Portugal Citizenship by investment program i.e. Portugal Golden Visa program is very popular if you are looking for European citizenship for you and your family. Since it’s inception more than 10,000 families successfully obtained this Portugal Golden visa and still the number is rising.
What is a Golden Visa in Portugal?
When a non-EU citizen looking for residency permit or citizenship in Portugal by investment then he/she first must apply for investor visa in Portugal and that is called “Golden Visa”.
After staying 5 years in Portugal while holding the Portugal Golden Visa a non-EU citizen can become a permanent resident or a citizen in Portugal.
Is Portugal Golden Visa worth it? Or Why is Portugal Golden Visa so popular?
Yes, it does worth it. Let me tell you why Portugal Golden Visa so popular.
Portuguese Golden Visa offers varieties investment options in affordable cost, and this visa eventually qualify you for Portugal residence permit and citizenship,
To keep your Golden visa intact, minimum stay requirement in Portugal is very low i.e. only 7 (seven) days per year,
The visa gives you visa-free access to all the Schengen Countries,
Become a Portuguese as well as European citizen within 5 (five) to 6(six) years,
You can have a high quality of life in affordable cost along with safety and security in Portugal.
Portugal has excellent weather, high-quality health and education systems.
Portugal Golden Visa Benefits: What Are the advantages of Portugal Golden Visa?
So you may ask, why choose the Golden Visa in Portugal? There are following reasons to be considered:
Portugal requires the lowest investment in Europe i.e. €280,000 in order to get residency by investment
To keep your residence permit intact you do not require to move in Portugal. In average if you stay only 7 days per year that will be enough
The route to residency by investment through Portugal golden visa is one of the fastest in Europe since in five years you become qualified to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Travel and Visa-Free Countries
The Golden Visa registers you in the Schengen Area central system and that allows you freely travel within Europe with no added visa.
After completing 5 years golden visa staying requirement, you can obtain Portuguese citizenship and being a European citizen, you will have visa-free access to 188 countries.
Portugal passport is very powerful in terms of visa-free access to number of countries (now 188 countries) and ranked 5thin the world.
Can you work in Portugal with Golden visa?
Yes, Portugal Golden Visa allows right to work, stay and study in Portugal.
The Portugal Golden Visa permits to get employment any place, you can begin and manage your own company in Portugal as well.
Portuguese Golden Visa can be extended by the main applicant to his/her family members.
The visa application procedure of the main applicant and the dependents can be maintained in parallel.
The family members below entitled to apply accompanying the main applicant:
Children under the age of 18,
Dependent children under the age of 26, on condition they are full-time students and not married,
The main applicant’s Parents, who are over the age of 65 years old.
Citizenship and Passport
Anyone can apply for citizenship after 5 years from obtaining a Golden Visa in Portugal.
In order to be eligible for citizenship, you must show:
No outstanding tax payments in Portugal,
Clean (no) criminal records from Portugal and from your home country,
Entered and passed a basic language test in Portuguese (language test requirement discussed detail in below).
This Visa Program doesn’t impose any tax responsibility to you unless you spend more than 183 days of a year in Portugal. If you do, then you become a tax resident in Portugal.
So in summary, as a Portuguese Golden Visa holder, you have the right to live and work in Portugal, but there is no compulsory obligation to do so since you can stay in average 7 days in a year and still can keep the golden visa valid. The country offers a friendly tax regime if you settle on Portugal. With your Golden Visa, you can have benefit of free travel within the European Schengen visa area instantly. After obtaining a Golden Visa for 5 years, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship or permanent residency in Portugal that eventually leads to gaining passport. The Portuguese passport allows you to live, work, study anywhere within the European Union and you will have visa free access to 188 countries.
Eligibility: Who Is Eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal?
Any non-EU (example- Bangladeshi etc.) /EEA/Swiss national can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa.
You’re required to be at least 18 years old and hold a clean criminal record from your home country, as well as from Portugal. The funds for the investment should come from outer countries of Portugal.
Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options: What Types of Investments Qualify for the Golden Visa?
Portugal Golden Visa program offers different investment options.
Real Estate Acquisition
Real Estate Acquisition
You need to invest in real estate worth more than €500,000 in Portugal,
If you prefer to invest in a low-density area in Portugal, the minimum required amount of investment decrease 20 percent to €400,000
When you’re preferred real estate is older than 30 years old, in an urban rehabilitation area, and you chose to renovate it then investment requirement is for a minimum of €350,000 in Portugal.
But if your preferred real estate which is more than 30 years old found in a low-density area in Portugal, then again the minimum amount of investment decrease 20 percent to €280,000
The real estate acquisition does not requires to invest in a single property. As long as the minimum investment amount threshold is achieved in total, the transaction may include the purchase of more than one or several properties.
