Portugal HQA Visa By Investment

A startup visa for highly qualified professionals to run a business, travel visa-free to the Schengen Area
and apply for citizenship after five years

Download the guide Calculate the cost
Investment amount
3—4 months
Obtaining period
3 years
Time of participation in a startup

Portugal Highly Qualified Activity Visa is intended for entrepreneurs and professionals investing in innovation projects. The rules for obtaining an HQA visa are fixed in Article 61 of REPSAE, Portugal Immigration Act.

To get a visa, one should invest €175,000 to open a startup in collaboration with a Portuguese startup incubator and fund a research and development (R&D) project in a research facility. After that, investors may choose if they want to rule the company or take minimum participation in its work.

An HQA visa leads to getting a Portugal residence permit. The first card is issued for a year and can be renewed for two years. Meanwhile, the investor may live in Portugal or visit it just to renew the residence permit because there is no obligatory residence period for the HQA visa holders to maintain their status.

Benefits of the Portugal HQA visa

Portugal residence permit with minimum investment

The investment amount for obtaining an HQA visa is €175,000, nearly three times less than investment in real estate or shares in a fund under the Golden Visa program. Nevertheless, startup founders enjoy the same benefits as investors do.

Moving to Portugal or creating a «safe haven»

An HQA visa allows its holders to live in Portugal, but they are not obligated to visit the country at all. In comparison, investors with a Golden visa should spend seven days a year in Portugal, and the D7 visa holders reside there for at least 183 days a year.

You may create a safe haven in Portugal and visit the country whenever you want, even if the borders are closed to foreigners.

Visa-free travel to the Schengen Area

Cosmopolitans with Portugal residence permits may spend 90 days out of 180 in other Schengen states without visas.

Starting a business in Portugal

To get a Portugal HQA visa, you should open a startup in collaboration with a leading Portuguese business incubator. You may decide whether you want to play an active part in the company’s development or prefer to delegate the management to the incubator.

Tax optimisation

If an investor lives in Portugal for 183 days a year, they become a tax resident and may get a 10-year beneficial tax status, Non-habitual Resident. It allows one not to pay taxes on the income earned abroad if it’s taxed in another country with a double tax agreement concluded with Portugal.

Applying for citizenship after 5 years

You may apply for Portugal citizenship after five years of residence there. Doing business there and the endorsement of a research facility may increase your chances of approval.

A Portugal passport allows one to travel to 187 countries and move to another EU state. Portugal recognises dual citizenship, so applicants must not renounce other countries’ citizenships.

Get maximum information about the process

  • Step-by-step procedure
  • Requirements for applicants
  • Required documents
  • Answers for frequently asked questions
Download the guide
PDF, 36 pages, 12 МB

Portugal HQA visa requirements for applicants

  • Over 18 years old
  • Highly qualified, with a higher education diploma or relevant experience
  • No criminal record or Schengen visa refusal
  • With enough money to live in Portugal for a year; the required amount is about €9,000
  • Health insurance
  • An employment contract or a proposal for its conclusion of €1,330+ per month
  • No criminal record
  • In officially registered marriage with the investor or civil partnership recognised by the state
Children under 18
Parents over 65

Portugal HQA visa cost for an investor

The primary condition for getting an HQA visa is to invest in a startup and a research project connected with the company’s activity.

1 option



The investment amount is €175,000. It includes:

  • company formation and capitalization;
  • funding an R&D project;
  • incubation fees;
  • back-office and management services for three years.

The incubation period for a startup is three years. After that, an investor may develop their business further or sell it along with all intellectual properties generated during the incubation period.

2 option

Having money for a year

about €9,000

Residing in Portugal is not obligatory, but for applying, you need to confirm that you have money for a year of living there, it is about €9,000. Also, an investor has to rent or buy housing in Portugal to get a registration address.

3 option

Government fees

Government fees for processing the visa application are €75 or €90, depending if the visa is valid for less than a year or more. Also, the investor pays a fee for a residence permit card, which is €197.

4 option

Additional costs

€400 per person

Additional costs include health insurance, which costs €400+ for a person. Also, the investor covers legal services, government fees and their trip to Portugal to visit the immigration service.

Differences between the HQA and the Golden visas

Investors can obtain a Portugal Golden Visa by purchasing real estate, securities or other assets. The program’s requirements differ from those for the HQA visa. For example, the investment amount for the most popular options of the Golden visa is €500,000; the investors don’t need to confirm their qualifications and may include children over 18 in the application.

HQA visa

Golden Visa

Investment amount €175,000 €250,000+
Obtaining period 3—4 months 10—16 months
Residence requirements No 7 days a year
Requirements for an investor’s professional qualification Education or professional experience in the chosen field No
Family composition A spouse, children under 18, and parents over 65 A spouse, children under 26, and parents
Investment retention period 3 years is the startup incubation period 5 years
Government fees for residence permit cards €197 for each family member €5,340 for each family member

Individual cost calculation

Get an individual calculation for your family with all associated costs and government fees

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We will send you a quote by email within 1 hour.

Which activity is suitable for an HQA startup visa

To get an HQA visa, one should form a startup and fund an R&D project connected to the company’s activity in a Portugal university.

