Portugal Golden Visa guide: how to get a residence permit and citizenship

What is a Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa is actually a special type of Portuguese residence permit. There are several differences between usual and Golden Visas to Portugal:

  1. Form. A Golden Visa is unlike any other visa that can be stamped on your passport. If you get a Portugal Golden Visa, you obtain a separate document: a residence permit card.

  2. Function. Usual visas’ main function is to let you enter Portugal and stay there for a certain period. Golden Visas provide more opportunities. Portuguese Golden Visa holders get official status in the country, together with certain rights and responsibilities. For example, they can now turn to public hospitals and enter state schools and universities.

  3. Validity. Usual visas to Portugal allow holders to stay for up to 90 days each half a year or 120 days in a row. The Portugal Golden Visa is issued for two years and lets you stay in the country for this entire period.

  4. Way of obtaining. The Portugal Golden Visa can be obtained only by investment in the country’s economy. €250,000 is the minimum possible amount to invest.

Portugal Golden Visa in numbers

The Portugal Golden Visa program was launched in 2012. Since the program’s start until September 2023, the government has attracted more than €7.3 billion of investments in total. Residence permits were granted to over 12,000 investors and 20,000 members of their families.

Applicants who obtained the most Portuguese residence permits are the Chinese. They are followed by:

  • Brazilians — 1,256;

  • US citizens — 781;

  • Turks — 613;

  • South Africans — 574.

The majority of Golden Visa applicants used to invest in real estate. The second most popular option was capital transfer. However, the Portugal Golden Visa program conditions were significantly changed in October 2023.

It is no longer possible to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa by purchasing real estate and securities or making bank deposits. Thus, applicants have become more interested in business investment and purchasing investment fund units.

The graph below shows the number of approved applications under the three most popular options. The total sum spent on real estate purchases is around €6.45 billion, and the capital transfer option attracted €867 million.

Portugal Golden Visa 2024

9 Portugal Golden Visa benefits: why invest in Portugal

1. Travelling to the Schengen Area. The Portugal Golden Visa eliminates the necessity of getting a Schengen visa. Portuguese residence permit holders may spend up to 90 days out of 180 in other Schengen countries.

Staying in Portugal is not considered, so it is different from travelling with a Portugal Schengen visa.

If you have a Golden Visa and spend 3 months in Portugal, you can spend two months in France and another in Italy, for example. If you only have a Schengen visa and spend 3 months in Portugal, you must leave the Schengen Area and wait another 3 months to enter it again.

Schengen countries that Portugal Golden Visa holders can enter visa-free

Austria

Latvia

Belgium

Liechtenstein

Croatia

Lithuania

Czechia

Luxembourg

Denmark

Malta

Estonia

the Netherlands

Finland

Norway

France

Poland

Germany

Slovakia

Greece

Slovenia

Hungary

Spain

Iceland

Sweden

Italy

Switzerland

2. EU citizenship prospect. The Portugal Golden Visa is the first step to EU citizenship, and it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get it by naturalisation. Portuguese residents can apply for citizenship after 5 years of maintaining the status. And they can get it without moving to Portugal.

None of the EU countries allows obtaining citizenship by naturalisation earlier than in five years. The period is the same in some of them, but the terms are less attractive.

EU citizenship after 5 years of residence is available in the following countries:

  • pt-flag Portugal — 7 days a year of mandatory residing for Golden Visa holders;

  • se-flag Sweden — 46 of 52 weeks a year of mandatory residing;

  • be-flag Belgium — 4 out of 5 years of mandatory residing, with no more than 6 months of consecutive absence.

The only exception is Malta. In this country, you can get citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment in 1 or 3 years. Yet, the costs start from €690,000.

For children born in Portugal, the terms are even better. A child can acquire Portuguese citizenship by birthright if at least one of his parents has held a residence permit in Portugal for more than a year. In all the other EU countries, the terms are stricter.

3. Moving to Portugal. As soon as you get a Portuguese residence permit, you can move to Portugal. Or not to move: it is just a matter of personal choice, not an obligation. If moving to Portugal, one gets access to quality European education, healthcare, and food.

4. Low cost of living. Portugal is a popular destination among expats worldwide because it combines a high level of life and safety with relatively low living costs.

According to Numbeo, the Quality of Life Index in Portugal and France are almost the same: 162 and 149, respectively. But Portugal’s Cost of Living Index is 1.5 times less than France’s.

Expats from developed countries feel comfortable living in Portugal as they do not lose their living standards, and their purchasing power increases. Expats from developing countries improve the quality of their lives without a significant rise in living expenses.

5. Affordable investment options. The minimum investment amount required to get residency in Portugal is €250,000. To obtain residency in neighbouring Spain, you must invest twice as much: at least €500,000.

