How to invest in Portugal and get citizenship – The Ultimate Guide

Invest in Portugal for Citizenship

Can you invest in Portugal for citizenship? Well, through the Portugal Golden Visa program, you can secure residency in Portugal, with the possibility to apply for citizenship after five years, provided you meet all the requirements.

This ultimate guide walks you through everything you need to know about investing in Portugal so that you can obtain residency and/or citizenship in Portugal.

The guide covers:

Why invest in Portugal for citizenship?

There are several reasons to invest in Portugal to gain citizenship. Foreign investment in Portugal is gaining international traction due to Portugal’s open access to key markets, skilled human resources, competitive labor costs, and top infrastructures.

Foreign Investment in Portugal: Advantages

Portuguese legislation that protects investors
Portuguese legislation that protects investors
Portugal has a liberal foreign investment scheme and offers a favorable legal framework for foreign investors.
Ripe business opportunities
Ripe business opportunities
Portugal’s vivacious tech startup scene ― boosted by accelerator funding and tech incubators ― has attracted entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Skilled and cheap labour force
Skilled and cheap labour force
If looking to start a business venture in Portugal, then the cheap but skilled labour force will ensure you get optimal returns on your investment.
Tax advantages
Tax advantages
Investors can get great tax incentives, alleviating some of the burdens that come with doing business abroad.

Portugal Real Estate Market Outlook

In recent years, Portugal has become a preferred market for real estate investors, and their citizenship-by-investment Golden Visa scheme has proved very popular. 

As Portugal’s real estate market has expanded, opportunities to make a profit from real estate investments have skyrocketed. With foreign property ownership requirements and mortgage rates being so reasonable, investors buying into the property market benefit from significant capital gains.

Portugal also offers an attractive rental market that has mostly returned to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented growth in the tourism industry over the years has led to a higher demand for rental properties and a surge in rental prices. Investors have caught on. Breaking into property letting has become a viable business model, attracting more and more investors. 

What’s more, if you are looking to live in Portugal, the country has an excellent quality of life and performs very well in the Human Development Index, ranking in the very high human development category.

 

Portuguese Residency by Investment

Since its inception in 2012, over 11,384 investors, and ​​18,617 family members, have benefited from the Portugal Golden Visa, making it one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs in the world.

The Golden Visa scheme grants qualifying investors and their family members the right to work, study and live in Portugal and permits free movement in Europe’s Schengen Area. 

Opportunities to gain permanent residence or/and citizenship are possible. To gain either permanent residence or citizenship, you will need to ensure the qualifying investment is kept for at least five years.

Interested to know more about the Golden Visa and how it works? Check out our Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide.

Take a look at our Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide by local experts

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Portuguese Residency-by-Investment Benefits

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program is a fantastic opportunity for foreign investors to expand their portfolios, obtain a high quality of life, and get European Union (EU) residency in a short time frame, while also providing the same benefits to their family members.

Access to 27 nations in the EU & visa-free travel to 172 nations Access to 27 nations in the EU & visa-free travel to 172 nations
Five years until you qualify for a European passport Five years until you qualify for a European passport
Option to become a non-habitual resident and pay little to no tax for ten years Option to become a non-habitual resident and pay little to no tax for ten years
Short stay requirement ― no need to permanently reside in Portugal throughout your investment cycle Short stay requirement ― no need to permanently reside in Portugal throughout your investment cycle
Your dependent children and dependent parents qualify for the same benefits Your dependent children and dependent parents qualify for the same benefits
A second residence in a safe, stable country A second residence in a safe, stable country

Our Golden Visa Consultants are Here to Help

With our head office in Lisbon, our team at Global Citizen Solutions has a 100 percent success rate with Golden Visa applications. With our extensive knowledge of the Portuguese market and legal system, we can provide personalized advice throughout the process, ensuring that you always make the best possible decisions with your investment. Our pricing is competitive and transparent, which means you will always know what to expect.

Get in touch with a member of our team for a free initial consultation to discuss your Golden Visa options and the best way to obtain Portuguese residency or citizenship through the program.

Golden Visa tax benefits

The Golden Visa scheme offers strong tax incentives for investors looking to get residency in Portugal. Investors only get taxed on their worldwide income if they are residing in the country for over 183 days in any given year. Despite this, even if you declare yourself to be a registered resident in Portugal, you can benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident scheme and enjoy tax-free privileges for up to ten years.

How to enjoy NHR status in Portugal? Your complete guide to the NHR scheme.

