Ladeira Portugal LisbonPortugal’s Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program introduced by the Portuguese government in 2012 to attract foreign investment. This attractive scheme allows non-European Union nationals to live and work in Portugal in exchange for a qualifying investment.

While there are several eligible pathways to securing Portuguese residency, investing in Portugal Golden Visa properties has historically been the most popular route.

However, due to significant changes in the law, residential real estate investments (including commercial real estate investment) and certain types of capital transfers no longer qualify for Golden Visa investments.

Fortunately, several attractive investment options qualify for the Golden Visa, such as venture capital funds and Portugal’s cultural production contributions.

This article will discuss the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa scheme and some of the alternative investment options available.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • The latest Portugal Golden Visa changes
  • Portugal Golden Visa real estate investment options for 2024
  • Requirements for investments

What is Portugal's Golden Visa Program?

Portugal’s high quality of life, gorgeous climate, and tax incentive schemes make seeking Portuguese residency in this stunning European nation worth it.

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program is an attractive residency-by-investment program that rewards non-EU nationals with a temporary residence permit in exchange for qualifying investments in the country – that’s not real estate.

To be eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa program, applicants need to meet certain conditions:

  • Be either non-EU, non-Swiss, or non-EEA nationals
  • Proof of  bank account and their source of  investment funds (there’s a minimum investment amount of €250,000)
  • Have a clean criminal record that proves the absence of conviction in a crime punishable in Portugal for one year or more
  • Spend a minimum of 14 days in Portugal for each two-year period (this is called the stay requirement)

With a Portuguese residence card, you can legally live, work, and study in Portugal, with the option to become a permanent resident and apply for citizenship in Portugal after five years.


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

Portuguese Golden Visa Benefits

Think of a lifestyle upgrade, excellent weather, friendly people, and proximity to the coast. These are just some of the reasons why non-EU nationals are coming to Portugal in droves as Golden Visa applicants.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some extra benefits of securing this visa and gaining residency in a stunning, peaceful European country.

  • Acquire EU residency with visa-free travel to Europe and the Schengen Area.
  • Portuguese citizenship (essentially EU citizenship) can be granted after five years, provided you meet all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law (pass a basic language test, hold clean criminal records), and maintain your investment during this period.
  • Despite the end of the Golden Visa Portugal real estate pathway and the capital transfer option, several attractive investment options remain on the table.
  • Immediate family members are eligible for Portugal’s Golden Visa Program.
  • Live and work in Portugal.
  • The minimum stay requirement is just seven days during the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years.
  • With the Portugal Golden Visa, you could be eligible for Portugal’s NHR tax regime.

About the Former Portugal Golden Visa Real Estate Investment

If you wanted the Atlantic Ocean as your swimming pool by buying property in Portugal, this is unfortunately no longer possible. As of 7 October 2023, new legislation eliminated the residential properties for the Portugal Golden Visa from the city center to the rural, seaside towns

Prior to this, there was a number of real estate investment routes available for Golden Visa investors:

  • Real estate purchases in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the residential property was located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, a 20 percent discount would apply (amounting to €400,000 and €280,000, respectively).
  • They could buy commercial real estate anywhere in Portugal worth €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the commercial property was located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20 percent discount would apply.
  • Purchasing residential real estate or commercial properties anywhere on the Portuguese autonomous islands of Madeira and Azores, worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project.

This Golden Visa Portugal real estate map shows all the real estate routes (including investing in residential and commercial real estate) that were available to investors before the changes.

Map of golden visa Portugal

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

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Why isn't real estate acquisition available for Golden Visa investors?

The adjustment in Portugal’s Golden Visa program, particularly regarding the exclusion of commercial and residential real estate, was a response to the country’s housing challenges.

The rapid influx of foreign investment, particularly in residential properties, had contributed to rising property prices in certain areas, making homeownership increasingly unattainable for local residents. This phenomenon exacerbated existing housing affordability issues and created concerns about the social and economic impact of foreign investment on local communities.

To address these challenges, the Portuguese government reevaluated the Golden Visa program and opted to restrict real estate investment options. By doing so, they aimed to mitigate speculative investment in the housing market and alleviate pressure on housing affordability, thereby promoting greater social inclusion and sustainable development.

While residential and/or commercial real estate investments are no longer available, you can still secure a Golden Visa in Portugal by investing in investment funds or cultural production. We’ll explore these investment options in the section below.

