portugal golden visa for canadiansSince its inception in 2012, the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa program has become one of the most popular residency-by-investment schemes of its kind. It’s part of Portugal’s immigration strategy to attract foreign investments into the country.

Many countries now offer similar programs, but Portugal has long been one of the most sought-after locations for expats. As such, the country’s Golden Visa program is one of the most sought-after in the world, providing a pathway to EU residency for non-EU citizens.

Alongside tourism, Portuguese Golden Visa investments have significantly boosted the economy of Portugal since the program was launched.

Golden Visa investors have several options, such as contributing to an approved fund or creating jobs in the country. One lesser-known route is the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa, launched in 2015, which is the most affordable option of the scheme.

In this article, we’ll explore the Cultural Production Golden Visa Portugal route which includes:

  • About the Portugal Golden Visa
  • The cultural Golden Visa program at a glance
  • Why choose the Cultural Production Visa option?
  • Downsides to the cultural Golden Visa option
  • Portugal’s Cultural Golden Visa application process
  • Cultural production visa timeline
  • Who we are and how we can help you

About the Portugal Golden Visa Program

From the stunning Atlantic coastline, sublime climate, and golden sandy beaches to its bustling cities, rich history, and quaint villages, there are attractions that draw investors to Portugal. This is without mentioning the attractive tax benefits, excellent healthcare and education systems, welcoming locals, and the fact that Portugal is a safe and stable country.

However, one of the most significant draws for investors is the Portuguese Golden Visa scheme, one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs of its kind since it was launched in October 2012. According to Golden Visa statistics, to the present day more than 11,384 investors and 18,617 family members have benefited from the Portugal Golden Visa, pumping more than €6,609,272282,02 into the country.

The scheme is open to any non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss citizen looking to secure Portuguese residency in exchange for investing in the country. It’s very popular, especially among UK citizens and Americans moving to Portugal.

Advantages include visa-free access to the European Union (EU) and the Schengen Area, greater financial and personal freedoms, and the fact that your family members can be included in the Portugal Golden Visa program application.

Under the Portugal Golden Visa, a residence permit or Portuguese citizenship can be gained, provided the qualifying investment is kept for at least five years and all the requirements are met under Portuguese immigration and nationality law. These include maintaining legal residency, holding a clean criminal record, and passing a basic Portuguese language test.

The most popular pathway has historically been the real estate investment route, which has accounted for more than 90 percent of all Golden Visa applications. However, a new law was passed regarding the Golden Visa, and as of 7 October 2023, it is no longer possible to invest in real estate to qualify for the program. While real estate and capital transfers no longer qualify, there is a range of investment opportunities available.

In particular, the investment opportunities opportunities have proven to be popular in recent years, especially among American citizens.

The Cultural Golden Visa Program at a Glance

To fully understand this Golden visa application process, it’s important to know some information about the program first. The Portugal Cultural Golden Visa program, launched in 2015, is the most affordable option of the scheme and acquire your residence permit. It allows you to secure a Portugal Golden Visa for €250,000, or €200,000 if the cultural production takes place in a designated low-density area.

1. Artistic production funding: Channel your investment into Portugal’s cultural or artistic endeavors. An artistic production investment could involve funding theater shows, concerts, exhibitions, or literary events.

2. Cultural heritage donation: Contribute to the restoration and protection of historical landmarks, archaeological sites, or cultural archives through a donation.

You will need to make a qualifying investment into an eligible project, which will need to be recognized by public cultural associations and approved by the Portuguese government. An example of a cultural project could be a Portuguese feature film production project, for example.

Cultural Golden Visa: Program Background

So, how did the cultural production Golden Visa come about?

Law 63/2015 on 30 June came into force on 1 July 2015, which created changes to the rules for foreign nationals entering, staying, and leaving Portugal. The changes included new types of investment activities that would enable foreign citizens to qualify for a Portugal Golden Visa.

This included:

  1. Support for artistic endeavors
  2. Renovation and maintenance of national heritage

The minimum investment required for these activities is €250,000, although this minimum investment amount can be reduced by 20 percent (clocking in at €200,000) if the activity is conducted in a designated low-density area.