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Apply for Portuguese Citizenship: How Portugal Visa Investment Works

To apply for the Portugal Golden Visa program, you will need to be a non-EU/non-EEA or a non-Swiss citizen who can make a qualifying investment in the country. You can either make the investment independently or through a government-approved legal entity.

Apply for Portuguese citizenship

Portugal’s Golden Visa investment requirements

Along with making your qualifying investment, you must fulfill some investment program requirements.

These include:

  • Maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years
  • Spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year, then no less than 14 days in each subsequent two-year period.

 

Best Foreign Investment in Portugal

When considering the best foreign investments, Portugal’s Golden Visa offers several attractive investment options. These include:

Invest €500,000 or more in a commercial property of your choice in Portugal (the investment amount is reduced to €400,000 if located in a low-density area of Portugal). Invest €500,000 or more in a commercial property of your choice in Portugal (the investment amount is reduced to €400,000 if located in a low-density area of Portugal).
Invest €500,000 or more in residential property located in Portugal's designated interior areas (the investment amount is reduced to €400,000 if located in an interior AND low-density area of the country). Invest €500,000 or more in residential property located in Portugal's designated interior areas (the investment amount is reduced to €400,000 if located in an interior AND low-density area of the country).
Invest €350,000 in commercial renovation projects anywhere in the country (the investment amount is reduced to €280,000 if the project is located in a low-density area of Portugal). Invest €350,000 in commercial renovation projects anywhere in the country (the investment amount is reduced to €280,000 if the project is located in a low-density area of Portugal).
Invest €350,000 in residential renovation projects in Portugal's designated interior areas (the investment amount is reduced to €280,000 if located in an interior area AND low-density area of Portugal). Invest €350,000 in residential renovation projects in Portugal's designated interior areas (the investment amount is reduced to €280,000 if located in an interior area AND low-density area of Portugal).
Contribute €500,000 in investment funds Contribute €500,000 in investment funds

Portugal Golden Visa Qualified Investment Fund

Investing in private equity funds or venture capital funds is a viable way to obtain residency in Portugal to increase share capital. The respective funds are managed by corporate experts who are accredited by the country’s regulatory body, the CMVM. An allocated funds manager ensures that the fund investments are managed properly in start-ups or medium-sized projects with strong growth potential.

For the Portugal Golden Visa qualified investment fund, you can choose from a range of sectors,  including but not limited to energy, industry, technology, and real estate.

Investment funds for the Golden Visa: Benefits

There are various benefits to choosing to invest in funds to obtain Portuguese residency.

These include:

  • Funds are managed by vetted experts that are regularly audited
  • Portuguese residency, starting from a €500,000 investment 
  • Venture capital funds are tax-efficient
  • Investment can be made remotely
  • Some funds offer a minimum return hurdle-rate

Portugal Real Estate Investment Option

Buying real estate in Portugal to get residency is one of the most popular investment options that many foreign investors take to gain Portuguese residence, and ultimately citizenship, as part of the Golden Visa program.

Portugal is viewed as a prime location among foreign investors, with a booming real estate market and high rental yields. Many expats buy properties in the country to serve tourism purposes, for a second home, or for a retirement destination. Combined with its safe and solid economic status, investors looking for stable medium to long-term gains are highly attracted to Portugal. Having residence and investing in the country provides an array of advantages.

Portugal real estate investment GCS

Advantages of Investing in Newly-Built Property

  • Five-year guarantee by Portuguese developers
  • Energy-efficient
  • Fiscal incentives
  • Easier to sell and rent
  • Modern features
  • Good insulation and equipped with air-con
  • Potential upside in the value of up to 30 percent from purchase to delivery

 

Invest in the country for Portuguese citizenship – residential property located in Portugal’s interior areas and the autonomous islands of Madeira & Azores

Invest in residential property located in the interior areas of Portugal for the Portuguese Golden Visa, starting from €500,000. The amount is reduced to €400,000 if located in an interior part of Portugal AND a low-density area. Note that Madeira and Azores’ autonomous islands are eligible for a real estate investment.

Advantages of investing in Portugal’s low-density areas

  • More competitive pricing per square meter
  • More variety
  • Can be renovated to taste
  • Fiscal incentives
  • Can maintain its quaint and unique characteristics

Buy property and get Portuguese EU residency

When considering investment risks, return potential, and market prospects, buying property to get EU residency is highly recommended. Foreign investors who’ve bought a property in the country have been rewarded with a Portuguese residence permit, giving investors the right to work, study and live in Portugal, and visa-free travel to any country or territory in Europe’s Schengen area.

