Second citizenship

Portugal Golden Visa processing time: a guide through the application process

Obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa usually takes 6—8 months from the preliminary Due Diligence check to receiving the ready residence permit cards. A Portugal Golden Visa can be called an investment visa or a residency visa as well.

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers several options to get Portuguese residency by investment with a minimum contribution of €250,000.

Regardless of the option chosen, obtaining an investment visa consists of 7 mandatory steps, including a visit to Portugal.

Portugal Golden Visa processing time

Requirements for Portugal residency by investment  

To successfully apply for Portugal residency by investment, one must be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa Program and choose one of the investment options.

€250,000
Minimum investment under the Portugal investment program

Available investment options under the Portugal Golden Visa program:

  • Transfer of at least €1,500,000 to Portugal. 
  • €500,000+ in real estate, fund shares, research programs, or a business with the creation of at least 5 jobs.
  • €280,000+ in real estate older than 30 years or located in certain renovation areas.
  • €250,000+ in the culture, art or reconstruction of the national heritage.
  • Creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal.

In practice, there is no difference in the duration of obtaining a residence permit by any particular investment option. All the options imply more or less the same processing time.

Portugal Golden Visa Timeline

Regardless of the investment option chosen, the applicant will have to go through 7 mandatory steps that form the overall timeline for obtaining a Portuguese residency by investment. The process is rather complicated, and the investors are advised to seek some solid legal support.

It takes 6—8 months to get a residence permit by investment in Portugal.

1
1 day
Consultation, the preliminary check
2
+ At least 5 days
Remote selection of the investment object
3
+ At least 2 days
Visit to Portugal
4
+ At least 1 month
Fulfilment of the investment condition
5
+ At least 1,5 months
Collection of documents and the application submission
6
+ At least 1 day
Submission of biometric data in Portugal
7
+ At least 4 months
Approval and receipt of residence permit cards

1. Preliminary check: 1—2 days

The investor gets their biography checked by a certified Anti Money Laundering Officer. The process is completely private, and all that needs to be presented for verification is the main applicant’s passport— the specialist searches for information about the investor in international databases. Only the applicant and the lawyers assigned to their case are informed about the check results.

The preliminary Due Diligence minimises the risk that the application will be rejected.

Immigrant Invest has its own compliance department and does not use the services of other consulting companies. Thus, the preliminary check is externally independent, so it cannot be delayed.

If any risks are found due to the internal check, the lawyers offer alternative options and solutions. In our practice, there were cases where the preliminary check helped identify risks and work them out. As a result, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service, or SEF, did not send any additional requests, and the consideration of the applications was not delayed.

Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, Candidate of Juridical Sciences

2. Selection of the investment object: 5 days — 3 weeks

Choosing an object for investment is a very important stage, which can take several days to several months. Depending on the option chosen, the investor is helped to select an object for investment: real estate, a bank, a company, a fund, a scientific program or a project. 

If necessary, one of the Immigrant Invest employees in Portugal travels to the site to take photographs and videos. Such assistance can speed up the process: the client does not need to spend time personally inspecting many objects.

3. Visit to Portugal: 2—5 days

The applicant travels to Portugal and performs some steps that only may be done in person. In two or five days, they need to register their individual foreigner's tax number, open a bank account, and draw up a power of attorney for a lawyer in Portugal to act on their behalf.

There are 4 ways to get a taxpayer number in Portugal, each of which takes a different amount of time.

How long it takes for a foreigner to register a taxpayer number in Portugal

30 min
In person at the tax office in Portugal
3—5 days
By email in the Portuguese language
Undefined
Through a tax representative or a friend in Portugal

4. Fulfilment of the investment condition: 1—2 months

The procedure and time depend on the chosen investment option. 

If the applicant has chosen to invest in real estate, then the client’s lawyer in Portugal signs a preliminary sale-purchase contract, concludes the deal and receives the certificate of ownership of the real estate. Verifying the purity of the transaction and bank transfers may take some time.

If the investor has chosen to open a business in Portugal and create 10 jobs, then, among other things, he will need to do the following:

  1. Open a company. It takes 3 weeks to open a company from the moment the main applicant receives the Portuguese tax number.
  2. If necessary, conclude a virtual address agreement or find an office or commercial space for rent.
  3. Submit documents to open a company bank account.
  4. Find workers and sign contracts with them. If employees are moving from another country to Portugal, they need to get a D1 visa, which normally takes 3—4 months.

