Portuguese citizenship comes with an array of attractive benefits, including the opportunity to live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union. In addition, Portuguese citizens can enjoy excellent travel mobility, as their passport allows visa-free access to 174 countries worldwide.

Citizenship in Portugal can be gained through a variety of different routes, including the Golden Visa Program. Also known as the Portugal Citizenship by Investment program, the Portuguese Golden Visa allows investors to apply for Portuguese citizenship after keeping their investment in the country for five years, making it an attractive scheme for individuals dreaming of a European passport.

Curious to learn more? In the following article, we’ll break down how to get Portuguese citizenship by investment. Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

  • An overview of the Golden Visa Scheme
  • How to obtain Portugal citizenship through the Golden Visa
  • Portugal citizenship eligibility
  • Portugal citizenship requirements
  • Key advantages of becoming a Portuguese citizen, and more!

Portugal Golden Visa 2024 Update

Despite the Portuguese government announcing the end of the Golden Visa on 16 February 2023, the program is not ending. On 19 July 2023, the Portuguese parliament voted to restructure the program. Namely, the Golden Visa by real estate investments and certain types of capital transfers are no longer eligible for the program.

While real estate investments and capital transfers have been eliminated as options, there are still many other attractive investment options that will continue to be eligible for the Golden Visa in Portugal.

In 2024, the program continues to attract investors from all over the world, particularly from Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with interest from Hong Kong and the United States increasing in the past few years.

Meanwhile, property investments have remained popular, even though they’re no longer eligible for a Golden Visa, as they can provide a good return on investment. If you’re interested in a property investment, you can get in touch with Goldcrest, our real estate partner.

For more information, read Portugal Golden Visa Ending: Everything We Know So Far and Golden Visa Changes.

About Portuguese Citizenship by Investment

Can I get Portuguese citizenship by investment?

While it’s not possible to get immediate citizenship through investment in Portugal, the Golden Visa Program acts as an indirect route to citizenship. Citizenship is only possible after a period of legal residency in the country, so if the investor holds a Golden Visa, which is a type of residency visa, for five years, then they can apply for citizenship.

In recent years, there has been some doubt as to whether the Golden Visa residency permit counts for the five-year residency requirement for Portugal citizenship. However, it has been confirmed that Golden Visa applicants can obtain Portuguese passports after fulfilling the short-stay requirement of the Golden Visa over five years.

This applies solely to individuals aged 18 and above who have resided in Portugal for a minimum of five years or have been wedded to a Portuguese citizen for over three years.

Please note that if you want to get Portuguese citizenship after your five-year investment is up, you must prove that you speak Portuguese (A2 level). That can be done either through a language course or the Portuguese language test. 

Portugal Citizenship by Investment Program: An Overview

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program is an investment program that allows non-EU citizens to obtain a Portuguese residence permit by making a qualifying investment in the country. Also known as the Portugal Residence Permit Program, the Golden Visa was created by the Portuguese government in 2012 to attract foreign investment during their economic recovery from the subprime crisis.

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

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.

Make sure to read Portugal Golden Visa Statistics

What are the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa program?

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

Is NHR ending?

The State Budget Law for 2024 determined the end of the NHR regime from 1st January 2024. However, certain individuals can still apply up until 31st March 2025, and the scheme is being replaced by the Tax Incentive for Scientific Research and Innovation, which has now been implemented. To learn more, please refer to Is The Portugal NHR Ending?

Is the Portuguese citizenship by investment worth It?

Yes, the Golden visa in Portugal is worth it. In fact, it’s one of the most successful Golden Visa programs in all of Europe.

Below, you’ll find all of the reasons why Portuguese citizenship by investment is worth it.

1. Investors don’t have to relocate to Portugal

Portugal’s low “stay requirement” (the number of days you have to spend in the country in order to maintain legal residency) is one of the main reasons why the Portugal Golden Visa program has remained consistently popular in comparison to similar schemes in Europe.

Whereas other European citizenship-by-investment programs require applicants to maintain their investment as well as spend the majority of the year in the country, the Portuguese Golden Visa program requires investors to stay in Portugal just 14 days every two years.

Investors do not have to relocate in order to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

2. Attractive investment options in Portugal

Portugal’s Golden Visa program allows applicants to make a sound investment in a buoyant market that can lead to profitable returns.

The program has multiple profitable investment routes leading to Portuguese citizenship, such as arts and cultural donations, investment funds, and more.

There are a number of affordable investment options to choose from. The investment fund option, for instance, has become increasingly popular with American nationals in recent years.

