Ali and his wife needed a Schengen visa to visit their son in Austria. However, issuance of these visas was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also wanted to give their grandchildren the same opportunities as Europeans to get a quality education and work in the European Union.
The investor decided to obtain EU residence permit so that he would no longer have to waste time or face the difficulties of applying for visas. Ali and his wife wanted to participate in the residence program together with their grandson, so that he could later apply for EU citizenship.
The Portuguese residence permit best suited Ali's goals. However, he chose to get it not by purchasing real estate, which is the route taken by 90% of the participants in the program, but by depositing €1,000,000 in a Portuguese bank.
We describe in detail the steps taken by Ali to open an account in a Portuguese bank and the solution Immigrant Invest’s lawyers found so that Ali's grandson was also included in the same residence permit application.
Why Ali needed an EU residence permit
Ali is a financial director of a network of car dealerships. He and his wife have a large family: two adult children and three grandchildren. Their eldest son lives with his family in Austria and their daughter lives next door to Ali in Cairo.
Visa-free travel to the European Union. Ali and his wife used to travel on a Schengen visa four times a year to visit their son in Vienna.
When the coronavirus pandemic began, Ali’s Schengen visa was still valid. He was able to travel to Austria twice during the pandemic, as family reunification was accepted as a valid reason for these two trips. However, his visa was due to expire in February 2021, and he knew that he would not be issued a new one during the pandemic, as the EU consulates had suspended the issuance of tourist visas for an indefinite period.
Looking after his health is another priority for Ali. He wanted to be able to go to the European Union for treatment or rest at any time. Before the pandemic, he used to have an annual medical checkup at private Austrian clinics. He and his wife used to rest and recover their strength at the thermal springs in the Alps in winter, and they used to spend the summers by the sea in Spain and Portugal.
Prospects of EU citizenship. Ali's daughter lives with her son in Egypt. He also wanted them to live in the European Union so that his grandson could receive a high-quality European education, which would make it easier for him to find a good job and live anywhere in the EU.
Ali came across an article by Immigrant Invest, in which he discovered that several European countries issue residence permits in return for investment.
His family and health are Ali’s main priorities, which is why he decided to obtain a residence permit in the European Union.
Why Ali chose the Portugal residence permit program
On November 3, 2020, Ali contacted Immigrant Invest to help him choose an EU residence permit by investment program.
It was not possible to immediately apply for EU citizenship by investment at that time: the Cypriot citizenship program had closed on November 1, 2020, and Malta was still reviewing the conditions for its citizenship by investment program and had not started accepting applications.
Five EU states were issuing temporary or permanent residence permits in return for investment: Malta, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. However, the Portuguese residence permit best suited Ali’s goals.
Opportunities and terms of EU residence permit and permanent residence programs
|Program, country||Visa-free entry to the Schengen countries||Prospects of citizenship||Recouping initial investment|
Portuguese residence permit
|Yes||After 5 years||100% after 5 years|
Greek residence permit
|Yes||After 7 years, but only for the main applicant||100% after 5 years|
Maltese permanent residence
|Yes||After 5 years||€100,000 |
Cypriot permanent residence
|No||After 5 years||After 5 years, on condition that you own property on the island|
Spanish residence permit
|Yes||After 10 years, any other citizenship must be renounced||After 5 years|
Visa-free travel to the Schengen area. Portuguese residence permit holders have the right to enter Portugal even during the pandemic. They can also travel without visas to other EU and Schengen countries for 90 days in any six month period.
Prospects of Portuguese citizenship. Portuguese residence permits are valid for two years and they then need to be extended. After being a Portuguese resident for five years, the holder can apply for citizenship.
To get a Portuguese passport, the applicant has to prove their knowledge of Portuguese at an elementary level. However, there is no requirement to live in the country permanently: a Portuguese residence holder needs to spend just seven days a year in Portugal.
Selecting an investment option
Portugal offers investors eight different investment options. Five of them allow you to fully recoup the money invested after five years. Ali was attracted by such an opportunity: he wanted to spend this money, when it was returned, on the education of his grandchildren.