6. Investment profit. Foreigners who invest in investment funds units can get an annual yield of 3 to 10%.

Discover the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa and a unique way to EU citizenship

7. Short stay requirement. To maintain the status of a Portuguese resident, Golden Visa holders must spend only 7 days per annum in the country. In comparison, holders of other types of residency must stay for at least 183 days a year in Portugal.

8. Access to Portuguese healthcare and education. For Portugal residents, state-provided healthcare is free. The country’s quality of healthcare and education meets all the EU standards.

Children of residents can enter private and public kindergartens, schools, and universities. They don’t need student visas in Portugal and other EU countries to get higher education. They are also exempt from paying tuition fees if they enter public universities. Public schools and kindergartens are also free of charge.

According to QS World University Rankings 2024, five Portuguese universities are in the top 500. The University of Porto is recognised as the best one in the country.

9. Friendly attitude towards foreigners. There are no special districts for foreigners in Portugal, and newcomers get integrated into Portuguese society. The locals are sympathetic and friendly people who are always ready to help.

Around 800,000 expats live in Portugal, making up almost 8% of the Portuguese population. The biggest expat communities are Brazilian, British, Cape Verdean, and Indian.

Portugal Golden Visa

Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, ranking 7th on the Global Peace Index. In the ranking, it is above Switzerland and Japan

Requirements to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program is not available to EU and EEA citizens. Citizens of other countries can participate in the investment program without restrictions.

Americans can apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa. They don’t obtain greater freedom of movement as the US passport already grants visa-free access to the Schengen Area. But they can, for example, expand their businesses to Portugal and other European countries.

British citizens lost a right to travel visa-free within the Schengen Area after Brexit in 2021. Since then, they became eligible to participate in the Golden Visa program in Portugal. UK passport holders obtain Portuguese residency for travelling across Europe and for a desirable lifestyle.

Requirements for the investor. The main applicant needs to be at least 18 years old and have legal income, valid health insurance, no debts in Portugal, and no criminal records. Money for investment must be earned outside Portugal and transferred from abroad.

The Golden Visa is available to family members. The investor can participate in the Portugal Golden Visa program alone or with their family.

A spouse is eligible for participation without an age limit.

Children under 26 can also be added to the application. Children under 18 are included without conditions, while children aged 18 to 26 should be financially dependent on the main applicant and live with them or study at a university.

Parents can take part if they are financially dependent on the investor.

The investor’s siblings can join if they are under 26 and in the investor’s custody.

Michael and Charlotte,,

moved to Portugal together with their parents

Portugal Golden Visas for parents

Michael’s parents obtained residence permits in Portugal together with their son. However, Charlotte’s parents did not meet the age requirements of the Portugal Golden Visa program and were financially independent, so they were not included in the application.

However, a year later, the family of six reunited in Portugal and have lived together since then.

Learn a case

Portugal Golden Visa investment options

Оne can purchase investment fund units or invest in a business, science, and culture. The minimum investment amount varies from option to option.

Purchase of investment fund units. You can buy units of investment or venture funds for at least €500,000.

Fund maturity must be at least five years, and 60% of the investments must be realised in commercial companies with head offices in Portugal’s territory. The annual yield of Portuguese funds is 3—10%.

Business investment. Two options are related to investing in business:

  1. €500,000 investment in a new or existing Portuguese company and creating at least 5 jobs.

  2. Opening a company and creating at least 10 jobs, while the investment amount is not defined.

The form of a company must be either PLC or LLC. The investor can be a sole owner of a business or a co-owner. In the latter case, all co-owners can participate in the Portugal Golden Visa program.

After the company’s creation, the investor can hire residents of Portugal and foreigners who, before being hired, have yet to receive residency in the country. Thus, the terms of the program are suitable for those who want to move their office from another country to Portugal.

Supporting culture and science. If investors choose to support culture and art, they need to invest €250,000. This is the minimum possible investment amount under the Portugal Golden Visa program but the least popular. It is unclear whether it is possible to return the money, and choosing a suitable project is also a big deal.

Investors supporting research projects need to invest twice as much — €500,000. This option is also rarely chosen due to its complexity and expensiveness.

Investment options that are no longer available. Before autumn 2023, applicants for the Golden Visa could buy real estate, open a bank deposit, or purchase securities. Buying properties was the most popular way to get Portuguese residency.

In October 2023, these options were dismissed, and obtaining a Golden Visa through any of them is now impossible.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa by purchasing investment fund units or business investments: what to choose

After the real estate investment option was abolished in October 2023, contribution to business and purchase of investment fund units have become the most appealing choices.

The purchase of investment fund units can be suitable for people who don’t want to engage in business activities and prefer to have their investments managed by others. This option doesn’t require applicants to control their investment as specialists do all the job.

The unit holding period is at least 5 years, and the investor receives their share of the fund profit. A full return on the investment money is possible in 6—10 years.

