Backstory: why the investor decided to get a residence permit in Europe
David is a business owner from South Africa. He has a small factory, which produces ventilation equipment for shopping malls, office buildings, and compressor stations. His company works on the South African market but also exports equipment to Germany, the Netherlands, and France.
The investor and his family members held Italian visas valid for 2 years, which allowed them to visit Europe frequently. Business trips, much sought-after due to the evolving company needs, occurred quite often too.
During one of his business trips to the Netherlands, David was told by one of the border guards that he had exceeded the period of allowed stay on the territory of the Schengen Area.
As a result, David got fined and banned from entering the Schengen Area for six months.
The family was forced to cancel their vacation by the sea, even though they had booked their reservations in advance. Besides, important meetings with foreign partners were cancelled which led to business losses.
To avoid visa issues in the future and not be restricted in his freedom of movement, David began to search for possible solutions to his problems. One of his close friends had already had a residence permit in Europe and advised David to turn to Immigrant Invest for help.
Preliminary Due Diligence
Before starting work with a client, Immigrant Invest lawyer conducts a preliminary verification on him — Due Diligence. An Immigrant Invest Anti Money Laundering Officer examines the investor’s documents to make sure that he has no criminal records and that his money is received only from legal resources.
European countries, which offer investment programs, care for their reputation and meticulously check investors.
Before Due Diligence, David informed us that he had been banned from entering the Schengen Area. Such a fact could have affected the decision of the Portuguese Immigration Office, so we needed to work out all the risks beforehand.
We decided to provide the client’s application with an affidavit. It’s a proven way to minimise the risk of rejection for the investor.
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, PhD in Law
An affidavit is a written statement providing sequential and holistic information about the investor and his situation. It doesn’t guarantee approval of the application, but it’s the best tool to work out the disputable moment in the investor’s biography.
David agreed with the Immigrant Invest lawyers’ decision and we signed a contract with him.
Arguments the lawyers made in the affidavit
- David had exceeded the period of allowed stay on the territory of the Schengen Area only for 2 days — the fact suggested that the violation had been unintentional;
- he had paid the imposed fine immediately;
- the investor held the Schengen visas for the last 10 years and didn’t violate the period of allowed stay;
- apart from exceeding, the investor’s biography was perfect: his income was legal, he had never been involved in criminal cases, and his tax history was transparent.
The completed affidavit was attached to the main application.
What program did David choose?
When choosing an investment program, several criteria were important to David:
- Travelling visa-free to the Schengen Area at any time.
- Opportunity to add a wife and 2 children to the program.
- Investments must be returnable.
- Prospect of getting permanent residence without moving to the country.
Most popular investment programs in Europe
|Program||Visa-free Schengen Area||Adding a family member||Opportunity to return the money||Prospect of getting permanent residence|
Portugal Golden Visa
After 5 years
|If an investor spends in the country at least 7 days per year during 5 years|
Malta Permanent Residence Programme
After 5 years
|Malta permanent residence is granted for life|
Greece Golden Visa
After 5 years
|Only if an investor spends in the country 5 years in a row and doesn’t leave Greece for more than 10 months for the entire period|
Spain Golden Visa
|Yes||Yes||Only after obtaining permanent residence||Only if an investor spends in Spain 5 years consecutively and doesn’t leave the country for more than 10 months for the entire period|
The Portugal Golden Visa was the only program to meet David’s requirements completely. Greece and Spain didn't suit him because of the requirements for obtaining permanent residence. The investor wanted to obtain it not for relocation, but to eliminate the need to renew his status every year or two. Malta was too expensive: the investor would spend about €100,000 on non-refundable contributions.
I don’t want to leave South Africa to obtain permanent residence, that’s why a Portugal Golden Visa is the best option for me: you live where you live, visit Portugal for 7 days annually and after 5 years get permanent residence. Perfect for us!
Investor from South Africa
How to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa
The Portugal Golden Visa provides 7 investment options:
- a real estate purchase — €500,000+,
- a purchase of investment funds — €500,000+,
- supporting arts and restoring cultural heritage — €250,000+,
- investments in research activities — €500,000+,
- capital transfer — €1,500,000+,
- business investments — €500,000+.
David liked the idea of his own house in Portugal: his wife, children, and the investor himself could spend part of the summer vacation near the ocean and come to the country a couple of times more throughout the year.
When David chose the investment option, Immigrant Invest experts started preparation:
1. Apartment selection. For this step the investor doesn’t necessarily have to go to Portugal — everything could be arranged remotely.
Immigrant Invest real estate experts selected several properties, which met the investor’s requirements. When David chose the object he liked the most, the Immigrant Invest agent in Portugal went there and took some additional photos and videos — just to help the investor make sure that the choice was right.
2. Trip to Portugal. David went to Portugal to examine the selected property, sign a power of attorney for a lawyer, who was representing him in the country, as well as get an individual taxpayer number and open a bank account. Everything took 3 days, and after that, the investor got back to South Africa.
3. Real estate purchase. The Immigrant Invest lawyer made a deal on the investor’s behalf using a power of attorney, whereas David transferred the money for investment to his Portuguese bank account. Shortly afterwards, the lawyer received the certificate of ownership of immovable property.
4. Application submission. The lawyers filled out government forms, translated and notarised the required documents. To avoid problems with obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa, an affidavit was attached as well. The application was submitted online to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service. The application processing was expected to take 4—6 weeks.
5. Proof of identity and fingerprinting. David came to Portugal, but for this time with the whole family — his wife and two kids. Immigrant Invest lawyers had booked an appointment in the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service in advance. The investor and his family submitted original documents and got fingerprinted for the residence permit cards.
6. Receiving residence permit cards. The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service approved David’s application, so he had no problems getting a Portugal Golden Visa. The investor paid the fee for residence permit cards for himself and his family members and received them.
€636,612 — David’s expenses on a Portugal Golden Visa
for his family of four
7 months were spent by David on getting a Portugal residence permit
New opportunities for David and his family in Portugal
Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries isn’t the only benefit of a Portugal Golden Visa. Along with this, the investor got other opportunities:
- Tax optimisation: if David changes tax residency, he can get a preferential status in Portugal for 10 years.
- Business opportunities: as David already has partners in Europe, he considers the possible expansion of his company in foreign markets.
- The prospect of obtaining Portugal permanent residence or even citizenship in 5 years. Portuguese citizens can live in any country of the European Union and travel to 187 destinations visa-free, including the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
- Opportunity to do business, work, and study in Portugal. David’s eldest daughter Monica is 14 years old, and she will enter a university in a few years. If she chooses a European university, she will have no problems with getting a student visa.
Now David and his wife are expecting the third baby. Their newborn child will also become the holder of a residence permit in Portugal.