About Portugal's Golden Visa program
Portugal's Golden Visa program is a way to obtain a residence permit in exchange for investment in the economy. Investors on favourable terms receive the right to permanent residence in the country and visa-free travel in the Schengen area.
The Portuguese government introduced the Golden Visa program in 2012. Unlike most European countries, the country weathered the 2008 crisis hard: GDP continued to fall, unemployment reached record levels, and the property market collapsed. Attracting foreign investment in exchange for a residence permit became one of the measures to save the economy: after 4 years, GDP growth amounted to 3%.
Every year, the Portuguese budget receives an additional 800 million euros thanks to foreign investors with a golden visa. The total investment volume since the launch of the program has exceeded 5.5 billion euros. Although it is only about 2% of Portugal's annual GDP, the program has a considerable positive impact on the economy and is seriously fueling the property market's growth.
The government has made changes to the program several times and aimed at the development of regions and industries that need support. For example, in 2015, Portugal lowered the investment threshold for real estate over 30 years old or located in sparsely populated areas - in many small cities, the program breathed a new life.
By September 2020, more than nine thousand investors and 15 thousand members of their families have received golden visas. Almost half of all investors are from China, followed by investors from Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia.
What attracts investors in Portugal's program
|Travel||Visa-free travel within the Schengen arearnwith the ability to reside in any country in the zone for 90 days every six months |
Rest in popular resorts in Europe at any time of the year
|Life in Europe||The ability to live and work in a country with a mild subtropical climate and a stable economy |
Education for children in the best universities in Europe without issuing student visas
|Investment opportunities||A wide range of investment options that fit different tasks and budgets |
Liquidity of real estate
Minimum investments from 250,000 €
|Loyal requirements of the program||Short period of mandatory stay in the country - seven days a year |
Possibility to apply for a residence permit for children under 26 who are financially dependent on the investor.
Clear and simple registration procedure. On average, obtaining a residence permit takes from two to six months
|Fast path to citizenship||Opportunity to apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years and enjoy all the benefits that a passport of an EU citizen gives |
No need to pass any exams on knowledge of language and history
Similar golden visa programs operate in several European countries, including the nearest neighbours: Spain and Greece. Each country offers its own set of investment options and opportunities: for example, in Greece, the minimum investment in real estate is less, but citizenship can only be obtained after ten years.
Each program has its own nuances. We talked about the pros and cons of the Portugal golden visa.
Portugal offers eight investment options in the economy. No other Citizenship by Investment program can boast such a choice. The variety is created so that everyone can choose the best option, based on the amount, the ratio of profitability and risk, ease of design and other parameters.
Unlike Malta or Cyprus programs, Portugal does not require non-refundable contributions to the economy. After a few years, the investor can sell real estate or securities and return the investment.
Investment options for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal
|Real estate||500 000 €|
|Real estate over 30 years old, requiring reconstruction. In certain areas with a low population density, the amount can be reduced by 20% - up to 280,000 €||350 000 €|
|Capital transfer||1 000 000 €|
|Scientific research activities||350 000 €|
|National, cultural and natural heritage sites||250 000 €|
|Foundations (including venture)||350 000 €|
|Opening a company or investing in an existing one and creating five new jobs||350 000 €|
|Opening a company and creating 10 new jobs||Amount not set|
About 95% of investors prefer the traditional and understandable way - investing in real estate. Simultaneously, the share of investments with an initial amount of € 350,000 or more is growing every year - in real estate over 30 years old and in venture funds. The rest of the options are much less popular, although for some they may be a suitable way to obtain a residence permit in Portugal.
A residence permit in Portugal for real estate investments
Since 2013, this path has remained the most popular among investors who want to get a residence permit in Europe without any hassle and in a short time. There are two options:
- Buy real estate in Portugal for an amount of € 500,000. This is the standard format most investors choose because one or more properties can be purchased in both the primary and secondary real estate markets.
- Buy real estate worth 350,000 €, which was built more than 30 years ago and has not been reconstructed all this time. Such real estate objects are most often located in areas of cultural and historical heritage.
The second option assumes that the investor undertakes to carry out the restoration of the object. The process of approvals and construction can be long and difficult, but profitability can be very high.
There is also an easier way: buy an apartment in a reconstructed hotel. The developer will take on all the difficulties, and you will be offered guaranteed profitability of 7-10% from hotel management. Some companies offer such profitability already at the renovation stage.
Residence permit in Portugal for starting a business
This option is suitable for entrepreneurs and does not require a certain amount of investment the investor undertakes to create a company in which there will be at least ten new jobs for the country's citizens.
