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How to obtain Portugal Golden Visa by investment in real estate

Foreigners buy real estate in Portugal and get an opportunity to obtain a residence permit. After five years as Portuguese residents, the investor and their relatives can apply for citizenship.

Learn how to buy an apartment or a villa in Portugal and apply for the Portugal Golden Visa.

Portugal residence permit by real estate: how to obtain in 2022

What is a Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa is a residence permit by investment. Investors choose one of 7 options.

Investment options and costs of obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa

OptionHow much to invest
Real estate purchase 🔥 €280,000+
Purchase of investment fund units€500,000+
Support for culture and art€250,000+
Investment in research projects€500,000+
Capital transfer€1,500,000+
Business investment + creating 5 jobs€500,000+
Opening a company + creating 10 jobsNot established

The purchase of real estate is the most popular option for the Portugal Golden Visa Program. 94% of applicants have preferred to buy Portuguese properties since 2012.

Rental properties can be a good form of passive income. In addition, the property can be sold after five years.

Investors can purchase residential properties in the Portuguese inland territories, the Azores and Madeira or commercial properties in any country region.

Portugal Golden Visa benefits

✈️ Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries. Portuguese residence permit holders can spend up to 90 out of 180 days in any Schengen country without a visa. 

🌊 Moving to Portugal to enjoy life near the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean plays an important role in the Portuguese lifestyle and culture. It attracts water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Most popular cities are situated on the coast. 

Those who prefer a warm climate enjoy it in Portugal. On average, the country gets 300 sunny days per year.

Prices here are lower than in other developed countries of Europe. According to the Expat Insider 2021 survey, 87% of expats find the locals welcoming to foreigners.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 Family-friendly country. Portugal is an enjoyable place to live with a family because of its safe environment, relaxed lifestyle, gorgeous scenery and mild climate.

According to a CIA Landlord insurance company study, Lisbon ranked second of the world's best cities to raise children.

💰Tax optimisation. The income tax rate in Portugal reaches 48%. However, new residents have the right to get the status of a Non-habitual Resident and switch to a special tax regime. It allows paying the income tax at a flat reduced rate of 20% during the first 10 years of tax residency.

An NHR is not taxed in Portugal on income earned in other countries.

Companies pay corporate tax at 21%, but a reduced rate of 17% is available for small and medium-sized businesses.

Prospects of obtaining EU citizenship. Investors can apply for Portugal citizenship after five years as a resident. 

Holders of the Portuguese passport can move to any EU country and travel visa-free to 187 countries worldwide, including the United States, Canada, the UK, Japan and Australia.

Investors do not have to renounce their original citizenship, depending on the laws of their home country.

How to buy real estate and move to Portugal

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of Europe rising 140 metres above the smooth surface of the Atlantic Ocean

Portugal golden visa by investments in properties

An old traditional house in Santana, Madeira Island

Buying commercial property in Portugal to obtain Golden Visa

Porto is one of the country’s commercial centres. To obtain Golden Visa, one can buy commercial property in the city

Who can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Portugal Golden Visa requirements for an investor

  • age over 18;
  • proven legal income and no debts in Portugal;
  • no criminal records;
  • investments must be transferred from outside of Portugal;
  • valid health insurance.

Family members that can get Portugal Golden Visas with the investor

👰‍♀️🤵‍♂️Spouse🧒Children under 18 🧑Children from 18 to 26 who live with the investor and are financially dependent👵 👴Investor or spouse’s parents

Applicants don’t have to pass Portuguese language proficiency tests or history exams. In addition, they are not required to spend all the time in Portugal: as long as they stay for 7 days a year in the country, their residence permit remains valid. 

What property to buy in Portugal to get a Golden Visa

To participate in the investment program, you can buy residential real estate in:

  • the Azores;
  • Madeira;
  • inland regions of mainland Portugal.

Law changes. Since 2022, residential properties purchased in Lisbon, Porto and coastal areas, including the “Silver Coast”, no longer qualify. The complete list of regions is published in the Ordinance no. 208/2017.

The changes affected the most popular real estate. For example, an investor cannot purchase apartments in Cascais, Setúbal or Faro to obtain a Golden Visa.

Examples of residential properties for the Portugal Golden Visa

Golden visa — Portugal citizenship by investment in real estate

Apartments in the heart of the city of Evora with guaranteed rental income cost €145,000+

Golden visa — Portugal citizenship by investment in properties

Apartments in a residential project near a thermal complex. The renovation project is in the heart of the tourist area of São Pedro do Sul. The price starts at €280,000

Buying commercial properties to obtain a Golden Visa

Cosmopolitans can still invest money into commercial real estate in any region of the country, including Lisbon, Porto and resort cities. To participate in the program, you can buy new real estate or participate in a renovation. 