Golden Visa Investment Pathways: Alternatives To Real Estate Purchases

Fund<br> Subscription
Make a contribution to a qualified investment fund worth at least €500,000
Scientific<br> Research
Science or technology research contribution of at least €500,000
Job<br> Creation
Company incorporation and creation of ten jobs amounting to a minimum value of €500,000
Cultural Investment
Cultural Investment
Support the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with an investment of at least €250,000 (or €200,000 if located in a designated low-density area)

Golden Visa Fund investment subscription

As investing in Portugal real estate for residency through property is no longer available, investment funds are an excellent option to consider. In recent years, this investment type has been increasingly popular amongst Americans.

To be eligible for the program through the investment fund route, foreign investors must transfer a minimum investment amount of €500,000 into a Portuguese investment fund or venture capital fund. These funds should primarily focus on providing capital to companies incorporated under Portuguese law, with a required minimum maturity period of five years at the time of investment.

Regarding the residency requirement, individuals seeking the Golden Visa must spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year of their investment and, subsequently, a minimum of 14 days for each two-year period following the initial year.

To retain your residence permit, you must maintain your investment activity over the entire five-year period. After five years, you can apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.

For further details on the various investment options available, please refer to our comprehensive article: Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund.

Scientific research

scientific-research-This Golden Visa option requires a minimum investment of €500,000 towards cutting-edge research projects, from medical breakthroughs to environmental solutions.

The research project must be conducted by public or private scientific organizations that are part of the national scientific and technological system.

The other eligibility requirements for this option are:

  • Investment duration: Maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years.
  • Project eligibility: The research project should focus on areas of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) aligning with Portugal’s strategic priorities.
  • Legality and transparency: The investment must be made through legal channels and be transparent and verifiable.

Job creation

This option requires a minimum investment of €350,000 in a Portugal-registered company or creating ten full-time jobs amounting to a minimum value of €500,000. This requirement is reduced to eight full-time jobs in Portugal’s low-density areas. These jobs must be in line with Portugal’s labor and social security standards.

The other eligibility requirements for this route are:

  • Job retention: Maintain the created jobs for a minimum period of three years.
  • Business viability: Establish or invest in a company that has a viable business plan and the potential to generate sustainable employment.
  • Legality and transparency: Ensure that the investment and business operations comply with all applicable laws and regulations in Portugal.

Cultural investment

Qualifying cultural production projects, that are approved by the Portuguese government are eligible for the Golden Visa. This option carries a minimum investment requirement of  €250,000.

To qualify via this pathway, you need to either invest in an artistic project—a Portuguese feature film, for example, could qualify—or make a non-refundable donation to a foundation of national heritage and cultural significance.

If the project is based in low-density areas in Portugal, then there is a 20 percent discount, making the minimum investment requirement amount €200,000.

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements

To qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have a clean criminal record. A lawyer should analyze your case if you don’t have a clean criminal record.
  • Be either non-EU, non-Swiss, or non-EEA national
  • Minimum investment of €250,000, with a range of investment routes to choose from
  • Spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal, guaranteeing a total of 14 days during the validity of each residence card (issued with a validity of 2 years)

Minimum stay requirement

The Golden Visa requires investors to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal, guaranteeing 14 days during the validity of each residence card (issued with a validity of 2 years).

Golden Visa investment requirement

Golden Visa holders must to present supporting evidence that they have invested the minimum amount required. A declaration of honor compromising to maintain the investment for five years is also needed.

Required documents

The following documents are required to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa program:

  • Portugal Golden Visa application form
  • Copy of a valid passport and travel documents
  • Declaration from your bank in Portugal confirming the transfer of funds from abroad
  • Proof of health insurance in Portugal (only required if the investor resides in Portugal)
  • A background check or a police clearance letter from your country of origin
  • A declaration of honor compromising to maintain the investment for five years
  • Documents showing a good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority
  • Document showing non-enrollment or a good standing with the Social Security
  • 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.

NIF number and Portuguese bank account

You must obtain a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) to get a Portuguese Golden Visa. The NIF is your tax identification number, assigned by the Portuguese tax authorities. It is essential for various transactions like opening a bank account, buying property, signing contracts, and paying taxes.

You can apply for an NIF by visiting a local tax office, Citizen Shop, or through a legal representative. However, getting an appointment can be challenging due to long queues.

The Golden Visa requires a qualifying investment, which must be maintained for five years. You’ll be required to open a Portuguese bank account to do that. Global Citizen Solutions can introduce you to an English-speaking banker in Portugal who can help you open an account before you arrive in the country.

Investing in Portuguese Property in 2024

Pros of working with a property management company in FaroWhile you can no longer invest in residential real estate for a Golden Visa, you can still buy property as an investment in Portugal. Investing in Portuguese real estate remains an attractive option due to several factors.

