Portugal Golden Visa is one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs in the world. Since its inception in 2012, thousands of families have successfully relocated to Portugal ― the darling heart of Southwestern Europe ― and have started new lives. Why exactly is the Portuguese Golden Visa so in-demand? And why are non-EU citizens applying in the hundreds?
In this Portugal Golden Visa – A Complete Step-by-Step Guide 2022, you’ll learn more about:
- What the Portugal Golden Visa is
- Key benefits of the program
- How to get the Portugal Golden Visa
- Documents required
- Program costs
…and so much more!
Golden Visa Portugal Highlights:
- Relatively affordable investment options to choose from (real estate, investment funds, capital transfer, business set-up)
- Minimum investment from €250,000
- Requirement to spend a minimum period of seven days in the first year in Portugal, then a subsequent 14 days every two-year period
- Family members included in the application (including spouse and dependent children)
- Option to become a Portuguese citizen after the fifth year
- Visa free access to the Schengen area
- Live in a safe country with affordable living costs and a high quality of life.
Is Portugal going to scrap its Golden Visa scheme?
On 2 November 2022, António Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, announced that several visa schemes the country offers are currently being re-evaluated, including the Portugal Golden Visa.
While the announcement continues to position Portugal as having a friendly position concerning immigration, it hinted that the perspective might have to be adjusted in the face of the current reality. Nonetheless, he has highlighted the continuity of tax benefits that continue to attract investors to Portugal, particularly in the technological area.
Should the proposal from the Portuguese government proceed, there is no exact indication of when it will come into effect. Changes to this type of legislation typically take some time to come into effect. For example, the changes made by the last government had an implementation schedule of 18 months. The government is also expected to consult stakeholders and social partners to understand the receptivity to possible changes.
Anyone currently going through the Portugal Golden Visa process will not be impacted. Your application is protected under law, even in the event that the proposal goes ahead.
If you are considering applying for the Portugal Golden Visa, applications remain open as usual.
Given the time it takes for changes in Portuguese legislation to come into force, if any changes occur, we will have the time to discuss and prepare for this eventuality, bearing in mind that changes always bring about new opportunities and perspectives.
What is the Portugal Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa Program, also known as the Residence Permit Program is a five-year residency-by-investment scheme for non-EU nationals. It’s part of Portugal’s immigration move to welcome investors in the country.
From its mesmerizing Atlantic coastline and luscious landscapes to its year-round sunshine, Portugal’s charm is irresistible. The golden visa grants qualifying investors and their family members the right to live, work and study in Portugal and permits free movement in Europe’s Schengen Area.
Opportunities to become a permanent resident or citizen are possible, provided that the qualifying investment is kept for at least five years, and that all requirements set forth by the Portuguese immigration and nationality laws are obeyed.
Benefits of the Program
The benefits of a Portuguese Golden Visa are one of the main reasons why foreign investors are so vested in applying and seeking residency.
Some top benefits of the program include:
A winning benefit of the golden visa is that your dependent family can be included in the application. Meaning, your family can also enjoy the same freedom of opportunities and a second residence in a safe and stable country!
The following family members can be included in the application:
- Spouse or legal partner
- Children under 18 years of age
- Dependent children under 26 as long as they are single and enrolled as full-time students or can demonstrate that they continue to be financially dependent on the parents
- Parents of either spouse if over 66 years old (or 55 and dependent)
- Siblings under the age of 18 years from either spouse or partner if they are legal guardians, as determined by the courts
How to get the Golden Visa in Portugal?
To get the Golden Visa in Portugal, you must make a qualifying investment ― usually in real estate or funds ―and hold the respective investment for five years. To submit your application, it is advised to consult with a Portugal Golden Visa lawyer or Portuguese Golden Visa consultant to see what documentation you need on top of your investment.
Golden visa requirements
To qualify for the program, you must fulfill the following Golden Visa requirements for Portugal:
- Be either non-EU, non-Swiss, or non-EEA.
