The Portugal Golden Visa is a popular government-run investment for citizenship program. It has been in existence since 2012 and the first applicants into the program have recently finished their five-year residency period and gained naturalization as Portugal citizens.
Therefore the Portugal Golden visa program does lead to citizenship and it’s actually one of the most accessible programmes of its type.
For many other EU countries that offer a similar plan, you’re eligible to apply for citizenship only after having held the temporary permit for about ten years rather than the five year route unlocked here..
Furthermore, the citizenship for investment plans in other countries are also more expensive than the Portugal Golden Visa plan, which makes it an even more attractive option for anyone who is looking to become a naturalized Portugal and European Union citizen.
Why is Portuguese citizenship popular?
Portugal is a European country that offers its citizens high standards of living. For non-EU residents and citizens that would like to enjoy the European quality of life, Portugal offers an affordable and quick route through its golden visas.
As a Portuguese citizen you have free and unlimited access to all of the European countries. You can also receive all the services that are available for European citizens, benefit from being able to live and work anywhere in the EU and all other rights this status confers.
For instance, when you become a Portuguese citizen, you can set up a business within the country without the need for a work permit. You are now regarded as a citizen of the country and have all the rights citizens by birth have.
Here are the steps to follow to ensure that you successfully apply and receive your Portugal citizenship with investment.
Talking to a with a golden visa consultant
Finding a reliable Golden Visa consultant is the first stage towards becoming a citizen of Portugal and, by extension, the EU.
These consultants usually have offices in Portugal and carry out marketing campaigns in other countries to raise awareness.
The consultants make the process much easier by identifying and purchase eligible properties throughout Portugal.
Most importantly, they’ll advise you on travelling to Portugal to get a taste for the country, see some desirable properties in person and take the first small steps in your journey to citizenship.
Initial visit to Portugal
In this visit, your consultant will help you identify properties that you can invest in to qualify to apply for the Portugal Golden visa program and you’ll need to set aside four or five days to do so.
During this period, you’ll also open a bank account in Portugal, get a Portugal tax identification number and transfer money into your account from your home bank in order to close on the identified properties.
For this visit, you should have a valid passport and Schengen visa to indicate legal entry into Portugal. You should also have a return flight ticket and credit card to pay any required fees for your investments.
Finally, you’ll appoint and grant power of attorney to a lawyer who will help complete all the remaining property acquisition process as it takes four days to complete the purchase.
Face to face interview
There are many other investment categories that investment for citizenship participants can choose to qualify for the Golden Visa scheme, but purchasing property is the most popular. Once you have invested in an eligible property and have the paperwork to prove it, you’re qualified to apply for the Portugal golden visa.
The first step of the formal application is a face to face interview with Portuguese immigration officials. At this interview, the main applicant and their family have their personal identification details and biometrics recorded.
At this interview, investors are also required to present other documents required, including a police clearance certificate from their home country, marriage certificate, and ownership documents of qualifying properties purchased in Portugal, as well as a bank transfer from your home bank account to your Portugal bank account.
For those coming to work in Portugal, they should also present a valid job employment contract from their employer.
Online applications for Golden Visa
After you are through with the face to face interviews, you’re then required to make your application online through the Immigration and Borders website.
When you apply, there are many documents that are required to complete the application process. Ensure that you attach all of these documents.
They include receipts to show that you have paid for the application including for all your dependents who are applying with you.
Once you have applied, you have to now wait for your documents to be processed and approved. This process takes about three to nine months.
Receive Portugal residency permit
Once your application processing and approval is finalized, you’ll have to pay for your residency card, at which point your legal representative will be notified and collect the cards on your behalf and send them to you and your dependents.
You’ll then have legal residency of Portugal and can come and go as you wish. You can come into Portugal any time now that you have your residency permit.
You have to satisfy all the conditions of your residency as given by the Portuguese government. The first residency card that you receive is only valid for one year. To be considered for renewal, you must have been in Portugal for a minimum of seven days in the first year.
Renewal after the first year
After you have renewed your residency permit for the first year, the conditions for renewal now change. You are now supposed to renew your permit after every two years, with a minimum stay requirement of 14 days for both years.
During the renewal process, you’re also required to present a police clearance certificate to indicate that you do not have a criminal record for the period that you have been allowed to reside in Portugal.
You should also show that you don’t have any outstanding taxes and that you cleared all social security payments. Further, for any renewals to succeed, you must show that you still own the investment property that made you eligible for the Golden visa.
You must also show valid marriage certificates for you and your spouse and all the receipts indicating that you have paid for the renewals for all your family members permits. Your biometric data will also be recorded again during every renewal.
Furthermore, for your renewal to be valid, you need to show that you still own the investment property that qualified you to apply for the Golden visa. You need to hold this property for the five years that your temporary permit is required to be valid as this is an indication that you are still committed to investing and living in Portugal.
This process will take place every two years until the fifth year, when the permit expires. In the fifth year, you can apply for your permanent residency permit or citizenship or renew your temporary permit in the sixth year.
Apply for naturalization
Citizenship in Portugal for foreigners is gained through naturalization and to be considered eligible, it’s a prerequisite to have held temporary residence for at least five years.
When you apply for citizenship, you’ll have a face to face interview, your biometric data will be recorded and you’ll have to submit requisite documents. You’ll also need a police clearance certificate that indicates you’ve had no convictions for the 5 year duration.
Further, you’ll also need to show proof that you have an income generated in Portugal or elsewhere in the world. If you’re employed, you’ll need to attach a copy of your employment contract from your current employer.
Additionally, you’ll be required to pass a basic Portuguese language test.
You’ll also be required to provide documentary evidence that you have a place to stay within the country, which could be your investment property or a place you’ve secured to rent.
The application and review process will take about nine months. During this period, you’ll renew your temporary permit as you wait to receive your permanent residency permit or Portuguese passport.
Once you’ve gained your citizenship, you can sell your investment property if you like, rent it out or live in it permanently – the choice is yours.
What are the benefits of European Union citizenship?
Live work and travel without restrictions
When you’re a citizen of any of the European Union countries, you can live, work and travel visa free in all of the 28 countries within the region.
Access to subsidized education
In this region, you and your family can enjoy subsidized education from any constituent countries, as long as you’re a citizen.
Access national health care from wherever you are
As a citizen, you can gain access to national health care benefits across the EU, which means free or heavily subsidized medical care when you need it most.
Right to vote and be elected in your country of residence
As an EU citizen, you have a right to vote in and also offer yourself for election in any of the EU countries as a resident of the country you are in. When looking for work, you can get a job in any of the member countries without the need to meet additional conditions. You will not be considered an expatriate or a foreigner as long as you are a citizen of another EU member country.
Protection from any EU consulate
If you work or reside in a non-EU country, and your home country doesn’t t have an embassy or diplomatic mission there, you have the right to get protection and services from any EU consulate within the country.
As a citizen of any EU country, you have the right to own property in any of the other EU countries. This comes in handy for investors who would like to diversify their portfolio of investments as well as those who have the wherewithal to own a few holiday homes in different nations which allow them to benefit from delightful climates all year round.
The Portugal Golden Visa is a reasonably short and smooth journey towards Portuguese citizenship. Over the five years that you have the temporary permit residence, ensure that you follow all the rules, renew your permit on time every time and keep a clean criminal record.
When the five-year period of temporary residence is over, apply for citizenship in Portugal and you should be granted it without any trouble whatsoever.