Portugal offers a stable and growing real estate market. Over the past decade, residential property prices have significantly increased, particularly in popular cities like Lisbon and Porto. Despite this, property prices in Portugal are still relatively affordable compared to other European countries, making it an appealing destination for investors.

When considering where to invest in Portuguese property, cities like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region are often top choices. Lisbon, the capital city, offers a vibrant cultural scene, historical charm, and a thriving economy, making it an attractive location for tourists and investors. 

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and growing tech industry. 

The Algarve region in southern Portugal is famous for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and excellent golf courses. It is a popular destination for both holidaymakers and property investors.

Portuguese real estate investments can offer investors a stable and potentially lucrative opportunity. With its growing economy, attractive lifestyle, and relatively affordable property prices, Portugal is desirable for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

If you are interested in securing a second home or even relocating to Portugal, we can help. Our real estate division, Goldcrest, is an independent buyer’s agent in Portugal. They work solely for the buyer, providing on-the-ground support in property scouting, matching, and securing property. This means that the Goldcrest property investment team knows exactly where to look, whether you’re looking for real estate with a swimming pool or property in an urban area. From your first step to the down payment and even guidance on how to pay taxes – they’re the team to call.

How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help You?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration 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 have helped hundreds of clients worldwide acquire citizenship, residence visas, or homes while diversifying their portfolios with robust investments. 

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Portugal Golden Visa Properties

What Portugal Golden Visa properties can I buy?

It is no longer possible to make a real estate investment to become eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa. Portugal still has a thriving residential property market, offering greater value for money than other countries in Western Europe.

Why invest in property for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Investing in residential property is no longer a valid option for obtaining the Portugal Golden Visa. However, now that property investment is ineligible, many other options exist, including investment funds and cultural production.

What are some of the benefits of the Golden Visa program for Portugal?

Key benefits include acquiring permanent residency and, potentially, citizenship after five years (provided you fulfill all the criteria), and the program facilitates family reunions, meaning that your family members can be included in the application.

Portugal also has a high quality of life and progressive legislation.

How long can you stay in Portugal with the Portugal Golden Visa?

With a Portugal Golden Visa, you can maintain your residence permit as long as you stay in the country for seven days in the first year, followed by 14 days in each subsequent two-year period.

Can you get a Portuguese passport with the Golden Visa?

You’ll first secure temporary residence for yourself. With the renewal of your visa permit in the fifth year, you’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship and a passport.

Put simply, the Portugal Golden Visa process can ultimately can grant you citizenship through naturalization, provided you maintain your investment for five years and fulfill all the requirements under Portuguese nationality law.

What are the rules for Golden Visa qualifying investments in 2024?

In 2024, the investment options are:

  • Fund subscription: Make a contribution to a qualified investment fund worth at least €500,000 
  • Investment or donation in the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with a donation of at least €250,000; the minimum investment is reduced to €2500,000 if the project is located in a low-density area
  • Scientific research: Science or Technology research contribution of at least €500,000 (20 percent discount if located in a low-density area)
  • Creation of ten jobs: Creation and maintenance of ten jobs during the required period 
  • Share capital and job creation: Incorporation of a company or reinforcement of a company’s share capital, in either case with an investment of €500,000, combined with the creation of five or maintaining ten jobs (five of them permanent).

Are Algarve Golden Visa properties still eligible?

The Golden Visa program no longer accepts residential real estate investments as a qualifying option. Although buying properties in the Algarve is no longer a viable way to qualify for the program, the region remains popular among people who are interested in buying holiday homes as well as investors who intend to secure additional rental income.

Are Portugal Golden Visa properties in Lisbon still eligible?

Real estate investment is no longer considered an eligible option for becoming a Golden Visa holder. However, buying property in Lisbon remains popular because the city is very livable and provides a high quality of life. It’s also an attractive place to buy real estate for those seeking rental income, particularly because the city is a hub for digital nomads.

Has the Golden Visa Portugal been suspended?

No, only the requirements for investment have changed. The option to purchase residential real estate or commercial real estate is no longer available. Now, the program remains operational but rather with other investment options available.

How much do you have to spend on a property in Portugal to get the Golden Visa?

You can’t get a Portugal Golden Visa by purchasing a property. As of 7 October 2023, Portuguese real estate (including commercial and residential property investments) no longer qualifies.

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

No. As of 7 October 2023, you can no longer apply for residency if you buy residential real estate in Portugal. In case you want to apply for the Portuguese Golden Permit, you can explore other avenues such as subscribing to an investment fund or investing in cultural projects.

What properties qualify for Portugal Golden Visa?

Property purchase is no longer eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa. Therefore, commercial and residential real estate investments don’t qualify for the program anymore.

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