5. Collection of the documents and submission of application: 1.5—2 months

Immigrant Invest’s lawyers provide the investor with an individual list of documents that must be submitted. After collecting the documents, the investor gets them translated and certified. The electronic copies of the documents are then sent to the SEF. The time for collecting documents may increase due to the applicants' circumstances. 

One of our clients, Ali, wanted his grandson to get the Portugal Golden Visa along with him. Although the program does not directly provide an opportunity to include grandchildren in the application, the lawyers have found a way. The investor took temporary custody of his grandson which allowed him to be included in the application. The custody process took an additional 1.5 weeks to complete collection of the documents.

6. Submission of biometric data in Portugal: 1 day — 3 weeks

Both the investor themselves and the family members included in the application need to come to Portugal and submit the original documents as well as their biometric data. Having this done, the applicants receive a confirmation document from SEF that allows them to live in Portugal until the residence permit cards are issued. However, they cannot enter or leave the country based on this document.

This step takes less time if all family members can submit biometrics simultaneously. This, in turn, depends on the possible dates to sign up. Not to delay the process, lawyers sometimes register members of the same family for submitting biometrics on the same day but in different cities. 

The Portuguese golden visa program allows family members to donate biomaterial on different dates, but in this case, this stage can take up to a whole month.

7. Approval and receipt of residence permit cards: 4—6 months

SEF processes the application and checks the documents. Once the application is approved, the investor pays a fee for issuing the residence permit cards. The cards are ready within two weeks and delivered personally to the investor or lawyer.

The process cannot be expedited at this stage, but it can be done so that it does not drag out. The key aspect here is a well-prepared package of documents that does not cause SEF to ask further questions. 

However, nothing can guarantee that SEF will not send additional requests. Any citizenship or residence by investment program reserves the right to make additional clarification requests on any application without giving reasons.

Application processing time may be delayed for reasons beyond the applicant's control. For example, during the pandemic, a queue of applications that had to be processed by the SEF accumulated, and consideration could take as long as almost six months.

Why obtaining Portuguese residency by investment took almost a year longer than it could

Eldar and Zara bought a villa in Portugal to obtain Portuguese residency by investment. Due to choosing an unreliable intermediary, it took them 1,5 years to receive their residence permits instead of 6 months.

When the couple applied to Immigrant Invest after a year of trying to get things off the ground, the lawyers warned them that the process would take at least another six months. Most of the time was spent on Due Diligence, which took quite a long time due to the queue at the Migration Service of Portugal.

Case study

Family eligibility for the Portugal Golden Visa program

Family members of the main applicant eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa program may participate together with the investor or be added after the application for a residency visa has been approved.

Who is eligible to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa program

ApplicantRequirements
The investor (Main applicant)Over 18 years old;
Not a citizen of an EU, EEA country or Portugal;
With proven legal income;
With investment funds originating outside of Portugal; 
With valid medical insurance; 
Without a criminal record;
Without any debt in Portugal
SpouseOf any sex, if officially married;
Not necessarily officially married if the sex is different;
Without a criminal record

ChildrenUp to 26 years old;
Financially dependent on the main applicant;
Students and registered at the same address as the main applicant, if older 18
Parents Over 65 years old;
Financially dependent on the main applicant
Siblings Under 26 years old;
In the investor’s custody

Our clients, Michael and Charlotte, first obtained residence permits for themselves and Michael's parents. They could not immediately include Charlotte's parents in the initial application as, at that time, they did not meet the age requirements of the program. 

Once the couple settled in the country, they took advantage of the opportunity to add Charlotte's parents to the original application so they could also move to Portugal. The consideration of Charlotte's parents' application took 3.5 weeks. This is much less than the standard processing time, which is 6—8 months.

The main set of documents for a Portugal Golden Visa

The standard list of documents required to apply for a residence permit in Portugal by investment includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. Valid passports of all the applicants, both originals and copies.
  3. A main applicant’s biography.
  4. A confirmation of investment.
  5. Proof of origin and legality of investment funds.
  6. Proof of no criminal record for the main applicant and their spouse.
  7. A marriage certificate.
  8. A birth certificate.
  9. Medical insurance for all the applicants.

Depending on the investment option chosen, other documents may also be required.

Fees and other expenses related to Portugal investment visa

In addition to the major investment, the amount of which varies and depends on which option the investor has chosen, some other mandatory expenses accompany the application for a residence permit in Portugal by investment.