- Minimum investment of €250,000. Range of investment routes to pick.
- Have a clean criminal record
- Spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal for the first year, then no less than 14 days each subsequent two-year period (this is called the stay requirement)
Portugal Golden Visa Processing Time
The processing time is relatively quick and straightforward.
While the golden visa application is relatively straightforward, there are quite a few steps to take toward a successful application.
1 – Onboarding: Once you decide on your investment, you must collect the paperwork for yourself and any dependents you’ll be including in the application. We can ensure the correct paperwork is in order, and we’ll submit it for review.
2 – Bank account & NIF: In order to obtain the tax identification number (NIF) in Portugal, we will appoint a fiscal representative for you. After obtaining your NIF, we can help you open a bank account in Portugal. This can be done by us remotely.
3 – Make the investment: We can begin securing your investment, and will guide you through the necessary paperwork required to ensure a successful investment.
4 – Online application: Lodge your application online.
5 – Pre-approval: Your application will be pre-approved, on the basis you fulfill the necessary requirements.
7 – Biometrics visit: From the time you book your interview, it takes around 2 months until you can attend a biometrics collection session in person.
7 – Golden Visa issuance: After your biometrics, it takes around 4 months for your Golden Visa to be approved by SEF. Pay the government permit issue fee. We’ll then collect the residence cards on your behalf and send them to you.
Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Options
Portugal’s stable and dynamic economy and exciting startup scene make it an ideal destination for businesses looking to set up EU operations. Portugal’s prime real estate market has also prompted an influx of property investors to purchase property for sale in Portugal.
To get the residence permit, an investment must be first made before the application can be filed.
In brief, here are the investment options available for the Portugal Golden Visa:
- Residential Real Estate: Buy residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the residential property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies.
- Commercial Real Estate: Buy commercial real estate anywhere in the country worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the commercial property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies.
- Buy Real Estate on Madeira or Azores: Buy residential and commercial real estate anywhere in Portugal’s autonomous islands of Madeira and Azores, worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project.
- Fund Subscription: Make a contribution in an investment qualified Fund worth at least €500,000
- Capital Transfer: Make a capital transfer of at least €1.5 million
- Scientific Research: Science or Technology research contribution of at least €500,000
- Job Creation: Company incorporation and creation of ten jobs amounting to a minimum value of €500,000
- Donation: Support the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with a donation of at least €250,000.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Portugal Golden Visa changes that rolled out in late 2021, have significantly changed the program’s investment criteria. As such, certain investment options have either been revoked or altered. For instance, it’s no longer possible to make a real estate investment in residential property ‘anywhere’ in Portugal, like Lisbon, Porto, or the coastal towns in the Algarve region, for instance.
Portuguese Golden Visa real estate option
Buying Portugal Golden Visa properties is perhaps the most popular way to get residency in Portugal. This is because Portugal is seen as a prime destination among property investors, with a flourishing real estate market, high rental yields, and booming tourism industry.
Many expats buy properties in Portugal for tourism purposes, or to serve as a second home or a retirement destination. You can invest in newly-built residential properties in Portugal’s interior areas, starting from €500k, or invest in used property for the golden visa.
Alternatively, you can purchase commercial real estate anywhere in Portugal (including Lisbon, Porto, and the likes) for an investment starting from €500k. If remodeling is your thing, then you also have the option to invest in residential rehabilitation projects starting from €350K in Portugal’s interior areas or alternatively, invest in commercial rehabilitation projects anywhere in Portugal from €350K.
Note, that you can also get a 20% discount on your real estate investment if it’s located in a low-density area of Portugal. Low-density areas determine whether a 20% discount rate to your investment applies or not. Low-density regions are defined as having less than 100 inhabitants per square km or a per capita GDP of less than 75% of the national average.
