Citizenship by Investment in Portugal

Golden Visa Portugal Program: Our Complete Guide for 2022

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Citizenship By Investment in 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 Golden Visa is just what you need.

At Property Lisbon we offer a fantastic range of 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 the Portugal Golden Visa Program 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.

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New Rules for Portugal Golden Visas 2022

January 1st 2022 brought with it changes to Portugal’s Golden Visa program.

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

Of course, if your heart is set on Lisbon, Portugal, then touristic freehold and commercial licence properties 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 Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, the property must not be the investor’s main residence.

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 are eligible for the program.

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

Portugal Golden Visa Areas

Portugal’s Golden Visa Requirements 2022

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 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 Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, you only need to spend 7 days a year there.

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

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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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 program, 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, the Golden 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, Portugal’s Golden Visa program 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, real estate 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 program 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 the Portugal Golden Visa Program

Available Golden Visa Investment Opportunities in Lisbon, Portugal

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.

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 the Golden Visa program 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 at €1.5 million – 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.

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. 

Naturally we are great advocates of real estate investment for Golden Visa applicants. 

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. 

See below to learn more about the levels of property investment – for investors prepared to undertake renovation, there are cheaper qualifying routes beginning from €280,000. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a property in tip-top condition, Golden Visa investments begin at €500,000.  

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Portugal Golden Visa Changes 2022

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.

There are many ways to invest in order to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa program, but real estate 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, Portugal’s Golden Visa program rules regarding real estate 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 criteriathese 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 Golden Visa 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 1st 2022, 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.

What hasn’t changed?

There are many ways to invest in order to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa program, but real estate 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, Portugal’s Golden Visa program rules regarding real estate were as follows:

  • Real estate investments in any region of Portugal over €500,000 automatically qualified for the Portugal Golden Visa, Lisbon & Coastal regions are now restricted to Commercial Property or Touristic.
  • Investments of €400,000 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. Lisbon Apartments are touristic only
  • For Golden Visa investments in low-density regions, investors were required to spend a minimum amount of €280,000. Again, properties matching these criteria must also be over 30 years old and requiring of renovation to qualify. Algarve Touristic Apartments and Commercial Hotels.

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 Golden Visa 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.

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How will 2022 changes affect me?

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, it remains for many investors the most cost-effective choice, and in the long-term, the most lucrative one too. With many interior regions of Portugal anticipating a tourist boom, and many travellers favouring a more authentic experience over the more densely populated and traveller-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?

Portugal’s Golden Visa, or ARI, is one of many citizenship by 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 citizenship after six (certain conditions apply). 

Read on to find out how you could benefit from Portugal’s Golden Visa program.

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Benefits of Getting a Golden Visa

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

As a citizenship by 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 by investment is also known as economic citizenship, and Portugal’s Golden Visa program is one of the world’s most popular and most outstanding – these are just a few benefits of residency and citizenship in the country:

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.

Portugal’s Golden Visa program 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 qualified for Portuguese citizenship, 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 family members, 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.

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 members. 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 tocan 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 program 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 Portugal’s Golden Visa Program?

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 by investment 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 citizenship by investment programs, such as Cyprus, can cost as much as €2,000,000 to invest, while Portugal’s real estate 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 by investment 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.

One of the greatest benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa program is that it allows investors to be joined by their families in the country, meaning the whole family can benefit from the scheme. 

However, it may surprise you to learn that not all countries offer this. Furthermore, different countries have different conditions for the eligibility of family members under the program.

For many countries, the investment made covers the investor, their spouse, and any other dependent children. Some countries even stipulate a maximum on the number of family members the investor’s residency will cover. 

But in Portugal, once you have qualified for the program, many members of 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.

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.

Moving to another country can help to manage your tax rates. If this is your aim with citizenship by investment, it should be one of the main benefits you look for as an investor in your chosen Golden Visa program. 

Portugal offers its investors highly favourable rates of tax to all its residents and citizens. Plus, Golden Visa holders may be eligible for certain tax benefits through its NHR scheme – find out more about this below.

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 real estate 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 citizenship by investment program, 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 Portugal Golden Visa program 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.

