How to get citizenship by investment in Portugal

Over the past ten years, Portugal’s Golden Visa has become one of the most successful residency by investment programs in Europe. The program will surpass the €5 bn mark in early 2020, making Portugal investment immigration one of the most popular in the world. But now applicants are wondering, is Portugal citizenship by investment possible?

Change in law makes Portugal citizenship by investment possible after 5 years

After a change to Portuguese residency law last year, the first Portuguese residency investors are now gaining Portuguese citizenship. There had been some doubt in recent years as to whether the Golden Visa residence permit counts for the 5-year permanent residency requirement for citizenship, however, it has now been confirmed that applicants can obtain Portuguese passports after fulfilling the 35-day stay requirement over 5 years.

Is Portugal passport investment worth it?

The fact that investors do not have to relocate in order to obtain citizenship is one of the biggest advantages of the Portuguese passport by investment.

Portugal residency investment program is one of the most successful in Europe

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 program has remained consistently popular in comparison to similar schemes in Europe. Moreover, Portugal offers multiple and profitable investment routes leading to Portuguese citizenship.

Investors don’t have to relocate in Portugal

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 passport by investment requires investors to spend just 7 days per year in the country, and 35 days in total.

Investment options in Portugal are inexpensive

One of the other factors that have made Portugal citizenship by investment popular in Europe is the inexpensive investment options. Despite the high quality of life and a stable economy, Portugal’s real estate market is diverse and far cheaper than other countries in Western Europe.

Starting investments for the Portugal Golden Visa can be made starting at just €280,000, and there are a number of different options to choose from, whether you choose to invest in Portuguese real estate, or other increasingly popular routes such as Portuguese investment funds. 

High returns for 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 rental in the country, particularly in cities such as Lisbon and Porto.

Portugal generous tax incentives

Portuguese Golden Visa investors also qualify for Portugal’s non-habitual tax regime (NHR), which allows those who make Portugal passport investments to enjoy generous tax reductions or in some cases total exemptions over a 10-year period.

Take a look at our guide to the Portugal NHR for more information.

How to get a Portuguese passport by investment

Portuguese Golden Visa citizenship can be obtained by those who complete the 5-year residency requirement. Owing to a change in Portuguese residency law, in order to apply for a Portuguese passport through naturalization you do not have to be physically resident in Portugal for the minimum 5 year period, you simply must have a valid residence permit during this time.

Portuguese investment visa requirements

There are a number of requirements that investors must comply with in order to apply for and maintain a Portuguese investment visa.

  • Make and maintain an investment of at least €250,000 in Portugal. This investment can be made through a number of different routes, although Portuguese real estate residency is the most popular of all, accounting for over 90% of all investments made through the Portugal residence permit program.
  • Fulfill the minimum “stay requirement” of 7 days per year

Who can apply for an investment visa in Portugal?

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

Buying property in Portugal and citizenship

It is possible to buy property in Portugal and obtain citizenship after 5 years of maintained investment. In order to buy property in Portugal and get residency, you must invest in a qualifying property.

Properties which qualify for the program are:

Portugal property investment visaARU property investment visa

  • Buying property in Portugal worth at least €500,000 (reduced to €400,000 if located in a low-density area).
  • Buying an ARU-eligible property (Area of Urban Rehabilitation) in Portugal worth at least €350,000 (reduced to €280,000 if located in a low-density area).

To find out more about Portuguese investment visa requirements, take a look at our ultimate guide to the Golden Visa program.

Portugal citizenship by investment requirements

In order to get citizenship by investment in Portugal, you must fulfill the residency requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa program, which is 7 days per year or 35 days over 5 years. You also must have a clean criminal record before you apply for the Portuguese investment visa, and not commit a crime punishable by a jail sentence during the 5-year residence before you obtain citizenship. You will also need to take a simple language test to prove that you have sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.

In order to apply for Portugal citizenship by investment, you will need:

  • The correct forms
  • Birth certificate (if possible)
  • Proof of passing the required Portuguese language test (CIPLE)
  • Passport
  • Portuguese residence permit
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Document from SEF proving you have been resident in Portugal for 5 years

Check the IRN site for more information.

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

After five years with the Portugal investment visa, you can 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. Take a look below at the Portuguese citizenship by investment timeline.

 

YEAR 0
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GOLDEN VISA ISSUED, NOW VALID FOR 2 YEARS

YEAR 1
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YEAR 2
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RESIDENCY PERMIT NEEDS TO BE RENEWED. VALID FOR 2 YEARS

YEAR 3
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YEAR 4
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RESIDENCY PERMIT NEEDS TO BE RENEWED. VALID FOR 2 YEARS

YEAR 5
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BOTH PERMANENT RESIDENCY AND CITIZENSHIP MAY BE REQUESTED OTHERWISE GV WILL NEED TO BE RENEWED IN YEAR 6

Portuguese citizenship by investment language requirements

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

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.

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.

 

Frequently asked questions about Portugal citizenship by investment

Can I buy Portuguese citizenship?

It is not possible to buy Portuguese citizenship, but you can obtain residency through investing in Portugal, and subsequently apply for citizenship.

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 (if possible) Proof of passing the required Portuguese language test (CIPLE) Passport Portuguese residence permit Criminal record certificate Document from SEF proving you have been resident in Portugal for 5 years You can make your application at a Loja do Cidadão or IRN office.

Do I have to relocate to Portugal to obtain citizenship?

If you obtain Portugal citizenship by investment, you do not have to relocate to Portugal. The Portuguese investment visa only requires you to spend 35 days in total over the 5 year period in order to obtain citizenship.

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

Portugal does not require you to renounce your citizenship in order 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.