Business investment is a good option for people who want to open a company in the European Union and establish relationships with partners worldwide. It is also more suitable for those who plan to move to Portugal as it will allow them to control the business locally.

The tourism industry is the most popular area of business activities in Portugal. It accounts for more than three-fifths of the total economic output. Other attractive choices are:

  • wine production;

  • growing olives and citrus fruits;

  • production of cork tree bark;

  • production of meat and poultry;

  • manufacturing of furniture;

  • production of ceramics;

  • port logistics;

  • fishing.

Portugal Golden Visa fees and other expenses

Besides direct investments, there are other cost items, notwithstanding which investment option is chosen:

  • an application fee — €605 per family member;

  • residence permit card issuance — €6,045 per family member;

  • health insurance — €400+ per family member;

  • bank account maintenance fees and other commissions — depending on the bank;

  • taxes and commissions.

Under the purchasing of investment fund units option, applicants pay up to 7,5% when investing and an annual commission on profits of 0.5 to 3%.

The tax on investment income for Portuguese tax residents is 14%.

Golden Visa costs comparison

Expenses

Purchase of fund units

Business investment

Investment

€500,000

€1,500,000

Application fee

605 per applicant

605 per applicant

Residence permit fee

6,045 per applicant

6,045 per applicant

Health insurance

€400+

€400+

Taxes and commissions

Up to 7,5% is a commission when investing in a fund

0.5 to 3% is a yearly fund commission from profits

0% is the tax on investment income for tax non-residents of Portugal

14% for tax residents

Corporate tax: 21% in mainland Portugal

14,7% in Madeira and the Azores

VAT:

6—23% in mainland Portugal

5—22% in Madeira

4—18% in the Azores

Required documents to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa

The essential list of documents required for applying for a Portugal Golden Visa includes the following:

  • a copy of a passport or another government-issued travel document;

  • birth certificates, if applicable;

  • a marriage certificate, if applicable;

  • evidence of entry and legal stay in Portugal;

  • a tax identification number of the country of residence;

  • documents outlining good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security system;

  • proof of healthcare coverage;

  • a certificate of no criminal record issued by the current country of residence;

  • a completed form authorising AIMA to access criminal records in Portugal;

  • a Sworn Statement by which the applicant declares to comply with all the minimum quantitative and time requirements for the investment activity in Portugal;

  • a receipt of ARI application payment;

  • evidence of an international and effective transfer of funds for investing.

Additional documents depend on the investment option.

When purchasing units of an investment fund, the Golden Visa applicant provides:

  1. The document attesting the holdership of investment fund units.

  2. The declaration issued by the holding company of the respective investment fund attesting the feasibility of the capitalisation plan, the maturity of at least five years, and the application of at least 60% of the investment in commercial companies with head office in the national territory.

For the investment in the company’s capital and creation of job positions, the following documents are required:

  1. The company registration certificate.

  2. Individual contracts of employment between the employer and the employees.

  3. Certificates from the Office of Social Security and the Register of Employment Contracts for the employees.

  4. A supporting document of the constitution of a commercial company with share capital equal to or above €500,000 and associated updated extract from the register of companies.

For investment in the arts, one provides the declaration issued by the Strategy, Planning and Cultural Assessment Office attesting to its investment nature or supporting the arts, restoring and maintaining the national cultural heritage.

Investment in research activities requires the declaration issued by a public or private scientific research institution involved in the national scientific or technological system attesting to the effective transfer of capital for research activities.

All documents must be translated into Portuguese and notarised.

Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

How to get a NIF number and open a bank account to invest

The investor must transfer money from a Portuguese bank account. To open one, obtaining a Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF), a tax identification number in Portugal, is required.

Obtaining a NIF number. The required documents are the following:

  • a passport or an ID card;

  • proof of residence in Portugal — for example, a utility bill under the name of the investor;

  • a document with a taxpayer number in the country of the applicant’s citizenship.

It might also be required to provide a certificate from your place of work indicating your position and salary.

A NIF number can be obtained:

  • in person at the Portuguese tax office — the process takes around an hour;

  • by email — in 3—5 business days;

  • or through a tax representative.

If you get an NIF number with the help of a tax representative, you must sign a power of attorney letter and hand it to them.

Opening a bank account. To obtain a bank account, one must go to any Portuguese bank branch in the country and provide a passport or an ID card, proof of income, and an NIF.

The process of opening a bank account can take up to a month.

How to apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal

Getting a Portugal RP by investment is complicated and takes 8—10 months. Investors are recommended to turn for legal support. There are legal companies that directly specialise in helping obtain a Portugal Golden Visa, and Immigrant Invest is one of them.

