The Golden Visa Portugal program has gifted countless opportunities to thousands of investors since it was introduced in 2012. It has consistently attracted interest across the world, as well as providing a significant boost to the domestic economy in Portugal.
But for those considering investment, there are many options and much to learn, and at a first glance, the application process may seem to complicate this otherwise attractive program.
If you’re considering the Golden Visa, don’t despair though – this step-by-step blog should make the process plain sailing.
Golden Visa Explained
The Golden Residence Permit Program (ARI) is what’s known as a citizenship by investment scheme and it’s amongst the most popular and successful of several around the world. Over the years, it has injected an estimated Є5bn into the Portuguese economy as well as opening doors for investors and their families.
It’s basically a fast-track route to Portuguese residency and, if the investor chooses, eventually citizenship. The success of this program in particular is owed to its flexibility – it requires a very short minimum stay from the investor in order to maintain the permit – as well as its fantastic perks, such as the ability to benefit from Portugal’s EU membership and non-habitual tax residency program.
Additionally, the fact that investors’ family members may also apply for a Golden Visa also make it extremely attractive for family-focused migrants.
Eligibility for the Golden Visa
Those looking to apply will have to meet certain personal requirements. These may vary depending upon your chosen investment, but the following apply to all:
- You must not be a citizen of Portugal, the EU or EFTA.
- You must not have a criminal record.
- You must have no (negative) record in the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Services.
- Your funds must originate from outside of Portugal.
Types of Eligible Golden Visa Investment
There are multiple ways to qualify for a Golden Visa, but increasing numbers of applicants are making property their investment of choice, as it is one of the safest and most stable ways to guarantee return on investment in the future.
Once you’ve decided to invest in the Portuguese property market in order to qualify for the program, you must then choose your level of investment, as well as your location.
Any property with a value of Є500,000 or more qualifies for this scheme, but desirable locations like Lisbon, Porto and Silver Coast are amongst investors’ favourites.
Properties in certain urban areas of Portugal with a value of Є350,000 may also qualify their buyer for the scheme provided they are at least thirty years old, or in need of refurbishment, and in low-density areas, such properties will qualify with a value of Є280,000.
At these two lower levels of investment, the figures include the value of any refurbishment costs you may incur in renovating the property.
The Golden Visa application process may sound more complex than it is, but it does require a fair amount of documentation. As a minimum, you will need:
- Final deeds of purchase, or a promissory contract.
- A declaration that confirms transfer of capital either for the purchase of your property, or at least the deposit – this must be issued by a financial instituted accredited or registered within the territory of Portugal.
- A certificate issued by the Land Registry office which proves the ownership of the given property to be free of any encumbrances, or a certificate of registry that is comprised of the provisional records of purchase, when legally feasible, with the initial deposit.
- In cases where the investment is made by a single-member limited company of which the Portuguese Golden Visa applicant is the sole proprietor, the applicant must have an excerpt of the commercial register.
These last two supporting document must have been issued in the 45 days prior to application, whilst all others must have been issued within the last 90 days. Documents issued in any other language will also need to be translated into Portuguese.
It is possible to complete the process on your own, but it is advisable to do so via a lawyer familiar with the system – these fees can range from Є6000-Є8000.
When it comes to budgeting for additional costs, you should also consider the following:
- The down payment for your property, which must be made in cash.
- Any costs you might incur from acquiring the necessary documentation.
- Any taxes, stamp duty charges or legal fees you may be required to pay in Portugal – you should set aside around 10% of your budget for taxations such as the Property Transfer Tax (IMT).
- Certain family members may also apply for the Golden Visa – these will incur government fees, as well as a processing fee for both theirs and your applications.
Waiting for Approval
Once you have made your investment and begun the application process, initial approval should take around 1-4 months. Once it has been successfully accepted, you will be granted a temporary permit of residence lasting for one year. This permit grants you full residency rights in Portugal, but you do not have to reside there full time – in order to maintain your Golden Visa, you need only spend seven days in the country during this time.
After the second year, you may choose to renew your Golden Visa permit for a period of two years, during which time you will be legally required to spend a minimum of two weeks in the country. Then after a full five years of maintaining your investment and fulfilling the minimum stay requirements, you may be eligible to apply for full time residency if you so choose. To do this you will have to:
- Prove you have maintained your investment for the minimum five years.
- Ensure you have fulfilled the minimum stay requirements of two-weeks within the last two years.
- You will also have take a test to prove a basic understanding of Portuguese.
We hope our blog has given you the answers you need in order to take the leap into your new life via this fantastic scheme.
If that’s the case, why not get in touch with us using the form below for a little expert help in finding the property that’s right for your Golden Visa journey?
Ready To Start Your Golden visa Journey? Let’s Chat!