For a full list of low-density areas in Portugal that qualify for a discounted Golden Visa investment, check out our guide to the Portugal Golden Visa low density investment options here.
Portugal investment fund Golden Visa
Investing in private equity funds or Portuguese Golden Visa venture capital funds is a good option for acquiring residency in Portugal. The funds are managed by accredited fund managers who are accredited by Portugal’s regulatory body, the CMVM. Your dedicated fund manager ensures that the Portuguese Golden Visa fund investments are appropriately managed in start-ups or medium-sized projects with optimal growth potential.
For the Portuguese Golden Visa qualified investment fund, you can choose from sectors like energy, industry, technology, and real estate.
Chat to one of our consultants
Lifestyle choices vary, which is why we take the time to learn about your individual situation and requirements. We can simplify access to property investments, provide local insights, help with legal assistance, tax planning, and more—all while ensuring efficient, personalized, and confidential service.
Golden Visa tax benefits
Portugal’s Golden Visa income tax benefits are a big draw for foreign investors looking to get the most out of their financial contribution.
Visa holders don’t need to pay extra taxes on income produced outside of Portugal.
There’s also an option to register as a fiscal resident for tax purposes in Portugal. This is a fantastic option as it’ll allow you to then directly benefit from Portugal’s Non-Habitual Tax (NHR) Regime. NHR is a generous tax program with numerous benefits pertaining to your global income. It offers tax-free incentives on certain categories for a period of up to ten years.
Types of income that may qualify under the NHR program include:
- Real estate income
- Capital gains from the disposal of real estate
- Occupational pensions
- Business and self-employment profits derived from eligible occupations (but be mindful of relevant double taxation agreements)
Additionally, any Portuguese-sourced income would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% during the first ten years and there is also the ability to pass on your wealth to a spouse or dependent without incurring inheritance or gift taxes.
Find out more in our complete guide to Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident Tax Regime and the Portuguese Golden Visa tax benefits.
Golden Visa Statistics:
Here you can find the overall statistics for the Golden Visa from 8th October 2012 until 31st July 2022. In total, 10,983 investors and 18,068 family members have benefited from the Portugal Golden Visa during this time period.
From the total number of Golden Visa applications, investment types were as follows:
- Real estate acquisition: 9,965 residence permits
- Real estate acquisition at a minimum value of €500K: 8 851 residence permits
- Real estate rehabilitation at a minimum value of €350K: 1 307 residence permits
- Capital transfer: 803 residence permits
- Capital transfer into a Portuguese bank: 523 residence permits
- Capital transfer into an investment Fund: 269 residence permits
- Capital transfer + the creation of jobs: 6 residence permits
- A donation into cultural heritage in Portugal: 4 residence permit
- a donation into research activities in Portugal: 1 residence permit
- The creation of Ten full-time jobs: 22 applications
Can Portugal's Golden Visa get me citizenship?
The golden visa can absolutely get you citizenship. You must hold your investment for at least five years before you’re eligible to apply for permanent residency and a Portuguese passport. With citizenship under your belt, you can enjoy the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU and travel visa-free to over 182 destinations. Keep in mind that to acquire citizenship you must have a clean criminal record, have an A2 Portuguese language certificate (or be willing to undergo a Portuguese language test), and demonstrate to have genuine links to the country (simply provide evidence of your investment, along with documents that prove your registration in Portugal like your NIF number and Portuguese bank account).
* Important information about your documentation**
The following Golden Visa Portugal documents required can change at the discretion of the Portuguese government. Also, the documents must be submitted by Golden Visa applicants both for the initial application and for each renewal.
