In recent years, Portugal has emerged as an attractive destination for global investors seeking both financial opportunities and the prospect of acquiring citizenship in a European Union member state. The country’s strategic location, stable political environment, and vibrant economy have made it an attractive hub for investment.
As an investor-friendly nation, Portugal offers an array of benefits, ranging from diverse investment options to promising returns on investment.
One notable avenue for prospective investors is the Portuguese Golden Visa program, which serves as a pathway to residency and, eventually, Portuguese citizenship.
While not an immediate route to citizenship, the Golden Visa opens doors for individuals eager to make Portugal their second home.
In this comprehensive guide about investing in Portugal, we provide a detailed exploration of the country’s investment landscape, the available investment opportunities, the benefits of the Golden Visa, and more.
The Portugal Golden Visa program has recently undergone substantial changes. The new legislation, which took effect in October 2023, eliminated the purchase of real estate and real-estate-related funds as qualifying investment options for the program. However, several attractive investment routes still maintain their eligibility for the program. To learn more, please refer to our comprehensive guide: Portugal Golden Visa
IMPORTANT UPDATE: PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA 2023
The Portugal Golden Visa program has recently undergone substantial changes. The new legislation, which took effect in October 2023, eliminated the purchase of real estate and real-estate-related funds as qualifying investment options for the program.
However, several attractive investment routes still maintain their eligibility for the program. To learn more, please refer to our comprehensive guide: Portugal Golden Visa
Why invest in Portugal?
Investment opportunities in Portugal
Portugal’s investment landscape is characterized by a blend of economic stability, strategic geographical positioning, and diverse opportunities that appeal to global investors.
Over the past decade, the country has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming a prominent destination for those seeking both financial prosperity and a high quality of life.
Positioned on the continent’s western edge, Portugal serves as a gateway between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. This geographical advantage facilitates international trade and positions investors to tap into diverse markets.
The Portuguese economy has experienced a resurgence, marked by steady growth and fiscal discipline. The government’s commitment to structural reforms has created a business-friendly environment, attracting investments across various sectors.
From technology and renewable energy to real estate and tourism, there’s a wide range of investment opportunities in Portugal that are appealing for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.
Portugal is actively promoting innovation and technology. Startup incubators and tech parks have sprouted across the country, fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem that attracts both local and international investors. The government’s commitment to digital transformation and innovation has created a dynamic landscape for tech-driven investments.
In addition, Portugal’s commitment to sustainable practices has positioned it as a leader in renewable energy. The country has made substantial investments in wind, solar, and hydropower projects, presenting opportunities for environmentally conscious investors.
Reasons to invest in Portugal
Investing in Portugal has become an appealing choice for a variety of reasons, making it a hotbed for both seasoned and novice investors. Here are some compelling reasons why Portugal has captured the attention of the global investment community:
Pathway to citizenship:
Portugal’s Golden Visa program is a significant draw for investors. The program offers legal residency to investors making qualifying investments, such as real estate or job creation. It provides a pathway for Portuguese citizenship after five years.
Stability and Safety:
Portugal boasts a stable political environment and a commitment to fiscal responsibility. The country has successfully navigated economic challenges, earning it a reputation for being a safe and secure destination for investments.
Portugal has experienced consistent economic growth in recent years. The government’s dedication to implementing structural reforms has contributed to a resilient economy, attracting investors seeking opportunities for financial growth.
Real Estate Opportunities:
The real estate market in Portugal, particularly in cities like Lisbon and Porto, has seen a surge in interest. The rehabilitation of historic areas makes it an attractive market for property investors.
Quality of Life:
Portugal is renowned for its high quality of life, characterized by a pleasant climate, beautiful landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage. This factor makes the country not only a destination for financial investment but also an attractive place to live.
Innovation and Technology:
The country has embraced innovation and technology, with a growing ecosystem for startups and tech companies. This commitment to digital transformation creates opportunities for investors interested in the tech sector.
Renewable Energy Initiatives:
Portugal is a leader in renewable energy, investing significantly in sustainable projects. This commitment aligns with global efforts towards green energy, providing investment opportunities in the renewable sector.
Portugal has witnessed a boom in tourism, attracting visitors from around the world. This influx has stimulated investment in the hospitality and service industries, creating opportunities for investors looking to capitalize on the tourism sector.
Portugal’s status as a member of the European Union enhances its appeal. Investors benefit from the economic and trade advantages that come with EU membership, adding an extra layer of security and opportunity.
Investing in Portugal for Citizenship
Is it possible to invest in Portugal for citizenship?
It is not possible to obtain Portuguese citizenship by investment. However, the Golden Visa acts as an indirect route to citizenship. You can make an investment in Portugal through the program, which grants you a temporary residence permit. Holding the Golden visa for five years qualifies you to apply for Portugal citizenship.
