There are several ways to get a residence permit in Portugal, the most popular of which are residence by investment under the Golden Visa Program, D7 and D2 visas.
The whole process of obtaining Portugal citizenship after acquiring a residence permit by investment, a D7 or D2 visa, takes about 6 years and either a minimum initial contribution of €250,000 or €8,460 of minimum annual permanent income for the main applicant.
How to become a citizen of Portugal
To become a citizen of Portugal, it is not necessary to be born in the country. There are several ways to obtain Portugal citizenship.
Citizenship by naturalisation. If a person holds a Portugal residence permit for 5 consecutive years, they have the right to apply for a permanent residence permit or immediately for Portugal citizenship.
To successfully apply for citizenship in Portugal, one will have to pay a state fee of €250 and prove the knowledge of the Portuguese language at the A2 level.
The applicant must also meet some conditions: not be convicted of crimes, not pose a threat to national security and be 18+.
The most common ways for wealthy adults to get residence permits in Portugal are the Golden Visa Program, or a residence by investment, the D7 visa, and the D2 visa.
Portugal allows dual citizenship
If the first citizenship country’s laws do not prohibit having a second citizenship, a person does not have to give up their original citizenship to acquire a Portuguese passport.
Portugal citizenship by marriage. Spouses of Portuguese citizens can apply for citizenship after 3 years of marriage. Portugal recognises unregistered marriages, so proven non-marital partnership also counts.
Portugal citizenship by origin. Several categories of persons can apply for Portugal citizenship at any time. For example, citizenship can be obtained by people, at least one of whose grandparents is a citizen of Portugal.
Sephardic Jews are a separate category. Direct descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from Portugal and Spain in the 15th century may qualify for Portugal or Spain citizenship by descent.
Portugal citizenship by birth. Anyone born in Portugal gets Portugal citizenship automatically if at least one parent is a Portuguese citizen. Even persons born outside of Portugal are eligible to get citizenship if one of the parents is a Portuguese citizen and the child was registered at a Portuguese consulate.
Children of Portugal resident permit holders also get citizenship by birth. In this case, it does not matter how long the parents lived in Portugal.
If the child was born in Portugal and the parents are foreigners who do not hold a residence permit, it can still get citizenship if at least one of the parents has lived in Portugal for a year.
When a person may apply for Portugal citizenship
How to get Portugal citizenship through investment
Obtaining citizenship by naturalisation is possible after 5 years of holding a residence permit in Portugal under the Golden Visa Program, D7 visa or D2 visa.
The naturalisation process is governed by the Nationality Law and the Aliens Act - Law n. 23/2007 of 4 July (as subsequently amended).
To obtain Portuguese citizenship by investment, the applicant must:
- Obtain a residence permit in Portugal under one of the programs: a residence permit for investments under the Golden Visa Зrogram, a D7 visa for persons with a confirmed passive income, or a D2 visa for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
- Maintain the status for 5 years, observing the conditions for the mandatory periods of stay in the country and renewing the residence permit card every 2 years.
- After five years, apply for Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation.
Ways to get Portugal residency by investment that allow applying for citizenship in 5 years
An application for Portugal citizenship can be submitted after 5 years of holding a residence permit. This applies to those who legally study or work in Portugal and to wealthy people who have got a residence permit by investment under the Golden Visa program or after the D7 or the D2 visa.
The Portugal Golden Visa Program best suits the investors ready to contribute substantially to the country’s economy. The initial investment may be returnable in 5 years
Under the Golden Visa Program, a Portugal residence permit can be obtained by the investors and their close relatives: a spouse, children and elderly parents.
There are different investment options under the Portugal Golden Visa Program:
- creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal;
- €250,000+ in the culture, art or reconstruction of the national heritage;
- €350,000+ in real estate older than 30 years or located in certain renovation areas;
- €500,000+ in real estate;
- €500,000+ in fund shares;
- €500,000+ in research programs;
- €500,000+ in a business with the creation of at least 5 jobs;
- €1,500,000+ — transfer of capital to Portugal.
The investor will also need to pay mandatory fees. These can include the application fee, medical insurance, the residence permit card issuance fee, and fees and commissions related to the bank account maintenance.
Under some of the investment options, other taxes and commissions may apply, i.e. under the property investment option or the fund share option.
It usually takes 6—8 months to obtain Portuguese residence by investment, provided the applicant has legal support helping them through the process.
The status must be maintained: the residence permit card is to be renewed every 2 years. To do this, it is not necessary to live in the country: it is enough to spend 7 days a year in Portugal.