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit varies depending on the chosen option. However, some steps are mandatory for all applicants. The lawyers can perform most actions through a power of attorney on the investor’s behalf.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

It helps to reduce the risks of failure to 1%. Immigrant Invest’s certified Anti-Money Laundering officers conduct the check.

Immigrant Invest only signs an agreement with the investor once the check is passed and both lawyers and the investor are aware of the chances and risks.

2

1—2 weeks

Selection of an investment option

Depending on the option, the investor needs to choose a fund, a company, or a project. It is possible to do it remotely with the help of our lawyers: they can send reports and other information needed.

3

1—1.5 months

Trip to Portugal

Some steps can be performed only in person. On their trip to Portugal, the investor needs to open a bank account, get an individual taxpayer number, and draw up a power of attorney for their lawyer.

4

2—3 weeks

Fulfilment of the investment condition

The investor transfers money and obtains the required documents. For example, in the case of investment fund unit purchase, it is the confirmation of transfer and the agreement with the fund.

5

5—6 months

Collection of documents and application

The investor gets an individual list of documents from the lawyers to prepare. Then, the applicant has the relevant state form filled in and documents translated and certified.

Electronic copies of documents are sent for consideration to the AIMA, the Agency of Integration, Migrations, and Asylum.

6

1—2 weeks

Submission of biometric data

The investor and their family come to Portugal to submit original documents and their biometric data for residence permit cards. The appointment for fingerprinting must be booked in advance in the electronic register.

7

6—8 months

Due Diligence

When original documents and biometrics are submitted, AIMA starts the Due Diligence check. In case of approval, AIMA issues a confirmation document that can be used to live in Portugal until residence permit cards are ready.

8

2 weeks

Obtaining residence permit cards

When approval is received, the investor pays the fee for residence permit cards. They are prepared within two weeks and issued personally to the investor or their lawyer by proxy.

9

Every 2 years

Residence permits renewal

Residence permit cards have to be renewed every two years. The procedure is similar to the initial application: you need to collect the same documents and submit them electronically, submit biometrics and originals, and obtain new cards.

The Institute of Registries and Notary extends residence permits.

To maintain a residence permit, the investor and their family must spend at least seven days a year in Portugal. Investors also need to keep their investments.

Changes to the Portugal Golden Visa program

The Portugal Golden Visa requirements were changed in October 2023. The changes concern investment options, application authorities, and fees.

Investment options. The Portuguese government cancelled three investment options: purchasing a new property for €500,000, purchasing a property for restoration for €280,000 or €350,000, and opening a bank deposit or purchasing securities for €1,500,000.

Application authorities. The SEF agency that reviewed Golden Visa applications has been disbanded since October 2023. Now, applications for residence permits are submitted to the Agency for Integration, Migrations, and Asylum — AIMA.

Existing residence permits are extended via the IRN — the Institute of Registries and Notary.

Government fees for obtaining a residence permit. The fee for a residence permit card is now €6,045 per person instead of €5,340, and the application fee is €605 per person instead of €533.

Comparison of Portugal’s Golden, D7, and Digital Nomad Visas

Besides the Portugal Golden Visa, the country offers two more programs for wealthy individuals.

The D7 visa is granted to foreigners with a passive income of at least €820 per month from outside Portugal. Allowed types of income are pensions, capital gains, and rental income.

The Digital Nomad Visa is designed for financially independent persons who work remotely and earn at least €3,040 per month.

In both cases, foreigners must rent or buy real estate to live there.

Comparison criteria

Golden Visa

D7 Visa

Digital Nomad Visa

Investment

€250,000+

Not required

Not required

Monthly income

Not required

€820

€3,040

Obtaining period

8+ months

4+ months

4+ months

Mandatory residing

7 days a year

183 days per year

183 days per year

Housing in Portugal

No

Yes

Yes

Portugal Golden Visa compared to other EU Golden Visas

At first glance, most EU residency by investment programs offer the same benefits: visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, the prospect of EU citizenship, and the possibility of returning the investment in several years.

But there are essential differences between Portugal and other countries’ Golden Visas.

The Spain Golden Visa requires commitment. If you want to refund your investment, you must move to Spain. The minimum investment in real estate is €500,000.

Spain doesn’t allow having more than one passport, so if you wish to obtain Spanish citizenship, you must wait 10 years and renounce your first one.

The Portugal Golden Visa is a more universal solution: it suits those who wish to relocate to Portugal or visit the country for several days a year. The investment path to citizenship is shorter and less demanding: investors can get Portuguese passports without moving to the country or renouncing their first citizenship.

Comparison of Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visas

Comparison criteria

Spain Golden Visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Minimum investments

€500,000

€250,000

Obtaining period

2—3 months

8—10 months

Residing to maintain residency

Not required

7 days per year

Refunding the investment

In 5 years, relocation to Spain is required

In 5 years, relocation to Spain is required

Obtaining citizenship

In 10 years of living in Spain and renouncing the first citizenship

In 5 years of maintaining residency and without losing the first citizenship

The Italy Golden Visa can be attractive for those who want to obtain citizenship. By contrast with Spain, this country allows its citizens to have two passports.

