d2 visa versus golden visa portugal which is best In Portugal, there are two distinct programs that stand out for foreigners seeking to live in the country: The Golden Visa and the D2 Visa.

These two programs serve divergent purposes and have specific eligibility criteria.

Portugal’s Golden Visa primarily revolves around investments, allowing individuals to obtain Portuguese residency by making substantial financial commitments, such as real estate purchases, capital transfers, and other types of investments.

On the other hand, the D2 Visa, also known as the Entrepreneur Visa and the Startup Visa, targets aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, enabling them to establish or expand their ventures in Portugal.

Both residency programs allow the holder to seek permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal after five years, but their set of requirements is different.

This article offers a comprehensive comparison of the D2 Visa vs Golden Visa Portugal, outlining their fundamental differences to help you choose which one aligns better with your specific goals and circumstances. Have a look below to learn more.

D2 Visa vs Golden Visa Portugal: An Overview

About the D2 Visa

What is the D2 Visa

Also known as the Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa, the Portugal D2 Visa is designed for non-European Union (non-EU) citizens seeking to either start a new business in Portugal or extend their existing business to the country.

This residency visa was created by the Portuguese government to raise external resources and investments to boost the country’s economy. 

With the D2 Visa, you can also choose to invest in an existing business in Portugal.

Portugal’s D2 Visa has two distinct categories: The entrepreneur route and the independent service provider route.

The entrepreneur route is suitable for those wishing to either start a new business or extend an existing one into Portugal. In contrast, the independent service provider route is designed for those offering services to local or global clients.

Issued for

You might be eligible to apply for a Portuguese Entrepreneur Visa if you’re a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland freelancer, entrepreneur, or independent service provider.

Key benefits

Entrepreneurial opportunities Entrepreneurial opportunities
Travel within the Schengen Area Travel within the Schengen Area
Family <br>reunification Family
Pathway to citizenship Pathway to citizenship
NHR tax <br>regime NHR tax
Residency <br>rights Residency
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities:  With the D2 Visa, you can start a new business in Portugal, invest in existing businesses, or engage in entrepreneurial activities in the country.
  • Travel within the Schengen Area: D2 Visa holders have the same travel rights as European Citizens. They can freely enter and travel within the Schengen Area’s 27 countries without needing an additional visa.
  • Family reunification: The D2 Visa often allows for family reunification, meaning your family, including your partner, children, parents, or dependent siblings, can join you in Portugal.
  • Pathway to permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship: After five years of being a legal resident in Portugal, you may become eligible to apply for permanent residency. You can even become a Portuguese citizen, also after five years, provided you meet the necessary requirements.
  • Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime: As a D2 Visa holder, you can apply for Portugal’s NHR tax incentives. This program is available to individuals who have the right to reside in Portugal (EU/EEA/Swiss citizens or residence permit holders) and have not been a tax resident of the country in the previous five years. Foreign nationals legally residing in Portugal can benefit from fixed rates on income tax.
  • Residency rights and access to services: With the temporary residency permit, you and your family will have access to Portuguese state healthcare, and your children can enroll in the public education system, ensuring essential services for your family’s well-being.

About the Golden Visa program

What is the Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa allows non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit in Portugal by making a qualifying investment in the country.

Also regarded as the Residence Permit Program, the Portuguese Golden Visa was created in 2012 to attract foreign investment during their economic recovery from the subprime crisis.

The Golden Visa grants qualifying investors and their family members the right to live, work, and study in Portugal.

Issued for

The Portugal Golden Visa is for non-EU citizens who are interested in obtaining temporary residency in Portugal through significant investments in the country.

Key benefits

Family <br>reunification Family
Attractive investment options Attractive investment options
Travel within the Schengen Area Travel within the Schengen Area
Pathway to citizenship Pathway to citizenship
Low physical presence needed Low physical presence needed
NHR tax <br>regime NHR tax
  • Family reunification: A major benefit of the Golden Visa is that your dependent family can be included in the application. This means your family can also enjoy the same freedom of opportunities and a second residence in Portugal.
  • Attractive investment options: The Golden Visa program offers several attractive investment options, including donations, capital transfer, job creation, and research activities. Investors can choose the option that best suits their financial goals and preferences, including affordable investments starting from €250,000.
  • Free movement within the Schengen Area: Golden Visa holders can freely enter and move within the Schengen Area’s 27 countries without needing an additional visa.
  • Pathway to permanent residence permit and Portuguese citizenship:  After five years of being a legal resident in Portugal, you may become eligible to apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship, whereby you can get a Portuguese passport.
  • Low physical presence requirement: The Golden Visa program typically has a low minimum stay requirement in Portugal (14 days every two years), making it accessible to investors who do not want to live in the country full-time.
  • Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime: Golden Visa holders who live in Portugal can apply for Portugal’s NHR tax incentives. When becoming a non-habitual resident, they’ll pay little to no tax for ten years.