Portugal is loyal to foreign investors: after the 2008 crisis, the government decided not to cut spending but rather attract foreign capital and encourage consumer demand growth. The business environment is transparent and predictable in a European way.
The attitude towards entrepreneurs can be felt already during the company's registration - thanks to the On the Spot Firm quick registration system, a company can be opened in an hour by filling out one form.
The most in-demand businesses are in the tourism sector since in recent years Portugal has been attracting more and more European residents to its resorts - more than 20 million a year. This arearnbrings in more than 10% of GDP.
Portugal signed a double taxation treaty with Russia.
It provides for a specific list of taxes: which the investor pays in Russia and Portugal. If you plan to live in Portugal for more than 183 days a year, then from the very first year, you can receive tax benefits for ten years.
Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of a ready-made business
This option involves purchasing securities of one of the Portuguese companies amounting to one million euros or more. Portugal has enough business areas in which to invest. First of all, this is the tourist infrastructure: hotels, restaurants, entertainment industry, mainly concentrated in the Lisbon Riviera, Algarve, and the Azores.
It is also profitable in the country to invest in the fishing industry, ports, logistics, production of ceramics, wine, cultivation and import of olives. The best regions for doing business are Madeira and the Azores, where free economic zones are open.
Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of units in investment funds
This option implies the purchase of units in an investment or venture fund, which is registered and operates in Portugal. The minimum amount is 350,000 €. The goal of the government is to capitalize on companies incorporated by accordance with the requirements of Portuguese law.
To obtain a residence permit, it is important to meet two conditions:
- The maturity of the acquired shares at the time of investment must be at least five years.
- More than 60% of the investments must be invested in Portuguese companies. Given the stable growth of the economy in recent years, the risks of such investments in the five-year perspective are minimal.
Every year more and more investors choose this option for obtaining a golden visa. The main reasons are ease of registration and low additional costs: for example, when buying real estate for several years, taxes and commissions can be up to 10-15%.
Residence permit in Portugal for investments in science
In recent years, the country has become one of the leaders of the European Union in terms of the number of startups in the technical field. If you invest from €350,000 in a research project that will be approved by the government as a promising one, then you can apply for a residence permit in Portugal.
For wealthy people who are ready to invest in science and technology, this is a good opportunity to increase capital. Of course, you first need to calculate all the risks since they all fall on the shoulders of the investor.
Residence permit in Portugal for the restoration of cultural heritage
The last option of the Portuguese program requires a minimum investment amount - from €250,000.
The investor's money should be directed to the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage within the framework of national projects: for example, invested in the development of art production or natural parks.
Who are the various investment options suitable for?
When obtaining a residence permit in Portugal, 95% of foreign investors choose to buy real estate. In second place - securities, in third - business creation. Each option solves certain problems of investors, so the choice depends on the individual.
|Investments in real estate||Investments in securities||Business creation|
|is suitable for investors who adhere to traditional strategies without unnecessary risks. Bonus - the opportunity to live in Portugal or rent out accommodation||Suitable for people who want to travel within Schengen without visas, but are going to rest or live in Portugal||Suitable for entrepreneurs who want to move to Portugal, pay taxes there, develop and control their business on their own|
If you are interested in a residence permit in Portugal, we will study your goals in detail, select the best option for the program and help you find a suitable object.
Who can get a Portugal Golden Visa
Requirements for the main applicant are standard for European programs:
- Aged over 18
- No criminal record
- Legal source of income
The European Union is becoming more demanding from the recipients of golden visas every year. Portugal is forced to scrutinize the origin of income more closely. Immigrant Invest is the only company in the market that has its own compliance department. We independently conduct various Due Diligence checks to reduce the risk of rejection.
Together with the investor, members of his family can obtain a residence permit: spouse, minor children and parents over 65 years old. You can also include adult children under 26 years of age in the application if they are studying at a higher educational institution and are financially dependent on their parents - to confirm a common address of the place of residence.
In our experience, many investors primarily think about their family's future: they are attracted by the opening opportunities for a family vacation in their own apartments or travelling with the whole family in Europe. Under this program, more than 15 thousand family members of investors have already received a residence permit in Portugal.
