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Portugal Golden Visa by investment: moving from Canada to Portugal

As soon as Lusine received her passport and celebrated her new Canadian citizenship, we got a new wish. My wife and I love everything about Canada: the work, the community, the country. Except for the cold weather.

We met Lusine in Portugal at a surf camp. And every year we looked forward to holidays to go there again. So we had no doubts about wanting to live in Portugal.


Imran, 35 and his wife Lusine

An IT start-up manager and a pediatrician

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

How to get Portugal Golden Visa by buying property and moving from Canada to Portugal

This case was provided by our expert

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

Portugal Golden Visa by investment: moving from Canada to Portugal

Imran and Lusine’s goals: move to a country with a warmer climate

Imran and Lusine are an international family. Imran was born in Pakistan and Lusine in Armenia. Both received higher education and have built successful careers in Canada. Lusine is a paediatrician, and Imran is an IT engineer and manager.

Since they met in Portugal, Imran and Lusine have come to the country every year to surf. They have been learning Portuguese for two years and socialising with the Portuguese.



A paediatrician

The ocean and nature of Portugal inspire my husband and me, and they give us a lot of energy. After surfing, our work fatigue completely disappears. We start laughing and enjoying life. The ocean seems to wash away our problems in a second.

The couple has two young children — a son aged one and a daughter aged 3. Lusine plans to get her PhD and continue working. So she is looking for kindergartens and schools that develop the skills of young children from an early age and spend a lot of time on physical activity and communication skills.



An IT start-up manager and a pediatrician

We admire how much the Portuguese adore children. They can stop and talk to our little ones. The children get to know each other quickly and start to become friends. It is so impressive.

The couple started looking for information about the education system in Portugal. Lusine liked the article by Immigrant Invest Kindergartens and nurseries in Portugal preschool education system. She subscribed to the blog, studied the material about Portugal and decided to seek advice from the company’s lawyers.

Beaches in Algarve: moving to Portugal from Canada

The Algarve is home to some of the most popular beaches in Portugal. Even at the height of summer, there are no sweltering heatwaves. Temperatures range between +14 and +21℃ in November and March and from +22 to +30℃ in April and September. Ocean water temperature varies throughout the year from +19 to +22℃

Why Imran and Lusine decided to invest in real estate in Portugal

After consulting with an Immigrant Invest lawyer, the family decided to consider two ways to obtain a residence permit in Portugal: the D7 visa, also known as the Passive Income Visa, and the Golden Investor Visa.

A Portugal D7 visa for financially independent persons can be obtained by applicants with an annual income of €8,460 or more. The amount of income is increased by 50% for a spouse and 30% for each child up to the age of 18. For this residence permit, Imran had to prove an annual income of more than €17 500.

Applicants must buy or rent property in order to obtain a Portugal D7 visa. Neither the property’s value nor the lease’s value matters.

The Portugal Golden Visa, or residence permit in Portugal by investment, can be obtained by buying real estate or fund shares, opening a deposit account in a Portuguese bank and investing in business, science or culture.


Minimum investment in a new residential property

The minimum amount to invest in residential property is €350,000. For this amount, you are entitled to buy a property over 30 years old and are obliged to carry out renovations. In order to buy a new property, applicants need to invest €500,000 or more under the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program.

In comparison, the average property value in Canada was $630,000 in June 2022, according to one of the largest Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Statistical information determines trends in property values for all housing types. Actual property prices vary by neighbourhood and geographical region. For example, the average real estate price in Ontario was $831,500 in July 2022.

Imran and Lusine chose to buy property in Portugal. They wanted their parents to visit them more often or to be able to come to Portugal whenever they wanted. It remained to be decided what visa type to choose

Differences between Portugal Golden Visa and D7 visa

Comparison criteria

Portugal D7 visa

Portugal Golden Visa

Visa costs for Imran’s family per 4 people

  • €17,496 of annual income

  • purchase or rental of real estate

  • €1,000 of government fees

  • €500,000+ to buy a new property

  • €23,500 of government fees

Processing time

4+ months

8+ months

Obligatory residence in Portugal

183 days per year

7 days per year



A paediatrician

The D7 visa is cheaper, but I am confused by the compulsory stay of 183 days. I have not yet chosen the university where I want to study for my PhD. Therefore, the option of a Portugal Golden Visa for investors seems to me to be preferable.

After discussions with their parents, Imran and Lusine finally decided to get a visa for investors in Portugal by purchasing a property. They asked Immigrant Invest’s experts to help them with the selection and purchase of a property.

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

Imran and Lucina had no clear idea in which area of Portugal to buy property. Except that they wanted a property in a new complex for a large family. So the couple’s adviser at Immigrant Invest gave an overview and explained the features of properties in different areas of the country.

From 2022, applicants for residence permits by investment in Portugal can buy a residential property in the Azores and Madeira; or the country’s interior. It is impossible to purchase residential property in Lisbon and Porto or villas in resorts and coastal areas such as Cascais, Setúbal and Faro. The government made these changes because of the high population density in these regions.

Commercial property remains available for purchase in every region of the country, including Lisbon, Porto and resort towns such as Cascais. For example, the commercial property includes a share in a hotel or apartments, space for offices, shops, restaurants and vineyard plots.

Immigrant Invest’s real estate experts work directly with Portugal’s leading real estate agencies. Initially, the expert sent different property options to the investors. Once Imran and Lusine had chosen a few options, the real estate expert took photos and videos of the properties and handed them over.

