Case Studies

Portugal residence permit by investment in real estate: moving to Europe with a large family

We are happy people: our four children are our most significant success. We want to give them the best possible future — to choose their country for work and education. We also dream of living in a big house located in a warm country, so that our children can always come to us

Residence permit in Portugal for citizens of Kazakhstan
Amir, 59 years old
Shareholder of several industrial companies

Ayzere is a professional psychologist, founder and head of a private psychological clinic. Her husband Amir is a shareholder in several large companies.

The couple has three children: daughters Ryana and Safiya and son Alikhan. The whole family lives in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan. 

Ayzere and Amir thought about moving the whole family to a developed EU country with a high standard of living. They liked the warm climate, so the couple dreamed of settling in the south of France, Spain or Portugal.

Let us tell you how Immigrant Invest lawyers helped spouses choose a country for second citizenship and what pitfalls they encountered on their way.

Background: reasons why the family decided to obtain a residence permit abroad

Ayzere and Amir wanted to receive an official status that would allow them to live in an EU country, e.g. a residence permit, but related tasks were also. 

Start a company in Portugal. Firstly, Ayzere wanted to open a psychological centre in a new place of residence.

Reduce tax payments. Secondly, the issue of tax optimization is important for the couple. The couple did not want to pay income tax twice after moving to Kazakhstan and the EU.

Free entry to the EU. In addition, all family members, particularly Ayzere, wanted to get the freedom of visa-free travel to the EU countries. Ayzere pays a lot of attention to professional development, often attending conferences and seminars in EU countries. She regularly obtained tourist visas and counted the days not to violate the restrictions. Sometimes Ayzere did not have time to get a visa and missed an important event. Therefore, she wanted to receive a long-term travel document that would allow her to visit EU countries without visas freely.

Ayzere studied the issue of emigration to EU countries. She found out that there are citizenship and residency programs by investment. Participation in such programs is the easiest and fastest way to obtain official status for residence.

On February 3rd, 2020, Ayzere and Amir contacted Immigrant Invest to inquire about European investment programs. We consulted the couple and helped them choose a solution for their family.

How adult children can participate in an investment program 

We immediately realised that two or three investors would represent the family depending on the program. The number of main applicants is essential as the cost of participation in the program depends on it.

Ryana is the eldest daughter. She is 29 years old, so she cannot participate in the program as a child of an investor due to her age. The investor can include in the application children up to a maximum of 28 years old under the terms of the Cyprus Citizenship Program. Under the terms of other programs, the age limit is even lower. 

Besides, Ryana works in an oil and gas company, and she is not married. Under the terms of all programs, the child must be fully financially dependent on the investor. Therefore, Ryana could only be the main applicant. However, her father became her sponsor.

The couple's son Alikhan is 24 years old. He is a full-time student at a university in Nur-Sultan. For the Portugal residence permit program, children from 22 years old are best represented as the main applicant. Below we will explain why. 

A number of main applicants for the investor's family, depending on the program

Number of main applicantsProgram
3 investorsPortugal residence permit
2 investorsMalta citizenship Permanent residence in MaltaSpain residence permit

How we found the best investment program for the investor goal

Ayzere and Amir met with the lawyers of Immigrant Invest in the office in Nur-Sultan. The couple spoke about their wishes and plans. 

Together we formulated five tasks to solve:

  1. Move the whole family to Western Europe.
  2. Get the freedom of movement in the EU and Schengen countries.
  3. Business, study and work in the EU country selected.
  4. Get access to European banks' services to carry out settlements on business and store savings.
  5. Retain the citizenship of Kazakhstan after obtaining a residence permit in Europe.

Our lawyers analysed the situation and conducted a preliminary Due Diligence check. This allowed us to offer the spouses the most suitable programs: citizenship of Malta, permanent residence in Malta, residence permit in Portugal or a residence permit in Spain.

Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer

Сosting of participation. We calculated the cost of participation for the family and helped to compare the conditions for the investment in Malta, Spain and Portugal. 

Citizenship programs made it possible to solve all the problems. But the cost of participating in the Spain citizenship program for one application is at least 2 million euros. Ayzere and Amir did not want to spend 4 million euros.

The costs of obtaining Maltese citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment per application are about 1 million euros, of which 760 thousand are non-refundable investments. The couple was not prepared to lose 1.52 million euros for two applicants.