Application procedures for Portugal Golden Visa, D7 and D2 visas
The procedure for obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa consists of 7 mandatory steps, which imply an obligatory visit to the country. For the most successful, quick and smooth result, it is recommended to enlist high-quality legal support.
1. Consultation and the preliminary check. The investor receives detailed advice and chooses the investment alternative that best suits their purpose. At this stage, a preliminary Due Diligence check of the client and their biography is also carried out.
Immigrant Invest has its Compliance Department, which helps to identify possible risks and prevent them promptly.
2. Selection of the investment object. Depending on the chosen investment option, the investor is helped to select an object for investment: real estate, bank, company, fund or project.
3. Visit Portugal. This stage is necessary to perform some actions that can only be done in person: register the individual tax number, open a bank account and issue a power of attorney for a lawyer in Portugal.
4. Fulfilment of the investment condition. Depending on the chosen investment option, the applicant must conclude a sale and purchase agreement with the help of a lawyer in Portugal, replenish a bank deposit, transfer money to the selected fund or scientific program, or make other financial transactions provided for by the option chosen.
5. Collection of documents and the application submission. The investor collects an individual package of documents for the application, and lawyers translate the documents, notarize and send them to the SEF — Portuguese Immigration and Border Service.
6. Submission of biometric data in Portugal. All applicants — both the investor and the relatives included in the application — must personally hand over the original documents and biometric data in Portugal.
7. Approval and receipt of residence permit cards. After having the documents checked and the application processed, the applicants receive a residence permit in Portugal.
The Portugal D7 visa suits financially independent foreigners. This option applies only to non-EU citizens.
The D7 visa grants qualified applicants and their family members the right to live, work and study in Portugal and allows visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
The source of the passive income does not matter — it can be either a pension, dividends, interest, royalties, salaries from remote work or income from renting out a property.
The minimum required income depends on the minimum wage in Portugal. In 2022, this is €705 per month. Income requirements also vary depending on the number of dependents the applicant wishes to include, as follows:
- main applicant — 100% of the minimum wage: €705 per month or €8,460 per year;
- spouse or parents of the main applicant — 50% of the minimum wage per person: €332.5 per month or €3,990 per year;
- dependent children — 30% of the minimum wage per person: €199.5 per month or €2,394 per year.
A D7 visa holder must spend at least 183 days a year in Portugal to maintain the status.
Another requirement directly follows from the need to live in the country: the applicant must rent or buy housing in which they and their family will live.
In addition to the cost of renting real estate, the applicant has to pay for utilities. Utility bills must include the name of each applicant, which is essential to the entire process.
Getting a D7 visa usually takes 4+ months and requires the following steps:
- Opening a taxpayer number in Portugal. This may be done by proxy, without the applicant's physical presence.
- Buying or renting a property in Portugal. The proof of long-term residency in Portugal must be presented to be eligible for the D7 visa.
- Opening a bank account. This step applies to the main applicant.
- Collection of all necessary documents for a D7 visa.
- Personal submission of the documents at the consulate of the applicant’s country. The main applicant can apply at the Portuguese consulate of another country if they have a residence permit, permanent residence or citizenship of that country.
- Entry into the country on a national visa D7. The visa is valid for 4 months.
- Preparation and submission of an application for a residence permit to SEF.
- Preparation and submission of an application for a residence permit to the SEF family members of the main applicant.
The Portugal D2 visa is also known as the entrepreneur visa. This option allows obtaining a residence permit in Portugal for those who conduct independent professional activities: entrepreneurs, freelancers and independent service providers.
To apply for a D2 visa, neither a one-time investment in the country's economy nor a confirmed passive income is required. The applicant must provide a detailed business plan, which will reflect the value of the proposed business and the relationship with the Portuguese business community.
However, the applicant does not have to establish a company in Portugal. If a person is a highly qualified independent service provider who can confirm their qualifications and experience, they can get a D2 visa without opening a company.
In any case, the applicant will need to confirm the means of subsistence and have at least the annual equivalent of the minimum wage in Portugal in the bank account - for 2022, it is €705 per month or €8,460 per year.
How to get Portugal residency by investment
|Requirements||Portugal Golden Visa||Portugal D7 visa||Portugal D2 visa|
|Main applicant eligibility|
|Family eligibility||Family reunification is possible after the main applicant has been granted the visa|
|Time frame||6+ months||4+ months||4+ months|
|Main list of documents||
|Need to reside in Portugal to maintain the status||7 days a year||183 days a year||4 months during the first year, then 6 months a year|
Obtaining Portugal citizenship after Portugal D7, D2 or Golden visa
After the residence permit has been maintained for 5 years, one may apply for a permanent residence permit in Portugal or directly for Portugal citizenship. It usually takes 7 months to obtain citizenship.