Note: Is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program ending?

Despite the Portuguese government announcing the end of the Golden Visa program on 16 February 2023, the program is not coming to an end. 

On 19 July 2023, the Portuguese parliament voted to restructure the program, so there will simply be changes to what type of investment will qualify for the scheme.

Namely, the Golden Visa by real estate investment will no longer be eligible for the program.

So, in short, you can still apply for the program. However, if you are interested in the real estate pathway, you will need to begin your application now.

For more information, including continuous updates on this visa category, please refer to our article: Portugal Golden Visa Ending: Everything We Know So Far

D2 Visa vs Golden Visa Portugal: Main Differences


The Portugal D2 Visa is primarily intended for individuals who want to engage in entrepreneurial activities in Portugal. It is designed for those who wish to start a new business, expand their existing business, or invest in entrepreneurial ventures within the country.

The Portugal Golden Visa is an investment-based residency program. It is designed for foreign citizens who wish to obtain temporary residency in Portugal by making investments in the country.

Eligibility criteria

portugal d2 visa elegibility criteria The Portugal D2 Visa requirements are:

  • The acquisition of a Portuguese company
  • Having a pre-existing company abroad
  • Intending to open a branch in Portugal or proposing a comprehensive business plan for a new company in Portugal

The applicant will be required to demonstrate their business’s potential economic and social contributions to Portugal.

To be eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa, individuals must:

  • Be either non-EU, non-Swiss, or non-EEA nationals
  • Be able to prove the source of their investment funds (there’s a minimum investment of €250,000)
  • Have a criminal record proving the absence of conviction in a crime punishable in Portugal for 1 year or more
  • Spend a minimum of 14 days in Portugal for each two-year period (this is called the stay requirement)

Required time spent in Portugal

The D2 Visa requires you to live in Portugal for most of the year.

The Golden Visa Program has more lenient stay requirements compared to the D2 Visa, making it attractive to individuals who do not wish to live in Portugal full-time.

Holders of the Golden Visa must spend 14 days in Portugal for each two-year period.

However, it’s important to note that while there are no stringent stay requirements, you must maintain your investments in Portugal and meet the program’s renewal criteria to keep your residency status valid.

Investment requirements

The D2 Visa doesn’t have a minimum investment amount. But, to qualify, the applicant must have a solid business plan and be able to demonstrate “proof of means of subsistence.” Usually, this implies having sufficient funds for at least 12 months, equivalent to the Portuguese minimum wage.

To qualify for Portugal’s Golden Visa, an investment must be made. Qualifying investments for the Golden Visa usually range between €250,000 and €1,500,000.

Tax requirements

You can be eligible to forward an application for the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) as a holder of either the D2 or the Golden Visa.

The NHR status offers preferential tax treatment for those with income generated within Portugal.

If you’re a D2 Visa holder, you must maintain residency in Portugal and show proof of accommodation (either a rental contract or a purchased property).

It’s also recommended you hire an accountant who’s knowledgeable about the Portuguese tax system. As you’re establishing a Portuguese limited company (LDA), you’ll need to pay corporation tax every year, along with social security contributions.

Golden Visa holders are not required to live in Portugal; therefore, they won’t be seen as tax residents. If that’s the case, you will only be liable for Portuguese tax on local sources, such as real estate investments. You can choose to begin the NHR clock if, and when, you eventually choose to move to Portugal.

To learn more about the NHR tax program in Portugal, please consult this article: A Guide to Non-Habitual Resident Program

Application Process: D2 vs Portugal Golden Visa

D2 application process

d2 visa vs portugal golden visa To apply for the D2 Visa, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Gathering the necessary documents
  2. Acquiring a Portugal taxpayer identification number (NIF)
  3. Opening a business bank account and transferring funds to it
  4. Securing long-term accommodation in the country through either purchasing or renting a property for a recommended minimum duration of one year, even if an early termination clause is included
  5. Submitting the application online via either VFS or the E-Visa Portal

You’ll submit your documents, including your business idea, to the Portuguese Consulate or VFS in your jurisdiction.

The Portugal D2 Visa processing time is up to 60 days. If approved, you will be issued a four-month Portugal D2 Visa to travel to Portugal to apply for a temporary residence permit.