Imran and Lucina flew to Portugal for a week to look at three properties they liked and chose a villa in Madeira.

At first, Imran and Lucina thought they would choose a property closer to the north of Portugal. Portugal’s industrial centre is home to renowned medical clinics and international children’s schools. There are many surfing camps here.

But when they saw the Madeira property, they no longer considered other options for living.

When Imran and Luina chose a villa in Madeira, we negotiated the property’s sale terms on his behalf. Our lawyer checked all the seller’s and developer’s documents required for the purchase of the property and gave the investors a preliminary sales contract to review.

Elena Kozyreva

Elena Kozyreva,

Managing Director for Real Estate projects

Fortunately, Madeira real estate is ideally suited to the terms of a residence permit programme in Portugal. It is also home to a renowned medical clinic and international school.

If Imran and Lucina wanted to live in another area of Portugal, we would offer other options for investors to get a residence permit. For example, they could choose to buy of investment fund units, rent real estate until they obtained Portuguese passports, and then return their money and buy a new property.

They could also consider buying commercial real estate. For example, purchasing a share or an apartment in luxury hotels or residences. This option offers a stable annual income from 4% to 5% of the property value, with owners entitled to use their property for a yearly average of 6 weeks or more if they wish.

Why have Imran and Lusine chosen Madera to live here?

Imran and Lucina found everything they were looking for in Madeira — a comfortable climate, stunning nature and the convenience of modern cities. Madeira has modern medical clinics and is home to two of Portugal’s top international schools. There is a wide range of water sports to choose from. Whales, dolphins and turtles can be seen off Madeira’s shores.

Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal, located in an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean. Funchal is the centre of Madeira and the main seaport. The region’s population is around 300,000 people.

Comfortable subtropical climate. The air temperature ranges from 18 to 23ºC regardless of the season, with water temperatures rising to 25ºC and 9 hours of sunshine per day.


Average annual temperature

The nature of Madeira is fascinating. It is home to evergreen laurel forests, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cape Cabo Girao is famous for its eucalyptus forests and waterfalls on the southern coast. The Madeira Botanical Garden has over 2,000 exotic plants from all over the world.

The lava pools at Porto Moniz are bathing areas created by volcanic lava flows. The water temperature in the lava pools varies depending on the season and is around 22°C.

The best way to get to Madeira is by plane to Funchal International Airport. Flights from Lisbon take about two hours. During the tourist season, the island can be reached by ferry from the seaport of Portimao in the Algarve region.

Portugal second citizenship by investments: Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal, Madeira

Monte Palace Tropical Garden in Funchal, Madeira

How Imran’s family obtained a Portugal residence permit


December 20, 2020

Imran contacted Immigrant Invest


+ 1 day

Preliminary check


+ 2 weeks

Property selection


+ 7 days

Travel to Portugal


+ 1.5 months

Property purchase


+ 1.5 months

Submission of the application


+ 2 days

Proof of identity


+ 2 months: June 7th, 2021

Residence permit cards obtainment

1. Consultation. Imran called Immigrant Invest in December 2020. Immigrant Invest’s manager discussed the family’s goals and wishes and made a preliminary calculation of the costs of the different participation options and how long it would take.

2. Preliminary Due Diligence check. Imran and Lusine passed a preliminary check by the Immigrant Invest’s Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer. The check showed that the couple had a high chance of success.

3. Selection of a residential property. Immigrant Invest’s real estate experts offered Imran and Lusine several options according to the family’s wishes. The couple chose a villa in Madeira.

4. Travel to Portugal. The couple flew to Portugal to look at different property options and to confirm their choice. Accompanied by an Immigrant Invest lawyer, Imran opened a bank account, obtained a NIF — Individual Taxpayer Identification Number — and signed a power of attorney for the lawyer.

5. Real estate purchase. A lawyer signed the preliminary sales contract and closed the purchase on Imran’s behalf. Imran transferred the money for the property and paid taxes and government fees in Portugal. The lawyer obtained a certificate of ownership, proof of the investment made.

6. Submission of the application. A personal manager helped Imran to fill in the application form and collect the necessary documents. Immigrant Invest’s experts translated, apostilled and notarised the documents into Portuguese. The lawyers then sent the application online to the SEF, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service, for review.

7. Proof of identity. Accompanied by an Immigrant Invest lawyer, the family travelled to Portugal to submit biometric data and original documents. The SEF issued temporary documents that allowed them to live in Portugal.

8. Obtaining residence permit cards. The SEF approved Imran’s application and issued residence permit cards to the family.

In total, it took Imran and Lusine about 6 months to get Portugal Golden Visas.

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

  • €1,450,000 — Property cost

  • €108,750 — Property transfer tax

  • €21,360 — Residence permit cards government fees

  • €11,600 — Stamp duty

  • €2,132 — Application fee

  • €1,600 — Medical insurance

  • Bank account and other fees

  • Plane tickets for two trips to Portugal from Canada

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

Imran is happy to live in such a beautiful place. He swims in the ocean daily and often walks with his children in the botanical garden. Lusine has been offered a job at Dr Nelio Mendonça’s hospital in Funchal. She works in the paediatrics department on a part-time basis.

The couple’s children attend kindergarten at International Sharing School in Madeira. The daughter is quickly beginning to speak Portuguese. In kindergarten, the children spend a lot of time outdoors, playing sports, music and dancing.

After five years of residence in Madeira, Imran and his family will be eligible to apply for Portugal passports. Imran and Lucina are not required to reside in the country permanently, just to stay in the country for 7 days.

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

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