To be eligible for applying for citizenship, the applicant must fulfil several Portugal citizenship requirements:
- Resident status for at least 5 years.
- No criminal record.
- 18+ years old.
- Portuguese language knowledge certificate (A2 level).
- Not a threat to national security.
As a general rule, citizenship can be obtained from 18. Minor children of the investor can also obtain Portuguese citizenship if their parents have held resident status for at least 5 years.
Children under 12 do not have to take a language proficiency test. Children older than 12 who study the language at school may also not take the exam.
Required documents for applying for citizenship in Portugal:
- an application form filled out in Portuguese;
- two identical passport photographs, in colour, with a blank background, updated and in favourable conditions for identification (in case of the registration is to be carried out at the SEF office in Odivelas, Aveiro or Braga);
- valid passport or certified copy;
- evidence of stable and regular resources sufficient for the investor’s own existence and their relatives;
- supporting documents for accommodation in Portugal, if applicable;
- certificate of no criminal record from the country of origin and the country where the applicant has lived continuously for more than 1 year;
- residence permit for at least five years;
- proof of knowledge of basic Portuguese.
There is no need to confirm that the applicant does not have a criminal record in Portugal. This information will be automatically provided to the Migration Service by the Ministry of Internal affairs of Portugal.
How long it takes to obtain Portugal citizenship
Obtaining Portugal citizenship takes typically 7—12 months. The application can be made at different places upon the applicant’s choice:
- the registry office at the place of residence;
- the offices of the National Center for the Integration of Immigrants in Lisbon and Porto;
- the registration centres of the Institute of State Registration and Notaries;
- consulates and representations of Portugal all over the world;
- by mail to the Central Registry Office.
If not all the necessary documents have been provided at once, the Central Registry Office will request the missing documents. The applicant has 20 days to complete the application.
Since 2019, paper passports are no longer issued: new citizens of Portugal receive ID plastic cards instead. The card includes not only personal information but also a fingerprint chip.
Benefits of Portugal citizenship
Obtaining citizenship without permanent residence. The investor does not need to reside in Portugal to obtain citizenship permanently.
A holder of a residence permit obtained under the Golden Visa Program must spend only 7 days a year in the country to be eligible to apply for citizenship in five years.
A D7 visa holder must spend 183 days a year in Portugal.
High return on investment. Some investment options allow the investor to return the investment after 5 years and even benefit from it. For example, the path to citizenship can be through buying property in Portugal and obtaining a Golden Visa.
In 5 years, the property can be sold – while real estate prices in Portugal are growing on average by 7% per year.
Tax optimisation. Once the investor has been registered as a resident of Portugal, they can apply for a special tax status – Non-Habitual Resident (NHR).
This special tax regime is valid for 10 years and reduces the income tax rate to 20%.
Foreigners are also exempt from paying taxes on income earned outside of Portugal. There are no taxes on inheritance, gifts or property. In addition, free funds transfer to Portugal and abroad are available for holders of this tax status.
The ratio of price and standard of living. Portugal is known for its high living standards. In the Legatum Prosperity Index, Portugal is ranked 28th out of 167 countries.
However, Portugal remains one of the cheapest countries in the EU. According to the Europe Cost of Living Index, Portugal ranks 26th out of 42 in the price ranking in European countries — compared to neighbouring Spain, prices are lower on average by 12.7%.
187 countries are available visa-free. Portuguese passport holders enjoy access to countries all over the world, including all of the Schengen states and Canada.
Frequently asked questions
Portugal does not have a direct-by-investment citizenship program. However, by investment, you can get a residence permit under the Golden Visa program and apply for citizenship after 5 years.
No, it doesn’t. However, purchasing certain types of real estate gives the right to obtain a residence permit in Portugal by investment and, after 5 years, apply for citizenship.
The minimum investment for participation in the Portugal residency by investment program is €250,000.
Portugal does not limit the number of citizenships that Portuguese citizens can hold.
The Portugal Golden Visa Program is a government program that allows wealthy people to obtain a residence permit in Portugal by investing in the Portuguese economy.
Yes, if you hold the status of a resident of Portugal for 5 years after receiving the Golden Visa, you can apply for citizenship in Portugal.
Yes, buying a real estate object in Portugal is a valid option for obtaining residence by investment under the Golden Visa program.
Each case is different, but the Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the most popular residence by investment programs due to its relatively low investment required and its many benefits.