This Portuguese Golden Visa €200,000 option is the most affordable pathway to obtain residency in Portugal through the Portuguese Golden Visa scheme.

Where did this artistic support funding option come from, and why is it only known now?

The artistic support funding option, and the cultural production option in general, are not such popular investment options for investors. One of the key reasons for this may be the ambiguity of these routes.

In order to qualify for the cultural production Golden Visa, you need to donate €250,000 to Portuguese arts, national heritage, or culture. To date, there has not been sufficient information to gain an extensive understanding of what qualifies for this investment.

If you are interested in this Golden Visa option, you can book a call with one of our advisors.

What is the minimum investment needed for the Portugal Golden Visa program?

salaries in portugalOne of the advantages of the Portugal Golden Visa program is that you will find relatively affordable investment options. Specifically, for the Portugal Cultural Production Golden Visa, the minimum investment amount is €250,000 into the production of arts, or you can make a donation of €250,000 to a national cultural heritage preservation project. What’s more, if the project is located in a low-density area, there is a 20 percent discount, making the required amount €200,000. There are two factors that determine low-density areas:

  • Having a population density of fewer than 100 people per square kilometer, indicating that they are sparsely populated
  • Having average a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) that’s lower than 75 percent of the national average

This investment option is perfect for investors looking to make a high-impact investment in artistic production or a donation to cultural heritage while being able to secure residency in an EU country with a high quality of life. With the real estate investment option discontinued, the cultural production Golden Visa could be a great alternative.

Comparing the Artistic Production Route with Other Investment Options

Below, you can find a table comparing the three Golden Visa options: The artistic production route, cultural heritage, and the fund investments route.


Investment in an artistic project


Non-refundable donation to a foundation of heritage and cultural significance


Subscribe to an investment fund

Minimum investment amount

(or €200,000 if located in low-density areas)

(or €200,000 if in a low-density area)

€500,000 into a qualified investment fund

(more info about the Portugal Golden Visa investment fund route

Minimum investment term

5 years

5 years

5 years

Government pre-approval




Application submitted by government entity




Expected time for issuance of residency card by AIMA

12-18 months

12-18 months

12-18 months

Family eligibility




Path to citizenship after 5 years




Minimum days required in Portugal to maintain residency

Total of 14 days every two years

Total of 14 days every two years

Total of 14 days every two years

Alternative Golden Visa Investment Options

As real estate is no longer an option for any Portugal Golden Visa program, there are a number of alternatives available to help you apply for your residence permit. Alongside the Cultural Production Golden Visa Portugal, the following investment Golden Visa programs are open to investors:

  • Fund subscription: Make a contribution to a qualified fund (private equity or venture capital funds) worth at least €500,000.
  • Scientific research: Science or technology research contribution of at least €500,000 in public or private scientific research institutions. If located in a low-density area, a 20 percent discount will apply.
  • Job creation: Company incorporation and creation of ten jobs amounting to a minimum value of €500,000.
  • Investment in artistic production: Make an investment in artistic production of at least €250,000.
  • National heritage: Make a donation of €250,000 to national cultural heritage in the country.

Why choose the Cultural Golden Visa option?

Portuguese Golden Visas were usually completed through the real estate option, with most Golden Visa applicants choosing to invest in this route (accounting for more than 90 percent of applications). However, this investment option is no longer available but there are other attractive visa routes available. In particular, the investment fund route has recently gained traction as a popular option. Meanwhile, the cultural production option has often been overlooked. One of the key reasons for this is that supporting artistic activities is only sometimes profitable.

However, there are exceptions to this. For example, investing in film production for profit is a straightforward way where to meet the requirements and get a return on your Golden Visa investment. Such applications need to be carried out by an eligible public entity, and the project will need to be approved as qualifying for the Portugal Golden Visa before you have the green light to invest. As well as being a relatively straightforward route to a Golden Visa, there are plenty of other benefits to this kind of investment, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Portugal Cultural Golden Visa Benefits

allows dual citizenship dual citizens citizenship laws canadian citizenship british citizenship multiple countries natural born citizens passport portfolioThe biggest selling point of the Cultural Golden Visa Portugal is that it is the most affordable option. Another key benefit of the  Portugal Golden Visa cultural investment is the philanthropic aspect: Your investment helps promote Portuguese art and national heritage, contributing to the country’s cultural legacy.