Comparison of a regular residence permit and a "golden visa"
|For an ordinary applicant||For an investor|
|What is included in the cost of obtaining||Only administrative expenses||Investments from €250,000, taxes and administrative costs|
|Do you need to know Portuguese||Need to pass an exam||Only upon obtaining citizenship|
|Who can obtain a residence permit||Only the applicant||The whole family of the applicant|
|long can you obtain citizenship||10 years||5 years|
|How many days a year you need to live in the country||183 days||7 days|
|What is the probability of refusal||High||Low if pass Due Diligence|
|How long can it take||Several years (depending on the quota)||3—6 months|
What documents are needed
We will help you prepare all the necessary documents for applying for a residence permit in Portugal: we will translate and apostille them ourselves - that is, we will confirm the authenticity for further submission to designated authorities in Portugal. Our lawyers will fill in all the questionnaires and forms themselves.
The specific list of required documents will depend on your situation. Every year the European Union is more and more attentive to such programs, so additional requirements may appear. For example, if an investor buys a villa in Cascais and includes a spouse and a three-year-old daughter in the application, an approximate list of documents will be as follows:
- Passports of the investor and spouse.
- Temporary visas.
- Marriage certificate.
- Birth certificate of the child.
- Insurance policies.
- Application for verification of criminal history.
- Certificate of no criminal record.
- Certificate of absence of tax arrears.
- Real estate purchase and sale agreement and certificate of money transfer for the required amount.
- Certification from the authorities for registration of rights to real estate.
It is enough to conclude a preliminary sales contract. Therefore, we will first select suitable properties, help you choose the most interesting ones, organize a trip to Portugal, and only then prepare the entire package of documents.
Extension of residence permit in Portugal
A residence permit under the Golden Visa program is issued for five years. After a year, and then two years later, the status must be confirmed. To do this, it is enough to comply with two conditions:
1. Spend seven days a year in Portugal.
|First year||Second - third year||Fourth - fifth year|
|7 days||Can spend 14 days in a row||Can spend 14 days in a row|
2. Save investment in property. No investment - no basis for a residence permit in Portugal.
After five years, you will be able to obtain permanent residence and apply for Portuguese citizenship, which will give you even more freedom in travel and business. After that, you can sell the property at any time and buy or rent another.
Visa-free travel in Europe
Portugal is a member of the European Union and the Schengen zone, therefore, borders of 30 countries are open for the holder of a residence permit in Portugal. This list includes all Schengen countries, as well as Cyprus, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania.
It should be bo e in mind that the borders of Europe, the European Union and the Schengen arearndo not coincide. If you need a visa-free trip to the UK, you will have to choose another program or postpone this option for several years until you obtain Portuguese citizenship.
The residence permit card gives the right to live in Portugal as long as you want without additional registration, and in other European countries - up to 90 days within six months. This is very convenient if you have a business in Europe: at any time, you can make an appointment with your partner without waiting for a visa.
Obtaining Portuguese citizenship
The application for citizenship can be submitted after five years - this is one of the shortest deadlines in Europe. At the same time, you will not have to give up your Russian passport.
The conditions are simple:
- Pass the Portuguese language test. A2 level roughly corresponds to Pre-Intermediate in English - that is, sufficient for tourist travel around the country and communication with native speakers.
- Live in Portugal for at least seven days a year. This time can be used to improve your knowledge of Portuguese.
A Portuguese passport opens up even more travel options. A visa is not required or is issued at the border when visiting 133 countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia.
With EU citizenship, you can live, travel, receive medical care and education, and work in any of its countries.
Residence permit in Portugal for retirees
Portugal is sometimes called a paradise for retirees: a warm climate, fairly low prices and attracts older people from other European countries and Russia. The conditions are simple:
- You need to buy real estate at a cost higher than the average for the region. For example, depending on the arearnand city, suitable apartments can be found from €80,000.
- Confirm income earned outside Portugal of at least € 500 per month for the main applicant and at least € 250 for his or her spouse. These sources of income include, for example, pensions, rental income and dividends.
- Live in Portugal for at least 183 days a year.
At the same time, there is a special tax status that will exempt from paying taxes on income received abroad, including pensions, for ten years.
Taxes for Golden Visa Holders
Portugal's tax system is complex. The specific taxes depend on the investment you choose.
The most interesting thing for investors is the Non-habitual Resident status, for the sake of which even residents of neighboring countries like France and Spain move to Portugal.
The special tax regime provides tax breaks for ten years:
- Self-employment income earned abroad, pensions, dividends and other payments will not be taxed.
- The income received in Portugal of highly qualified professionals will be subject to a flat rate of 20%. These professionals include, for example, engineers, designers, teachers, doctors and company directors.
To obtain the status, you need to live in the country for more than 183 days a year. The application can be submitted simultaneously with the documents for obtaining a residence permit.
Frequently asked questions
Participation in the residence permit program in Portugal gives the investor advantages for business, life and travel:
- Visa-free entry to the Schengen countries with the possibility of staying up to 90 days every six months.