If you’re unsure about what it takes to secure property in Portugal, check out our ultimate guide to buying property in Portugal.

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

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Global Citizen Solutions Pick: What is the best place to invest in Portugal for residency?

The best place to invest in Portugal as part of the residency-by-investment scheme depends on many factors. If you’re looking to invest in Portugal real estate, consider Porto, the second-largest city in the country.

  • Liquidity is on the rise, so finding a home is easier than buying property in Lisbon.
  • Porto offers competitive advantages in terms of labor costs and cheaper living standards.
  • Lower property prices for high returns
What is the best place to invest in Portugal for citizenship

Note that other Golden Visa options include capital transfer, investment into scientific research, company incorporation and the creation of ten jobs, and making an investment in the arts. These are each viable ways to gain residence. The investment costs for each can be found below:

  • Capital transfer: €1.5M
  • Investment into scientific research activities: €500,000
  • Company incorporation and the creation of ten jobs: €500,000
  • Investment in the arts: €250,000

Procedures and Time Frame of the Portugal Golden Visa Residence Permit Program

The Portuguese Golden Visa application processing time usually takes between three to six months to be approved and for your residence card to be issued. Once your Golden Visa has been issued, your residence permit will be valid for two years.

The Golden Visa requires the primary applicant to travel to Portugal two times during the Golden Visa application procedure:

  1. To choose the qualifying investment option, begin the legal process, and open a Portuguese bank account. A Portuguese bank account is recommended to avoid international transaction fees.
  2. To provide biometric data and original documents. The other family members can also come and provide biometric data.

There will also be processing fees that you will need to pay. When the residence permit is received, the client must provide the biometric data and updated original documents when it needs to be renewed. You can find out more about this in our article on the Portugal Golden Visa Biometrics Appointment.

How we can help you

Speak to one of our Golden Visa consultants today, where we can advise you on the best investment options to achieve your objectives and set you on a path of success.

Alternatively, if you are looking for Portuguese immigration options with zero investment, the D7 Visa is an excellent alternative. You can find out more about this in our article on the D7 Visa.

Frequently Asked Questions about Investing in Portugal for Citizenship

What is the Portugal Golden Visa program?

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 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.

How to get Portuguese citizenship?

To get Portuguese citizenship, you must go through the Portugal Golden Visa program and hold your investment for a minimum of five years in the country. Provided that you meet these requirements, you can get a Portuguese passport in five years.

How long does it take to get Portuguese citizenship?

To get Portuguese citizenship, it takes roughly five years.

How to get Portugal residence by investment?

To get Portugal residence by investment, you must first make a qualifying investment and meet the minimum investment threshold of €250,000 (investment into the arts). At present, most investors choose to invest in funds (minimum investment of €500,000) or real estate, with costs starting from €280,000 in a commercial or residential rehabilitation project located in Portugal’s interior and low-density areas of Portugal.

Can I buy property to get an EU passport?

No, you cannot buy property to get an EU passport in Portugal. You can invest in a rehabilitation project for €280,000, depending on what area of Portugal you pick. You must then hold this property investment for five years, after which you can apply for a Portuguese passport.

 

What are the Portugal residency requirements?

One key advantage of the Golden Visa in Portugal is its very low ‘stay requirement.’ In order for you to maintain your Golden Visa residency, you will only need to spend seven days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years (consecutively or non-consecutively) in Portugal.

 

What are the Portuguese citizenship benefits?

There are many citizenship benefits, including the right to work, live and study anywhere in the EU and the right to access quality healthcare, education, work opportunities, and vote in Portugal.

Can you buy a Portuguese passport?

No, you cannot buy a Portuguese passport, but the Portugal Golden Visa program offers you a route to European Citizenship after five years.

 

What is the Golden Visa price?

Excluding legal costs, the Golden Visa price starts from €250,000.

Is Portugal good for investment?

With a vibrant real estate market, investing in Portugal is s good investment. You will find many different property types, several stunning locations, and good returns on investment. Plus, if your investment qualifies for the Portugal Golden Visa, you can secure all the perks of having residency in a thriving EU country.

Can foreigners invest in Portugal?

Yes, foreigners will find no restrictions when it comes to investing in Portugal or buying property in the country. Indeed, the Portuguese government actively encourages foreigners to invest in and move to Portugal, such as through the Portugal Golden Visa and the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) program.