Golden Visa Portugal documents required list:
- Portuguese Golden Visa application form
- Copy of a valid passport and travel documents
- Deed or contract of the purchased property or signed promissory contract with proof of the deposit payment
- Declaration from your bank in Portugal confirming the transfer of funds
- Proof of Health Insurance in Portugal (only required if the investor resides in Portugal)
- Certified copy of the criminal certificate or a Police clearance letter from your country of origin
- A completed form authorizing SEF to get an extract of your Portuguese criminal records
- Declaration from you confirming compliance with the investment requirements
- Documents showing a good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security system. These can be issued 45 days prior to your online application
- A receipt showing that you already paid the application processing fee
- Note that the certificates of criminal records or police clearance letters must have been issued no more than 90 days before submitting your application. For all other certificates, it is 180 days.
Legalizing Portuguese Golden Visa documents
Portuguese Golden Visa documents and the Portugal Golden Visa application form must be legalized and translated into Portuguese by a certified translator.
Documents can be legalized either by the Portuguese Consulate or by the Apostille of The Hague Convention.
Translating Portugal Golden Visa documents
Original documents must be accompanied by a certified translation in Portuguese, which may be done in one of three ways:
- By a translator who is accredited by the Portuguese Consulate
- By anyone, if the translation is certified by a Portuguese lawyer
- By the issuing country’s Consulate in Portugal
Getting a Portuguese NIF and opening a Portuguese bank account for the Portuguese Golden Visa
These are relatively straightforward processes in Portugal and can both be done remotely.
The NIF is your tax identification number, distributed by the Portuguese fiscal authorities (Finanças) used for tax purposes that are needed to carry out various transactions including opening a Portuguese bank account and buying property.
To open a Portuguese bank account, Global Citizen Solution can introduce you to a competent English speaking banker in Portugal that can open a bank account even before you come to Portugal.
Portuguese Golden Visa language test
While you don’t need a Portuguese Golden Visa language test, if you want to get Portuguese citizenship after your five-year investment is up, then you must take the Portuguese language test for citizenship. The test, called The CIPLE Portuguese proficiency test, checks to see if you have a basic understanding of the Portuguese language.
Portuguese Golden Visa Cost
The Portugal Golden Visa cost is as follows:
Initial Application Fees
- GOLDEN VISA APPLICATION LEGAL FEES: For a single applicant = €5k to 8k. Dependents younger than 18 years old can be included in the application, free of charge.
- ADDITIONAL GOLDEN VISA LEGAL FEES: For dependents aged 18 and older = €500 to 2K. Note that children are free of charge.
Renewal Legal Fees
- GOLDEN VISA RENEWAL LEGAL FEES: For a single applicant = €1K to 2.5K.
- ADDITIONAL FEES: For dependents aged 18 and above = €500-2K. Children are free of charge.
Note: Depending on the type of investment you wish to make and whether you hire a lawyer to help you with your application, additional fees may apply.
Disclaimer: Fees can change, depending on the Portuguese government.
Can I pay for the Portugal Golden Visa with cryptocurrency?
Global Citizen Solutions is a crypto-friendly company. We now accept cryptocurrency as payment for our services through the portal Coingate. While we do not have a point of sale directly set up on our website, payment with crypto including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple can be arranged by contacting our staff.
Global Citizen Solutions has already helped many crypto investors in acquiring their Golden Visa in Portugal and other citizenship by investment programs. We are happy to assist you every step of the way.
Portugal vs Spain Golden Visa: Which is better?
With golden beaches, enticing foods, and excellent weather, both Spain and Portugal offer safe and stable lifestyles in the heart of Europe and straightforward ways to obtain temporary residence permits. However, key differences between the two programs exist and it’s important to know what these differences are.
The main benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa program in comparison to the Spanish one is that investments can be made for a lower amount, starting from €280K. Investors for the Portuguese Golden Visa can also obtain a European passport in just five years, whereas investors for the Spanish Golden Visa must wait ten years.
Check out our Portugal vs Spain Golden Visa comparison guide below for more information.
Your Portugal Golden Visa Consultants
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families.
With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we help clients from around the world acquire Portuguese Golden Visas or homes while diversifying their portfolio with robust investments.