Italy offers supporting startups and Italian companies, the purchase of government bonds, and charitable donations as investment options.

Investors who obtain a Golden Visa in Italy can apply for a special tax regime if they spend at least 183 days per year in the country. They In 5 years, relocation to Spain is requiredpay an annual tax of €100,000 for themselves and an additional €25,000 for every family member. In this case, the investor is exempt from taxes on global income.

As opposed to Italy, Portugal has dismissed their special tax regime.

Comparison of Italy and Portugal’s Golden Visas

Comparison criteria

Italy Golden Visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Minimum investments

€250,000

€250,000

Obtaining period

3+ months

8—10 months

Residing to maintain residency

Not required

7 days per year

Refunding the investment

In 5 years

In 5 years, relocation to Portugal is not required

Obtaining citizenship

In 10 years of living in Italy and without losing the first citizenship

In 5 years of maintaining residency and without losing the first citizenship

Cyprus Permanent Residency is a good choice for people who want to obtain a status for life.

One of the Cyprus residency benefits is low taxes. There are no taxes on global income and inheritance, and corporate tax is one of the lowest in Europe — 12,5%. Local income is taxed at the rate of 0% to 30%.

It is possible to purchase real estate to qualify for the Cyprus Golden Visa. However, Cypriot permanent residents can’t travel across the Schengen Area visa-free.

Comparison of Cyprus and Portugal’s Golden Visas

Comparison criteria

Cyprus Golden Visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Minimum investments

€300,000

€250,000

Real estate option

Yes

No

Obtaining period

3+ months

8—10 months

Residing to maintain residency

Once every 2 years

7 days per year

Status for life

Yes

No

Refunding the investment

In 5 years

In 5 years

Visa-free Schengen Area

No

Yes

Obtaining citizenship

In 5 years

In 5 years

The Greece Golden Visa can be suitable for people who want to buy property. They can rent real estate out if they want to live in another country.

Greece also offers a special tax regime for tax residents. Under it, investors pay a flat tax of €100,000 on their global income and an additional €20,000 for every family member. The special tax regime is attractive as global income can be taxed up to 45% without it.

Comparison of Greece and Portugal’s Golden Visas

Comparison criteria

Greece Golden Visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Minimum investments

€250,000

€250,000

Real estate option

Yes

No

Obtaining period

6 months

8—10 months

Residing to maintain residency

Not required

7 days per year

Refunding the investment

In 5 years

In 5 years

Obtaining citizenship

In 7 years of living in Greece

In 5 years of maintaining residency

The Malta Golden Visa, also known as the Malta Permanent Residence Program, is an excellent option for people who don’t want to buy real estate but prefer to rent it.

A foreigner must rent or buy real estate to get a Maltese permanent residency. Expenses are:

  • €10,000+ per annum — if a property is rented in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo;

  • €12,000+ per annum — if a foreigner rents real estate in northern or central Malta;

  • €300,000+ — if a property is bought in the south of Malta or on the Gozo island;

  • €350,000+ — if real estate is purchased in the north or centre of Malta.

Other mandatory payments for the Malta Golden Visa are an administrative fee of €40,000, a contribution fee of €28,000 if buying a property or €58,000 if renting one, and a charitable donation of €2,000.

Another obligatory requirement is to prove having financial assets of at least €500,000, where €150,000 are liquid financial assets.

Maltese permanent residency is granted for life, and it isn’t required to live in Malta to maintain it. Obtaining the Malta Golden Visa also takes less time than the Portugal Golden Visa.

Comparison of Malta and Portugal’s Golden Visas

Comparison criteria

Malta Golden Visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Minimum investments

€150,000

€250,000

Real estate option

Yes

No

Obtaining period

4—6 months

8—10 months

Residing to maintain residency

Not required

7 days per year

Status for life

Yes

No

How to prepare for relocation and move to Portugal

Moving to Portugal involves several steps, varying depending on your situation, such as your nationality, reasons for moving, and financial status.

Research and plan. Research different regions in Portugal to find one that suits your lifestyle and budget. Consider visiting Portugal before moving to get a feel for different areas.

Portugal is divided into several distinct regions, each with its own unique cultural and geographical characteristics:

  1. North is known for its cultural heritage and historical cities, such as Porto, it’s also the birthplace of Port wine.

  2. Central is known for its diverse landscapes, including mountains, beaches, and the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal; the most notable city is Coimbra, a historic university town.

  3. Lisbon is the capital region encompassing the city of Lisbon, offers a mix of modern and historical attractions such as the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery.