Returnable investments under the residence permit program in Portugal
91% of the applicants in the Portuguese residence permit by investment program chose to purchase real estate in 2020. However, this option did not suit Ali as he did not plan to move to Portugal and did not want to spend money on maintaining the property.
Instead, Ali chose the option of opening a deposit account at a Portuguese bank. He signed an agreement with Immigrant Invest to participate in the Portuguese residence permit by investment program.
How to obtain a residence permit in Portugal by creating a bank deposit
Individual tax identification number in Portugal
In order to open a bank account at a Portuguese bank, the applicant must first register as a Portuguese taxpayer. As confirmation of registration, the applicant is assigned an individual tax identification number (Número de Identificação Fiscal, NIF).
In most countries, a person is considered to be a tax resident only if they spend more than 183 days a year there. However, Portugal issues a tax identification number to individuals who spend less than 183 days a year in the country as long as they have a tax representative, for example, a lawyer or law firm, in Portugal.
The tax representative is responsible for liaising with the Portuguese tax office. They receive letters and notices from the tax office on behalf of the applicant and they make sure that the taxes due are paid on time.
We work directly with a Portuguese company whose lawyers become the tax representatives for Immigrant Invest’s clients. Our clients do not need to pay additionally for the tax representative as their service is included in the cost of our services for the Portuguese residence permit program.
head of Legal Department in Immigrant Invest
The individual tax identification number is issued and registered at the tax office in Portugal. The application is submitted either by the applicant in person or by their tax representative under a power of attorney.
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers completed the application for a tax identification number for Ali. The following documents were attached with the application:
- Ali’s national ID card;
- Ali’s original international passport;
- A document showing Ali’s taxpayer registration number in Egypt;
- An official letter from Ali’s employer indicating his position at the company and the period of employment.
The Portuguese tax service approved Ali’s application within three days. His name was entered in the register of taxpayers and a confirmation certificate with a unique nine-digit tax identification number was issued. He was also given a personal tax account on the website of the Portuguese tax service.
Choosing a bank and opening a deposit account
The applicant can open a deposit account at any bank licensed by the Central Bank of Portugal, including well-known international and national banks, such as Millennium BCP, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Novo Banco and Banco de Investimento Global.
Ali chose Millennium BCP Bank on the advice of his business consultants. In order to open a deposit account, he had to visit the bank’s branch in Portugal.
As Ali had a valid Schengen visa, he flew to Portugal and visited the Millennium BCP branch in Lisbon accompanied by a Portuguese lawyer.
Ali provided the bank with his passport details, income information and his Portuguese taxpayer number. He also gave the address and contact details of the lawyer acting as his tax representative in Portugal.
The bank then conducted its own Due Diligence check to make sure that Ali had no criminal record, was not on any sanctions lists, and had not avoided paying taxes. The bank’s Due Diligence check confirmed that Ali met these requirements, and his application was approved within an hour.
Ali’s fingerprints were taken and he filled out a sample signature card. A deposit account was opened in his name and he immediately transferred the required amount (€1,000,000) to participate in the residence program to the account.
The €1,000,000 was credited to Ali's deposit account within 24 hours. The bank confirmed the transfer and our lawyer also received a bank statement confirming the presence of €1,000,000 in Ali’s account. The letter is needed to confirm fulfillment of the investment condition for the residence permit program.
Under the terms of the program, the funds must be transferred from a source outside Portugal. Although funds can be transferred from a European bank, for example, a Swiss bank, in such cases the Portuguese migration service often asks additional questions regarding the source of the funds, as citizens of the EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland cannot participate in the program. We therefore recommend transferring money directly from the country of your original citizenship.
head of Legal Department in Immigrant Invest
Renting a property for registration in Portugal
The applicant needs to be registered at a residence address in Portugal and this address is also indicated on the residence permit card. In order to register at a residential address, you need to either buy or rent a property for at least one year.
Immigrant Invest’s real estate specialists had selected several properties for Ali to choose from. He liked the secluded villa that we showed him with its own garden and pool in Lagos.
Our lawyers contacted the landlord, and checked the details of the rental contract and state of the property on behalf of Ali. Ali did not have to come to Portugal to conclude the rental agreement: the whole procedure took place remotely. Ali signed a one-year rental contract for €30,000.
