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Case Studies

How an investor from India opened a company in Portugal and got a Portugal Golden Visa

Our company took off. And the biggest demand for our IT services is in Europe. We need a branch run by one of us to gain a foothold in the EU market. I've volunteered to move to the EU and manage our company there. My business partners have families in India. I'm single, and I can leave my parents in the care of my sisters and brothers.

Ojasvat, 36 years old
One of the Indian IT company founders
Clients’ names and photos have been changed
Portugal Golden Visa for an Investor from India

Mahit, Ishir, and Ojasvat have an IT company in India. They decided to open a company branch in the EU to expand their business and become established in the European IT market. 

For three reasons, the founders chose Portugal over other EU countries when considering an EU country to open an office there.

First, the company’s owners liked the Portugal tax system and that they could get tax benefits in Portugal. For example, if they register a company in Madeira and get a special licence, they can pay corporate tax at 5%. The reduced rate applies to income from transactions with other licensed companies or foreign organisations.

The reduced corporate tax rate
in Portugal

Secondly, 40% of their European requests have been from Spain. The entrepreneurs wanted to be closer to their key customers.

And lastly, Portugal issues a Golden Visa for opening a company in the country, which is very convenient for the entrepreneurs. Mahit, Ishir, and Ojasvat wanted a European branch to be controlled and managed by one of them in Portugal from the ground. The partners agreed that Ojasvat would move to Portugal.

Why did investors from India turn to Immigrant Invest

The Indian entrepreneurs chose Immigrant Invest because they liked that it is the only company in the industry that conducts preliminary Due Diligence. They learned it on the Internet.

The preliminary Due Diligence is carried out before signing a contract and takes one workday. For investors, it means that before signing a contract, they will be aware of a list of suitable state programs for them.

Moreover, the entrepreneurs liked that Immigrant Invest has been checked and accredited by the citizenship and residence permit programs in the EU and the Caribbean. The licences confirm it.

Our in-house Certified Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer conducts a comprehensive preliminary Due Diligence before signing a contract with the investor. Immigrant Invest lawyers thoroughly study the investor situation and warn them about potential risks. If they find points in their background that could result in their application rejection, the lawyers offer a suitable alternative solution.

Evgeniya Morozova Expert Immigrant Invest
Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, PhD in Law

Ojasvat turned to Immigrant Invest for advice on  27 November 2021. On the same day, the lawyers carried out the preliminary Due Diligence.

Immigrant Invest lawyers found no issues preventing Ojasvat from participating in a program: no criminal record or visa denials. The entrepreneur gets his income from the IT company and has no tax debts. That means that Ojasvat is eligible to participate in state programs for investors..

After the preliminary Due Diligence, Ojasvat signed a contract with Immigrant Invest.

Portugal residence permit terms

Portugal allows investors to get a residence permit in 4—8 months. After five years of maintaining the status, investors can apply for permanent residence or citizenship in Portugal.

Applicants for a Portugal residence permit, also known as Portugal Golden Visa, pass Due Diligence and fulfil one of the seven investment conditions.

Investment options for Portugal Golden Visa

  1. Opening a company with the creation of at least 10 jobs.
  2. From €500,000 — business investments with the creation of at least 5 jobs.
  3. From €250,000 — supporting arts and restoring cultural heritage.
  4. From €280,000 — purchase of real estate.
  5. From €500,000 — purchase of investment fund units.
  6. From €500,000 — investments in research activities.
  7. From €1,500,000 — capital transfer.

For a company opening with the creation of at least ten jobs option, there is no fixed investment amount. Decreto Regulamentar n.º 84/2007 law regulating the issuing of Portugal Golden Visa does not specify the minimum amount of company capital for this option.

Immigrant Invest lawyers advise investors to rely on Decreto-Lei n.º 248/86 law which indicates the minimum authorised capital depending on a company’s type.

For example, opening a Private Limited Company in Portugal requires a minimum share capital of €5,000, divided into shares with a nominal value of €100 or more.

The entrepreneurs were glad that they could open a company in Portugal and get a residence permit in the country for Ojasvat in return. They chose a company opening with the creation of at least ten jobs option.

With a Portuguese Golden Visa, we get two for the price of one: open a company and obtain a residence permit in Portugal.

Ojasvat, 36 years old
One of the Indian IT company founders

Under any of the seven options for Portugal Golden Visa, investors can add in their application their family:

  • a spouse;
  • children under 26: financially dependent on the investor and living with an investor or studying at a university;
  • parents: financially dependent on the investor;
  • siblings under 26 who are in the investor’s custody.

Applicants for a Portugal residence permit do not need to take exams on the country’s language or history and live in the country permanently. To maintain the status, Portugal Golden Visa holders are to spend seven days a year in Portugal.

7 days a year
Is mandatory residing in Portugal to maintain a residence permit

With Portugal's Golden Visa, investors acquire benefits such as visa-free travelling to the Schengen Area and the right to spend in these countries for up to 90 days out of 180.

