Golden Visa Portugal 2021 – The Ultimate Guide by Experts

The Golden Visa Portugal 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 Golden Visa Portugal 2021 Ultimate Guide, you’ll learn more about:

…and so much more!

What is the Golden Visa Portugal?

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.

IMPORTANT: Portugal Golden Visa Changes 2021

From an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to Portuguese Golden Visa changes, it’s important to stay informed.

From 1 January 2022, the Portuguese Golden Visa program will change.

Namely:

  • The minimum investment threshold to qualify for residency will increase
  • The investment fund amount option for the Golden Visa will change from €350,000 to €500,000
  • The capital transfer amount option for the Golden Visa will change from €1 million to €1.5 million
  • New real estate investment restrictions will kick in. Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other high-density coastal towns will not qualify for property investments under the Golden Visa scheme
  • Applicants have until the end of 2021 to take advantage of the current Portuguese Golden Visa scheme.
For the property investment route, only property acquisition worth €280K and up, and investment in rehabilitation projects worth €350K and up in Portugal’s interior territories and Azores and Madeira will be accepted. 

Check out the latest changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program here.

Benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa

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:

Access to 26 nations in the EU & visa-free travel to 183 nations Access to 26 nations in the EU & visa-free travel to 183 nations
Affordable investment options starting from 280K Affordable investment options starting from 280K
5-years until you qualify for a European passport 5-years until you qualify for a European passport
A sound investment in a buoyant market that can lead to real returns A sound investment in a buoyant market that can lead to real returns
Option to become a non-habitual resident and pay little to no tax for 10 years Option to become a non-habitual resident and pay little to no tax for 10 years
Short stay requirement Short stay requirement

Portugal Golden Visa family benefits

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 for Portugal

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)
How to get the Golden Visa in Portugal?

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. 

Portugal Golden Visa processing time

The processing time is relatively quick and straightforward.

Step-by-step guide for the Golden Visa application

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 golden visa, an investment must be made before the application can be filed.

Portuguese Golden Visa investment options include:

  • Capital Transfer of at least €1 million
  • Generate 10 new jobs for a Portuguese business or single-member company (reduced to 8 positions if in low-density area)
  • Buy property for sale in Portugal, via the Portuguese Golden Visa real estate investment route of €500K in Real Estate- (Reduced to €400K if located in a low-density area)
  • Portuguese Golden Visa €350K real estate investment in rehabilitation project (reduced to €280K if located in a low-density area)
  • €250K investment into preserving national heritage
  • Investment of at least €350K in research
  • €350K investment in an existing Portuguese business. Must incorporate or increase the share capital and create at least 5 full-time permanent jobs for at least 3 years
  • Investment into private equity funds- A Portugal investment funds Golden Visa of €350K minimum can be made to a private equity fund. Note the fund investment Portugal route is increasingly popular.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Investment options under the Portuguese Golden Visa will undergo significant changes commencing 1 January 2022. This means that some of the investment options outlined above will either be no longer available or will have new minimum investment amount requirements.

Check out the latest changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program here.

What are my Portuguese Golden Visa investment options?

Your complete guide to investing in the Portuguese Golden Visa

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Portuguese Golden Visa real estate option

The Portuguese Golden Visa real estate option 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 properties in thriving Lisbon or Porto starting from €500k, or invest in used property for the golden visa starting from €400K.

The most economical investment route for the scheme is to make a €280K investment in the rehabilitation of real estate in low-density areas. The Portuguese Golden Visa property for sale must at least be more than thirty years old and undergoing renovation.

Take a look at our How to buy property in Portugal Ultimate Guide by local experts

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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:

  • Dividends
  • Real estate income
  • Capital gains from the disposal of real estate
  • Occupational pensions
  • Royalties
  • 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.

Take a look at our Portugal’s NHR tax regime: the complete guide

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Can the Golden Visa Portugal 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).

Can the Golden Visa Portugal get me citizenship?

Golden Visa Portugal documents required

* 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:

  1. By a translator who is accredited by the Portuguese Consulate
  2. By anyone, if the translation is certified by a Portuguese lawyer
  3. 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.

Global Citizen Solutions is crypto-friendly

We accept payments in Bitcoin, Ripple & Ethereum for our services

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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. 

What Golden Visa to pick?

Compare our Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Programs

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Frequently asked questions about the Portuguese Golden Visa Program

What is golden visa portugal?

The Golden Visa 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 are due to come into effect on 1 January 2022. Until then, the Portuguese Golden Visa will continue to operate as normal. From 2022,  the following investment rules apply:

In particular:
  • The minimum investment threshold to qualify for residency will increase
  • The investment fund amount option for the Golden Visa will change from €350,000 to €500,000
    The capital transfer amount option for the Golden Visa will change from €1 million to €1.5 million
  • New real estate investment restrictions will kick in. Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other high-density coastal towns will not 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.

For the continuation of this year, the current Portuguese Golden Visa investment options will remain open and unchanged. However, if you see yourself making a property investment in Portugal’s urban cities, we’d recommend you start your application as soon as possible.  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 €350K 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 €280K, 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 €280K, but the timeline to citizenship takes five years at least.

What are the Golden Visa Portugal benefits?

There are many Golden Visa Portugal benefits. 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 Golden Visa Portugal tax benefits?

There are many Golden Visa Portugal tax benefits. 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 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 and anywhere in the Portuguese territory.

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 and you can choose from a range of investment routes.

Can I take out a Portuguese Golden Visa mortgage?

Yes you can take a Portuguese Golden Visa mortgage to pay for your property, as long as the minimum investment threshold is met. This is the most common way to finance the purchase of a property in Portugal. Both residents and non-residents can apply for a mortgage from Portuguese banks, provided that the bank’s requirements are met. Read more about the Portuguese Golden Visa mortgage requirements here.

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 Golden Visa Portugal citizenship?

Yes you can get Golden Visa Portugal citizenship 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.

Are there any Portuguese Golden Visa changes I need to be aware of?

At present, the Portuguese government has rolled out changes to the Portugal Golden Visa, due to come into effect in July 2021. Investors will be unable to buy property worth €500K in urban centers of Portugal including the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto. However, the other real estate investment options will remain untouched.

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).