Additionally, the Cultural Production Golden Visa has the following advantages:

  • Pre-approval by an official entity
  • Fastest Golden Visa: Only eight months
  • Full Associate Producer status: Inclusion in film production credits, and invitations to exclusive premiere and shoot locations if this is the kind of project you invest in.
  • The potential scope for an early return of capital
  • Possibility for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship after five years
  • Family reunification: You can include your family members (including your spouse, dependent children, and parents over 65)  in the application

Important note: Pre-approval by an official entity concerns the project that has already been pre-approved by an entity that belongs to the Portuguese government and not the entity submitting the application for the client.

As mentioned, to secure citizenship, you must fulfill all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law, including having a clear criminal record and passing a basic Portuguese language test. You will also need to hold your investment for five years and stay for a minimum period in the country. The requirement is to spend a minimum period of seven days in Portugal in the first year, then a subsequent 14 days in the following two-year periods.

Are there any downsides to be aware of?

The greatest downside is that this Golden Visa option is less popular and less well-known than the others. Therefore, there may be limited information available to you. It is best to speak with experienced advisors in the field so that you are aware of the application process, additional fees, etc.

The Cultural Golden Visa Application Process

portugal golden visa for UK citizensThe timeline for the cultural Golden Visa is as follows:

  1. An eligible entity and investor are interested in a project that has a solid maintenance capacity for a five-year period.
  2. The project is submitted for approval before GEPAC (Bureau for Cultural Strategy, Planning and Assessment of the Ministry of Culture).
  3. GEPAC forwards the project to the Minister of Culture, which has ten working days to assess the project and decide whether the project is eligible.
  4. If the project is eligible, the investor proceeds with the investment and forwards the proof of the transfer document to GEPAC, plus other documents required to prove the investment (such as identifying the investor who transferred the funds, its representant when applicable, the declaration from the beneficiary entity, the transfer of money from a foreign bank account to a Portuguese bank account, etc.).
  5. GEPAC issues a declaration that will be submitted in the Portuguese Golden Visa application proving that the investment has been made. This will be used before AIMA (which is the Portuguese immigration service provider).

Important note: Pre-approval of the project concerns only those that are no longer pre-approved by GEPAC. These are entities such as Fundação de Serralves, Fundação Batalha de Aljubarrota, and Fundação D. Luís I that already have pre-approved projects.

Note that you must have a Portuguese bank account and a NIF number for the Portuguese Golden Visa. You can get your NIF number and set up a bank account remotely.

New Social Investor Visa Portugal

The recently elected Portuguese Prime Minister, Luis Montenegro, announced an Action Plan for Migration on June 3, 2024, which is set to transform Portugal’s immigration framework.

A notable change involves the Portugal Golden Visa introducing the New Residence Permit for Solidarity Investment, also known as the Social Golden Visa. This initiative aims to channel private capital into social investment for immigrant integration projects. 

This includes investments in reception infrastructure, integration projects, and support for vulnerable immigrants.

The Government views this residence-by-investment program as a tool for the Migration Plan and the “Build Portugal” Plan, suggesting a new Golden Visa option through investment in affordable housing projects.

While specifics and timings of this new Golden Visa option are speculative, it seems promising yet potentially challenging in terms of implementation and attracting significant investment, similar to the current Golden Visa cultural investment option.

Who are we, and how can we help you?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique residency and citizenship-by-investment company focused on finding the right investment, citizenship, or residency program for individuals worldwide. We work solely on behalf of our clients throughout the application process, ensuring an easy and hassle-free journey to your desired destination. While our core operations focus on helping you with the process, we offer peripheral direct administration services to help you gather the necessary paperwork for your application.

With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, get in touch today to see how we can understand your objectives and help you have a successful Golden Visa application.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Portugal Cultural Production Golden Visa

How can I find eligible artistic or cultural activities for Portugal's Golden Visa program?

There is only one entity that can provide the certificate confirming a cultural production Golden Visa: GEPAC (Bureau for Cultural Strategy, Planning and Assessment of the Ministry of Culture). We recommend working with experts in the field to understand whether an artistic or cultural heritage activity is eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa.