Portugal Golden Visa holders can enter Portugal anytime, even when the country’s borders are closed. Residents can stay in the country without time limits. At the same time, living in Portugal is a right, not an obligation.

Portugal Golden Visa

Marina da Quinta Grande, Madeira. Reduced rates of corporate tax in Portugal depend on the country’s region. The Madeira Free Trade Zone has been operating since 1980. It covers manufacturing, trading, consulting, telecommunications, warehousing, marketing, intellectual property ownership, and the use of yachts and ships

Portugal Golden Visa

One of the best places to live in Madeira is Câmara de Lobos. The town, the landscape of which was famously painted by Winston Churchill, concentrates all the beauty of Madeira

Portugal Golden Visa

The quickest way to get from Lisbon to Madeira is by car. A trip takes about six hours

First step: the investor obtains a Portuguese tax number

The tax number Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) is needed to make payments in Portugal. Investors can get a tax number in Portugal remotely by power of attorney.

In most countries, investors can become a taxpayer only if they live in the country for more than 183 days a year. Portugal allows investors to get a tax number without living in the country. But in this case, investors need to have a tax representative in Portugal, such as a lawyer or law firm.

The tax representative takes responsibility for dealing with the Portuguese tax authorities. They receive official letters and notifications from the tax office and ensure that the investor pays taxes on time.

Immigrant Invest lawyers work directly with a Portuguese company whose lawyers become tax representatives of our clients. At the same time, the client does not need to pay for the representation service additionally: it is included in the accompaniment services for a participant in the residence permit program in Portugal.

Evgeniya Morozova Expert Immigrant Invest
Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, PhD in Law

Immigrant Invest lawyer Victor Esik from the Portuguese office filled out an application to get a tax number for Ojasvat. He also attached the investor's documents to the application:

  • a completed application for registration of a taxpayer number;
  • a copy of the internal passport;
  • a copy of the passport;
  • TIN in an origin country;
  • bank statement to confirm the legality of income.

The Portuguese Tax Authority approved Ojasvat’s application in three days. The investor has entered into the register of taxpayers, got a certificate with a unique nine-digit number and a personal account on the website of the tax service of Portugal.

2 weeks
To get the number of the Portuguese taxpayer

Second step: the investor opens a bank account in Portugal

The program requires all payments to be made from a Portuguese bank account. To open an account, the investor had to visit a bank in Portugal personally.

Immigrant Invest lawyers helped Ojasvat choose a bank in Portugal where he could open an account. On his valid Schengen visa, Ojasvat went to Portugal. He visited a bank in Lisbon, accompanied by the lawyer Victor Esik.

To open an account, the lawyer provided the bank with Ojasvat’s passport details, income information and a Portuguese tax number, and the details of the investor’s tax representative in Portugal. The bank conducted its Due Diligence.

If Ojasvat had a criminal record, was on sanctions lists, or was a tax evader, he would have been denied opening an account. But there were no problems and law violations in the investor’s biography, so his application was approved within an hour.

Evgeniya Morozova Expert Immigrant Invest
Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, PhD in Law

After passing through a bank check, Ojasvat gave his fingerprints and issued a card with a sample signature. An account was opened for him, and the investor transferred the necessary amount to participate in the program — €5,000.

The amount was credited to Ojasvat's account within 24 hours. When the bank confirmed the transfer, the lawyer received an extract from the bank. It is needed to verify the fulfilment of the investment conditions under the Portugal residence permit program.

Third step: opening a company in Portugal in two weeks

To open a company in Portugal, an investor needs to collect the necessary documents and submit them to the IRN and the Commercial Registry Office in Portugal.

Immigrant Invest's lawyer from the Portuguese office, Victor Esik, gave Ojaswat the contact of a trusted company specialising in business registration. The lawyers helped the investor collect the documents and register a company in Portugal.

Documents to register a company in Portugal

  • Company’s details: the name; the areas of activity; the amount of the capital and сonfirmation of the availability of authorised capital to the company’s bank account; the Memorandum and Articles of Association; updated documentation from the Commercial Registry about the incorporation of the company.
  • Registration of employment contracts at the Social Insurance Office.
  • Certificates from the Register of Employment Contracts.
  • Investor’s international passport.
  • Portugal tax number.
  • The legal address of the company’s office in Portugal.
  • Accountant’s details.

The lawyers also helped Ojasvat develop ten work contracts, and choose the type and the name of the Portuguese company’s branch.

Investors can choose the company’s name in an online list of IRN with available names, or they can create a name themselves. In the second case, it is necessary to fill out a questionnaire and submit the name for approval to the IRN. The name approval process takes up to seven working days.

If investors want to propose their company name, they first get approval, and only then can they apply to open a company.

 No approval is required when choosing a name from an online list of available names. Typically, the client is encouraged to select up to three name options from the list. On the company’s registration day, an IRN employee will check the relevance and availability of the selected option on the spot.

When using the last name as a company name, there is also no need for approval.

Victor Esik - Immigrant invest
Victor Esik
Head of the Portuguese office

Ojasvat chose the name for their company in Portugal, and Immigrant Invest lawyers helped him get approval for the name from the IRN. 