Therefore, we further compared the permanent residence programs in Malta, residence permits in Spain and residence permits in Portugal. These programs require lower costs, and the status of permanent residence or residence permit is suitable for solving investors' problems.

At comparable costs, Ayzere did not want to participate in the permanent residence program in Malta. She wanted to live on the mainland to travel to another EU country by car at any time. So there were two programs: residence permit in Spain and residence permit in Portugal.

Ayzere and Amir wanted to obtain a residence permit by purchasing residential real estate, and both programs offered this possibility. The costs were the same: they needed to buy a property worth €500,000 per investor in both cases.

However, upon closer examination, the programs had pros and cons, which influenced the couple’s choice.

Comparison of program conditions 

ConditionSpanish residence permitPortuguese residence permit
Double taxation on income tax and global income taxYesNo
Tax incentives for program participantsNoYes

In case of changing a tax residence, an investor can receive preferential tax status for 10 years
Perspective of citizenshipAfter 10 years at subject to a residence in the country for 183 days a yearAfter 5 years, subject to a residence in the country for 7 days a year
Recognition of second citizenshipNo

To obtain a Spanish passport, you must renounce the citizenship of another country
Yes

Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program offers applicants a choice of eight investment options. The option of purchasing a renovated property for €350,000 or a more modern property for €500,000 has proved particularly popular. The option of buying units in investment and venture capital funds for €500,000 is also gaining popularity.

As a result, the couple chose Portugal; they were satisfied with the option with three applications. Moreover, the son wanted to enrol in a magistracy at one of the Portuguese universities.

The only uncomfortable thing for Ayzere and Amir was that there were no direct flights from Portugal to Kazakhstan. However, they decided that this is a minor disadvantage against the background of the advantages.

Why the son of 24 years old participates in the program as an investor

Alikhan was 24 years old. He was a student and financially dependent on his parents. Therefore he fitted the program's conditions as a family member of the main investor.  

However, after two years, Alikhan might have problems renewing his residence permit card. He will turn 26 and will not meet the conditions of the investment program.

As a result, Alihan will not be able to obtain Portuguese citizenship as a participant in the investment residence permit program, but only through naturalization on general grounds. This is a ten-year waiting period and requires at least 183 days per year of permanent residence in the country.

Selecting properties and preparation of documents

The family wanted to live in a spacious house with a large plot and a swimming pool. The Portugal residence permit program allows you to buy one property for all applicants. In this case, each investor's share must be from €500,000. We have selected options worth 1.5 million euros.

It turned out that it was more convenient for Ayzere to become the main applicant at this stage. She wanted to see the property in person. Amir was ready to entrust the examination to his wife. He did not want to fly to Portugal again before moving. 

Amir was engaged in breeding elite horse breeds and was preparing animals for participation in important competitions. And the main applicant needs to choose a house, sign an agreement with a developer and open a bank account. Amir did not have time to do this. He asked his wife to take over the registration of the residence permit and the preparation of the move.

We started preparing documents for three applications:

  1. The main applicant is Ayzere, her husband Amir, and her youngest daughter Safiya participate in the program.
  2. The main applicant is Ryana, the eldest daughter, sponsored by Amir.
  3. The main applicant is Alikhan, and the sponsor is Amir.

Investing in Portuguese real estate: selecting and buying property 

The couple discussed the proposed house and chose two properties. Ayzere went to Portugal to personally inspect them. We helped organise the video broadcast of the inspections so that all family members could participate in choosing a future home.

We first offered for a family the two-storey villa in the Algarve, worth 1.7 million euros. The house was located in a resort area near the coast. The villa had four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a garage for three cars. There was a swimming pool and a covered terrace on the plot. Ayzere photographed the villa and returned to Kazakhstan to discuss the house with her husband and children.

We started to prepare a deal, but a week later, Ayzere contacted us: the family decided to continue the search. The real estate requirements had changed. Then we found other options.

Natalia Oganesyan
Real Estate Chief Operations Officer, RICS certified professional

The clients realised that the villa was too small for their large family as they needed at least five bedrooms, including a guest room and a garage for four parking spaces.

We selected suitable objects, and Ayzere flew to Portugal again. She and all the family members who watched the video broadcast of the inspection loved the large designer villa in Cascais worth 2.5 million euros.

Residence permit in Portugal by investment in real estate

A designer villa in Cascais

A modern, spacious villa located in the resort area of ​​Cascais, 15 minutes from the ocean coast. 

The villa is equipped with air conditioning and solar panels. The house has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a children's playroom. 