At Global Citizen Solutions, we have a team of Portuguese immigration experts with specialized experience in this field. If you would like more information about the cultural projects that qualify, please feel free to contact us.

Why is the Cultural Golden Visa in Portugal getting so much attention lately?

With the discontinuation of the real estate investment and capital transfer routes for the Portuguese Golden Visa program in 2023, the Cultural Golden Visa option has gained attention from investors hoping to secure residency in Portugal.

Another reason is that the Portugal Cultural Production Golden Visa option is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain residency in Portugal through investment, starting at €200,000 in low-density areas.

What is the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa?

The Portugal Cultural Golden Visa is a residency permit granted to foreign citizens who invest in Portugal’s artistic and national cultural heritage.

There are two options for the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa:

  • Cash Donation, give €500,000 or more to the art acquisition fund.
  • Investment in Culture: Invest at least €250,000 into artistic production, exhibition, or preservation of cultural heritage.

Compared to other investment options, it offers a more affordable entry point into the Portuguese Golden Visa program.

Who is eligible for the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa?

To be eligible for the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa, you must be a non-EU/EFTA citizen with a clean criminal record. There is no minimum income requirement, but you will need to make a qualifying investment in Portuguese art, national heritage, or cultural production.

What are the benefits of the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa?

The benefits of the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa include visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, the possibility of applying for Portuguese citizenship or residency after five years, and the chance to live and work in Portugal with family members you include your application.

Does Portugal's Cultural Golden Visa provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship?

Yes, Portugal’s Cultural Golden Visa can provide a clear path to obtaining residency and, eventually, citizenship. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Residency: The Cultural Golden Visa is a residency permit. After fulfilling the investment requirements and meeting residency obligations (an average of at least 7 days in Portugal per year for the first two years), you can apply for permanent residence.

  • Citizenship: Portugal offers citizenship after five years, with fulfillment of certain criteria such as a language test.

So, while the Golden Visa itself is a residency permit, it can be a stepping stone to permanent residence and, ultimately, Portuguese citizenship.

What is the duration of Portugal's Cultural Golden Visa, and can it be renewed?

The Portugal Cultural Golden Visa itself doesn’t have a set duration like a traditional visa. Instead, it functions as a residency permit with a renewal process.

  • Initial permit: The initial Golden Visa residence card is valid for two years.

  • Renewals: You’ll need to renew your residence permit twice during the five-year Golden Visa program.

    • The first renewal happens at the end of year two.
    • The second renewal occurs at the end of year four.
  • Minimum Stay Requirement: To maintain your Golden Visa status, you only need to spend a minimum of seven days per year in Portugal on average.

So, while the Cultural Golden Visa program itself is technically ongoing for five years, your residency permit requires renewals every two years.

What are the opportunity costs involved in Portugal's Cultural Golden Visa?

Portugal’s Cultural Golden Visa offers residency for a low €200,000 investment (in low density areas), but there are trade-offs in terms of opportunity cost. This is effectively a sunk cost, as you’ll miss out on potential returns from investing elsewhere, and the money might be tied up in the project. While you don’t need direct involvement, you could sacrifice the satisfaction of being actively involved in cultural endeavors.

If Portuguese residency and supporting cultural projects are your priorities, this visa could be ideal. If maximizing returns is key, explore other Golden Visa options.

Can holders of the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa work or study in Portugal?

Yes, holders of the Portugal Cultural Golden Visa can work or study in Portugal. The visa itself doesn’t require the holder to do either. There are other benefits to the visa besides residency, such as visa-free travel within the Schengen Area and the possibility of applying for Portuguese citizenship or residency after five years.

What documentation is required for a Portugal Cultural Production Golden Visa application?

A Portugal Cultural Golden Visa application requires documentation proving your financial capacity (bank statements etc.) and the chosen cultural project’s details (description, budget). Most importantly, this project needs approval from DGArtes or Instituto de Conservação e Restauro. Personal documents like passports, birth certificates, and police clearances are also needed. Consider consulting an immigration lawyer for the latest requirements and project approval guidance.

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