Portugal Golden Visa Guide

Golden Visa Portugal : Our Complete Guide for 2022

Golden Visa Portugal, Online Application

About Golden Visa Portugal

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program has benefitted investors all over the world, allowing them to achieve their dream of Portuguese residency and citizenship through property investment.

If you’re a third party national from outside of the EU and EFTA, and looking for residency in Lisbon, Portugal, then a Portuguese Golden Visa is just what you need.

At Property Lisbon we offer a fantastic range of Portugal Golden Visa compliant Properties for 2022, this includes the low-density 280k, The 350k Lisbon touristic Apartments, and the 500k Commercial properties all over Portugal. For those looking for residential properties, we have over 600 handpicked quality options that will allow you to live your dream lifestyle as an investor in Lisbon and beyond.

With a Golden Visa in Portugal you and your family can live and work permanently in Portugal, as well as benefiting from free movement in the wider Schengen area – this shortcut to EU citizenship is too good an opportunity to pass up.

New 2022 Rules for the Golden Visa scheme

January 1st 2022 brought with it changes to Portuguese Golden Visa scheme.

These breath-taking locations are ripe for investors to access the country’s outstanding commercial, cultural, and financial opportunities, making property investment in Portugal your best route to residency in the country.

Of course, if your heart is set on Lisbon, Portugal, then freehold Lisbon Apartments with a touristic license or a commercial property are hugely advantageous to investors. A touristic licence lasts for at least ten years and is required for properties such as serviced apartments. Note, to qualify for a Golden Visa in Portugal, the property must not be the investor’s main residence, but this can be changed after you obtain your second passport in Portugal.

While there are now some changes simply around the residential real estate investment route, if you dream of owning a beautiful villa or a modern condo, there are still many fantastic regions outside of Lisbon where properties to live in are eligible for the program. Note some of our GV properties do offer generous personal usage plans which can be negotiated to meet your needs.

All year round, tourists flock to Portugal, making a holiday rental property in Lisbon, or even other popular tourist destinations such as The Silver Coast or the Algarve, a fantastic investment opportunity.

Portugal Golden Visa - Map of Eligibility

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements 2022

Want to know more about becoming a Portuguese resident or citizen? Looking to invest in a thriving real estate market? Or perhaps build a new life under the sun in an idyllic location?

This guide contains all the essential and up to date information you need to know about the program, from which properties are eligible to 2022 changes, from the types of investment pathways to the steps you need to take.

Portugal is the perfect place for investors.

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Residency Permits issued between 2012 and 2021 for property investments
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Residency permits for pursuing investment activities (ARI)

There are some important legalities you need to complete during the process of getting your Golden Visa, however these are all surprisingly straightforward. Your application process will look a little bit like this:

  1. Decide on your investment type – most investors choose real estate, as it’s by far the best course and you’ll have a property to show for it at the end of the process
  2. Get your documents together – we suggest consulting an advisor for this, particularly if you know that you’re going to encounter a language barrier
  3. Get a NIF number and open a Portuguese bank account – you can even leave this step for your solicitor to sort out for you
  4. Make your investment and then submit your pre-application
  5. Get your SEF appointment in your calendar
  6. Obtain that Golden Visa you’ve always wanted

It’s that simple.

And, when you’re applying for a Golden Visa for Portugal, you only need to spend 7 days increasing to 14 a year.

We go into further details in this guide, but you shouldn’t be put off by the thought of tedious paperwork and long, drawn out process. If you have the capital to invest and your ambition to follow, then getting your Golden Visa is easy.

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Available Golden Visa Portugal Investment Opportunities in Lisbon

So how can you make the most of the Golden Visa program?

There are several options available to those looking to qualify, and each comes with its own pros and cons. For aspiring Golden Visa investors, the options available are as follows:

  • Investment Funds
  • Capital Transfer
  • Business Investment and Job Creation
  • Research and Development
  • Arts, Culture, and National Heritage Donations
  • Real Estate Investment

Real estate investment is by far the most popular route for applicants looking to qualify for the Golden Visa program. It is also the field in which we at Property Lisbon are experts.

However, our comprehensive Portugal Golden Visa Guide 2022 would be far from complete without a breakdown of the alternative investment options – find out more below.

Investment Options in Portugal

What is the Portugal Golden Visa Program?

Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program (ARI) is a citizenship by investment scheme that encourages investment into the country from buyers outside the EU, in return for the right to live, work and trade in Portugal.