The villa owners have at their disposal a terrace with a private pool, a large landscaped garden plot, and a garage for four cars.

2.5 million euros
Cost of the villa
419 m²
Area of ​​the villa
637 m²
Area of ​​the land plot

The villa was removed from sale, and we proceeded to checkout.

We helped Ayzere open an account in a Portuguese bank for payments under the program. To this account, Ayzere transferred an amount equal to the value of the property and the additional costs of the program.

The amount was reserved by the bank and transferred to the developer after signing the purchase and sale agreement. Ayzere’s share was €1,500,000, and the children’s shares were €500,000 each. 

Our lawyers checked the legal purity of the transaction. We received an extract from the register on the transfer of ownership of the villa and included it in the package of documents for participation in the program.

Fulfilment of the program conditions for Portugal residency by investment

While the family was buying the villa, we collected documents to apply to the Portuguese Immigration Service. 

The collection of papers, their translation into Portuguese, notarization and apostille took two weeks.

Required documents for participation in the Portugal permanent residency by investment program:

  1. Police clearance certificates for all adult applicants.
  2. Confirming the source and the income of the investor. In this case, funds for program expenses were kept in the spouses' joint account in the bank of Kazakhstan. Ayzere had full access to the funds in this account for many years to act as the main investor without sponsorship from her husband.
  3. Marriage certificate. After marriage, Ayzere and Amir had different surnames. But this fact does not raise questions during verification if there is an official document on the marriage.
  4. Birth certificates of children and a certificate from the university stating that Alikhan is a full-time student.
  5. A certified letter confirming that Amir is ready to sponsor and pay for participation in the program according to the applications of older children.
  6. Certificate of ownership transfer on real estate.


When everything was ready, we submitted family applications to SEF and got access to the electronic fingerprint queue. We immediately signed the family up to take biometrics at the migration service office.  

On March 5th, 2020, the family arrived in Portugal to be fingerprinted. They managed to go through all the procedures before the borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After passing the biometrics, the family returned to Kazakhstan to await a decision from the program department. According to the experience of Immigrant Invest, the consideration of applications for obtaining a residence permit status under the program takes from four to six months.

On August 10th, 2020, we received a notification that the program department approved the family applications for residence permit cards. We immediately contacted Ayzere to inform them of the news. The spouses had to only pay the fee for the production of residence permit cards which was €5,340 per person. 

The participation cost for investing in Portugal real estate in the Portuguese residence permit program for the family was 3 million euros. 2.5 million euros can be returned in five years.

€2,751,365 — total expenses for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal under three applications

€2,500,000
Investment in real estate (in shares)
€200,000
Transfer tax (8% of the property value)
€20,000
Stamp duty (0.8% of the property value)
€533 per each
Application fee
€2000
Medical insurance
€5,340 per each
Fee for the issuance of residence permit cards

The result of cooperation for Portugal residency

On August 24th, 2020, we received residence permit cards for Amir and Ayzere’s family. We offered the transfer of documents to any convenient address for them. The clients gladly took this opportunity because they were immersed in preparing for their future move.

6 months
To obtain a residence permit in Portugal

New opportunities for holders of a residence permit in Portugal

Portuguese residence permit program by investment is an option for those who want to move to a developed country in the European Union. 

Opportunities that resident status of this country opens up for investors:

  • Moving to permanent residence in Portugal — a country with a stable economy and a high standard of living. 
  • Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries with a stay in any country up to 90 days every six months.
  • The prospect of obtaining Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of maintaining resident status.
  • Tax optimization: the ability to change tax residency and obtain preferential status for 10 years.
  • Access to the services of European banks to settle business and store savings.
  • The freedom to do business, work and study in Portugal.

The family prepared in advance for the move. Ayzere delegated the clinic's management in Kazakhstan to her partner and deputy. The couple put their youngest daughter in a British private school in Portugal, and the eldest daughter began a remote job search. The son signed up for an online Portuguese course to prepare for his master's degree.

Ayzere and Amir flew to Portugal three days after receiving their residence permit cards with their two daughters. As residents of the country, they had the right to enter the territory of Portugal even in conditions of closed borders. 

The family quickly settled in a new place. Ayzere is preparing to open her medical centre in Cascais with the help of her eldest daughter Ryana. The couple's youngest daughter went to a Portuguese school on September 1st, 2020. Now Ayzere and Amir are expecting a son: he plans to reunite with his family in the summer of 2021.

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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