What is the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme?
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. The scheme is particularly popular with investors from China who account for more than 50% of visa recipients.
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.
How to apply for a Golden Visa
- 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 Portuguese 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 About The Portugal Golden Visa
What type of properties are eligible for a Portuguese Golden Visa?
Properties can be either commercial or residential. Off-plan properties are eligible for the Golden Visa scheme too.
When will the Golden Visa programme change?
The Portuguese government announced at the beginning of 2020 that the new changes would come into effect by the end of 2020. However, following the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, it is thought that the changes to the programme will be postponed in order to help the country generate revenue.
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
For more information about buying a property in Portugal and getting residency through the Portuguese Golden Visa program, please fill in the contact form below