Here’s how it works:

Once you invest in the country, either through qualifying capital transfer, investment funds or (most commonly) property investment, you become eligible for the Golden Visa. This is the first step in an immigration route which temporarily grants you the right to reside in Portugal, with the ability to apply to make this status permanent after five years. After six years, you are also eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

The program unlocks several fantastic personal, financial and business opportunities, for both you and your family – under the rules of Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, investors’ family members including your spouse and any children under 18 may apply to join you.

The program was launched in October 2012, just a four years after the 2008 financial crisis. Having faced great fiscal difficulty during this time, the Portuguese government was keen to rebuild, reinvest and redevelop the country’s economy. Hence, this visa program was created as an ingenious strategy to stimulate investment. With the obtainment of international capital as their main objective, the program targeted wealthy investors and was launched to great success, having had a fantastic impact on the Portuguese economy – as of 2022, it has generated over €6 billion in revenue, and welcomed over 10,000 Golden Visa investors to the country.

And in addition to the financial capital the scheme has injected into the country’s economy, a Golden Visa for Portugal also offers applicants an incredible opportunity to invest in property in one of Europe’s most desirable locations and enjoy a beautifully balanced lifestyle, where everything from the climate to the cuisine is sublime and idyllic.

Throughout this guide, we’ll explore the many ways to obtain residency in Portugal through Golden Visa investment – the most popular of these of course being property investment, in which we at Property Lisbon specialize – as well as the wealth of benefits investors can enjoy from the scheme.

And though there may be many ways to qualify for the program, the category of real estate investment is the most commonly chosen. In itself, property investment in Portugal offers investors a range of diverse opportunities in the Portuguese property market, all of which serve as fantastic and prosperous routes to residency. And although the Golden Visa rules may have undergone certain changes as of 2022, Portugal’s real estate market is still ripe with potential for those looking to live in the country or capitalize on its bustling tourist trade.

Read on to discover how to take the first step on your Portugal Golden Visa journey.

Apartments eligible for a Portuguese Golden Visa
Apartments eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal
Commercial Property Golden Visa in Portugal

Investors may acquire residency in Portugal by investing in private equity funds or venture capital funds – these are managed by accredited fund managers who ensure the investments are properly managed. These funds may contribute to budding project start-ups, which could see you investing far more than the minimum – the option to qualify for a Golden Visa through investment funds starts at €500,000 – and as with any investment of this nature, there is a significant degree of risk and no guarantees for return on investment.

Less than three percent of investors choose this route to qualify for the Golden Visa.

Some investors may choose to qualify for the scheme by transferring capital to a Portuguese bank account in order to qualify.

Despite sounding simple, it is the most expensive of all routes with a €1.5 million minimum investment – this may be more than a lot of investors are willing to spend.

Golden Visa investors with entrepreneurial ambitions may qualify for the program by purchasing shares in a Portuguese company or setting up a company of their own. Some of the sectors in which an investor may choose to set up a company include energy, technology, or industry – these are amongst the fields most commonly thriving in Portugal at current.

The minimum amount to invest in a business to acquire a Golden Visa is €500,000 – other conditions include that the company generates a minimum of five permanent jobs for the duration of at least three years. Alternatively, investors who choose to create a company of their own must with it create at least ten full-time jobs (or eight in a low-density area).

There are several impacting drawbacks that make this a less popular route – for instance, maintenance of this investment for five years will require a significant amount of work and may also require you to spend a lot of time within Portugal, counter-intuitive to the flexibility of the Golden Visa. If you’re looking to attain residency in Portugal but don’t intend to spend long periods of time in the country, this investment route may not be for you.

Invest in public or private scientific research in Portugal

Starting from €500,000, this gives investors the opportunity to qualify in return to investment into scientific research and development in Portugal.

This option has become more expensive since the 2022 changes and isn’t particularly growing in popularity amongst investors, partly due to its limited potential for return on investment.

Requiring a minimum of €250,000, this option allows the investor to qualify through investment into Portugal’s arts and culture sector, or alternatively in the restoration and protection of national heritage projects.

This route has been the least popular since the program began. This is because, as with research & development donations, it tends not to yield a high return on investment for those who want to make the most of the program in terms of profit as well as citizenship. 

Real estate options for Portugal Golden Visa

Naturally we are great advocates of property investment for Golden Visa applicants and offer routes that range from ranging from €280,000 investments to €500,000 investments.

And this route will yield a vast array of benefits for any investor, as explored in this guide. Investors into the Portuguese property market can take full advantage of the country’s tourist trade through commercial and rental opportunities, as well as the benefits of personal residential investment.

