Complete Guide - Golden Visa Portugal

What is Golden Visa Portugal and what are the benefits

Golden Visa Portugal is a residence program for investment in Portugal, which means that if you (fulfilling some requirements) make an investment in the country, you can stay with a residence to live there. 

Officially called “ARI” (“Residence Permit for Investment Activity”), Golden Visa Portugal is the most successful investment residency program 

m in Europe. 

The program participant, provided he is not a citizen of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, can invest in Portugal and thus receive a Portuguese residence permit for himself and also for members of his family. 

Here are the main benefits of the Golden Visa Portugal program: 

  • Entry and free movement throughout the Schengen area (26 European countries);
  • After five years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship (final);
  • Your dependent children and dependent parents will also qualify for the same benefits as you;
  • You only need to spend seven days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent years in Portugal (consecutively or not consecutively);
  • The program is not blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), unlike many other Golden Visa programs;
  • Option to become aNon HabitualResident (RNH) in Portugal and pay little or no tax for 10 years; 
  • Choose from a variety of relatively affordable investment options;
  • Security of a second residence in a safe and stable country; and
  • Freedom and new opportunities for you and your family.

The Golden Visa in Portugal program was created in 2012 to attract foreign investment to the country and has already brought over 3.5 billion euros in direct investments to Portugal. So far, more than 7,000 investors have benefited from the program, along with more than 12,000 family members. 

Access to the Schengen area and the Portuguese passport  

With your Golden Visa authorization, you will be registered in the central Schengen Area system, which will allow you to enter all European countries without the need for an additional visa. 

In addition, with your enrollment, your dependent children and dependent parents will also qualify for the same benefits as you. 

After five years, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship. The Portuguese passport is a high-level travel document that allows you to travel without a visa to 182 countries. 


Currently, the top five nationalities of investors are: 

  • China
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • South Africa
  • Russia


Who is entitled to Golden Visa in Portugal? 


Any citizen NOT from the EU, EEA or Swiss who makes a qualified investment in Portugal can enroll in the Golden Visa program in Portugal. 

The Golden Visa Portugal program has proven to be one of the most popular programs in Europe. Obtaining Golden Visa in Portugal is easy, fast and cheaper than other EU citizenship programs. 


What is the minimum mandatory investment? 


The program generally requires a minimum investment of € 250,000 and you can choose from a variety of options. Most investors choose the real estate investment option (we will list all options below). 

One of the main advantages of Golden Visa in Portugal is its low ‘stay requirement’. That is, in order for you to retain your Golden Visa entitlement, you will only need to spend seven days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent years (consecutive or non-consecutive days) in Portugal. This makes everything easier if you do not intend to live permanently in Portugal, but want to have access to the benefits of having a residence in the EU and, eventually, gain permanent citizenship and your European passport. 


Golden Visa Portugal for the family 


At the same time that you make your own registration, you can also request the Golden Visa Portugal family reunification to: 

  • Spouse or legal partner;
  • Children under 18 years of age;
  • Dependent children under the age of 26, as long as they are single and enrolled as full-time students;
  • The parents of any spouse who is over 66 years of age (or 55 and dependent); and / or
  • Siblings under the age of 18, from either spouse or partner, if legally responsible.


What are the requirements for me to qualify for Golden Visa? 


  1. Make and maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years;
  2. Spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal in the first year, then a minimum of 14 days in each subsequent two-year period (consecutive or non-consecutive days) – This is called “Requirement for Stay”; and
  3. Have no criminal record.


What is the “Stay Requirement”? 


As we said before, the ‘Stay Requirement’ is one of the main benefits of your residence visa in Portugal. 

With your residence permit in Portugal, you will have to renew your card for the first few years, as well as spend a few days in Portugal every year in the following order: 

  • In the first year, you must spend at least seven days in Portugal; and
  • In years two to five, you must spend at least 14 days in Portugal (whether consecutive or not) during each two-year period.