Cost itemAmount
Residence permit card issuance €5,336 for each family member
Application fee€533 for each family member
Medical insurance€400+ for each family member
The trips to Portugal to open a bank account, register the individual foreigner's tax number and to submit the biometrical dataIndividually
Fees and commissions related to the bank account maintenanceIndividually
Taxes and commissions under some of the investment optionsUp to 8% of the property value + 0,8% of the property value + 0,4% of the cadastral property value annually under the property investment option

Up to 7,5% when investing + up to 3% annual commission on profits + 14% on investment income  under the fund share option

€365 under the creating 10 jobs option

How to renew the Portugal Golden Visa: application and processing time

Portugal residence permit cards have to be renewed every two years. To be eligible for extending the residence permit, each applicant must spend at least 7 days in Portugal annually.

To renew the residence card, investors need to recollect the documents, submit biometric data and apply for an extension of the status 30—90 days before the expiration of their Golden Visa.  

The application is usually considered within 3 weeks. The mandatory cost of processing this application is €3,196 per person.  

What is next: Portuguese citizenship prospect

After a person has held the residence permit for 5 years, they can apply for a permanent residence permit in Portugal or Portuguese citizenship. The golden visa holder may apply directly for citizenship without getting a permanent residence first. The application fee for applying for Portugal citizenship by investment is €250.

7—12 months
It usually takes to receive Portuguese citizenship after applying for it

To qualify for Portuguese citizenship, the investor must simultaneously meet five conditions:

  1. Age 18+.
  2. Resident status for at least 5 years.
  3. Knowledge of the Portuguese language confirmed by an A2 certificate.
  4. No conviction for a crime.
  5. Does not pose a threat to national security.

How long it takes to obtain Portugal citizenship

1
Obtaining a residence permit in Portugal
2
+ 2 years
First renewal of a residence permit
3
+ 2 years
Second renewal of a residence permit
4
+ 1 year
Applying for citizenship or permanent residence
5
+ 7—12 months
Obtaining Portugal citizenship

There also is a list of documents that the applicant will need to acquire Portuguese citizenship:

  1. An identity document.
  2. A birth certificate.
  3. Proof of no criminal records.
  4. A certificate confirming the knowledge of the Portuguese language on an A2 level.
  5. A completed citizenship application form.

Obtaining citizenship by minor children of the investor is also possible if they have had a resident status for at least 5 years. Children under 12 do not have to take a language proficiency test. Children after 12 years old who study the language in school may also skip the exam.

Frequently asked questions

Is a Portugal Golden Visa worth it?

Portuguese residence by investment allows you to travel visa-free to the Schengen countries, get tax benefits, get access to European education and healthcare and the opportunity to get citizenship in Portugal in 5 years.

How much does a Portugal Golden Visa cost?

Participation in the Portugal Golden Visa program requires an investment of a minimum of €250,000 as well as some other mandatory expenses.

Is the golden visa still available in Portugal?

Yes, SEF currently accepts new applications for Portugal Golden Visa.

How long does it take to get a Portugal Golden Visa?

The process usually takes 6—8 months. The duration depends on the procedure consisting of several steps, two of which involve a personal visit to Portugal. Legal support helps make this process as quick and smooth as possible. 

How long does it take to get a Portugal Golden Visa for my relatives?

If the family members are included in the investor’s application from the beginning, they will receive a residence permit at the same time, in 6—8 months. However, relatives can be added at any time after the main applicant has received a residence permit. The process then may take several months. 

How long do I need to hold a golden visa to apply for permanent residence?

It is required to remain a golden visa holder for 5 years to apply for permanent residence in Portugal.

How long do I need to hold a golden visa to apply for citizenship?

It is required to remain a golden visa holder for 5 years to apply for Portugal citizenship by naturalisation.

How can I speed up the process of getting a Portugal Golden Visa?

Legal support and high-quality pre-screening help prepare the complete package of documents so that SEF does not have any additional questions or requirements and the waiting time does not increase. There are not any ways to speed up the consideration of the application.

How long is the Portugal residence permit card valid?

The Portugal residence permit should be renewed every 2 years.

How long is the Portugal permanent residence card valid?

The permanent residence status has no validity. However, the residence permit card is issued for five years and must be renewed every five years or whenever changes in the registered identification elements occur.

Please confirm subscription and get the first later soon
Sign up for the weekly digest and receive the best offers
Get second citizenship or residence fast and efficient
Sign up for emails on new Golden Visa & Citizenship by investment articles

Portugal Golden Visa processing time: a guide through the application process