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Changes in 2022 for a Portuguese Golden Visa

As of January 1st 2022, the Portugal Golden Visa investment program has changed, meaning that your investment route might look a little different.

And while the scheme remains one of the most popular and accessible in the world, prospective investors should be aware of the changes before embarking on their journey.

It’s also worth noting that as of 2022, much of the initial application process now takes place online (you can find out more about this in our section on the Golden Visa application process below), and the criteria for many of the qualifying investments (including real estate) has changed.

Below is a brief breakdown of the changes for each qualifying investment.

Portugal Golden Visa Locations

There are many ways to invest in order to qualify for a Portuguese Golden Visa, but property investment is by far the most popular, with up to 90% of investors choosing this route.

As detailed below, there are varying levels of real estate investment – costs for these depend upon factors such as the age, condition, and location of the property.

Prior to 2022, the real estate rules for a Golden Visa in Portugal were as follows:

Real estate investments in any region of Portugal over €500,000 automatically qualified for the Portugal Golden Visa

Investments of €400,00 in low-density areas would also qualify for the Golden Visa

In 2016-2017, the €350,000 level of investment for low-density areas was introduced for properties in need of redevelopment that were older than 30 years old – this figure is inclusive of the cost of the property plus renovation

For Golden Visa investments in low-density regions, investors were required to spend a minimum amount of €280,000. Again, properties matching this criteria these criteria must also be over 30 years old and requiring of renovation to qualify

However, it is important to note that under the 2022 Golden Visa changes, residential properties in some of the most popular regions, including Lisbon, Porto and the Silver Coast will no longer be eligible. Investors looking to qualify with properties in these regions will be required to invest in licensed commercial and touristic properties.

This is because, since its introduction in 2012, the program has successfully stimulated investment, revenue, and development in these regions, and with the new changes, the Portuguese government aims to bring the focus of investors into inland regions of the country, as well as the islands of Azores and Madeira.

Previously, the minimum amount of investment required to qualify through this method was €350,000.

However, since January 1st2022, this amount has been increased to €500,000 for all investment fund routes, raising the stakes for this fairly risky method.

As with investment funds, many investors choose to invest financial capital into research and development programs within Portugal in order to qualify for the Golden Visa.

Historically, this has been one of the least popular options, as it is less likely to yield tangible returns on investment. And unfortunately, as with other investment opportunities, this route is also growing more expensive, with the minimum qualifying investment amount being increased from €350,000 to €500,000.

The minimum investment for this route was formerly €1m, and as of 2022 has now increased to €1.5m, making it by default the most expensive option for investors looking to qualify for the program.

For entrepreneurs, the biggest change comes from the job creation route, which offers citizenship in return for investment in or creation of a company which creates at least ten local jobs, or an investment amount of €350k – the minimum number of jobs will remain at ten, but the investment amount will increase to €500k.

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How will the Golden Visa Portugal 2022 changes affect me and my application?

As noted above, if your application was submitted on or before 31st December 2021, these changes won’t apply to you, and your investment (and future application renewals) will still fall under the old rules.

Otherwise, you could be facing a more costly investment if you choose routes such as capital transfer or investment funds.

Alternatively, although location restrictions now apply for property investment, real estate remains for many investors the most cost-effective choice, and in the long-term, the most lucrative one too. With many Low-Density Golden Visa regions of Portugal anticipating a tourist boom, and many travelers favoring a more authentic experience over the more densely populated and traveler-catered regions of the country, property investment is still rich with opportunity whatever your ambitions.

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Why Choose To Live in Portugal?

Portuguese Passport

Portugal’s Golden Visa, or ARI, is one of many citizenship or permanent residency through investment schemes around the world. These programs are designed to drive investment into countries from international buyers.

But with a number of such programs on offer in a range of international locations, why are so many investors flocking to Portugal?

First of all, the country is known for its weather, a beautiful Mediterranean climate that tourists flock to, as well as a picturesque landscape that’s peppered with beautiful beaches and lush countryside. Its breathtaking landscapes, vast coastline and favorable weather, combined with Portugal’s rich history, hospitable locals, fascinating culture, and delectable cuisine, gives the country its tourist-trap status and makes it one of the most attractive prospects for investors and holidaymakers alike.

Portugal is also considered one of the safest European countries to live in, with fairly low crime rates. It also boasts an excellent healthcare system, strong educational programs, and well-connected transport systems (including airports). All this combined means that Portuguese residents tend to have a very good quality of life.