What taxes will I have to pay as a Golden Visa Portugal holder? 


As a Golden Visa holder, you will not need to pay any additional tax on your income produced outside Portugal. 

You can also benefit from the generous tax regime for Non-Habitual Residents (RNH), establishing your tax residence in Portugal. This can help you maximize tax efficiency related to your overall income. 


What is the “Non Habitual Resident” tax regime? 


In summary, the “Non-Habitual Resident” tax regime provides for the granting of some tax advantages to qualified taxpayers. The “Non-Habitual Resident” taxpayer may have a set of tax advantages for a period of 10 years, from exemption from payment of any tax on a certain type of income to the payment of income tax at a fixed rate of 20% % during that period. 

Golden Visa holders automatically qualify for the “Non-Habitual Resident” Scheme. 

Here is the list of types of income that may qualify for tax exemption: 

  • Dividends;
  • Interest;
  • Real estate income;
  • Capital gains from the sale of real estate;
  • Occupational pensions;
  • Royalties and other know-how revenues; and / or
  • Business and self-employment profits derived from eligible occupations (but be aware of the relevant double taxation agreements in this regard).

In addition, any income of Portuguese origin would be taxed at a fixed rate of 20% during the first 10 years and there is also the ability to transfer your wealth to a spouse or dependent without incurring taxes on inheritances or donations. 


Who can apply for Golden Visa Portugal? 


The order can be placed on your behalf or through an EU-based company of which you are the sole partner. 


What are the investment options for Golden Visa Portugal? 


An investment must be made before the Golden Visa application is submitted. 

Here is the complete list of qualified investments: 

Money transfer 


The transfer of at least 1 million euros to Portugal; 


Creating jobs in Portugal 


Creation of 10 new full-time jobs within a Portuguese company in the form of a limited partnership with only one partner. (there may be eight job openings if they are in a sparsely populated area); 


Invest € 500,000 in property 


Real Estate Investment of at least € 500,000 of any type of property and in any part of Portugal. (Reduced to € 400,000 if located in a sparsely populated area); 


Invest € 350,000 in renovating a property 


Property Buying  + Renovation of properties over 30 years old or located in areas designated for urban rehabilitation COM (ii) the purchase price of the property plus the value (excluding VAT) of the renovation contract totaling at least € 350,000. (reduced to € 280,000 if located in a sparsely populated area). 


Investing in art and culture 


Investment in the conservation of the National Heritage, or arts and culture projects of at least € 250,000; 


Invest in research 


Investment in research carried out by accredited institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system of at least € 350,000; 


Investing in business 


Investment in an existing business registered in Portugal, of at least € 350,000 to incorporate or increase share capital AND create at least 5 permanent full-time jobs for a minimum period or three years; or 


Investing in equity funds 


Investment in a venture capital fund registered in Portugal, of at least € 350,000, funds intended to provide capital to companies that meet certain requirements. 


Golden Visa Portugal process duration 


1 – The first step is immediate: decide which investment option you will make and add all your documentation. 

2 – The second step is to make the chosen investment, even before your Golden Visa application is sent. The timing is up to you. 

3 – After completing your application, you will receive a preliminary approval from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and will have to make an appointment and attend an interview. Due to popular demand in places like Lisbon and Faro, scheduling an interview can take up to three months. You can reduce this waiting time by scheduling your interview in less popular districts. 

4 – When you attend the consultation, bring your family members so that your application can be sent simultaneously, which can save months on your application. 

5 – After submitting your application, it takes three to six months to approve and issue the residence card. 

Once your Golden Visa is issued (6), you will have to wait five years before you can apply for permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship (7), but you will already have the benefits of your Golden Visa. 


