Case Studies

Portugal golden visa by investment: when safety and education come first

During the last year of our life in Lima, our house in the closed cottage village was robbed twice. I spent lots of time at work and felt I could not ensure the safety of my wife and children. I could not let my children grow up in constant fear. So, I bought an apartment in Cascais, got a Portugal residence permit, and moved my family to a new, safe place.

Alejandro, 42,
director of a financial fund
The client’s name and photo have been changed

Alejandro’s problems and goals: in search of a secure place

Alejandro and Isabella are affluent Peruvians who own an apartment in Lima’s centre and a private house in the suburban closed cottage village. Alejandro felt increasingly worried about his family’s safety in the last few years. That fear forced him to move his family to the country house, but he and his wife did not feel comfortable even then as the house had been robbed twice.

The couple adores their children and always tries to plan everything in their best interests. Alejandro and Isabella had been thinking about moving abroad, but they were unsure which country to choose. The solution popped up unexpectedly. An old university friend invited them to his place in Cascais, Portugal, and the couple fell in love with the city.

As I am interested in sports, I was struck by a number of different sports sections and clubs for children, as well as their affordability and quality of education. There was a huge range of sports facilities nearby: sailing, tennis, horse riding, golf, football.

Alejandro,
director of a financial fund

Portugal, and Cascais in particular, seemed a pretty secure place. Alejandro’s friend said he let his children go to school and back home alone and even go out and return home late at night. Nobody has tried to break into his house for seven years of life in Cascais. Global rankings and statistical data support these statements. In 2020, Portugal recorded the lowest number of offences in the last 30 years. In 2021, Portugal was ranked among the top 5 safest and most peaceful countries in the Global Peace Index

Cascais offers plenty of opportunities for training and education. There are branches of international schools with the highest ratings here. Alejandro became interested in the possibility of enrolling children in one of the leading American schools as he always wanted to see Luna and Rosalinda as university students in the US. Isabella was surprised by the kind attention toward children on the part of the Portuguese.

We liked the mild climate and high quality of life we did not expect to find in Portugal. Cascais turned out to be a modern European city with a developed infrastructure and facilities to conduct profitable business. And most importantly, it is a perfectly safe place. Back in Peru, we began to discuss the possibility of moving to Portugal seriously.

Isabella,
Alejandro’s wife, a bank employee

Since the couple’s friends relocated to Portugal with the help of Immigrant Invest in 2013, Alejandro followed their advice and contacted our company. He stated that his goal was to move his family to Cascais as soon as possible and asked about ways to achieve it.

beaches in Cascais: moving to Portugal

The Praia da Rainha, or “The Queen’s beach”, is the smallest beach in Cascais. But it is very popular with both tourists and locals because of its beauty and convenient location

surfing in Cascais: moving to Portugal

The Praia de Carcavelos is popular with surfers of all ages. There is a surf school based on the beach which makes it a popular place to learn to surf

Kindergartens and schools in Cascais: moving to Portugal

A kindergarten at St. Julian’s School, a private British international school, is in TOP 5 Portuguese pre-school institutions. Source: Bernardo Reis

Why Alejandro chose to invest in real estate to move to Portugal

To move to Cascais, Alejandro needed to get Portuguese residence permits for himself, his wife and two children. Without these documents, Peruvians can stay in Portugal for only 90 consecutive days.

There are several ways to obtain residency in Portugal: by marriage, by family reunion, by studying, by employment, by proving you are a financially independent person, and by investment. The last two ways suited Alejandro, so he needed to decide between them.

A Portugal residence permit for financially independent persons can be obtained by wealthy people with an income of €8,460 per year or more. The minimum income is increased by 50% for the spouse and 30% for each child under 18. Thus, to get this type of residence permit, Alejandro needed to prove he earned more than €17,500 per year.

Purchase or rent of a property is another requirement. Property or rental cost does not matter.

A Portugal residency by investment, or a Portugal golden visa, can be obtained by purchasing real estate or fund shares, opening a deposit account in a Portuguese bank, and supporting business, science or culture. As Alejandro’s goal was to move to Portugal, he was attracted by the property option. His family needed a place to live in Cascais, so getting a residence permit by purchasing an apartment sounded like a good plan.

€350,000
Minimum investment in residential properties

The minimum amount to invest in residential property is €350,000. With this amount of money, you are eligible to buy a property older than 30 years and are obliged to conduct a renovation. This option did not suit Alejandro: he did not want to spend time on renovation. The investor wanted to buy a new apartment for his family to move in immediately. In this case, he needed to invest from €500,000, in accordance with the terms of the Portugal golden visa program.

Differences between Portugal residence permits by investment and for financially independent persons

Comparison criteriaPortugal residency for financially independent personsPortugal residency by investment
How much money Alejandro needed for a family of four€17,496 of income per year;
Purchase or rental of a property;
€1,000 of government fees
€500,000+ to buy eligible property;
€23,500 of government fees;
Obtaining term4+ months6+ months
Mandatory residing in Portugal183 days a year7 days a year

I am not sure I will be able to spend 183 days a year in Portugal. I cannot quit my job right now. I think Isabella, Luna and Rosalinda will move immediately, while I will visit them as often as I can. Isabella will also explore opportunities for starting a business in Portugal. As soon as we find a way to get a good income in the new country, I will reunite with my family.

Alejandro,
director of a financial fund

So the investor chose participation in the Portugal golden visa program over applying for residency for financially independent persons, though it demanded more expenses.