These features alone sell the country as a second or permanent home for any would-be emigrant, whether they be an investor, entrepreneur, student, retiring expatriate, or even a family looking to relocate.

But in addition to this, its host of Golden Visa benefits make it a honeypot for investors. Those in possession of a Portuguese Golden Visa are granted a temporary residency permit in Portugal for one year, which is then renewable for each subsequent two-year period. However, the visa also enables you to apply for permanent residence after five years, and apply for Portuguese citizenship after six (certain conditions apply).

Read on to find out how you could benefit from a Golden Visa in Portugal.

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Benefits of Getting a Golden Visa

Aside from the country’s obvious appeal, a Portuguese Golden Visa is a uniquely enticing opportunity for investors thanks to a number of other attractive reasons you may not be aware of.

As a citizenship through investment program, it offers investors a fast-track to residency within the country, with the opportunity to become a Portuguese citizen at a later date. There are multiple ways to qualify in Portugal, from capital transfers to research and development investment and approved real estate purchases

For this reason, citizenship or residency by investment is also known as economic citizenship, and Golden Visa for Portugal is one of the world’s most popular and most outstanding.

These are just a few benefits of residency and citizenship in the country:

Gain permanent residence in Portugal

First of all, its flexibility – the residency permit entitles the investor to reside in the country of Portugal for the subsequent five years. However, you are not required to do so for the full duration. Maintaining your residency permit for the first five years only requires a limited minimum amount of time spent in the country.

During your first year, you will be required to spend seven days within the country – after this, the number increases to a minimum of 14 days in each subsequent year. After this initial five-year period, Golden Visa holders may then apply for permanent residency in the country or a Portuguese citizenship.

The program also grants third-country nationals a temporary residency permit which may be used to conduct business activities with the visa waiver to enter the national territory of Portugal.

The Portuguese Golden Visa scheme does not require full-time residency in the country to continue your residency status. You are simply required to meet the minimum stay criteria and maintain your investment for the given period, meaning you can continue living in your home country if you wish.

Once you have become a Portuguese citizen, you are eligible for a second passport. The application for citizenship may take a little longer, but your passport application takes around six days, and once completed, there is no obligation to live permanently in your new country.

You may use your second passport as and when you need. This allows entrepreneurs, business owners and investors to obtain Portuguese citizenship, without losing the citizenship of their home country and granting them the benefits of the Portuguese market.

The Golden Visa also grants family reunions in Portugal, meaning that investors may bring their family, provided they fulfil certain conditions. This includes parents and in-laws, provided the Visa holder can prove that they are responsible for financially supporting the familial applicant.

Once the investment is made and the investor has qualified for citizenship, they may also apply for family members to join them. This means as an investor in the Portugal Golden Visa program, your family will be able to benefit from Portugal’s fantastic qualities. As an investor, your children will enjoy a high quality of education in their new home country, as well as high-quality medical care from Portugal’s outstanding healthcare system. Your family will also become eligible to apply for residency (and later citizenship), without any additional investments or costs other than the standard application fees.

As well as residency, the Golden Visa also enables investors to work and trade in Portugal and the EU, giving businesses a fantastic opportunity to scale up, grow and even potentially go global.

It’s also an opportunity to invest in a diverse range of real estate properties at affordable prices. Portuguese investments guarantee high returns on investment, and the stable and dynamic economy of the country has a fantastic track record in stimulating growth, particular in sectors such as tourism which generate profitability, especially in short and long-term rentals.

Investors with residency rights may also be eligible for Portugal’s non-habitual residency (NHR) status, which offers a number of highly attractive tax advantages.

Firstly, that Golden Visa holders who spend less than 183 days of the year in Portugal are not subject to taxation in Portugal on foreign source income – this includes dividends, interest, royalties, property capital gains and rental income earned from outside Portugal, provided that this income does not originate from blacklisted territories. Golden Visa holders may also enjoy exemption from foreign employment income.

Portugal’s tax regime also omits certain taxes common in other countries, such as wealth tax and taxes on gifts or inheritances to spouses and close family. Inheritances and gifts to those outside of this category will be subject to a flat 10% stamp tax rate, if taxable at all.

Golden Visa holders may also benefit from special personal income tax treatment for ten years under the NHR scheme. Certain professions, including those in medicine and science, are able to enjoy a 20% flat tax rate, although other incomes may be subject to normal Portuguese income tax rates of 14.5% – 48%.

The NHR scheme also has no minimum stay requirement, although Golden Visa holders with NHR status must still fulfil the conditions of their Golden Visa permit in order to retain both.