Step-by-step guide for applying for Golden Visa Portugal 


  1. Decide your investment option;
  2. Start preparing and gathering all your documents;
  3. Obtain a Portuguese TIN and open a Portuguese Bank Account (which can be done remotely);
  4. Transfer the required investment amount to your bank account in Portugal;
  5. Make the investment;
  6. Have all documentation translated into Portuguese and legalized in accordance with SEF requirements;
  7. Submit the initial application to SEF and pay the Government registration fee. Also provide a copy of all required documentation;
  8. Schedule your interview and participate in a biometry collection session;
  9. Wait for final approval;
  10. After your Golden Visa is approved, pay the Government license issuing fee;
  11. Your residency certificate will be issued and will be valid for one year;
  12. Renew your residency certificate at the end of the first and third year;
  13. Become a permanent resident in the fifth year and apply for Portuguese citizenship;
  14. You will now receive your Portuguese passport.


Most common way to invest in Golden Visa Portugal 


Your investment must be made before the Golden Visa application can be submitted. Most investors choose to invest in real estate. 

Some things to consider before making your decision: 

  • The Portuguese real estate market;
  • Research and selection of properties;
  • Types of investments;
  • Property reform;
  • Process of buying a property;
  • How to save on taxes;
  • “Urban Rehabilitation Area” or ARI); and
  • Taxes for short-term rentals.


Documentation for Golden Visa Portugal 


The following documents must be submitted by Golden Visa applicants, both for the initial application and each renewal: 

  • Copy of a valid passport and travel documents;
  • Deed or contract of the acquired property or promissory contract signed with proof of payment of the deposit;
  • Statement from your bank in Portugal confirming the transfer of funds;
  • Health Insurance Certificate in Portugal;
  • Certified copy of the criminal record or similar document issued by the federal police in your country of origin;
  • Completed form giving SEF authorization to obtain a copy of its Portuguese criminal records;
  • Your statement confirming compliance with the investment requirements;
  • Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security documents. These can be issued 45 days before your online registration; and
  • A receipt showing that you have already paid the registration fee.

Please note that criminal record certificates must have been issued a maximum of 90 days before submitting your application. For all other certificates, it is 180 days. 


Legalization of documents 


Documents must be legalized and translated into Portuguese (if they are in another language) 

Documents can be legalized in one of two ways: 

  • By the Portuguese Consulate; or
  • The Hague Convention Handout.


Translation of documents 


Original documents that are not in Portuguese must be accompanied by a certified translation into Portuguese, which can be done in three ways: 

  • By a translator accredited by the Portuguese Consulate;
  • By anyone, if the translation is certified by a Portuguese lawyer; or
  • By the consulate of the issuing country in Portugal;


Get a Portuguese NIF – Tax Identification Number –  and open a bank account in Portugal 


These are relatively simple processes in Portugal and both can be done remotely. 


Get your NIF in Portuguese 


The NIF (“Tax Identification Number”), also known as “Taxpayer Number”, is your tax identification number used for tax purposes, necessary to carry out various transactions, including opening a bank account in Portugal and purchasing property. 


Open a bank account in Portugal 


With your TIN ready, along with your identification document, proof of residence, it will be possible to open, in some Portuguese banks, a bank account in Portugal. It is possible to contact a consultant who can open your bank account even before you go to Portugal 


What are the Government fees and legal costs for a Golden Visa in Portugal? 


The Portuguese government charges the following fees for Golden Visa: 

  • Initial registration fee of € 527.60 (€ 82.30 for each member of the investor’s family);
  • Golden Visa approval fee of € 5,274.40 per visa holder;
  • A visa renewal fee at the end of years one and three of € 2,637.20 per visa holder; and
  • A renewal fee for the following years of € 527.60 (€ 82.30 for each member of the investor’s family).
  • Legal costs are typically around € 5,000 per family for initial registration and € 1,500 for each renewal.


Frequently asked questions about Golden Visa in Portugal (FAQs) 

What are the advantages of Golden Visa Portugal? 