Hereditary Rights

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

With residency under the Golden Visa program, 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 citizenship by investment may take longer, it will lead directly to citizenship within the country of Portugal. (Under the Golden Visa 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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Golden Visa 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 program, their applications may be submitted at the same time as your own.

Steps of applying for GV

The 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 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. 

Timeline of your application

Once your application is accepted and you have successfully acquired your residency 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 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.

GOLDEN VISA
Your Portuguese Residency Starts Here

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 be a part of the Golden Visa program 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 the Golden Visa program.

Touristic Property License

Prior to 2022, there were no restrictions on where investors looking to qualify for the Golden Visa program 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 qualify investors for the Golden Visa program.

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 the Golden Visa program, it must not be their primary residence.

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What Other Requirements Are There For The 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:

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:

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

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.

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Are There Any Additional Costs With A Golden Visa?

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

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

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:

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

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: 

Under the Golden Visa program, 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. 

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Next Steps

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.

GOLDEN VISA
Your Golden Ticket to Portuguese Citizenship

Portugal Golden Visas FAQs

Our complete 2022 guide should tell you everything you need to know about the Portugal Golden Visa program. 

But if there’s anything we’ve missed above, or you’re looking for some quick answers to your questions, our FAQs below will give you a brief overview of the most important information.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us through our form!

The application process for the Golden Visa program as outlined above is not complicated per se, but it does involve collecting and collating a lot of supporting documentation in both your home nation and in Portugal, as well as translations and verifications. 

If your application is missing crucial supporting documents, it may be rejected upon assessment by the Portuguese authorities. Therefore, it is vital to work through the process in a careful, precise, and logical manner.

Of course, you are free to attempt to gather all supporting evidence and compile your application for the Portuguese Golden Visa program on your own. But since you are going to invest a significant amount of time and money into this process, and your future life plans depend on its success, you need to be sure that you’ve answered and evidenced every mandatory requirement appropriately so that your application process runs smoothly and is granted as quickly as possible.  

For that reason, we advise that the best way to ensure a successful and speedy application is by seeking guidance from local and experienced professionals such as Property Lisbon. Our insider knowledge of the local property market, intimate knowledge of local property laws, and strong connections to a network of legal professionals specialising in this niche means that we’re perfectly placed to offer you the help you need, every step of the way. 

We’ve helped many investors just like you to secure the Portuguese Golden Visa, gain Portuguese residency and citizenship and start new, exciting lives with their families here, as well as yielding fruitful returns on their international investments. 

We can’t wait to support your application and help you enter the next chapter of your life – it all starts here. 

The requirements of the Portuguese Golden Visa program may vary according to your individual level of investment. There are currently three categories based on property values of €500,00, €350,000, and €280,000. 

However, as detailed above, the new 2022 rules have introduced some restrictions on where investors are able to buy in order to qualify for the program, and some of the previously most popular locations such as Lisbon and Porto are no longer valid for the scheme.

In addition to this, there are some procedural requirements which all Portuguese Golden Visa program investors are mandated to fulfil, regardless of their chosen investment method. 

Firstly, there is a compulsory requirement to retain your Golden Visa property investment for a minimum of five years. And secondly, the provenance of your investment funds must be in a territory outside of Portugal. 

Furthermore, you should have no adverse immigration record with either the Portuguese immigration services, or with the authorities of any immigration service from any other Schengen nation. You also must have no criminal record in any nation. 

Once your Golden Visa is granted, you must spend at least seven days in Portugal during the first year of the process, and a minimum of 14 days in Portugal every two years thereafter for your residence permit to be renewed.

Naturally, the main cost incurred in the Golden Visa process is incurred from the property you purchase, but investors should anticipate a few further costs in the application process too. 

For example, you’ll have to factor in your down payment for the property (which is made in cash), and there may be additional fees associated with the evidential documentation you will need to submit – for instance, if you’re having a professional cast their expert eye over them (which it is always advisable to do).

Purchasing a property in Portugal also attracts certain taxes, stamp duty charges and fees. These costs vary, but to provide a ballpark figure for you to work with, we recommend setting aside between nine and ten per cent of your budget to cover taxation costs. The main component of this taxation will be the Property Transfer Tax (IMT). 