NHR status grants tax exemptions for monetary gifts or inheritances to direct family members, as well as exemption from wealth tax. Plus, certain NHR status holders may be able to enjoy tax exemptions on some of their foreign source income. This includes pensions from international sources.

In 2020 the Portuguese budget introduced a 10% flat rate for foreign pensions to be taken into Portugal – this figure is far lower than the standard Portuguese income tax rate. Please note that UK government service pensions fall outside of the NHR rules as they are taxable in the UK only – seek specialist advise from an international financial advisor if you fall under this category.

Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme has generated revenue for the country and brought fantastic economic benefits. But it also has huge benefits for the applicant, including financial returns as detailed above. And for those who choose to qualify for the program by investing in real estate, it opens up potential for earning through commercial and touristic ventures.

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Why Choose a Golden Visa in Portugal?

Investment options – beautiful European location

With so many citizenship by investment programs around Europe and the globe to choose from, investors have a range of choices available to them. 

So why choose Portugal?

We’ve outlined the benefits of the program above, but with so many competing programs across the world, read on below to find out how it compares.

For Portugal Golden Visa investors, your second passport will grant you visa-free travel to 186 countries, making it one of the most powerful passports in the world, opening doors across the globe.

Naturally, citizenship obtained through an investment opportunity comes with a buy-in. By their nature, these programs are highly exclusive and target only individuals with high net worth. 

However, the terms of investment will differ depending upon the needs of the host country, and some expect much higher investment than others from applicants. 

Portugal has many different investment routes as explored above, but real estate has without doubt been the most popular, and the most accessible. Some programs that offer citizenship via investment, such as Cyprus, can cost as much as €2,000,000 to invest, while Portugal’s property investment program begins from €280,000. 

This means that for investors seeking to invest a little less but still hoping to reap high rewards, Portugal remains a stand-out choice. 

Golden Visa investors should be sure that their host country will allow them to retain the citizenship of their home country alongside their new citizen status. 

This is one of the most significant benefits offered by the Portugal Golden Visa.

Some citizenship programs can take a long time to process applications and grant temporary and permanent residency statuses. In addition to this, some countries may mandate long periods of investment – up to a decade in some cases – in return for citizenship. 

Ideally, these countries should aim to take as little time as possible to finalize passport processing for investment – in Portugal, the initial application process only takes as long as six months, as opposed to countries such as Malta where investors may wait up to 12 months to receive their passport.

In Portugal, you are required to hold your investment for a minimum of five years. Selling your property before this time is grounds for revocation of your residency and will prevent you from obtaining citizenship. 

However, compared to other programs across the globe, Portugal hosts one of the shortest minimum investment periods, with other countries demanding as many as seven or ten years.

The ability to gain your investment back depends both on the country you are applying to and your chosen type of investment. Donations into arts, culture, and research, for instance, are generally non-refundable. 

However, with Portugal’s property investment program, you have full ownership of your property investment, as well as the ability to earn from rental income and commercial opportunities. After five years of valid residency, you will be able to sell your investment if you choose.

When looking for a investment program to grant you citizenship, it is important to consider the minimum stay requirements, as extended minimum stay requirements can be inconvenient. 

To renew and protect the validity of your Portugal Golden Visa residency permit, you will need to be in the country for only seven days per year.

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Citizenship by Investment vs Residency by Investment

The a Portuguese Golden Visa grants residency by investment, but it also grants investors the opportunity to apply for citizenship after six years of legal resident status. 

Whilst both open up a range of opportunities for investors, there are certain legal distinctions between the two statuses. Whilst investors are by no means obliged to apply for citizenship after six years, there are certain benefits to doing so, as outlined below.

Apply for Portuguese citizenship - application form

Hereditary Rights

Unlike residency, which is not automatically conferred to your children, citizenship can be easily passed down to your future offspring. 

With residency by investment, such as a Portuguese Golden Visa, your children are eligible to apply for residential rights within Portugal. However, children born to citizens of a particular country automatically become citizens of that country – even if they are born outside that country. This is known as citizenship by birth.

Right to Vote

As a legal resident of a country, you do not have the right to participate in political and electoral processes in that country, as this right is reserved only for citizens (although as a resident you may continue to participate in the political processes of your home country). 

With citizenship, you’ll be able to participate in Portuguese democratic processes, and depending on the laws of your home country, may also be able to continue to vote there.

Deportation

As a resident in Portugal, you may be subject to deportation in the event you go against the laws of the country, and your residency card may be revoked. 

