Introduced in 2012, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program (ARI) was created to boost the Portuguese economy and promote the market to investors. Since the program began, it is estimated to have made around €5bn in revenue.

Similar programs exist across the world, but Portugal’s Golden Visa is widely regarded as being amongst the best for a number of reasons.

As a popular tourist destination with beautiful landscapes, incredible history and vibrant culture, it’s easy to see why holidaymakers, expats and investors alike all flock there, and the fantastic Golden Visa program has helped many to settle into the country and unlock new opportunities.

But for those considering investment, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. With so many options and so much to learn, it’s hard to find all the information in one place.

This blog will tell you everything you need to know about the scheme, and how it can work for you – let’s take a look!

What is the Golden Visa Program?

The Golden Visa program is a fast-track citizenship by investment scheme that enables investors to live and work in Portugal and reap the benefits of its EU membership. Investors may share these perks with their families, and after five years of investment, they will also have the option to apply for permanent residency and citizenship, after which they can claim EU family reunification rights. Here’s how it works:

  • Once the initial investment has been made, and the application has been successful, the investor is granted a temporary residence permit which lasts for one year, and requires the holder to spend a minimum of only seven days in the country during that time.
  • This permit may be renewed every two years provided that the investor spends at least two weeks in the country for each two-year period they choose to renew. Once they have maintained their initial investment for five years, Golden Visa holders may also apply for citizenship.

Eligible investors looking to access the program will find themselves with a number of routes to take (largely based on the value of their investment), but before exploring those, let’s take a look at the benefits of this incredible program that has opened doors for investors across the globe.

Benefits of the Golden Visa

Property investment is in itself a golden opportunity. It is considered a fairly low-risk and relatively predictable form of investment, and international markets offer their own diverse opportunities that an investor might miss out on with a local property market.

The Golden Visa is a prime example, because it grants holders a number of fantastic benefits, not just in Portugal, but in the European Union too:

  • First of all, the freedom of travel – Golden Visa holders are free to travel in and out of Portugal, as well as the other 25 Schengen Area countries. They also have the freedom to live, work and study in Portugal, although they are under no obligation to do so.
  • As mentioned, families of Golden Visa investors may also apply to share the same residency rights – again, this include the right to work and study in the country, and grants travel in the Schengen Zone. This means investors may be joined by their spouses, any dependent children they may have, and even parents and in-laws, provided they too are dependents.
  • Golden Visa holders may also become eligible to apply for non-habitual residency (NHR), a scheme which can significantly reduce the amount of tax the investor pays. NHR has its own unmissable benefits, which include (but are not limited to) personal income tax benefits for up to ten years, tax exemptions for gifts or inheritances to direct family members and exemption from wealth taxes.
  • They may also be able to enjoy a significantly reduced tax rate on foreign source income, including pensions, which makes non-habitual residency a popular choice for many retirees. Incomes from certain professions may also be eligible for the 20% flat rate of tax under the scheme (as opposed to regular tax rates, which can be as high as 48%). These professions include, but are not limited to, some medical professionals, certain technology or engineering-based careers, and scientific professions.

Obtaining A Golden Visa Through Property Investment

There are multiple ways to obtain a Golden Visa, but property investment is one of the most popular and those looking to make an eligible investment face two main options:

  • First of all, any property in any location with a value of €500,000 or higher will automatically qualify an eligible buyer for the Golden Visa program.
  • Those looking to spend a little less can also choose to make an investment of €350,000. For such as property to qualify its buyer for the program, it must be located in an urban area of Portugal, and either be over thirty years old or in need of renovation.
  • The $350,000 figure is inclusive of any renovation costs, but in low-density areas of the country, an investment of €280,000 will qualify the buyer for the Golden Visa.

Investors themselves must also meet certain requirements in order to qualify. For a start, the program is available only to those who are not citizens of the EU or EEA. In addition, investors must not have a criminal record, nor should they have any adverse record in the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service.

The application process may appear complex at first glance, but once these criteria are met, it’s simpler than you might expect. There are certain documentation requirements of course, as well as legal fees, but we can provide all the information necessary so that the process is crystal-clear and hassle-free.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re considering a holiday home, making plans for a sunny retirement, or simply seeking a multi-faceted investment opportunity that opens doors, the Golden Visa Portugal program is designed to help you do just that.And here at Property Lisbon, we’re dedicated to helping our clients find the investment that is perfect for them. Our experts have the skills and expertise to guide you through your journey to Portuguese permanent residency and citizenship smoothly and open the door to an exciting new life in the sunshine.

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