The most affordable Portugal Golden Visa investment to obtain residency is through the cultural Golden Visa. The minimum investment amount you need to make into arts or cultural heritage is  €250,000. This amount can be reduced to €200,000 if the project is located in a low-density area of Portugal.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to carry out due diligence before you commit to any investments.

3. High returns on Portuguese investment

The strength of the Portuguese economy also means that investors can expect higher returns for their investments than in other countries. The growth in the tourism sector has resulted in a rise in the profitability of short- and long-term rentals in the country.

4. Family reunification

Portugal’s Golden Visa also allows family members to be included in the Golden Visa application.

5. Portugal’s generous tax incentives

Unless you live in Portugal for 183 days of the year or more, you will not be taxed on your worldwide income. As a non-tax resident, you only need to pay tax in Portugal if you earn any income in Portugal.

If you live in Portugal for 183 days of the year or more and become a Portuguese tax resident, you might qualify for the non-habitual tax regime (NHR Program). With beneficial policies for income tax, property tax, capital gains, and investment income, this attractive program allows tax residents to enjoy generous tax reductions or, in some cases, total exemptions over a ten-year period.

Is NHR ending?

The State Budget Law for 2024 determined the end of the NHR regime from 1st January 2024. However, certain individuals can still apply up until 31st March 2025, and the scheme is being replaced by the Tax Incentive for Scientific Research and Innovation, which has now been implemented. To learn more, please refer to Is The Portugal NHR Ending?

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

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Portuguese Golden Visa Requirements

Who can apply for an investment visa in Portugal?

Anyone from outside the European Union can apply for an investment visa in Portugal, provided they have a clean criminal record.

Portugal Golden Visa eligibility criteria

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

To be eligible for the Portuguese investment visa program, individuals must:

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

You will also need to have a NIF number (Portuguese tax identification number), and it is recommended to open a Portuguese bank account for your Portuguese Golden Visa application. If you intend to live in Portugal full-time, you will need medical insurance. For more information on Portuguese health care and health insurance, please refer to this article.

Global Citizen Solutions can help you to set up a Portuguese bank account and get a NIF remotely.

Minimum Investment Requirements for Citizenship in Portugal

To apply for the Golden Visa Scheme, it’s necessary to make a qualifying investment in Portugal. Please note that you can no longer make a real estate investment to qualify for Portugal Golden Visas.

The Portuguese citizenship by investment program, as it currently stands, allows you to opt for any of the following Golden Visa investment options:

Investment funds

Investing in private equity funds or the Portuguese Golden Visa venture capital fund units is a good option for acquiring residency in Portugal. The funds are managed by 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 within the eligibility scope of the Golden Visa. 

For the investment fund option, a capital transfer into Portuguese investment funds or venture capital funds to the amount of or greater than €500,000 is needed to procure legal residency in Portugal.

Keep in mind that the Portugal Golden Visa investment funds cannot be directly or indirectly connected to real estate. 

Arts and culture

Donating or investing a minimum of €250,000 into qualified projects in Portuguese Arts, National Heritage, or Culture.  

Please note that you will need to make a qualifying investment in an eligible project, which will need to be pre-approved by the Portuguese government through GEPAC. 

Company set-up

Foreign entrepreneurs and investors can establish or invest in existing businesses in Portugal. This investment may involve creating new jobs. 

There are three investment options in this category: 

  • Incorporate a company in Portugal, with a share capital of €500,00, plus creating five permanent jobs  
  • Increase the share capital of an existing Portuguese company by €500,00 and fulfill the job requirements as stipulated by the Portuguese Government.  

Scientific research option

Portugal Golden Visa investors can also make a capital transfer equal to or more than €500,000 in research activities in science or technology conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technological system. 

Creation of 10 jobs

Creation of 10 jobs in a Portuguese company. 

Getting a Portuguese Citizenship & Passport Through The Golden Visa

Before acquiring a Portuguese passport, you must obtain Portuguese Golden Visa citizenship, which can be obtained by Golden Visa holders who complete the five-year residency requirement.

Owing to a change in Portuguese residency law, to apply for a passport through naturalization, you do not have to be physically resident in Portugal for the minimum five-year period. You simply must have a valid residence permit during this time frame.

As a Portuguese passport holder, you can enjoy several benefits, such as visa free access or visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries. Visa free travel from obtaining Portuguese citizenship by investment is one of the key benefits of the scheme, as you will have greater personal freedoms.

Portuguese citizens also have complete access to live, work, and study in any country in the European Union.

Portugal citizenship by investment requirements

Acquiring Portuguese citizenship can be achieved by Portugal Golden Visa applicants over five years. Here is a rundown of the Portuguese citizenship eligibility criteria:

  • To qualify for Portuguese citizenship, you must average a stay of seven days per year over a five-year period in Portugal.
  • You must have a clean record of criminal history is necessary
  • All taxes in Portugal must be settled without outstanding balances
  • You have to pass a Portuguese language examination.