However, as a citizen, you are legally protected from deportation. This means that if you break the law, you may still be subject to imprisonment, fines, or community service, depending on the country of which you are a citizen, but you cannot be deported.

Permanence

Under the Portugal Golden Visa program, your initial residency application, once approved, is only valid on a temporary basis and subject thereafter to renewal (although once you have held this status for five years, you may then choose to apply for permanent residency rights). Moreover, failure to renew at the right time may lead to revocation of your residency rights. 

However, though the application process of gaining citizenship through investment may take longer, it will lead directly to citizenship within the country of Portugal. (Under the this program, applicants must have held resident status for six years before applying to become a citizen.) Once this status is attained, it is not subject to review or renewal.

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What is involved in the Golden Visa Portugal application process?

As of 2022, the Golden Visa application process is more digitised than ever before. This means that your application will now be submitted online, along with the relevant documentation, to be approved by the Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF). 

After this, you will be required to appear in person for an interview, and to have biometric data such as fingerprints recorded. Please be aware that at the time of writing, there is still a backlog of waiting times for in-person interview due to Covid, meaning that you may experience certain delays for pre-approval from the submission of your application. 

Although most of your application process will be carried out remotely, it is not possible to carry out the biometric data process through any kind of embassy or consulate, meaning you will be required to travel to Portugal for this appointment. This visit does not count towards your minimum stay in the country, either on first obtainment or subsequent renewals. 

However, pending approval, your valid residency card should be received within 10-20 days. 

If you intend for members of your family to join you in Portugal as part of the Golden Visa scheme, their applications may be submitted at the same time as your own.

On-line application Golden Visa Portugal

5 Steps you need to follow for your Portugal Golden Visa Application

The Portugal Golden Visa application process requires a lot of documentation – you can find out more about this in the section below. 

Throughout the process, you are likely to need the support of a native Portuguese speaker – this will be essential for the translation of all documents into Portuguese from the language of your native country. We also recommend that you enlist the assistance of a lawyer throughout your Golden Visa application process to ensure that steps are completed as required and prevent delays. 

The process of applying for a Golden Visa will look something like this: 

  1. First you will need a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF) to open a local Portuguese bank account – at this stage, you will also choose your investment property. 
  2. Next, you will need to obtain and translate the necessary documents (see below) 
  3. After this, you will complete and submit your ARI application – at this stage you will be required to pay the processing fee. 
  4. Once your initial application is approved by the SEF, you’ll arrange an in-person biometrics appointment. Your application will be submitted online, but at this stage you will also need to bring hard copies of your documents with you. 
  5. Once approved, you’ll receive a residence card which will require renewal after one year for the first year, and every two years subsequently

Obtaining your NIF number

The NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) is your tax identification number in Portugal. It’s not only necessary for your application but useful for your new life in the country. 

Prior to the pandemic, acquiring your NIF was traditionally done in person, however since the pandemic it can be done remotely. Once you have your NIF, you will also be able to open a Portuguese bank account – again this will be necessary both for your investment, and for living, working and trading in Portugal. 

Typical timeline of a Portuguese Golden Visa application

Once your application is accepted and you have successfully acquired your residence permit, you will later be able to make this permanent. We’ve prepared a simple timeline that clearly shows the process from start to finish, and explains what to expect at each stage:

Year 1-2

Once you obtain your residence permit, you’ll have the right to live, work and study in Portugal, as well as the right to visa-free travel in the Schengen area. 

For your first year, you’ll be required to spend a total of seven days in Portugal to retain your residence permit. After this, you’ll be required to spend fourteen days for every two-year period. 

At the end of this time frame, you’ll need to renew your residence permit – this can take anywhere from 30-90 days, so be sure to allocate yourself enough time for the renewal process. You’ll also be required to present biometric data again and undergo checks on your criminal records. 

The renewal process will cost €2,663 for each application, as well as a €533 processing fee.

Year 3-4

Residence permits issued in this period will be valid for two years and are still subject to the required stay of fourteen days per two years (which do not need to be consecutive).

Year 5+

After five years of residency you may apply to have this status made permanent, and after six years you may also apply for citizenship. However, investors are not required to do so and may choose to retain your temporary visa, renewing as and when is necessary.
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Who is Eligible for a Portuguese Golden Visa?

Anyone is eligible to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa program after purchasing an eligible investment property, provided they are not themselves a Portuguese or EU/EFTA citizen. 

So, if you’re a third country national investing in a Portugal property that qualifies under the 2022 rules, either in the capacity of an individual businessperson or through a company (or other legal entity set up and registered in Portugal), and you fulfil all other associated criteria (which we at Property Lisbon can advise you on), you can proceed with a process that will change your life for the better.  