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
Portugal has a liberal foreign investment scheme and offers a favorable legal framework for foreign investors.
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
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.
Investors can get great tax incentives, alleviating some of the burdens that come with doing business abroad.
About the Portugal Citizenship by Investment Program
The Golden Visa is an investment program that allows non-EU citizens to get a Portuguese residence permit provided they make a qualifying investment in the country.
Also known as the Residence Permit Program, the Golden Visa was introduced by the Portuguese government in 2012 to attract foreign investment during their economic recovery from the subprime crisis.
Golden Visa investors and their family members are granted the right to live, work, and study in Portugal. Other benefits include visa-free travel within the Schengen Area’s 27 countries and a low physical requirement (Golden Visa investors only have to spend 14 days every two years in Portugal).
In addition, the program is a pathway to permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship: After five years of being a legal resident in Portugal, Golden Visa investors become eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit and to become Portuguese citizens, whereby they can get a Portuguese passport.
Over the past ten years, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has become one of the most successful residency by-investment schemes in Europe and is attractive, especially for Americans Moving to Portugal.
The program has seen more than €6.8 billion invested in the country, making the Portugal immigration by investment program one of the most popular in the world.
Portuguese Residency-by-Investment Benefits
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.
Important Note: The Prime Minister of Portugal eliminated the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR). As of 2024, the program is no longer available for new applicants. Read more here: Is The Portugal NHR Program Ending?
Best foreign investment in Portugal
The Portuguese Golden Visa offers several attractive investment opportunities, including donations, job creation, and research activities.
Golden Visa applicants can choose the option that best suits their financial goals and preferences, including affordable investments starting from €250,000.
Here’s an overview of the available investment routes for applicants:
- Fund subscription: Make a contribution to a qualified investment fund (such as private equity funds or venture capital funds) worth at least €500,000
- Investment or donation in the arts or reconstruction of national cultural heritage with a donation of at least €250,000
- Scientific research: Science or Technology research contribution of at least €500,000
- Creation of ten jobs: Creation and maintenance of ten jobs during the required period
- Share capital and job creation: Incorporation of a commercial company in the national territory or reinforcement of a company’s share capital (this company must have its head office in the national territory), in either case with an investment of €500,000, combined with the creation of five or maintaining ten jobs (five of them permanent)
Golden Visa investment options
Golden Visa Investment Changes
In recent years, Portugal has become a preferred market for real estate investors. As the country’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.
However, on February 16th, the Portuguese government announced a series of measures to address Portugal’s housing problem. António Costa, the Portuguese Prime Minister, stated that the measures would include changes to the Golden Visa program as part of the said effort.
On 7 October 2023, the Mais Habitaçāo bill officially came into effect. The bill, which brings in a range of measures aimed at tackling Portugal’s housing crisis, will mean that it is no longer possible to issue residence or Golden Visas based on the acquisition of real estate.
Read: Portugal Golden Visa Ending: Unfolding the New Program and Portugal Golden Visa Changes for the latest updates on the scheme.
About the Portugal Golden Visa Qualified Investment Fund
Investing in private equity funds or venture capital funds is one of the best ways 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 Golden Visa investment funds to obtain Portuguese residency.
Some of the key advantages of this Golden Visa route are:
- Funds are managed by vetted experts who 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
How to Get Portuguese Citizenship by Investment
First step: get your Golden Visa
In order to get Portugal citizenship by investment, you first need to apply for the Golden Visa program. Here are the complete criteria to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa:
- 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 one year or more.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
Second step: keep your investment in Portugal
To be eligible for Portuguese citizenship through the Golden Visa, you must maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years. You’ll also need to fulfill the minimum stay requirement of spending at least 14 days in Portugal for each two-year period.
Third step: apply for citizenship
After maintaining the investment in Portugal for five years, you can apply for permanent residence and citizenship. Here are some of the other prerequisites for the Portuguese Citizenship by Investment:
- A clean record of criminal history is necessary
- All taxes in Portugal must be settled without outstanding balances
- Passing a Portuguese language examination is mandatory.
Required documents for Portuguese citizenship
- The correct forms must be complete
- Birth certificate, ID, or passport from home country
- Proof of passing the required Portuguese language test (CIPLE)
- Criminal record certificate
- A document from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) confirming that you have been a Portuguese resident for a minimum of five years.
You’ll also need to pass a test in Portuguese language and culture. This is a basic A2-level language test (CIPLE). The test can be tailored for children under the age of 10. Children aged 10 to 18 may be exempted from the test if they attend a Portuguese school or if a declaration of proficiency can be furnished.
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.
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).
Can I buy property to get an EU passport?
No, you cannot buy property to get an EU passport in Portugal.
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?
Portugal is a great place for 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. 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.