In order to apply for Portuguese citizenship by investment, you will also need the following:

  • The correct forms must be completed
  • Birth certificate, ID, or valid 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 (AIMA, formerly SEF) confirming that you have been a Portuguese resident for a minimum of five years

Check the IRN site for more information.

Portuguese citizenship by investment language requirements

In order to obtain Portuguese citizenship, investors must pass a simple A2 language test. The Portuguese citizenship language test, called CIPLE, tests applicants’ ability to understand and use everyday Portuguese expressions.

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.

Take a look at our article on the Portuguese language test for citizenship for more information about what the test consists of and where you can take it.

How do you go about getting citizenship in Portugal?

The online application for Portuguese nationality is open to individuals aged 18 and above who have resided in Portugal for a minimum of five years if submitted by a lawyer or solicitor. If the applicant submits their application themselves, they are required to go to the Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs, the Central Registry Office in Lisbon, their local Portuguese consulate, or any of the other places in this list.

How much does Portugal citizenship by investment cost?

The main cost of getting Portuguese citizenship through investment is, of course, the investment itself, starting from €200,000 for an investment into an artistic production or a national cultural heritage project in a low density area.

The citizenship application fee ranges from €175 to €250.

In general, the Portuguese passport costs just €65 to obtain if you are applying for Portuguese citizenship in the Portuguese territory. If you are, for example, in the United States, then the passport costs around €100 to obtain.

For more information on becoming a Portuguese citizen, make sure to read this guide: How To Get Portuguese Citizenship.

How long does it take to get citizenship by investment in Portugal?

Once you’ve successfully completed the Portugal Golden Visa application process, you’ll receive your Golden Visa residence card, which is valid for two years and can be renewed for two years at a time.

After five years with the Portugal investment visa, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship and then apply for a Portuguese passport. In order to apply for citizenship, investors must also complete the Portuguese language citizenship test, which can be done at any time before the application. The process of getting Portuguese citizenship by investment through the Portugal Golden Visa consists of several stages. The timeline is as follows:

Year 0

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Initial Golden Visa card issued, now valid for two years

Year 2

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Residency permit needs to be renewed, valid for two years

Year 4

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Residency permit needs to be renewed, valid for two years

Year 5

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Both permanent residency and citizenship may be requested, otherwise Golden Visa will need to be renewed in year six

Ways To Get Portuguese Citizenship

Here are ways to obtain Portuguese citizenship:

  1. Descent or birth
  2. Naturalization after five years of residence (through schemes like the Portugal Golden Visa)
  3. Marriage to a Portuguese citizen. Individuals who have been in a non-marital partnership with a Portuguese national for over three years are also eligible to apply.
  4. Being a citizen of a former Portuguese overseas territory
  5. Adoption

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

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Dual citizenship and Portuguese nationality

It is possible to acquire Portuguese citizenship and retain other nationalities at the same time, as in Portugal, there are no restrictions on dual nationality. However, you must check that your country also permits dual citizenship.

Why choose Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa?

  • Global approach by local experts: A team of experienced local case executives, immigration lawyers, and investment specialists based in Portugal.
  • Independent service:We are not a marketing agency for any projects. You will access all eligible routes for the Golden Visa, with over 40 vetted qualifying investment options, so you can decide on the best option for you.
  • 100% approval rate: We have the unique distinction of never having had a Golden Visa case rejected and have helped hundreds of clients from more than 35 countries.
  • All-encompassing solution: Our dedicated onboarding and immigration teams will assist you throughout the process and beyond with a single channel of communication. 
  • Transparency: Our fees are clear and detailed, covering the entire process with no hidden costs. 
  • Privacy: Your personal data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server.

To see the full list of reasons why to work with Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa, you can find out more here: Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your Golden Visa Portugal Application?

Frequently Asked Questions about Citizenship by Investment in Portugal

Is it possible to get Portuguese citizenship by investment?

It’s not possible to get Portuguese citizenship directly through investment. You must have a period of residency in Portugal first. Once you have a Golden Visa (a type of residency visa) for five years then you can apply for citizenship.

Can I buy Portuguese citizenship?

No, it is not possible to buy Portuguese citizenship, but you can obtain residency by investing in Portugal (through options such as an investment fund) and going through the Golden Visa process. After five years of legal residence with a Golden Visa residence permit, applying for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residence is possible.

How do I apply for a Portuguese passport?

