A Full Review on Portugal Citizenship by Investment (2024)

A Full Review on Portugal Citizenship by Investment (2024)

Portugal Golden Visa program is one of the most popular in Europe for several reasons. 

It features a streamlined process, and the required capital investment is lower than in many other European countries. 

Additionally, it offers the possibility of obtaining permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship. 

This article will provide an in-depth look at the program, including its workings, requirements, benefits, and application process. 

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Key Takeaways

  • Portugal has recently updated their golden visa regulations.
  • To obtain the golden visa, you must invest 500,000 EUR in Portugal’s capital funds.
  • The funds can be sold to generate further profits.
  • Although there are other options, the fund investment is the most popular.
  • After 5 years, you can obtain Portuguese citizenship, which is transferable to your children.
  • A minimum stay of only 7 days per year in Portugal is required.
  • With a Portuguese passport, you can freely travel within the Schengen Area.
  • Portugal is an attractive country to reside in, boasting excellent healthcare and education systems.
  • Fill out this form to receive direct advice from our partnered immigration lawyer.

What is Portugal Golden Visa?  

Portugal Golden Visa, officially known as the Portugal Golden Residence Permit (GRP), is a residency-through-investment program that allows you to live in Portugal for five years and apply for a permanent resident permit or a Portuguese passport after that.  

The program is considered the most popular program for anyone who would like to get an EU citizenship or freely go to Europe to live, work, invest, or run a business. 

Lisbon, Alfama
With the Portugal Golden Visa, you can stay in Portugal indefinitely as long as your investment is active.

In addition, Portugal is also a great country to live in because of its high standards of living and business-friendly environment.

To obtain Portugal Golden Visa, you need to make an investment ranging from 250,000 EUR to 500,000 EUR in capital funds, research activities, or incorporations. 

The required investment amount varies based on your chosen investment option. 

We will discuss this more later in the article.

Why Is It Popular? 

There are five main reasons why the Portugal Golden Residence Permit program is popular to those who are looking to get an EU passport. . 

First, the process of getting the Golden Visa is steamlined and straightforward with clear instructions from the Portuguese government. 

Second, you only need to physically be in Portugal for only seven days a year and not less than 14 days in subsequent years. The period of mandatory residence in other countries is much longer. 

Third, it’s possible to get Portuguese citizenship after staying there for five years, which is among the shortest duration in the EU countries. For example, if you want to get Spanish citizenship, you need to be there for at least ten years. 

Portuguese passport ranking is also one of the best in the world.You can visit over 180 countries without having to obtain a visa, including every country in Europe, and most countries in North, Central, and South America, as well as Australia, Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Fourth, the minimum investment amount is also lower than in other countries. In the Cyprus program, for example, you need a minimum investment of €2,575,000. In addition, Cyprus has closed its program and is not accepting new applications at the moment.

Fifth, you can profit from the investment and recover it after holding it for five years. 

Benefits

The Portugal Golden Visa offers the following excellent benefits:

  • You can freely enter Portugal without having to apply for a residence visa.
  • You can travel to and move around freely within the Schengen Area under a visa-exemption status.
  • You can include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent siblings in the program.
  • You can apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years. 

Moreover, the “minimum stay” requirement under the Portugal Golden Visa is also much shorter compared to other EU countries. To keep your residence permit active, you need to stay in Portugal for only seven days a year. 

Investment Requirement

You have many investment options for the Portugal Golden Visa program, including:

  • €500,000 capital fund investment in companies incorporated under Portuguese law.
  • €500,000 investment in the research activities of private or public entities.
  • €250,000 support for artistic production, or in the recovery or maintenance of natural heritage or business investment.
  • €500,000 investment in a Portuguese company and creation of 5 jobs.
  • Opening a company and creating 10 jobs, or 8 jobs in a low-density area.

For whichever option you choose, the investment needs to be held for at least five years.

While there are many investment options, the most popular one is the €500,000 capital fund investment since it is the easiest and most straightforward way to do it.

When applying for the Portugal Golden Visa program, an immigration lawyer should provide you with a list of funds you can invest in for the application.

Other Requirements

In addition to an investment, you need to be at least 18 years old and not have any criminal record.

This is a similar requirement to other golden visa programs in the world.

What About Property Investment?