Those who buy commercial property usually prefer apartments in hotel complexes. For example, one can buy a share in a new hotel complex in the Algarve, a popular tourist destination in Portugal, or premises for a restaurant or shop in Porto.

The number of sales in Portuguese resorts increased by 70% in 2021, according to Confidencial Imobiliário. Around 400 deals were completed during the previous year.

The profitability of buying a property to rent in Portugal varies from 5 to 15% in high season.

Examples of commercial properties for the Portugal Golden Visa

Portugal golden visa by investment in commercial real estate

Luxurious residences in a five-star hotel complex located in the small town of Loule. The price starts at €645,350

Portugal citizenship by investment in commercial real estate

Commercial space in a residential project with guaranteed rental income in Lisbon. The price is €830,000

Portugal Golden Visa investment costs

The minimum cost of the property. To obtain a residence permit in exchange for a real estate purchase, the investor chooses one of two options:

Both new and resale real estate that doesn’t require renovation
An object is older than 30 years and needs renovation

If a house or apartment is located in sparsely populated regions of Portugal, the minimum investment amount is reduced by 20%:

  • properties in need of renovation will cost €280,000; 
  • other properties will cost €400 000,00. 

The sparsely populated region is a region with less than 100 people per km².

An investor can buy multiple properties under one option: for example, when all properties require renovation.

Additional expenses. An investor pays property transfer tax and stamp duty. 

The tax rate depends on the amount of the transaction and the property location.

The property is tax-free if it:

  • is located on the mainland and costs less than €92,407; 
  • is in the Azores and Madeira and costs less than €115,509.

Property price dynamics in Portugal

Property prices in the country are steadily rising, even during a pandemic. Portugal ranked 12th in the Eurostat list of top EU countries with a high price dynamic.

The rise of housing prices in 2021

House prices increased by 13.8% in Portugal in 2021. Investors began to buy real estate in small towns more often. 

Lisbon and Porto are the most expensive places to buy a house. At the same time, the value of commercial properties in these cities increased by 20% in 2021. 

In May 2022, Portugal's average price per square metre of housing was €2,500. In Lisbon, it was around €4,040; in Porto — €2,670. 

Average cost of an apartment in Portugal

CityPrice per m² in the city centrePrice per m² outside of the centre

22% of all real estate in Portugal is rented out. Porto and the Algarve remain the most expensive rental markets. The average monthly rent for an apartment in the city centre is €1,265 in Lisbon. In the Algarve, the average price is €1,265.

According to Instituto Nacional de Estatística, the average value of the rent of houses rose by 1.9% in 2021. Rents are also expected to increase by 0.4% in 2022.

Property purchase costs 

The Property Transfer Tax (IMT) is the most significant expense when buying real estate in Portugal. Its rate is revised annually. The tax depends on the housing cost, type and location.

Other costs include the stamp duty, ownership registration, real estate agent commission, and transfer of utility bills to another name.

Property Transfer Tax (IMT)0 to 8% of the property sale price
Stamp duty0.8% of the property sale price
Registration of ownership€250
Real estate agent commission1—1.5% of the transaction amount
Attorney fees1—1.5% of the transaction amount
Notary fees≈ 1% of the transaction amount
NIF registration€10.2
Transfer of utility bills to another name≈ €200

There are also some maintenance expenses. Utility costs, for example, prices for water and gas, vary by region. An investor needs to sign an agreement with the utility service.

The investor is not required by law to have home insurance, but it can protect him from financial loss. The average cost of insurance is about €200 to €400.

Step-by-step procedure of real estate purchase in Portugal

Step 1: get a Portuguese NIF. An investor receives a taxpayer number at any tax office in Portugal. A NIF is required to open a bank account. It is impossible to make any major transaction without it.

Step 2: open a bank account in Portugal. One can transfer investment only from a Portuguese bank account. Banco de Portugal, Caixa Geral de Depositos, Millennium BCP and Novobanco are among the country’s best banks

Step 3: conclude a presale agreement. It assures investors that the property is no longer on sale and assigned to the investor.

Step 4: pay taxes and stamp duty. The law requires you to pay taxes at least three days before the transaction.

Step 5: conclude a sale and purchase agreement. Finally, the agreement must be signed in the presence of a notary. The notary certifies signatures and copies of the contract and then sends them to the tax office and land cadastre to register a new owner. The investor receives a registration certificate and house register.