In order to apply for a Portuguese passport, you must have all of the correct forms, as well as the following documents: Birth certificate, proof of passing the required Portuguese language test (CIPLE), passport Portuguese residence permit, criminal record certificate, document from AIMA proving you have been resident in Portugal for five-years You can make your application at a Loja do Cidadão or IRN office.

Do I have to relocate to Portugal to obtain citizenship?

You do not have to relocate to Portugal to be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, but you will need to have a valid residence permit while you stay. The Portuguese investment visa requires you to spend just seven days per year in the country and 14 days in every subsequent two-year period.

Do I have to renounce my citizenship to obtain a Portuguese passport?

Portugal allows dual citizenship, so it does not require you to renounce your citizenship to obtain Portuguese nationality. You must, however, check the laws of your own country, as some do not permit dual citizenship.

Why is the Portugal Golden Visa program so popular?

The Portugal Golden Visa program is one of the most successful of its kind in Europe. To find out why, take a look at our guide to the Portugal Golden Visa.

How can I get Portuguese citizenship?

In general, Portuguese citizenship can be acquired by having Portuguese parents or grandparents, by marriage or civil union, by birth, or by naturalization. When it comes to Portugal citizenship requirements, you will usually need to have passed a basic language test and hold a clean criminal record. If you opt to apply for citizenship through naturalization, you will need to have a residence permit that provides you with legal residence in the country for five years.

When it comes to residency, Portugal immigration with zero investment options includes the D7 Visa, the Digital Nomad Visa, or obtaining a work visa in Portugal.

How can I get Portugal citizenship by marriage?

A foreign person who has been married to or in a de facto partnership with a Portuguese citizen for more than three years has the right to Portuguese nationality and can begin their citizenship application.

How do I get Portuguese residency with the Golden Visa?

If you successfully apply for the Portugal Golden Visa program, you will then be able to live legally in Portugal. Benefits to Portuguese residency include the country’s high quality of life, excellent health care and education facilities, and incredible climate.

What is the easiest way to get citizenship in Portugal?

Probably the easiest way to secure Portuguese citizenship is if you are descended from Portuguese parents or grandparents. You can also apply for Portuguese citizenship if you have been married to or in a de facto partnership with a Portuguese citizen for more than three years. Aside from this, the Portuguese Golden Visa is a great way to secure residency in the country. After five years, provided you hold your investment for this time and fulfill all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Is it hard to get citizenship in Portugal?

Compared to other EU countries, it is relatively easy to get Portuguese citizenship. To do so, you must legally reside in the country for five years, have Portuguese descendants, or have been married to or in a de facto relationship with a Portuguese citizen.

What is the latest Portugal immigration news?

You can keep up with the latest Portugal immigration news on the AIMA website. AIMA replaced SEF as the Immigration and Border Service in Portugal. Portugal’s immigration policy generally welcomes foreigners moving to the country. For example, the Digital Nomad Visa launched in 2022 allows remote workers to live in Portugal, provided they meet the requirements. 

For updates related to the Golden Visa, you can consult our article on Golden Visa Changes, Updates, and New Rules for 2024. Note that the Golden Visa is coming to an end. If you are interested in applying to the program, you should lodge your application now.

How can I get citizenship in Portugal by investment?

You can obtain Portuguese citizenship through investment via the Golden Visa program. This program involves several investment options such investing in a Portuguese fund, or making a significant cultural contribution. 

After five years of maintaining the investment and spending an average of seven days per year in Portugal, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Note: It is no longer possible to qualify for the program with a real estate investment or a capital transfer.

What is the fastest way to get Portuguese citizenship?

The fastest way to acquire Portuguese citizenship is through the Golden Visa program. By investing in the country, either through Portuguese fund investment, scientific research, job creation, or a cultural contribution, you can apply for citizenship after five years.

However, you must also meet other requirements, including spending an average of seven days per year in Portugal and passing an A2-level Portuguese language test.

Can I get residency in Portugal if I buy a house?

No, since October 2023, it has not been possible to make a commercial or residential real estate investment to qualify for the Golden Visa Program in Portugal. Along with real estate, the capital transfer option has also been discontinued.

If you’re interested in investing in Portugal for citizenship, you can consider other Golden Visa routes, such as subscribing to an investment fund, investing in an artistic or cultural heritage project or scientific research, job creation, or via the company setup option.

Can a US citizen become a citizen of Portugal?

Yes, a U.S. citizen can indeed become a citizen of Portugal. This can be achieved through the Golden Visa program, which involves making a qualifying investment in Portugal and fulfilling other requirements such as passing a basic Portuguese language test, spending an average of seven days per year in Portugal over a five-year period, and having no criminal record or unpaid taxes in Portugal.

After meeting these conditions, a U.S. citizen can apply for Portuguese citizenship. 

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