Usually, an HQA visa is issued for startup founders in high-tech fields, for example:

  • medical technology;
  • biotechnology, nanotechnology and pharmaceuticals;
  • digital communications;
  • electronics and hardware technologies;
  • energy generation;
  • information technology;
  • blockchain and crypto technology;
  • AgriTech and SeaTech.

An investor may choose other fields, for example, the production of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). An applicant needs to have relevant experience and education in the chosen field.

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Step-by-step procedure for obtaining a Portugal HQA visa

Preliminary Due Diligence

Preliminary Due Diligence

A certified Anti Money Laundering Officer conducts preliminary Due Diligence before an investor signs a contract with Immigrant Invest. This check allows us to foresee possible difficulties and raise the investor’s chances of getting an HQA visa.

Signing a contract with a business incubator

Signing a contract with a business incubator

Immigrant Invest lawyers help the investor collect documents necessary for the initial application, get a Portugal tax number and open a bank account.

The investor passes an interview with a business incubator, signs a contract and transfers €175,000 to the bank account in a Portuguese bank. Then the incubator helps the investor find a research university that will take up the R&D project. The university’s endorsement is needed for the visa application.

Preparation of documents and getting a visa for a trip to Portugal

Preparation of documents and getting a visa for a trip to Portugal

The investor collects their original documents by the list that lawyers give them. Then the Immigrant Invest lawyers translate the documents, notarise copies and fill out the government forms.

An appointment at the consulate is booked for the investor to submit the documents. Consideration of the application and the visa issuance takes 15 to 90 days from the date of the appointment.

Applying for a residence permit

Applying for a residence permit

The investor should apply for a residence permit and give biometrics in three months after the visa is issued. The lawyers book an appointment in SEF, a Portugal immigration service, for the investor to visit it and submit the documents.

The application is usually considered in three to four weeks.

Getting a residence permit card

Getting a residence permit card

When the application is approved, SEF issues a residence card and sends it to the investor.

The first residency card is valid for two years and can be renewed for three years. After five years, the investor may apply for permanent residence or citizenship in Portugal.

Residence permit and Immigrant Invest stay with you

New demands may arise after obtaining an HQA visa or a residence permit. For example, you might seek a beneficial tax status, wish to buy a property or apply for citizenship. Let’s talk about how we can help.

Renewing your residence permit

We help investors to renew their residence permits after a year and then every two years.

Obtaining permanent residence or citizenship

We prepare documents and help to apply.

Getting a beneficial tax status

We help obtain a Non-Habitual Resident status after the investor becomes a Portuguese tax resident.

Replacing a lost residence permit card

We prepare an application and help to receive a new residence permit card.

Selecting real estate

We help choose a finished apartment or buy an off-plan property and follow up on the deal.

Schedule a meeting

Let’s discuss the details

Schedule a meeting at one of the offices or online. A lawyer will analyze the situation, calculate the cost and help you find a solution based on your goals.

Zlata Erlach
Caribbean Investment Program Expert
Schedule a meeting
Prefer messengers? WhatsAppTelegram

Frequently asked questions

What is a Portugal HQA visa?

An HQA visa is a Portugal startup visa for highly qualified activity. It is intended for professionals who wish to invest in a startup and an R&D project in Portugal.

A spouse, children under 18 and parents over 65 also may get Portugal visas.

Who is eligible for a Portugal HQA visa?

Highly qualified investors who are ready to invest €175,000 in a startup and an R&D project in Portugal may get an HQA visa. The applicant should be over 18, with no criminal record or a Schengen visa refusal.

A spouse, children under 18 and parents over 65 may get visas with the investor.

How much to invest in getting an HQA visa?

The investment amount for obtaining an HQA visa is €175,000. It includes:

  • company formation and capitalization;
  • funding an R&D project;
  • incubation fees;
  • back-office and management services for three years.
Do I need a developed business idea to apply for an HQA startup visa?

Not necessarily. You might not have a developed idea or a business plan. Your qualification is much more critical, and the business incubator will help you create the idea and the startup model.

Which documents do I need to apply for an HQA visa?

To apply for an HQA visa, an investor needs the following documents:

  1. A passport
  2. A visa application.
  3. Two new photos of a passport format.
  4. Health insurance.
  5. A Schengen visa or another document that gives you the right to enter Portugal.
  6. Certificates of no criminal record in Portugal and in the countries where the applicant has lived for more than a year.
  7. Documents confirming rent or purchase of housing in Portugal.
  8. CV.
  9. Recognition of educational documents, for example, diplomas.
  10. A Portuguese bank account statement confirming the funds for investment.
  11. Confirmation of having money for living in Portugal, for example, a bank account statement.
  12. An invitation from a business incubator and a Portuguese university.
  13. A declaration from IAPMEI on concluding a contract with a business incubator.
What are the benefits of a Portugal HQA visa?

A Portugal HQA visa allows investors:

  • to move to Portugal or create a safe haven there;
  • travel visa-free to the Schengen states;
  • run a business in Europe;
  • optimise taxes; and
  • apply for citizenship after five years of residence.
Schedule a meeting

Let’s discuss the details

Schedule a meeting at one of the offices or online. A lawyer will analyze the situation, calculate the cost and help you find a solution based on your goals.

Zlata Erlach
Caribbean Investment Program Expert
Schedule a meeting
Prefer messengers? WhatsAppTelegram