Maintenance costs for property in Portugal

Property maintenance in Portugal is cheaper than in other European countries. For example, it costs about €3,000 per year to maintain a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon.

€50 to €1,000
Average maintenance costs per month

Real estate owners have to pay annual property tax (IMI) that ranges from 0.3% for an urban property to 0.8% for a rural property.

In addition to taxes, the owner pays utilities such as electricity, water supply, and garbage disposal. On average, these costs amount to €50 per month in the country.

There is no central heating in Portugal. Each owner decides on this issue, and the costs depend on the chosen method. Monthly maintenance costs for villas can exceed €1,000.

Real estate insurance is not obligatory in Portugal if the owner does not obtain a mortgage. Standard annual insurance costs from €180 to €380.

How to choose a region to buy a property in Portugal

Portugal is divided into seven regions. Only five are located in the continental part: the Northern, Central and Lisbon regions, Alentejo and the Algarve. There are two more in the archipelagos — the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. Regions vary in climate, population density and real estate prices.

70% of Portugal’s population lives on the west coast. The south coast is a popular summer destination for locals and international tourists.

The Lisbon region is the most populated. The cost of real estate in the capital is two times higher than the national average, but liquidity is also high: prices are growing by 7—10% per year.

The Northern region is home to the second-largest Portuguese city of Porto, one of the country's commercial centres. The most prestigious universities, such as the Catholic University of Portugal and the Polytechnic Institute, are situated here.

The lifestyle in the Central region is serene, so families with children often move here. Real estate here is 2.5 times cheaper than in Lisbon. 

The Algarve region is a tourist centre on the south coast of Portugal. The most popular cities are Lagos and Albufeira.

Property by the sea requires more expenses. Monthly maintenance costs for villas can exceed €1,000.

The Alentejo region occupies a third of the area of Portugal, but only 7% of the population lives in it. Since the population density is low, here you can buy a house with a large plot. It is more difficult to do in the country's north due to dense buildings.

The Madeira archipelago includes only two inhabited islands — Madeira and Porto Santo. The largest city in Madeira is Funchal.

The Azores are an archipelago of nine islands of volcanic origin. There is an active volcano on the island of Pico. Most local people live on the island of Sao Miguel.

Participants in the Portugal Golden Visa program can buy a residential property in the Azores and Madeira or the country's interior regions, excluding Lisbon and Porto. 

At the same time, an investor still can buy commercial real estate in any region.

Where you can buy a residential property in Portugal to obtain a Golden Visa

Immigrant Invest is an international company specialising in citizenship and residence by investment. We have our own Real Estate Department which cooperates directly with European developers. We check the clean title to the real estate and fully accompany the conclusion of a transaction to purchase real estate.

Frequently asked questions

How to get a mortgage in Portugal for a foreigner?

Both residents and non-residents can take out a mortgage in Portugal. Mortgage conditions depend on the bank, the loan term, and a person’s income.

Basic conditions for obtaining a mortgage in Portugal:

Interest rate  2 to 4.5%
Borrower’s age 21 to 75 years old
Loan term Up to 40 years old
Initial fee  30—50% of the property value 
Monthly payments  No more than 35% of income
Maximum loan amount  Up to 80% of the property value
Can I get a Golden Visa with a mortgage?

The Portugal residence permit program doesn’t allow you to buy real estate with a mortgage.

Can I buy property in Lisbon for a Golden Visa?

An investor can buy commercial real estate in any region, including Lisbon.

How long can I stay in Portugal with a Golden Visa?

The investor must spend at least seven days a year in Portugal to maintain residency. The status can be renewed every 2 years if you keep the investment.

How much to invest in Portuguese property to get residency?

To get a Golden Visa in exchange for a real estate purchase, the investor chooses one of two options:

  • €500,000+ for real estate that doesn’t require renovation;
  • €350,000+ for a property older than 30 years and in need of renovation.

If a property is located in sparsely populated regions, the minimum investment amount is reduced by 20%.

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

The Portugal Golden Visa processing time usually takes three to six months.

Who can obtain a Portugal Golden Visa?

Requirements for an investor:

  • over 18 years old;
  • proven legal income outside Portugal and no debts;
  • no criminal records or prosecution;
  • valid medical insurance.

The whole family can participate in the program: spouse, children under 18, investor or spouse’s parents, children to 26 who live with the investor and are financially dependent.

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How to obtain Portugal Golden Visa by investment in real estate