  4. Alentejo is known for its traditional rural lifestyle, wine and cork production, and historic cities such as Évora.

  5. The Algarve is located in southern Portugal and renowned for its beautiful beaches, golf resorts, and lively towns such as Faro, Lagos, and Albufeira. It is a popular destination for tourists and expatriates, especially for its mild climate.

  6. The Azores Autonomous Region is an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean known for its stunning landscapes, volcanic activity, and rich marine life.

  7. The Madeira Autonomous Region is another Atlantic archipelago closer to Africa than Portugal, famous for its lush landscapes, unique flora, and Madeira wine.

Make a financial plan. Ensure you have sufficient funds for your move and initial living expenses. The required sum of money depends on the chosen city. Generally, having at least €650 per month without housing rent is enough. In Lisbon, an individual needs at least €715 per month, while in Coimbra, it is around €630 for the same period.

Find accommodation. Decide whether to rent or buy property. It’s often helpful to rent first to get a sense of the area before committing to a purchase.

Logistics. Organise your move, including shipping belongings and arranging travel for yourself and your family. If you plan to drive, learn the requirements for driving in Portugal and find out whether you need to exchange your driver’s licence.

Banking. Open a Portuguese bank account and learn the tax implications of living in Portugal. Major banks in the country are Caixa Geral de Depositos, Millennium BCP, Novobanco, Banco Santander Totta, and Banco Portugues de Investimento.

Cultural adjustment. Be prepared for a period of cultural adjustment. To help with it, engage with local communities and expat groups to build a support network. Learning Portuguese will help you integrate more fully into the community.

Expenses on living in Portugal

The most expensive Portuguese cities are Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra.

Housing. The cost of housing depends on the city. Lisbon is the most expensive part of Portugal, and renting a one-bedroom apartment there costs €900—1,300. One can rent the same apartment in Porto for €700—950. A three-bedroom apartment in Porto’s city centre costs around €1,600, almost the same as an apartment outside the centre of Lisbon.

The purchase price for a square metre in Porto and Coimbra is two times lower than in Lisbon — €2,600 and €5,200 for an apartment in the city centre, respectively.

Utilities. Portuguese residents pay around €90—120 for two- or three-bedroom apartments. The bills include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and taking out garbage. The Internet costs €30 to 40 per month.

Groceries. A food basket consisting of a litre of milk, a loaf of bread, 12 eggs, 1 onion, 1 kilogram of rice, chicken fillets, beef, and local cheese costs €30. The price for a bottle of mid-range wine is €4. One person spends around €10 in an inexpensive restaurant or cafe.

Transportation. The regular price for a monthly pass is €40, while a one-way ticket is around €1.5—2. A ticket valid for 24 hours costs from €7 to €11.

The price for a litre of gasoline is €2.

The rate for taxi starts at around €3 and is calculated based on the trip’s distance. The standard tariff for 1 kilometre is €0.80.

Healthcare. Public healthcare is available for all legal residents in Portugal but is not always free. For example, a house call costs €10 and visiting an emergency room is €10—20. Private healthcare is more expensive. Having an appointment with a doctor may cost €40—60.

Health insurance is a must for Golden Visas holders. Its price depends on an insured person’s age and health condition and may reach €1,200+ per a senior couple.

Example of monthly expenses on living in Lisbon

Expense item

For one person

For a family of 4

Renting an apartment

€900

€1,500

Utilities

€50

€120

Internet

€40

€40

Mobile calls and Internet

€25

€100

Public transport

€40

€160

Gasoline

€50

€100

Groceries

€350

€1,400

Total

€1,525

€3,500

Portuguese tax system

Income tax for Golden Visa holders. If Golden Visa holders spend less than 183 days in Portugal, they are not considered tax residents, so only income they earn in Portugal is taxed in the country. Otherwise, the tax is levied on the worldwide income.

Portuguese tax residents pay income tax on a progressive scale of 14.5 to 48%. Non-residents are charged at a flat rate of 25%.

Real estate tax. All who buy, own, or sell property in Portugal must pay taxes.

Property transfer tax, or IMT, is paid once when buying real estate. For residential real estate, it is calculated according to the progressive scale of 0 to 7,5% of the property value. Commercial properties are taxed at a flat rate of 6,5%. A stamp duty of 0,8% of the property value should also be paid.

Annual property tax, or IMI, ranges from 0,3% to 0,8% of the real estate value.

The tax for capital gain can be charged when selling a property. Its rate is 28%. If the seller is a Portuguese tax resident, only half of their profit from the transaction is taxed.

The corporate tax rate is 21%.

There is also a municipal surtax of up to 1,5% levied on taxable profits and a state surtax. Rates of state surtax depend on the profit:

  • 3% on taxable profits exceeding €1,500,000 up to €7,500,000;

  • 5% on taxable profits exceeding €7,500,000 up to €35,000,000;

  • 9% on taxable profits exceeding €35,000,000.