  • Easy and transparent process.
  • Free movement in the Schengen area
  • Clear path for European citizenship
  • Cheaper than other European alternatives
  • Your immediate family will also qualify
  • Very short stay requirement in Portugal
  • Option to maximize efficiency in your tax affairs for 10 years
  • Security of a second home in a safe and stable country
  • Have freedom of opportunity for you and your family


Who in my family also benefits from my Golden Visa? 


Dependent children up to 18 and parents can be included if they are over 66 (or 55 and dependent). 


How much does it cost to obtain a golden visa in Portugal? 


  • Initial registration fee of € 527.60 (€ 82.30 for each member of the investor’s family);
  • Golden Visa approval fee of € 5,274.40 per visa holder;
  • A visa renewal fee at the end of years one and three of € 2,637.20 per visa holder; and
  • A renewal fee for the following years of € 527.60 (€ 82.30 for each member of the investor’s family).


How long does Golden Visa processing time take in Portugal? 


The maximum processing time provided by law is three months, but in practice it takes about six months. 


Should all documents be translated into Portuguese? 


Yes, all documents must be legalized and translated into Portuguese according to the requirements. 


Can you make the investment through a limited company? 


Yes, registration can be done on your behalf or through an EU-based company that you are the only partner 


Can I make a mortgage to make my investment? 


No, you must pay for the full amount. 


What is the tax regime for Golden Visa holders? 


You will not have to pay taxes in Portugal. Golden Visa holders automatically qualify for the “Non-Habitual Resident” Tax Regime. 

What are the occupations participating in the Portuguese “Non Habitual Residents” Tax Regime? 

  • Archeologists;
  • Architects;
  • Auditors;
  • Biologists;
  • Computer programmers;
  • Experts in Data Processing and Hosting;
  • Dentists;
  • Designers;
  • Engineers;
  • Geologists;
  • Investors (directors and managers of companies);
  • IT consultants;
  • IT professionals;
  • IT specialists (others);
  • Life sciences specialists;
  • Doctors;
  • Musicians;
  • Painters;
  • Psychologists;
  • Sculptors;
  • Senior managers (except company directors);
  • Singers;
  • Tax Consultants;
  • Theater, ballet, cinema, radio and TV professionals;
  • University professors; and
  • Web Developers and Designers.


Can I live in other countries with Golden Visa Portugal? 


Yes, you can live in any country you want. The only requirement is to spend an average of seven days a year in Portugal to maintain your golden visa status. 


Should I avoid certain companies that offer Golden Visa services? 


Yes. Portugal has received around 100 Golden Visa applications per month, on average, and currently SEF has about 1,300 applications pending incorrect or lost documentation. As with everything in life, it is important to be diligent and partner with people who are experienced and who work with total transparency. 

In addition, there are reports of unscrupulous companies that have advised clients to buy properties that meet the minimum investment requirement, however, this advice is aimed at foreign buyers who do not realize that properties are overvalued. 


How do I find a good real estate investment in Portugal? 


Familiarize yourself with the market and the different regions of the country. Decide which cities and neighborhoods you are considering. The value of the property can fluctuate significantly from one area to another, from one side of the street to the other, or even between floors in apartment blocks. 

The Portuguese real estate market is particularly intricate and dynamic, so looking for a source of impartial advice is paramount. And always keep your personal goals in mind. 


What is the best way to get Golden Visa Portugal? 


Real estate investment is the most popular option in Portugal’s Golden Visa program, with over 92% of applicants opting for this modality. The minimum investment is € 500,000, which must be made on any type of property or any number of properties and in any part of the Portuguese territory. As an investor, you have several options for developments in the plant, new buildings, used residential properties, as well as space for commercial offices. 

There may also be opportunities for renovation (renovation) projects. This investment option in Golden Visa requires a minimum investment of € 350,000 in a ‘renovation project’ (ie a building over 30 years old or in an urban renovation area). These projects are more difficult to obtain due to strict legislation and high demand, however, they are incredible investment opportunities. Please note that all planning permissions and authorizations must be issued before a property can qualify for this Golden Visa investment option. 



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