Speak to one of our Portugal Golden Visa Consultants so we can understand your objectives and help you move forward.
If you are looking to invest or move to another country, our pioneering Global Passport Index is worth investigating. Here, we analyze the strongest passports in the world, based not only on their visa-free access to other countries but also on investment opportunities and quality of life, which we believe are very important when considering second citizenship options. You can read the full story here.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Portuguese Golden Visa Program
Is Portugal going to scrap its Golden Visa scheme?
António Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal, announced on 2 November 2022 that several visa schemes, including the Portugal Golden Visa, were under review. However, nothing further has been announced. Active Golden Visa applications will not be impacted, and new applications will remain open and are protected by law.
How may this proposal impact your current or future Golden Visa application?
If you have submitted your application, it is valid as usual, and you will get grandfathered into the current rules. Future changes will not have a retroactive impact. For those intending to apply to the program, applications remain open, and your application is likewise protected under the law.
How long could it take for the proposed changes to come into play?
Should the Portuguese government proceed with the proposal, there is no precise indication of when these changes will come into effect. Changes to Portuguese legislation take some time to be implemented. For example, changes to the program by the last government took 18 months to be implemented.
What is Portugal Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa in Portugal is a program that awards investors with residence permits in Portugal, provided that a qualifying investment is made in the country.
Are there any Portuguese golden visa new rules I should be aware of?
Portuguese Golden Visa new rules have come into effect.
- The minimum investment threshold to qualify for residency has increased
- The investment fund amount option for the Golden Visa has changed to €500,000
The capital transfer amount option for the Golden Visa is now €1.5 million
- New residential real estate investment restrictions have kicked in. Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other coastal towns no longer qualify for property investments under the Golden Visa scheme
- Other Golden Visa investment routes remain available. In particular, the investment fund option is an upcoming way to secure Portuguese residency, or alternatively, you can buy real estate in Portugal’s interior towns.
Find out more by visiting Portuguese Golden Visa changes here.
How much do I need to invest for the Portugal investment fund golden visa?
To invest for the Portugal investment fund golden visa, you must contribute at least €500K in sectors like real estate for example.
What is the Portuguese Golden Visa renewal process like?
The Portuguese Golden Visa renewal process is relatively straightforward. With your Portuguese Golden Visa, you must renew your permit in year one and year three as well as spend a few days in Portugal each year. In year one, you must spend at least seven days in Portugal and in years two through to five, you must spend at least 14 days in Portugal (whether or not they’re consecutive during each two-year period).
Do dependents qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa?
Yes, Portugal Golden Visa dependents are also eligible to be part of your Golden Visa application, for a fee.
Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: what is better?
Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa, what’s better depends on what you’re looking for and how fast you’re looking to get citizenship. For the Portuguese Golden Visa, investments start from €250K, whereas for the Spain Golden Visa, investments start from €500K. After five years with the Portuguese Golden Visa, you can get permanent residency and citizenship, but for the Spain Golden Visa, you must wait 5 years for PR and ten years for citizenship.
Cyprus vs Portugal golden visa: what is better?
Cyprus vs Portugal golden visa, what’s better depends on what you’re after. For Cyprus, you can get a passport in a year, provided that you make a qualifying investment worth €2.0 million in real estate first, plus a donation of €75,000 to the Governments Research and Development fund and €75,000 to the Land Development Organisation. The Portuguese Golden Visa investment threshold starts from €250K, but the timeline to citizenship takes five years at least.
What are the benefits of Portugal's Golden Visa?
There are many benefits to Portugal’s Golden Visa. You have permanent free entry and movement throughout the Schengen Area (26 European countries) After five years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship. Your dependent children and dependent parents also qualify for the same benefits as you.
What are the tax benefits of Portugal's Golden Visa?
There are many tax benefits to Portugal’s Golden Visa. These include investors only getting taxed on their worldwide income if they reside in Portugal for more than 183 days in any given year. Portugal also offers the NHR scheme, an attractive tax program providing tax-free incentives for up to ten years, depending on your income bracket.