The VAT rate depends on the region. In the mainland, it is 23%; in Madeira, it is 22%; in Azores, it is 16%.

Non-habitual status. Portuguese authorities cancelled an opportunity to become a Non-habitual resident. From the beginning of 2024, investors will not be able to get the NHR status. Existing statuses will be retained.

If an investor receives permanent residency, residence permit, or other permission to stay in Portugal before December 31st, 2023, they can apply for tax benefits until March 31st, 2024. In this case, tax benefits will be applicable for 10 years from the transition date to the NHR regime.

In all other cases, except startups and qualified employees, the NHR status will become unavailable from January 1st, 2024.

Foreigners holding the NHR status don’t pay taxes on global income and pay a flat tax of 20% on local income for 10 years.

How to get Portugal permanent residency and citizenship

When an investor remains a Golden Visa holder for five years, they get the right to apply for permanent residency and citizenship. The stage of permanent residency is not mandatory and can be skipped.

To obtain permanent residency in Portugal, one needs to meet four requirements:

  • have no convictions;

  • confirm the ability to pay;

  • rent or own housing in Portugal;

  • pass the basic test in Portuguese.

The investor may consider getting permanent residency instead of citizenship if the country of their first citizenship prohibits having two passports.

To obtain a Portugal passport, you need to prove no criminal record and have an A2 level of Portuguese. One does not have to take exams on the history or constitution of the country or take an oath of allegiance.

Portugal allows dual citizenship, so foreigners do not have to renounce their first one.

Citizenship application processing usually takes about seven months. The whole process, from filling out the papers to receiving Portugal ID cards, takes up to a year.

Timeline of obtaining Portuguese citizenship by investment

1

Applying for a Portugal Golden Visa

2
+ 8—10 months

Obtaining Portuguese residence cards

3
+ 2 years

First renewal of residence permits

4
+ 2 years

Second renewal of residence permits

5
+ 1 year

Applying for citizenship or permanent residency

6
+ 7—12 months

Receiving a passport

Year 1—2. After getting Portuguese residency, the investor must renew it every two years until acquiring citizenship or permanent residency.

To be eligible for renewal, Portugal Golden Visa holders must meet the following conditions:

  • keep their investments;

  • spend 7 days per annum in the country;

  • pay taxes, if applicable;

  • stay with a clear police record;

  • have health insurance;

  • be registered in Portugal, that is, own or rent housing.

Investors recollect the documents and resubmit biometric data to renew the Golden Visa. The application for an extension must be filed 1—3 months before the status expires. The processing time is 3 weeks.

The application is submitted along with the following documents:

  • a Portuguese residence permit card;

  • a passport;

  • two passport-size photos;

  • evidence of a residential address in Portugal;

  • proof of financial solvency;

  • a completed form authorising AIMA to access criminal records in Portugal;

  • tax payment information.

Year 3—4. Like the previous stage, the investor complies with the program terms and renews their residence permit.

Year 5+. After five years of being a Portuguese resident, the investor can apply for citizenship.

The investor can file a citizenship application in person or by mail. When applying in person, they sign the application form in the presence of a responsible officer of the Portuguese Migration Service. If applying by mail, they sign the form in the presence of a notary beforehand.

Summary on the Portugal Golden Visa

  1. The Portugal Golden Visa is a residence permit granted to foreigners in return for investment in the country’s economy.

  2. As of January 2024, possible investment options include purchasing investment fund units, investing in a business and creating 5 jobs, opening a company and creating 10 jobs, investing in art or cultural heritage, and investing in research projects.

  3. The option featuring the minimum investment amount is an investment in culture: one needs to pay €250,000 for it.

  4. The investor is not obliged to live in the country to maintain residency. The main requirement is to stay in Portugal for at least 7 days yearly.

  5. The investor can apply for Portugal citizenship five years after obtaining a residence permit.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a residence permit in Portugal?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the Portugal Golden Visa still available?

    Yes, the Portugal Golden Visa program is still in operation, though in 2023, the conditions changed. The Portuguese government cancelled several investment options:

    • purchasing a new property for €500,000;

    • buying a property for restoration for €280,000 or €350,000;

    • opening a bank deposit or purchasing securities for €1,500,000.

    Currently, available investment options are:

    • investment in business and creation of 5 jobs;

    • opening a company and creating 10 jobs;

    • investment in art or cultural heritage;

    • purchase of investment fund units;

    • investment in research projects.

  • How much is a Portugal Golden Visa?

    €250,000 is the minimum investment needed to get a Portugal Golden Visa. But this amount is enough only to support cultural projects. If you want to make refundable and profitable investments, you can invest in business and investment fund units. The minimum investment sum for these options is €500,000.

  • What is the cheapest investment option for the Portugal Golden Visa?