Portuguese government fees for the initial Golden Visa application stand at €5,325 per family member. Once this initial application is accepted, please remember that you’ll also need to pay renewal fees every two years at €2,663 per applicant. 

Additionally, your initial application will incur a processing fee of €533 for yourself as the main applicant, and €83.10 for each of your dependents. This cost is applied every time you renew, and subject to increase in accordance with inflation.

And finally, you’ll also need to budget for your lawyer fees to ensure the process goes to plan – these typically add up to around €6,000 – €8,000 by the end of the Golden Visa process.

The following timeline outlines a brief overview of the process for your first years of investment, and sixth year if you choose to apply for citizenship. Please see above for a more in-depth explanation of the application process at each stage:   

1-6 months: Choose your investment and submit your application for the Golden Visa program 

Year 1: your Golden Visa permit is issued for the duration of one year

Years 2-4: your Golden Visa permit is renewed for two-year periods in each of these years

Year 5: you obtain permanent Portuguese residency for yourself and relevant family members 

Year 6: you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship

Certainly – we are here to help! Simply drop your details in the box below and we will calculate the cost specification and get the information back to you swiftly.

Citizenship by investment programs have been in existence for a few decades now and have yielded great success in many countries. These are just a handful offering similar programs to the Portugal Golden Visa: 

  • Spain 
  • Canada
  • Greece 
  • Cyprus
  • United Kingdom
  • Turkey 
  • Malta 
  • Montenegro 

Each of these countries has its own rules and regulations governing how the program is run and how investors may benefit from it. 

However, Portugal remains amongst the lowest-cost, highest-return Golden Visa programs in 2022 and presents a singularly spectacular opportunity for investors.

Becoming a Golden Visa holder does not automatically exempt you from paying tax in Portugal, nor does it make you an automatic tax resident. 

That said, you will likely have to pay some form of tax in Portugal at some point during your investment. However, Golden Visa investors will benefit from Portugal’s fantastic tax regime and may even be eligible for certain benefits. 

If Portugal is your main country of residence, you will be subject to the same taxation as Portuguese citizens on domestically earned income – i.e., money earned from employment, business, or rental profits in Portugal. 

However, you will also enjoy the same perks as Portuguese citizens with regards to tax – this includes exemption from wealth taxes and certain inheritances, as per Portuguese tax laws. 

Portuguese tax residents may also be eligible for the NHR status, as explored above. 

Yes!

Those looking to benefit from the Golden Visa program and make the most of Portugal’s bustling tourist trade are welcome to buy for commercial purposes. And unlike residential properties, investors buying for commercial purposes are unlimited by location, meaning you can make the most of tourist traps like the Algarve. 

Please note that if you are looking to invest in a property for rental purposes, you will require a touristic licence to do so. You can find fully licensed projects with Property Lisbon, or alternatively view our page on the Alojamento Local Tourist licence to find out more information.  

Investors commonly ask about loan financing for the Golden Visa program. 

Please be aware that whichever investment route you choose, your source of funds must originate from outside Portugal. This means that any loan from a Portuguese lender would not be eligible to qualify. 

However, if you can obtain a mortgage or loan from your home country (or any non-Portuguese lender or financier), this could be a potential avenue for funding your investment.

Our experts have extensive experience in the Portuguese property market

We offer fully managed and licensed commercial projects, as well as residential properties in qualifying areas of Portugal for those looking to build a new life through the Golden Visa program. 

As a leading aide to investors around the world, we’ve helped countless applicants find their perfect investment. 

So, whatever your ambitions, whether you’re buying to let, looking for a commercial property to start up your dream business venture or simply seeking your dream home in Portugal, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

In 2021, many investors feared that the Golden Visa program in Portugal could be due to come to an end. 

However, following a few changes, we are pleased to report that there is no end in sight just yet for the scheme. And in 2022, it is set only to generate more profit for the Portuguese economy and international investors alike. 

So why wait? The opportunity of a lifetime is waiting for you.

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Please fill in the form on the right and we will get back to you with the cost specifications.

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