In 2023, Portugal cancelled the property investment option for the Golden Visa program. In fact, investment requirements are subject to change and are bound to get stricter over time. 

How to Apply for the Portugal Golden Visa

To apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, the first step is to find an immigration lawyer or an agent who will help you through the application process. 

Then, you will need to undergo the following:

Due Diligence Check

In the beginning of the process, an agent should perform an initial due diligence check to make sure that you are eligible for the program without any record that can complicate the process. 

If any issue occurs, they might be able to help you fix it. 

Finalize an Investment and Open a Bank Account

An agent can give you advice on which investment to make based on your profile and interests. 

If you prefer to invest in capital funds, which is a popular option among applicants, an agent can help you search based on your criteria and requirements. 

Once you make a decision, they help you prepare necessary documents, invest capital funds, and open a bank account. 

During this time, you can do it remotely without having to visit Portugal by giving an agent powers of attorney and certified passports. 

This way, you only need to visit Portugal once for the actual golden visa program application. 

Submit an Online Application 

For the next step, an agent should help you gather and complete all required documents and forms that you need for the application, and double check them for completeness and accuracy to reduce the possibility of rejection.

SEF Logo
Your golden visa application will be processed by the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), which is the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service.

Below are some of the documents you need to submit when applying for the golden visa. 

  • A copy of your passport 
  • A contract showing your proof of investment 
  • A bank statement in Portugal confirming the transfer of funds from abroad
  • Health insurance certificate
  • A copy of a certified criminal record
  • Your personal statement confirming compliance with the investment requirements
  • Tax, Customs Authority, and Social Security documents
  • A registration fee receipt 

All documents must be legalized and translated into Portuguese through a certified translator.

Documents can be legalized by the Portuguese Consulate or the Hague Apostille Convention.

They must also be authenticated and notarized in the local jurisdiction.

An application can be submitted through an online platform. 

After that, it may take up to 9 months for the Portuguese government authority to process your application.

Visit Portugal and Finalize an Application

Then, you and your family need to visit Portugal in person to provide biometric data as well as all the original documents of your application. 

Once it’s done, it takes another 5-8 months until your application is approved.

Renewal

Once your application is approved, you will initially get a one-year temporary residence card, which can be extended to two years twice, allowing you to stay in Portugal for five years in total. 

When it is about to expire, an agent should also coordinate and manage the renewal process throughout the program.

Get Permanent Residence or Portuguese Citizenship 

After 5 years, you can decide whether to obtain permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship. 

With Portuguese citizenship, you will be able to live in any country within the European Union. You will also receive a Portuguese passport, which is one of the most powerful passports in the world.

However, that same freedom does not apply if you only have a permanent residence permit. 

Additionally, to exercise certain rights in Portugal (mainly political), it is mandatory to have Portuguese nationality. 

tram in Lisbon
After 5 years, you can choose to get permanent residence or Portuguese citizenship.

However, it is important to note that your family members can also obtain Portuguese citizenship if you add them to your Golden Visa program from the beginning. 

If they are younger than 18 years old, they can automatically obtain Portuguese citizenship after you have obtained Portuguese citizenship.

Please note that to obtain Portuguese citizenship, you need to be able to speak at least basic Portuguese.

Alternatively, you can keep renewing your golden visa, which can be done indefinitely as long as you hold the investment

Dual Citizenship

If you choose to get Portuguese citizenship, you should check with your nationality to make sure it allows dual citizenship. 

If you are Brazillian, for example, your Brazilian nationality will be naturalized when you get a new nationality.

Adding Family Members

You can add your family menbers to your Portugal Golden Visa program including:

  • Spouse
  • Minor or incapable children in charge of the couple or one of the spouses
  • Minors adopted by you (golden visa holder) or your spouse
  • Older children — in charge of the couple or one of the spouses — when they are studying, not necessarily having to be in a Portuguese educational establishment (this perk is only available to the golden visa holder)
  • Parents of the resident or your spouse’s parents, as long as they are dependent on you
  • Little brothers, as long as they are under their tutelage
  • “De facto” unions
  • Minor or incapable children of the de facto partners, as long as they are legally entrusted to you.

To add a family member, you need to inform an agency during the time of your application along with proof of family relationship and dependency, and a criminal record.

How Much Does It Cost?

