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Portugal Golden Visa: The Ultimate Guide 2023

There is still time to apply for a Golden Visa by investing in Portuguese real estate if you act fast. Refreshed for 2023, our guide looks at how to apply, the programme's benefits and more...

The Portuguese Golden Visa programme 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.

Has Portugal's Golden Visa programme ended?

Despite the news stories seen over the past month or so, Portugal's Golden Visa programme is still open to non-EU investors. The only difference is that in the next few months, a law that closes the programme will be passed, so there remains a window of opportunity for those willing and eager to apply. When the Portuguese Government announced back in 2020 that it would be making changes to the programme (which eventually came into effect in 2022 after Covid), an initial time period of almost a year was provided, giving new investors and those already in the process time to complete their property or fund investment and then make their Golden Visa application.
Logic would dictate that a similar timeline will be installed, but we will find out more soon.

In addition to choosing a viable investment, there are a number of things investors are required to organise before the application can be made, such as a tax number in Portugal, a bank account and a criminal record check.

Whether you have none or some of these aspects organised, our team of experts, lawyers and banking contacts can help you get everything organised in time, remotely if necessary.

What does it mean for existing investors?

For those who have already started the process, whether in the early or later stages, the view of the leading law firms that we work with is that your applications will remain valid. Those who are still in the process of investment or property acquisitions are being advised to continue or accelerate any outstanding actions.

And new investors?

For new investors still considering the investment and programme, it will be important to understand what the Portuguese Government decides to do before proceeding.
Again, just as it was when there were changes made to the programme a few years ago, there was a period of time that would allow new investors time to quickly invest via their chosen route and complete the application process. The expectation here is that there will be a similar period of time to allow eager investors to join the programme before is closes or is changed.

What will be the timeline for the changes or closure?

When the Portuguese Government announced back in 2020 that it would be making changes to the programme (which eventually came into effect in 2022 after Covid), an initial time period of almost a year was provided, giving new investors and those already in the processing time to complete their property or fund investment and then make their Golden Visa application.
Logic would dictate that a similar timeline will be installed, but we will find out more soon.

Why is the Government doing this?

The Portuguese government has been under pressure for some time around the topic of housing and it sees this move as one which will help domestic buyers from being priced out of Portugal's cities, where prices have been rising steadily for some time.
Whilst the Golden Visa programme has indeed attracted a lot of international investors since its creation many argue this is just a populist move to try and appease voters. The main reason for the current housing dynamic in urban centres across Portugal was the government’s decision in late 2012 to allow landlords to vacate their properties more easily. This is what led to the wave of regeneration across Lisbon over the last decade. The Golden Visa was just an incentive that supplemented international demand.

Are all of the routes closing entirely or is it just those linked with real estate?

Many in the sector consider the current changed version Golden Visa programme as a system that works well. However, the expectation is that real estate investments generally will no longer be allowed. Some categories like fund investment or investments in sciences or culture may continue.

We will keep you updated with any further information as and when it is released. In the meantime, our team here in Lisbon, as well as in London and beyond remain at your disposal.


  • 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. However, the threshold is reduced for properties requiring significant renovation or for properties for sale in the Azores and other low-density regions.
  • Access to Portuguese education and healthcare
  • One application only is required for the investor and their 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 is required (low requirement for staying in the country during and after the application process)


The Golden Visa scheme is open to anyone with a clean criminal record who is not a Portuguese, EU or EFTA citizen. This means that Portugal Golden Visa has been open to UK citizens since 2021. The scheme is particularly popular with investors from China who account for more than 50% of visa applicants. Investors may also include qualifying family members in their application such as their spouse, dependent children, dependent parents or dependent parents-in-law.


There are several ways to apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa, but the most popular method is through a real estate investment as 90% of Golden Visas are awarded this way.

  • Plan a visit in person — purchase a property (minimum €500,000 or lower in certain locations), 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

In addition, applicants will need to maintain the investment for at least five years and stay in Portugal for seven days per year until they apply for full citizenship or residency.

How much does a Portugal Golden Visa cost?

In addition to your real estate investment, there are some administration fees that you will need to take into consideration. The application fee during the petition phase costs €533.90 per applicant. During the granting phase, all applicants will need to pay €5,336.40 each for their initial residency permit. You can expect to renew your visa twice after your 1st and 3rd year as a resident. This renewal process costs €2,668.20 per applicant.

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.


Do I need to pass a language test to become a resident via the Golden Visa programme?

No, you do not need to take a language test in order to become a resident. However, you will need to take a test if you decide to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Do I need to buy my property in cash in order to qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa programme?

You will need to pay for the minimum investment sum (€350,000 or €500,000 depending on the property) yourself in order to qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa programme. However, if you purchase a property for €700,000 in area where the minimum sum of investment is usually €500,000, you can get a mortgage to cover the remaining €200,000.

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.

Can I purchase multiple properties for less than €500,000 to apply for a Golden Visa?

Yes, as long as the total amount invested is €500,000 or more.

Can UK citizens apply for a Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes. Following the UK’s departure from the EU, UK citizens can now apply for Portuguese Golden Visas for themselves and immediate family members.

What 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. However, the need to be located in an eligible area, such as property for sale in Comporta.


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