The spacious villa on three floors is located near the golf course, beach and marina in Lagos, a tourist town on the Atlantic coast.
The villa has five bedrooms and four bathrooms. The plot has its own pool, garden and terrace with a gazebo. A covered parking space is provided for cars.
The villa is rented furnished, including an air conditioner, solar water heater and high-speed internet.
Portugal residence permit in 7 months
Documents submitted for a residence permit by investment application. While Ali was opening a deposit account at a Portuguese bank, our lawyers prepared the documents that had to be submitted together with the application to the migration service. The following documents were included in the submission:
- copies of passports of Ali and his wife;
- no criminal record certificates;
- marriage certificate;
- medical insurance;
- a rental agreement and a certificate of residence in Portugal;
- government questionnaires and forms.
Registration of guardianship for Ali’s grandson. Ali wanted his daughter and grandson to receive a Portuguese residence permit in the same application. Under the terms of the Portuguese residence permit program, the main applicant can include children under 26 years old in the application, as long as the adult children are financially dependent on the main applicant, live at the same address and study at a university.
Ali's daughter could not be included in the application as she did not meet the conditions of the program: at the time the application was submitted, she was 34 years old, she lived in her own apartment, and she had an independent source of income.
The program also does not allow grandchildren to be included in the application. However, our lawyers found a way to include Ali’s grandson: Ali was issued temporary custody of the child in accordance with the local law.
In the case of temporary guardianship, the child does not have to be an orphan, and the child’s parents do not have to be deprived of their parental rights. Temporary custody is issued at the request of the mother or father of the child for a limited period.
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers helped the family prepare the documents and submit them to the authorities dealing with guardianship at Ali’s place of residence. The guardianship procedure took a week and a half to complete.
Submission of an application and biometric information to the Portuguese Migration Service. On December 8, 2020, our lawyers submitted the application for a Portuguese residence permit on behalf of Ali and placed Ali, his wife and grandson in the electronic queue for fingerprinting, as fingerprints are included in the biometric residence permit cards.
On the appointed day, Ali, his wife and grandson flew to Portugal. They gave their biometric information at the office of the Portuguese migration service and returned home to await the decision on their application.
Issuance of residence permit cards. Five months later, our lawyers received notification from the Portuguese migration service that Ali's application had been approved.
Ali paid a fee of €5,340 per person for the issuance of their residence permit cards. Ali received his family’s residence permit cards by courier on June 10, 2021, seven months after contacting Immigrant Invest.
€1,048,569 — Ali's costs for participation in the program
Ali and his family’s future with Portugal residence permit cards
First of all, Ali and his wife planned a trip to Vienna. The couple had not seen their eldest son and grandchildren for more than six months after their Schengen visas had expired. Now Ali was able to visit his family in Austria at any time by traveling on his Portuguese residence permit card.
In August 2021, the couple will go with their grandchildren to Portugal so that the children can relax before the start of the school year. They will stay in their rented villa in Lagos in one of the main tourist regions of the country, the Algarve, until the end of the grandchildren’s holidays.
Ali will need his tax identification number to rent or buy a house in the country and to carry out transactions from his Portuguese bank account. Even while shopping at the local supermarket, the taxpayer number may be needed: the expense information is then used to calculate tax deductions.
In the fall, the couple plan to spend a week at a health resort in the Alps near Salzburg. They will ski, take baths in the hot thermal springs and go for a therapeutic mud massage.
Ali plans to retire in five years. He is thinking about moving to Portugal. He expects his grandson to move with him. The young man will have recently graduated from school in five years’ time and will be able to enter a Portuguese university as a resident of the country.
If his grandson lives in Portugal for five years and learns Portuguese up to at least a conversational level, he will be able to apply for citizenship. With a Portuguese passport, he will be able to live and work in any EU country, as well as travel without a visa to 188 countries, including the Schengen zone, Australia, Britain, the United States and Japan.
In 2026, Ali will be able to withdraw his deposit at the Portuguese bank. He wants to give this money to his grandchildren for their studies and to enable them to buy property in the European Union.
We wrote in detail about all the opportunities that a Portuguese residence permit offers in our article "Advantages of Portugal’s golden visa".