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Case Studies

Residence Permit in Portugal: from Cold Novosibirsk to Warm Cascais

Our client is a family from Siberia who, like many of our compatriots, were concerned about their future prospects. Having decided they did not wish to live in rather harsh climate, economic and social conditions, the family decided to find other suitable options.

Residence Permit in Portugal by investment in real estate for visa-free travelling in Europe

Our protagonists

Ordinary residents of Novosibirsk:

  • Vladimir, 41, a small business owner.
  • Irina, his wife, 43, a senior manager in a large company.
  • Son Miron, 9, a student at one of the Novosibirsk schools.


For quite a long time, Irina has been thinking of buying property abroad. It was her childhood dream to find a new home in another country and be able to go there whenever she chose. Over time, she realized that her dream might as well become a reality. If you have both desire and financial possibilities, there is always a solution.

Vladimir was also keen to invest in real estate overseas. However, he found it more important to have an opportunity to travel the Schengen area without restrictions and not having to track the days until his visa expires.

The idearnof purchasing property and obtaining residence permits or even second citizenship became increasingly tempting to our protagonists. They were already seeing themselves as owners of a small cottage in a European country. When dreams collided with harsh reality, the time had come to take some steps.

Searching for solutions

First, Irina and Vladimir have been researching the question on their own by reading articles on the Internet and asking friends for advice. Gradually, their dreams transformed in specific requirements. Vladimir reached out to us and arranged a meeting.

Contacting Immigrant Invest

Having arrived at our office, Irina and Vladimir have told us about their plans to buy real estate in Europe and obtain residence permits or citizenship which would allow them to live in any EU country.

We offered Irina and Vladimir several options that could solve their problems:

  • permanent residence in Hungary;
  • residence in Spain;
  • citizenship of Malta;
  • citizenship of Cyprus..

Permanent residence in Hungary

The idearnof permanent residence in Hungary was abandoned almost immediately despite the fact that it was the most attractive in terms of price: EUR 300,000 in government bonds for 5 years.

However, it turned out that Irina is fond of heat, sun and sea. For her, a vacation without a visit to the warm countries has always seemed wrong. Weather in her home city, Novosibirsk, did not correspond with her idearnof comfort whatsoever. Naturally, the old dream for Irina was a house somewhere by the sea. Real estate in Hungary did not attract her. So we moved on to other options.

Citizenship of Malta

This option was rejected due to the fact that the couple did not want to make a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta in the amount of EUR 650,000 per family since this investment was non-refundable. Besides, as a possible country of residence, Malta did not seem the best option for them.

Citizenship of Cyprus

This option proved to be expensive for the family as they did not have an opportunity to make EUR 2.5 million investment in real estate.

Residence in Spain or Portugal?

At a first glance, residence in Spain seemed like a wonderful option. Both spouses liked the country. There were also very good properties available in the picturesque locations on the Mediterranean coast. Irina and Vladimir got really interested in the purchase and have already started to make plans about possible relocation.

We have outlined all the details of the program to the spouses and found out that Irina and Vladimir were reluctant to abandon their Russian citizenship. Meanwhile, Spanish citizenship under the investor program would be available only in 10 years and the candidates would have to abandon their existing citizenship.

Prior to contacting us, the spouses have not even considered Portugal as an acceptable option to solve their problems. They have never been in this country and knew little about it.

We have outlined all the benefits of the Portuguese program as well as the country’s lifestyle. After the meeting, we realized that Vladimir and Irina got excited about the idea. A few days later, having evaluated our proposal, the couple expressed their desire to visit Portugal.

Our partners have met the couple at the Lisbon airport, helped them to check in a cozy hotel and made a thorough tour of the various regions of Portugal which were considered to be the most attractive in terms of living standard and investment. Beautiful nature, mild climate, friendly and cheerful Portuguese people as well as the attractive conditions of the residence and citizenship program ticked all the boxes in favor of the country.

An important detail! New residents of Portugal receive tax benefits for 10 years. Thus, Vladimir and Irina could enjoy a special tax regime for 10 years offering them much lower tax rates than for other tax residents. The news came as a pleasant surprise for our clients.

Selecting real estate in Portugal

Vladimir and Irina found Lisbon and Cascais the most suitable options. It was there that they began to search for properties to buy. Living in the capital was considered prestigious but the couple was more attracted to the resorts of Cascais.

A small and comfortable town of 30,000 inhabitants, Cascais is located only 20 km from Lisbon. One can get there by car within just 15-20 minutes. Irina was immediately inspired by the opportunity to live on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and feast on seafood specialties. Vladimir liked the clean beaches and picturesque caves in the rocks. He decided he would definitely go diving.

The couple liked the country so much that they bought a house in Cascais and applied for residence permits in Portugal during their first visit. That was easy as we have prepared all the documents in advance. Our partners observed the property purchase deal to ensure all formalities and deadlines have been complied with.

Obtaining residence permit in Portugal

The application process took about 2 months and the whole family got residence permits valid for 1 year. These are the conditions of the program: residence permits in Portugal are extended according to the following scheme: 1 year + 2 years + 2 years. In 5 years, the family would obtain permanent residence, and would be able to apply for citizenship the following year.

To obtain Portuguese passports, one must pass the language proficiency test. However, this requirement did not put off Vladimir and Irina since they planned to live in the country and learn Portuguese.

For the next 2-3 years, the couple is not yet planning to relocate to Portugal for permanent residence because they want their son Miron to graduate his school at home. Meanwhile, golden residence permit does not require them to permanently reside in the country. The only requirement towards investors is to stay in the country for at least 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the two consecutive years. Vladimir and Irina are quite satisfied with this condition. They can also move to their new home in Cascais at any time.

What problems have been solved?

  • The family got residence permits in Europe quickly and inexpensively
  • The family will be able to permanently reside in the cozy resort town of Cascais
  • Vladimir invested his earnings profitably and is now able to keep the family’s savings in a reliable European bank
  • Irina realized her childhood dream of having a luxurious home in a warm country on the Atlantic coast
  • Their son Miron will be able to enroll in any university in Europe without a student visa
  • The couple will be able to travel the Schengen countries visa-free
  • Within 6 years, they can apply for European citizenship for the whole family

This story shows once again the importance of having European residence permits or second citizenship for our compatriots who are concerned about the security of their families’ future. Residence permit in Portugal is one of those opportunities allowing them to be confident about their future.

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

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Let’s discuss the details

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Evgeniya Morozova
Head of the Legal Department
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