Please be aware that applicants must also be at least 18 years of age, with a clean criminal record from both their home country, Portugal, and any previous countries of residence, and use their own funds to invest – these must originate from outside Portugal.

Which Types Of Properties Count As Eligible Investments?

For those interested in applying for the program via property investment, there are multiple levels with differing minimum investment requirements.

These are detailed below as follows:

€280,000

In order to qualify the investor for the reduced cost Golden Visa program, this category of property must meet certain conditions. 
  1. The investment must be located in a qualifying low-density NUT111 region of Portugal 
  2. These locations are best only purchased through a managed investment we sell
  3. The sum of both the property value and its renovation cost must add up to over €280,000 worth of investment
This will be the cheapest option for Portugal Golden Visa investors in 2022, and for those willing to carry out renovations, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a property customised to your tastes for a much lower cost. 

€350,000

To qualify the investor for this level of the Golden Visa program, this category of property must meet the following conditions
  1. The investment must be located in one of the urban areas of Portugal
  2. The investment must have been constructed over thirty years ago, and/or be in need of refurbishment 
  3. The sum of the property value and its renovation cost must add up to over €350,000 worth of investment
As with the €280,000 route, this is a chance for investors to obtain a Portuguese Golden Visa at a lower cost and enjoy a customised and renovated property.

€500,000

This is the most popular investment option amongst buyers, and all properties in qualifying regions which meet or exceed this value will automatically qualify the buyer for a Portuguese Golden Visa.

Touristic Property License

Prior to 2022, there were no restrictions on where investors looking to qualify for a Portuguese Golden Visa could buy.

But since the changes, there are a number of restricted areas for investors looking to buy residential properties – this includes Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve and Sintra. Investments into residential property within these regions will no longer allow you to qualify for a Golden Visa.

However, those looking to invest in commercial real estate may do so anywhere in the country – this is ideal for those hoping to use their investment to profit from Portugal’s vibrant tourist scene. Investors should be aware that commercial properties are subject to touristic licensing laws, meaning you will need to obtain appropriate permissions and licences to conduct business and rent properties out to tourists.

The Touristic Property License is a requirement for hotels or serviced apartments with a rental touristic license of ten years or more. This must be managed by a single entity for the duration, although the investor is entitled to sell the property at any given time.

However, in order for such properties to qualify the investor for a Portuguese Golden Visa, it must not be their primary residence.

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What Other Requirements Are There For a Portuguese Golden Visa?

To apply for the program, you’ll also need to meet certain additional requirements in order to qualify. These may vary according to their level of investment, but as a rule all investors are required to fulfil the following conditions:
  • Your funds must originate from outside Portugal.
  • You must have no adverse references in the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Services.
  • You must not have a criminal record.
  • As stated above, once your application is successful, you must spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during your first investment year. In order to renew your permit after this period, you must then spend a minimum of fourteen days in Portugal every two years in order to qualify
  • You must also maintain your investment for a minimum of five years to apply for permanent residence and/or citizenship.

What Documents Do I Need To Provide For A Golden Visa?

The necessary documentation required to fulfil a permanent residency permit once invested may vary according to the level and type of investment, but there are certain documents you will need to provide regardless of your investment type. 

These include:

  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of healthcare cover, either by the Portuguese public health system or a private insurance company outside Portugal which provides international coverage that will cover you for the duration of your residency in Portugal (or which will renew automatically during this period)
  • Criminal records from your country of origin, and/or from the country or countries where you have been living for more than a year. These must have been issued within 3 months of the online application.
  • The above must be accompanied by a form authorising SEF to access your criminal records
  • A sworn declaration by yourself committing to maintain your minimum investment requirements for the necessary period of five years
  • Documents proving good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority, and Social Security system, as well as taxation records from your home country demonstrating no outstanding debts or tax obligations. These should be issued no sooner than 45 days prior to your online application
  • Receipt proving payment of the ARI application fee
  • Proof of your qualifying investment – for real estate, this will be a deed or promissory sale agreement with proof of deposit payment

In addition to the above you will also need certain documents relating to your investment. For instance, for the highest available level of property investment (€500,00 and over), the program investor will need to provide a range of additional documents, including the following:

  • A declaration issued by a financial institution accredited or registered in Portugal by the Bank of Portugal, which confirms an international bank transfer of capital for the purpose of purchasing, or as payment for, the initial deposit of a property sales agreement.
  • A certificate issued by the Land Registry office which proves full, unencumbered ownership of the property, or a certificate of registry that is comprised of the provisional records of purchase, when legally feasible, within the initial deposit – this should be issued within 45 days prior to submission of the online application
  • An excerpt of the commercial register which has been issued within the prior forty-five days, in cases where the investment is made by the means of a single-member limited company of which the applicant for the Portuguese Golden Visa is the sole proprietor.