Golden Visa application process

To apply for the Golden Visa, you’ll have to follow the steps below:

  1. Gathering the necessary documents
  2. Decide on which investment you will move forward with
  3. Acquiring a Portugal taxpayer identification number (NIF)
  4. Opening a Portuguese bank account and transferring funds to it
  5. Completing your fund investment
  6. With your qualifying investment made and your paperwork ready, you will submit your pre-application online to SEF (the immigration authorities).
  7. After analyzing your pre-application, SEF will provide you with a set of available dates for the biometrics appointment.

After your biometrics, it takes around six months for your investment visa to be approved by SEF (the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service).

Visa Fees

The government fee for the D2 Visa is approximately €90.

With the Portugal Golden Visa, the investment is evidently the primary cost. However, you will also need to consider the application and processing fees, which are €581.76 and €5,812.11, respectively.

The changes and costs mentioned here are subject to change, so double-check before beginning your D2 Visa or Golden Visa application.

Permanent Citizenship Through D2 or Golden Visa Portugal

Both the D2 and the Portugal Golden Visa offer holders the possibility of obtaining permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship.

Please note that acquiring citizenship usually involves passing a basic test in Portuguese language and culture.

Portugal Golden Visa or D2: Which One to Choose?

The Portugal D2 Visa is the right choice for you if

  • You plan to start and manage a business or invest in an existing one in Portugal
  • You have a well-defined business plan outlining your investment and job creation goals
  • You are willing to reside in Portugal for a significant portion of the year to actively manage your business

The Portugal Golden Visa is the right choice for you if

  • You have a substantial amount of capital to invest in Portugal
  • You want to obtain European residency but do not necessarily plan to live in Portugal full-time. The Golden Visa allows for occasional visits.
  • You want to have a solid backup plan for your future, whether it’s for personal, financial, or geopolitical reasons, and the Golden Visa provides a stable residency option in Portugal, which is part of the European Union.


D2 Visa

Golden Visa

Intended for



Minimum investment requirement

No minimum investment amounts


Criteria to be eligible

Be a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland freelancer, entrepreneur, or independent service provider

Make a qualifying investment in Portugal

Visa Fees

Approximately €90

€581.76 (application fee) and €5,812.11 (processing fee)

Permanent residency

After 5 years of uninterrupted living in Portugal

After 5 years

Stay requirement

Requires you to live in Portugal

Minimum of 14 days every 2 years


Live, work, study, healthcare

Live, work, study, healthcare

Family members

Yes, through the family reunification process


Visa free movement

Schengen Area and certain EU countries

Schengen Area and certain EU countries

How We Can Help

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique residency and citizenship-by-investment company focused on finding the right investment, citizenship, or residency program for individuals across the world.

With offices across the globe and over 50 years of combined experience in immigration, law, and investment, Global Citizen Solutions delivers unmatched guidance for getting the D2 and the Golden Visa.

Global Citizen Solutions also reduces the hassle and stress of attaining your visa. The process is supported by our innovative Be System®, which provides real-time visa updates. In addition, our trusted legal experts ensure your application goes through smoothly.

Our experienced lawyers navigate the entire process, handling bureaucratic intricacies and legal matters. We also have a locally rooted real estate division, ensuring a seamless transition to your new home.

Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can understand your objectives and help you move towards becoming a global citizen.

Frequently Asked Questions about the D2 Visa vs Portugal Golden Visa

What are Golden Visas?

Golden Visas, also known as investor visas or residency by investment programs, are immigration programs offered by various countries to attract foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and high-net-worth individuals. These programs typically grant residency or citizenship to individuals who make substantial financial investments in the host country.

What are the alternatives to the Golden Visa for Portugal?

Portugal offers alternatives to the Golden Visa program for individuals seeking to obtain residency or citizenship in the country. The D7 Visa (Passive Income Visa), for instance, allows non-EU nationals of any age to live in Portugal on their own passive income. There’s also the D2 Visa, designed for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and independent service providers seeking to open a company in the Portuguese territory or open a branch of their already existing company in the country.

What are the investment options for the Portuguese Golden Visa

The Portuguese Golden Visa program offers various investment options. Some of the most common are donations, investment funds, real estate (property purchases, hotel redevelopment schemes, investment in a hotel or commercial property that’s being redeveloped), investing in a business with job creation, and stocks, among others.

Is Portugal getting rid of the Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa program is not ending. However, certain investment types, such as real estate investment, will no longer be available.

Can I work in Portugal with a D2 Visa?

Yes, you can live, run a business, and work in Portugal after getting a residence permit based on the D2 Visa.

What is the D2 Visa Portugal minimum investment

There’s no minimum investment capital set for the D2 Visa.

Is there an income requirement for the D2 Visa?

The financial requirement for the D2 Visa typically involves demonstrating that you have the necessary capital to establish or invest in a business, as well as sufficient financial means to cover your living expenses in Portugal.

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