When the lawyers collected the documents, they submitted them to the IRN and the Commercial Registry Office in Portugal. One week later, Ojasvat got approval from the IRN to open a company in Portugal. It took two weeks to register a company in Portugal.

Last step: applying for a Portuguese residence permit

Documents collection for applying for a Portugal residence permit. The lawyers have prepared documents for applying Ojasvat to the migration service. The list of documents included:

  • a foreign passport;
  • medical insurance;
  • certificate of a criminal record's absence from the country of residence or the country where the applicant has lived for more than a year; or a certificate from a Portuguese diplomatic mission or consular office. It must be issued no later than three months before the submission of all legally required documentation and translated into Portuguese;
  • NIF;
  • application for permission to consult the Portuguese criminal records file to authorize the SEF to check the applicant in the criminal records file;
  • a sworn statement in which the applicant declares that all minimum quantitative and time requirements (five years) for investment activities in the national territory have been met;
  • evidence of proper tax filing by submitting a no-debt return issued up to 45 days in advance by the Tax and Customs Authority and the Social Security, or if this is not possible, a no-record return from these entities;
  • receipt of payment of the application fee;
  • company registration certificate;
  • ten work contracts between the employer and the workers;
  • certificates from the Office of Social Security and the Register of Employment Contracts for ten employees;
  • government questionnaires and forms.

Submitting an application and biometrics at the Migration Service of Portugal. On 22 February 2022, the lawyers filed the investor’s application and got access to the electronic queue for fingerprinting. Fingerprints are needed for the production of biometric residence permit cards.

On the appointed day, Ojasvat flew to Portugal. He gave his biometrics at the migration office and returned home to await a decision.

Obtaining residence permit cards. Five months later, the lawyers received a notification from the Immigration and Borders Service of Portugal: Ojasvat's application was approved.

The investor paid a fee for the production of residence permit cards — €5,340. Ojasvat received the residence permit card by mail on 22 July 2022, eight months after applying to Immigrant Invest.

8 months to get a Portugal residence permit

27 November 2021
Ojasvat turned to Immigrant Invest
+ 1 day
Preliminary Due Diligence
+ 1 month
Opening a bank account and getting NIF
+ 3 weeks
Opening a company in Portugal
+ 3 weeks
Documents collection
+ 2 weeks
Submitting an application and biometrics at the Migration Service of Portugal
+ 5 months
Check in SEF
22 July 2022
Obtaining Portuguese residence permit cards

While Immigrant Invest lawyers were applying for Portugal Golden Visa for the investor, Ojasvat was preparing to move and choosing a temporary apartment in Lisbon for himself to rent.

For a while, the investor has rented an apartment in Funchal, the largest city, municipal centre and capital of Madeira. The apartment has parking spaces and a swimming pool.

Real estate in Portugal
Apartments in a modern residential complex near the beach in Portugal for €345,000. The investor chose a similar object. The complex is located within walking distance from the city centre, highway, shopping centre, cinemas and the beach

Investor’s rights and obligations with a Portugal Golden Visa

The investor can get a special Non-habitual Resident (NHR) status in Portugal with a Portugal Golden Visa. An NHR doesn't pay taxes on global income in Portugal, and the tax rate for the income earned in Portugal is reduced to 20%. The income tax rate in Portugal can be as high as 48% without the NHR status.

Aside from the benefits, a Portugal Golden Visa imposes obligations on the investor — extending the status.

To renew a Portugal Golden Visa, every two years, the investor is to meet the program terms and is to provide the Migration Service of Portugal with the following documents:

  • a foreign passport;
  • medical insurance;
  • certificate of no criminal record with an apostille;
  • NIF;
  • a sworn statement in which the applicant declares that all minimum quantitative and time requirements (five years) for investment activities in the national territory have been met;
  • official forms duly completed and signed by the applicant;
  • ten work contracts;
  • extracts from Social Insurance regarding deductions for each of the contracts;
  • confirmation that the client continues to be a co-founder of the company;
  • certificates from the Tax and Social Insurance about the absence of debts.

The continuity of contributions to Portugal Social Insurance for ten positions is essential. Therefore, when a worker leaves, an investor needs to update the staff without changing the number of employees.

Immigrant Invest lawyers are now helping Ojasvat to get a Non-habitual Resident (NHR) status in Portugal.

The lawyers also inform the investor in advance about the extension of his Portugal residence permit, help collect the documents and submit them to the Migration Service of Portugal.

Investor’s future with a Portugal Golden Visa

Now Ojasvat is busy with calls and meetings with new Portugal clients. In one year, the team is planning to stand firm in the Portuguese IT market. In three years, in the IT market of the European Union.

In five years, Ojasvat can apply for permanent residence or citizenship in Portugal. Portuguese citizens can choose to live in any EU country and travel to 187 countries visa-free, including the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia.

With Portuguese citizenship, Ojasvat can do business in any EU country without limitations and get tax benefits as an EU citizen. With an EU passport, Ojasvat makes it easier and faster for the Indian team to enter the European market.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department
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