Meanwhile, if yours is an investment requiring further renovation – at either the €350,000 or €280,000 levels – you may also have to provide certain other evidence, such as proof of the property’s age if qualifying on the grounds that it is over 30 years old, and/or proof of rehabilitation works to be carried out on the property. 

Unless specified otherwise, all documentation needs to be issued within ninety days prior to the investor submitting their online application, and any documents issued by a foreign entity – those outside Portugal – must be legalised with an apostille if the investor’s country of origin has signed the Hague convention. 

Additionally, any documents provided which are not written in Portuguese must be translated and certified as true and genuine by a qualified professional to be valid.

Portugal Golden Visa Documents

Are There Any Additional Costs With A Portuguese Golden Visa Application?

In addition to your property investment, there are a few additional costs associated with the Portugal Golden Visa process that applicants should be aware of before proceeding. 

These include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • The down payment for the property, made in cash.
  • Costs incurred from the obtainment of legal documentation
  • Taxes, stamp duty charges and fees in Portugal
  • You should also set aside 9-10% of your budget for taxation purposes – the main component being the Property Transfer Tax (IMT).
  • There is an initial application approval fee of €5,325 – this applies to each Golden Visa applicant, including the investor and their family members. The renewal fees every two years will also incur costs of €2,663 per applicant.
  • There is also an initial application processing fee, which stands at €533 for the main applicant and €83.10 for each dependent applicant

You can complete the application process yourself if you choose. However, it is highly inadvisable to do so without the assistance of a lawyer, meaning your budget should also account for certain legal fees – per family, these generally amount to €6000 – €8000.

What Are The Benefits of EU Citizenship?

Whilst the program is available exclusively to non-EU residents, Golden Visa investors will also benefit from Portugal’s EU membership in addition to the country’s own fantastic perks.

With an EU passport, Golden Visa investors may enjoy the following perks:

  • The right to live, work, study, and conduct business within the EU.
  • The ability to travel visa-free through twenty-eight countries of the Schengen Zone – this includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as non-Schengen countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
  • Family reunion in the European Union – this is the right for you to sponsor certain eligible family members to move permanently to an EU nation
  • Access to healthcare within the European Union – although each country has its own system, your EU passport entitles you to basic healthcare across member states.
  • Access to education within the European Union – whilst private institutions such as universities may have certain fees, these are often higher for students outside the EU. An EU passport grants you access to free or reduced fees.
  • Protection of your personal data under GDPR
  • Benefit from tax incentive programs within the European Union, which has zero double taxation or low taxation agreements with many other countries
  • Dual citizenship, and all the benefits this confers

If, after six years under the Portugal Golden Visa scheme, you choose to apply for Portuguese citizenship, you’ll also secure permanent access to these rights.

Benefits of Portuguese passport - Countries with EU membership

Which Family Members Can Join You Under The Golden Visa?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program allows family members to join the investor and holder of the Golden Visa permit in the country. These include: 

  • Spouse.
  • Dependent children who are minors (including adopted children).
  • Adult children who are still financially dependent or engaged in full-time study
  • Financially dependent parents of either the Golden Visa holder or their spouse
  • Minor dependent brothers or sisters who are under the legal guardianship of the Golden Visa holder

Under the Golden Visa scheme, these family members share the same rights as the initial investor themselves – including eligibility for permanent residence in Portugal after the five-year period (provided the investor maintains their investment as per the Golden Visa rules). They, like the investor, may also apply for full Portuguese citizenship after six years of legal residency in Portugal. 

Golden visa program - bring your family with you

Next steps for your Portuguese Golden Visa

If you’ve got to the end of our Golden Visa guide, firstly, congratulations! 

And secondly, we hope our complete guide has spurred your interest in this superb scheme and inspired you to invest in Portugal’s Golden Visa for 2022. 

Ready to take the leap? Your next step is to drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you for a chat whenever it’s convenient for you. 

With the Portugal Golden Visa, a golden investment opportunity is closer than ever.

And at Property Lisbon, we’re here to make it happen.

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Your Golden Ticket to Portuguese Citizenship

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