- The opportunity to live in an EU country with a warm climate, favorable ecology and stable economy.
- Ability to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of maintaining resident status.
- Contribution to liquid assets: real estate, business, securities.
- Opening an account and keeping savings in a European bank.
- “Soft” living conditions in the country – seven days a year.
The residence permit program in Portugal offers eight investment options:
- Purchase of real estate in the amount of € 500,000. The required ownership period is five years, after which the property can be sold.
- Investments in real estate for subsequent restoration. The object must be located in a historical or culturally significant area, the age of construction is from 30 years. The minimum investment amount is € 350,000. In this case, the investor assumes the obligation to restore the object.
- Purchase of shares of a Portuguese company in the amount of one million euros or more. The main sector of investment is tourism infrastructure.
- Purchase of shares in investment and venture funds in the amount of €350,000 or more. The maturity of the units at the time of investment is at least five years. A minimum of 60% of the investment of the selected fund must be directed to companies that are registered in Portugal.
- Investment in research and development institutions that participate in the Portuguese national program. The minimum investment is € 350,000.
- Restoration and preservation of cultural heritage in the framework of national programs in Portugal. The minimum non-refundable contribution is € 250,000.
- Business registration and creation of at least ten jobs for citizens in the country. The investor receives a residence permit card as the owner of the company. For the first ten years, a system of tax incentives is provided for businesses.
- Investment in an existing company from €350,000 and the creation of five new jobs.
The investment program for a residence permit in Portugal is one of the most loyal in the European Union. To obtain resident status, an investor does not need to permanently reside in the country and pass exams on knowledge of the state’s language and history. The registration procedure takes from two to six months, depending on the family’s composition and the current queue of applications.
Portugal’s real estate market is well developed and offers many options. It can be new or secondary housing, there is an opportunity to purchase an object in the real estate under construction.
- A comfortable villa in the countryside will cost 500-600 thousand euros. It will be a 400 m² house with 3-4 bedrooms, an adjoining plot and a swimming pool.
- The cost of modern city apartments start from 500 thousand euros. For this amount, you can buy an apartment with an arearnof 150-160 m² with 3-5 bedrooms and panoramic windows near the capital.
- The price of luxury real estate is from one million euros. As a rule, we are talking about fully furnished villas and apartments in resort areas near the searncoast.
To participate in the residence permit program in Portugal for investment, you need to purchase real estate for 500 thousand euros. If an investor is interested in restoring a historic building, the investment amount starts from 350 thousand euros.
In addition to the cost of the real estate itself under the residence permit program in Portugal, the investor pays taxes and covers the costs of concluding the transaction:
- 0-8% – tax on the transfer of ownership. Depending on the cost and type of object;
- 0.8% of the value of the object under the purchase and sale agreement – stamp duty;
- 5% – flat tax when buying a land plot;
- 3-5% – payment for real estate agency services;
- 2% – payment for the services of a lawyer and a notary;
- 0.4% of the cadastral value of real estate – real estate ownership tax, payable annually.
When obtaining residence permit cards for investment, you also need to take into account the costs of registration:
- €5000 – the cost of a residence permit card per applicant;
- from €500 – application fee;
- €400 – health insurance for each adult and child, €700 – for an elderly applicant.
The total cost depends on the property and the family of the investor. The cost of participation in the program is calculated individually.
Buying real estate is the most popular option for a residence permit program in Portugal by investment. This option has a number of advantages, the main one of which is that the investment can be returned in full.
The obligatory period of property ownership is five years, during which the object can be rented out. After this period, the property can be sold.
Participation in the investment program with the option of investing in real estate also provides the following advantages:
- Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries with the ability to reside in their territory for up to 90 days every six months.
- Opportunity to obtain Portuguese citizenship after five years of maintaining resident status.
- The ability to use the services of European banks to store savings and conduct business.
- The investor’s children can study at Portuguese universities without the need to apply for a student visa.
- The ability to quickly leave for Portugal, where you can move permanently.
Residence permit in Portugal by investment opens up the opportunity to apply for citizenship in five years. In comparison, in the case of the standard procedure, the resident needs to maintain the status for ten years.
To successfully apply for citizenship, an investor must simultaneously meet several conditions:
- Age 18+.
- The status of a holder of a golden visa is continuously maintained for a minimum of five years.
- Knowledge of the Portuguese language, which is confirmed by a certificate of passing the A2 level.
The investor can include minor children in the application for citizenship if they also had the status of a resident of Portugal for at least five years.