What’s the Portuguese golden visa business investment option?
The Portuguese Golden Visa business investment option offers investors the opportunity to generate ten jobs for a Portuguese business or single-member company. This can be reduced to 8 positions if in a low-density area.
What are the Portuguese golden visa healthcare benefits?
There are many Portuguese Golden Visa healthcare benefits. If you are a holder of the Golden Visa in Portugal and are residing in the country, where you spend more than 183 days every year in the country, you are covered by Portugal’s healthcare system, with amazing discount rates. If you aren’t living in Portugal, you need private health insurance in Portugal to cover you.
What’s the best Portuguese Golden Visa investment option?
If you ask the experts, we can say without a doubt that the best Portuguese Golden Visa investment option is a residential real estate investment. Over 92% applicants seek this investment route. The minimum investment is €500,000, which must be made on any type of property or in any number of properties in Portugal’s designated interior areas.
Do I need to do the Portuguese Golden Visa language test?
Portuguese Golden Visa applicants do not have to take the Portuguese Golden Visa language test in order to obtain a residency permit, although they must complete the test in order to gain citizenship. The test can be adapted for those under the age of 10 and those with learning difficulties.
What’s the Portuguese golden visa minimum investment?
The Portuguese Golden Visa minimum investment is €250,000 (arts donation) and you can choose from a range of investment routes.
Can I take out a Portuguese Golden Visa mortgage?
Yes, you can buy Golden Visa property with a mortgage, provided that the minimum investment amount is not covered by the mortgage. For the investment, you will need to use your existing capital.
If you intend to purchase a more expensive property and use the minimum investment amount as the loan deposit, then this is also allowed. For example, if you wanted to buy a property in a high-density area of Portugal (minimum €500,000 deposit) then you could buy a property for €750,000 with a mortgage for €250,000. The remaining €500,000 would need to be your own met using your own capital.
It is quite easy to get a mortgage in Portugal as a temporary resident or non-resident, although the deposit amount and interest rates might be slightly higher in comparison to permanent residents and citizens. Note that it is possible to take out a mortgage or loan against the property or other assets you own outside Portugal as collateral, although you will not get this loan from Portuguese banks.
How to get the Portuguese golden visa permanent residence?
To get the Portuguese Golden Visa permanent residence, you must make and maintain your qualifying investment for a minimum of five years. You must also spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal for the first year, then no less than 14 days each subsequent two-year period (this is called the stay requirement). To get the Portuguese Golden Visa permanent residence card, you must also have a clean criminal record.
Can I get citizenship with a Golden Visa in Portugal?
Yes you can get citizenship with a Golden Visa in Portugal after five years of holding your Golden Visa investment.
What’s the Portugal Golden Visa processing time?
The Portugal Golden Visa processing times usually takes anywhere from three to six months for approval and issuance of your residence card. Once your Golden Visa is issued, your residence card is valid for 2 years.
What are the Portuguese golden visa requirements?
The Portuguese Golden Visa requirements are straightforward. You must have a clean criminal background, make the qualifying investment and hold it for five years, as well as fulfill the stay requirement.
What is the Golden Visa Portugal sef agency?
The Golden Visa Portugal SEF agency is The Immigration and Borders Service, the main body responsible for issuing Golden Visa Portugal rules and regulations.
Should I consult a Portugal Golden Visa lawyer for the application?
While you can do the Portugal Golden Visa application yourself, we recommend you consider a Portugal Golden Visa lawyer because they know the rules and regulations inside out, and can support you from beginning to end in your Golden Visa application.
What are the Portugal Golden visa fees?
The Portugal Golden Visa fees start from €6K for legal costs, plus more for application processing and meeting the investment threshold. Expect to spend anywhere between €260K onwards (investment included, depending on investment route).