    The option to create 10 jobs may be the cheapest since no minimum investment is required. But remember that the employees must be kept on throughout the whole Golden Visa process and must be paid full-time salaries. The average salary in Portugal is $1,200—2,000.

    Supporting culture investment option is also cheaper than others — $250,000. But there is no demand among the investors. The most popular investment option is buying units of investment funds for $500,000+.

  • How long does it take to get a residence permit in Portugal?

    Portugal residency by investment can be obtained within 8—10 months. The procedure includes two trips to Portugal, selecting the investment object, collecting documents, processing the application by the Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum Office, and issuing the cards.

    The time also depends on:

    • how fast investors prepare documents and fulfil investment conditions;

    • number of applications;

    • whether there are queues for submitting biometrics;

    • how thoroughly prepared the application is and whether Migration officers need to make additional requests to answer the questions about the investor’s biography or business.

    As of 2024, Portuguese authorities have changed the government body responsible for reviewing applications for Golden Visas; processing times can increase.

  • Who qualifies for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

    An investor and their family members: spouse, children under 26, siblings under 26, and parents of the investor or their spouse. Children over 18 and parents must be financially dependent on the investor. Siblings must be in the investor’s custody.

  • How to get a Portuguese Golden Visa?

    The Portugal Golden Visa is obtained by investing €250,000 to 500,000. The process is complicated, so investors turn to legal support to increase their chances of success. The procedure includes two trips to Portugal, selecting the investment option, collecting documents, processing the application by the Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum, and issuing the cards.

  • What are the benefits of a Portuguese Golden Visa?

    Among the benefits of a Portuguese Golden Visa are the following:

    • visa-free travel to the Schengen Area;

    • EU citizenship prospect;

    • opportunity to move to Portugal;

    • access to high-quality education and healthcare;

    • investment profit.

  • Can I work in Portugal with a Golden Visa?

    Yes, Portuguese Golden Visa holders have a right to work and run business in Portugal.

  • How to become a permanent resident of Portugal?

    To obtain permanent residency in Portugal, applicants need to hold temporary residence permits for at least five years, have no convictions, confirm the ability to sustain their living in Portugal, rent or own housing in the country, and pass the basic test on Portuguese.

    The permanent residency stage is not mandatory: the foreigner gets the right to apply directly for Portugal citizenship after being a temporary resident.

  • How many years does it take to get a Portugal passport?

    At least six years. Foreigners get the right to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of holding residence permits. Up to another year takes the consideration of an application and other bureaucratic procedures.

  • How to get a Portugal Golden passport?

    A Portugal Golden passport can be acquired by naturalisation after five years of holding a Portugal Golden Visa. It is not allowed to get a Portuguese passport by direct investments. To obtain citizenship, one needs to prove the absence of a criminal record and an A2 level of Portuguese.

    A Portugal Golden passport differs from a usual one only in the way of obtaining it. Both passports provide the same opportunities.

  • What is the minimum investment for a Portugal visa?

    The minimum investment under the Portugal Golden Visa program is €250,000. Money is contributed to art or Portuguese cultural heritage.

  • Can unmarried or same-sex couples apply for Portugal's Golden Visa program?

    If they are officially married, same-sex couples can apply for Portuguese residency by investment. If their country of origin prohibits same-sex marriages, they can get married in Portugal before applying for residence. It’s possible to register a marriage remotely.

    Opposite-sex couples can participate in the Portugal investment program without officially registering the marriage. A partnership is recognised when partners live together for more than two years.

  • Is the Portuguese language test required to get the Portugal Golden Visa?

    No. Obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa does not require passing the language test. Yet, you will need to get a certificate in the Portuguese language at an A2 level if you want to apply for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency in future.

  • Do I have to pay tax in Portugal as a Golden Visa holder?

    If you spend more than 183 days a year in Portugal, you become a tax resident and must pay the tax on a worldwide income. If not, you only pay taxes on income earned in Portugal, such as renting out a property. Income tax rates for residents vary from 14.5 to 48%, and for non-residents, the rate is 25%.

    If you own a property, you must pay annual tax at 0.3—0.8% of its value. If you own a company, its profit is taxed at a rate of 21%.

  • Can my Golden Visa application be rejected?

    Yes, no one can guarantee that your application will be approved. If an agent of the investment program gives assurances of 100% success, be aware that they can be fraudsters or unqualified specialists.

    Immigrant Invest always conducts a preliminary Due Diligence check and creates a personalised plan for each client. Such measures significantly improve the odds of success and reduce the rejection risk to a minimum.

  • Can I get Portugal citizenship by investment?

    No, but investors can obtain a Portugal residence permit by investment. And after five years of having the Golden Visa, they can apply for Portuguese citizenship. To obtain citizenship, you need to pass a Portuguese language test.