Real estate purchase: which property is eligible for the Portuguese program

Alejandro had a very clear request: he needed a high-end apartment in Cascais for a family of four. Immigrant Invest’s real estate operations officers directly cooperate with the leading estate agencies in Portugal, so they found several options according to the family’s requirements. They also went to the site to take photographs and videos of the property, which the couple got interested in.

The investor and his wife made a trip to Portugal to see two options they found most attractive and decided on an apartment in the centre of Cascais.

Alejandro bought similar apartments

Portugal golden visa for a purchase of property in Cascais

A 4-room apartment is located in a condominium with a swimming pool and a playground for children. It cost €1,368,000 for the flat area of 203 sqm

Portugal golden visa for a purchase of property in Cascais

A 4-room apartment is located in a condominium with a swimming pool and a playground for children. It cost €1,368,000 for the flat area of 203 sqm

Portugal golden visa for a purchase of property in Cascais

A 4-room apartment is located in a condominium with a swimming pool and a playground for children. It cost €1,368,000 for the flat area of 203 sqm

When the investor made his choice, we negotiated the terms of the purchase-sale of the property with the seller on his behalf. Our lawyers entirely controlled the legal side of the purchase, so Alejandro and Isabella were protected against any problems.

Alejandro got a Portuguese residence permit in 2021. Since 2022, the terms of the Portugal golden visa program have changed. Now investors cannot buy a residential property in Cascais as an investment under the program.

The new rules say that only housing on the islands or in the country’s inner regions can be eligible investments. We made a guide on where to buy property in Portugal to get a residence permit.

Natalia Oganesyan,
Real Estate Chief Operations Officer, RICS certified professional

If Alejandro turned to Immigrant Invest in 2022 with the same goal — to move to Cascais, we could find a different solution. He could choose another investment option and rent an apartment until obtaining Portuguese citizenship, then return his money and buy an apartment. Or he could split his investment in real estate in two: buy a share in an eligible commercial property in the minimum possible amount of €280,000 and an apartment for his family for the rest of his budget.

Property suitable for the Portuguese program in 2022

Portugal golden visa properties in Madeira

Apartments in a residential complex with swimming pools. The complex is located in Funchal, Madeira. The apartment area is from 181 sqm, which costs €525,000—550,000

Portugal golden visa properties by the ocean

Share in a hotel complex on the coast of Portugal. The cost of share is €280,000

Portugal golden visa commercial properties in Lisbon

Commercial premises for a shop in a residential project under renovation: an area of 52 sqm is worth €350,000

How Alejandro’s family obtained a Portugal residence permit

1
March 15, 2021
Alejandro turned to Immigrant Invest
2
+ 1 day
Preliminary check
3
+ 2 weeks
Selection of apartments
4
+ 4 days
Trip to Portugal
5
+ 1.5 months
Property purchase
6
+ 1.5 months
Submission of the application
7
+ 2 days
Proof of identity and moving to Portugal
8
+ 4 months: November 7th, 2021
Residence permit cards obtainment

1. Consultation. Alejandro turned to Immigrant Invest in March 2021. Participation in the Portugal golden visa program takes 6 to 8 months, so he had enough time to get a Portugal residence permit under the old terms.

2. Preliminary Due Diligence check. Alejandro underwent the preliminary check conducted by the Immigrant Invest’s Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer. The check showed Alejandro had a good chance of success.

3. Selection of apartments. Immigrant Invest’s real estate operations officers offered Alejandro several options according to the family’s requirements. Alejandro and Isabella chose an apartment to buy.

4. Trip to Portugal. The couple came to Portugal to see an apartment in person and confirm their choice. Accompanied by the Immigrant Invest’s lawyer, Alejandro opened a bank account, got a NIF — an individual taxpayer number, and drew up a power of attorney for the lawyer.

5. Property purchase. The lawyer signed a preliminary sales contract and closed the deal on Alejandro’s behalf. When the investor transferred the money, the lawyer received the ownership certificate that would be proof of investment made. Alejandro also paid taxes and administrative fees.

6. Submission of the application. The lawyer helped Alejandro fill out the forms, collect the necessary documents, translate them into Portuguese, apostille and notarize the papers. The online application was sent to SEF, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, for consideration.

7. Proof of identity and moving to Portugal. Accompanied by the Immigrant Invest’s lawyer, all the family came to Portugal to submit biometric data and original documents. SEF issued temporary documents that allowed them to live in Portugal. Isabella, Luna and Rosalinda moved into the new apartment in Cascais while Alejandro got back to Peru for work.

8. Residence permit cards obtainment. SEF approved Alejandro’s application and issued residence permit cards for the family. When Alejandro paid the government fees, he got the cards. 

In total, it took Alejandro about 8 months to get a Portugal golden visa.

Alejandro’s expenses under the program for a family of four

€1,368,000
Apartment cost
€102,600
Property transfer tax
€21,360
Residence permit cards issuance fee
€10,944
Stamp duty
€2,132
Application fee
€1,600
Medical insurance
Bank account maintenance fees and other commissions
Plane tickets for two trips to Portugal from Peru

How the family’s life has changed since moving to Portugal

Alejandro is happy that his family is now in complete safety, and children are provided with ample opportunities for quality education. Isabella is studying Portuguese and has acquired new friends. Luna is enrolled in a private kindergarten, and Rosalinda entered an international school.

The best Portuguese pre-school kindergartens are organised at international schools. International schools use curricula from the US, UK, France and Germany. In addition, many educational programs follow the International Baccalaureate (IB), which focuses on teaching critical and independent thinking and logic and attention from a very young age. International school graduates can enter not only Portuguese universities but also the best European, British and American ones.

In five years of holding Portuguese residency, Alejandro and his family will get the right to apply for Portugal passports.

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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