What is the Portugal Golden Visa and How Does it Work?
Thanks to its relatively low bar of entry and many, many benefits, Portugal’s Golden Visa is one of the most popular residence visas anywhere in the world.
As an immigrant investor program, the Golden Visa allows those who’ve put sufficient amounts of money into the Portuguese economy – for example, through buying real estate or creating jobs – to become residents and eventually citizens of the country.
Is the Portugal Golden Visa right for you? Read on to learn more about its perks, requirements, and application process.
Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa
Holders of the Portugal Golden Visa are residents of Portugal, and as such have access to the country’s healthcare and education systems. The Iberian country is a great place to live with top-quality healthcare and high-tier education. It was also ranked the fourth safest country in the world by Global Finance in 2019.
To take advantage of these benefits, a Golden Visa holder’s spouse and minor children can also become residents of Portugal.
As residents of Portugal, the visa holder and their family will have access to the European Union’s Schengen Area. This means they can visit 25 European countries outside Portugal and stay for up to 90 days at a time.
Probably the most enticing perk of Portugal’s Golden Visa is the easy path to EU citizenship it provides. Any citizen of an EU member state such as Portugal is also a citizen of the EU and, after just 6 years of residence in Portugal you can become a citizen!
As an EU citizen, you can move to, reside in, and work in any of the 25 countries that make up the Schengen Area.
How do I Become Eligible for Portugal’s Golden Visa?
As mentioned, the Golden Visa is only available to those who’ve invested specific amounts of money (as defined by law) into Portugal. The most obvious way to invest is through real estate, so let’s take a look at that first.
Investing in Real Estate
For real estate investments, the standard amount to become eligible for the Golden Visa is at least €500,000. However, if the property is in a low-density area, this requirement is lowered to €400,000.
If you’ve purchased a property that requires renovations and is at least 30 years old, or is located in a special rehabilitation zone, you’ll have to invest €350,000 (including the cost of renovations).
Finally, if you can find a property older than 30 years or one in a special rehabilitation zone that is also in a low-density area, the required investment is €280,000.
Capital Transfer / Business
Purchasing real estate is not the only way to become eligible for the Golden Visa – direct capital transfer is another option.
For instance, a person who transfers €1,000,000 into a Portuguese bank account can apply for a Golden Visa.
If you donate €500,000 (raised from €350,000 beginning January 1, 2022) to scientific research, or €250,000 to arts or heritage programs, you’ll also be eligible.
People who purchase company shares worth at least €1,000,00, or stake €500,000 (ANOTHER CHANGE TAKING EFFECT JANUARY 1, 2022 – FORMERLY €350,000) for establishing commercial companies or reinforcing existing commercial companies while also creating five jobs can apply for a Golden Visa.
Another way to potentially obtain a Golden Visa is by creating 10 jobs for Portuguese citizens – in this case, the exact amount invested isn’t relevant.
How Do I Apply For a Golden Visa?
Before you can invest in Portugal, you’ll need a temporary NIF – a Número de Identificação Fiscal. This is a tax identification number and to get one you’ll have to enlist the aid of a lawyer. The process is fairly straightforward, however.
You’ll also need a Portuguese bank account, which your lawyer can open for you.
Getting both an NIF and a bank account can take as little as 1-2 days.
Once you have them, you can make your monetary investment.
When your investment is set in stone, you can begin the Golden Visa application process proper. You can fill out a pre-application on the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service’s (SEF) website, or delegate this task to your lawyer.
Once everything’s been sorted out and all fees have been paid, you can make an appointment with a branch of the SEF to receive your Golden Visa.
Keeping Your Golden Visa Once You’ve Acquired It
So you’ve fulfilled the requirements, applied, and gotten your Golden Visa. Congratulations!
What do you have to do to keep it? Well, for the first year of residence, you’re only required to stay in Portugal a minimum of seven days. For each two-year period after that, the requirement is 14 days.
You must also keep the investment for at least 5 years. You can’t buy the property and sell it in less time without losing your Golden Visa.
Overall, the Portuguese Golden Visa is well-worth it if you have the resources. Gaining access to the Schengen Area for vacation and eventual residence through EU Citizenship is worth it alone, and easy access to the European Single Market is an opportunity businesspeople shouldn’t pass up.
Portugal itself has a high quality of life ranking, rating above average in work-life balance, environmental quality, and has a reasonable cost of living. If you’d like to get your foot in the door of the European Union, the Portugal Golden Visa is an excellent way to do so.