The main cost of the Portugal Golden Visa comes from the investment. Other than that, you should expect to pay the following fees:

  • Investor visa application analysis fee
  • Analysis fee for each family member regardless of degree of kinship
  • Visa card fee for all members, including the investor
  • Renewal fee for all family members (amount per person)
  • Visa renewal fee (main holder)

The total fee per person is going to be around €5,000 to €10,000.

In case you choose the option to create a company in Portugal and create ten jobs, you should also pay for the company registration fee, lawyer’s fees, and accountancy fees.

Processing Time

The whole process from doing due diligence check to visa approval should take around 18 months in total. 

It can be shorter or longer depending on your profile, investment option, and how busy the government is at the time.

Can I Apply For It Myself? 

You can apply for the golden visa yourself, but it’s highly recommended to use the services of an agent or immigration lawyer that specializes in this type of residence program

They can help make the application process much smoother and take less time, as well as help reduce your investment’s risks.

They can also give you advice on what to do next after you obtain the residence card, including how to prepare you for a citizenship application. 

Keeping Your Residence Permit Active

There are a few things you need to do in order to keep your temporary residence permit active: 

  • You need to keep an investment for at least five years
  • You need to stay in Portugal at least seven days a year
  • You need to renew it at least 60 days before it expires 

Golden Visa Tax Benefits 

If you stay in Portugal less than 183 days while holding the golden visa, you do not need to pay tax on income generated outside Portugal.

On the other hand, if you stay for more than 183 days in Portugal, you can apply for a tax regime called Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) to be exempted from foreign income tax for ten years, provided that it has already been taxed in the country of origin. 

Portugal monument of the restorers
Portugal is a great country to live. It’s peaceful, family-friendly, and has a lot of business opportunities.

NHR is a beneficial tax regime for all those who are considered non-habitual residents. Basically, it applies to new residents in Portugal who have a high net worth, have the status of highly qualified workers, or are pensioners. 

In light of this regime, for a period of ten years, all income obtained in Portugal is taxed at a special one-off rate of 25%, which is considered lower than that of Portugal tax residents, while foreign income tax is exempted. 

Please note that taxation situations differ per person. It’s better to talk to a tax adviser who specializes in taxation regulations in your home country and Portugal. 

Is It Worth It?

If you are considering getting an EU passport or planning to stay in Portugal, the Portugal Golden Visa is worth it for several reasons: 

First, you can get your investment money back after five years, and it’s possible to make a profit from it as well. 

Second, it may take only 5 years to get an EU passport. In other countries, such as Spain, it can take 10 years. In Greece, it’s 7 years. 

Getting an EU passport from Malta can be faster, but the investment amount is greater as well. 

Additionally, Portugal is a great place for your family to live. It’s a globalized nation with a good healthcare and education system. 

The country also ranks in the top ten on the Global Peace Index. There are many business opportunities here too. Therefore, if you are an investor and want to get an EU passport for any reason, the Portugal Golden Visa is recommended. 

You can talk to an immigration lawyer and get more personalized advice. After that, you can decide for yourself whether you want to go for it or not.

Why Live in Portugal?

Portugal has a high level of safety and quality of life, considered one of the safest country in the world. You and your family can enjoy a desirable standard of living with secure urban centers. 

In addition, Portugal has an education system with some universities ranking among the 50 best in the world

In the last three decades, Portugal has invested heavily in the modernization of its transport infrastructures; the result is an extensive network of accesses at the level of land, air, and sea. The main cities in the country have large ports. 

They are very well connected to the motorway network and the respective airports. 

In the real estate market, there are many possibilities for investors across the country. The scenario is competitive because Portugal today is also one of the leading destinations for world tourism. 

Its cities are increasingly adapted to receive tourists and new residents. 

It is an excellent opportunity to make investments in the medium and long term, advantageous for the whole family. The fact that Portugal is a member of the European Union allows access to an entire international market. 

All these factors undoubtedly make the Portugal Golden Residence Permit even more attractive and advantageous.

Now, on to You

If you are interested in the Portugal Golden Visa or want to find out more, you can fill in the form below to get in touch with an immigration lawyer that specializes in residency and citizenship programs.

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Before immigrating to Canada, Zain had the great fortune to live in places around the world and values the experiences he gained along the way. He's now based in Waterloo, Canada but you'll often find him in Thailand, a country he's fallen in love with.

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