On the other hand, if multiple applicants are purchasing one property for a larger purchase amount, they may also combine their investments. This means, for example, that if you and your siblings purchase real estate worth €1 million, two of you may each apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, since each of you spend €500,000 in total.
Please note that you will not be eligible for Portuguese Golden Visa if you invest in residential properties in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal towns of the mainland. Though, you can qualify by invest in commercial property in the said locations.
To qualify for Capital transfer route, you have to transfer a minimum of €1,5 million to Portugal.
To qualify for Fund subscription route, you have to transfer a minimum of €500,000 subscription in a qualified investment fund.
You as the main applicant establishing a company / business that creates a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs in Portugal.
You as the main applicant establishing a company / business formed in a low-density area that creates a minimum of 8 new full-time jobs in Portugal.
Thirdly, you invest a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese company/business, where the integrated company/business has to create a minimum of 5 new full-time jobs for at the minimum of3 years.
Donate a minimum amount of €250,000 in preserving national heritage in Portugal.
Donate a minimum amount of €500,000 in a research and development activity in Portugal.
Are Loans or real estate mortgage allowed for the Investment in Portugal Golden Visa? Or Can I take a mortgage to make my investment?
Since the Golden Visa program initiated for the purpose of bring in investment in Portugal from other countries that means Portugal authority anticipate you to move in the lowest requisite invest amount from outside of Portugal.
And thus the minimum sum of investment cannot be a loan from any Portuguese financial organization.
However, you can withdraw a loan from a non-Portuguese financial organization and then bring it in Portugal. Furthermore, if your investment from outside Portugal outdoes the minimum required investment, then you are free to take a loan for the exceeding amount from a local financial institution of Portugal.
Golden Visa Requirements in Portugal: What Are the Golden Visa Portugal Requirements?
Minimum Residence Requirement
The Golden Visa residents have to stay in Portugal, on average a minimum of 7 (seven) days in a year.
In first term the residence permits valid for two years and the subsequent term the permits valid for three years each. So in 1st term in 2 years the residents have to stay physically for a minimum of 14 days in total. From 2nd term onwards in every 3 years the residents have to stay physically for a minimum of 21 days in total in Portugal.
Make and Maintain a Qualified Investment for Five Years
As the main applicant you must show that you have individually invested the minimum qualified sum which should be backed by showing supporting evidence.
You also have to keep the investment as long as you and your dependents are in Golden Visa residency status.
When you become a permanent resident or a citizen of Portugal, you do not need to retain the investment anymore and you can liquidate the whole investment, if you want to.
You are required to give the below documents to apply for Portugal Golden Visa Program:
- Copy of a passport,
- Proof of evidence that shows that the main applicant alone owns the required investment:
If you invest in real estate then a deed or promissory sale agreement with proof of deposit payment,
When you invest in investment fund then proof of fund subscription from the fund manager.
- Declaration or official statement from a financial institution of Portugal ,for example , a Bank verifying the transfer of funds,
- Proof of healthcare coverage:
If in Portugal, from the National Health System in Portugal,
But when outside of Portugal, from an internationally accepted and covered insurance company.
- Clean Criminal record of the presently residing country,
The letter verifying clean criminal record must be issued within three (3) months of the visa application.
- A completed form authorizing Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF) to access criminal records in Portugal (SEF is the Portuguese official immigration and border services office),
- A sworn affidavit/ declaration of compliance with the required minimum investment for necessary period of 5 (five) years,
- Documents indicating good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system. It has to be issued in favor of the main applicant within 45 days of the visa application form submission.
- Receipt of ARI application payment,
Unless otherwise stated, it is best to have the documentation issued within three months of your Golden Visa application submission.
The above said required documents issued by a non-Portuguese body have to be legalized.
Your legalization has to have an apostille if your country is a member of the Hague convention. Since, Bangladesh is not a party to the Hague Convention so Bangladeshi applicants do not required to have an apostille to legalize their documents. Notary public will suffice in legalization if the document is in English language.
Other associated Fees
In addition to investment cost there are other costs related to the visa application process . They are various Portugal Golden Visa government application fees, for example, Processing Fee, initial application fee, renewal application fee and legal fee.
Bank Account and NIF Number
To make the investment the main applicant must have a bank account in Portugal because authority’s mandatory requirement is investment via bank transaction.
To open a bank account you have to have a tax identification number in Portugal, called NIF number.
Getting a NIF number and opening a bank account in Portugal is simple and will take a day.
Required document to get a NIF Number
Firstly, proof of address from country of residence of the main applicant,
Secondly, a government-issued identification or national ID or passport of the main applicant
When you bring the above two documents to a Finanças office in Portugal, you will get your NIF number on the same day.
In your absence in Portugal your lawyer can complete this task only if you make your lawyer your power of attorney.
Opening a Bank Account in Portugal
Unlike many countries in the world, Portuguese banks make it quite easy to open a bank account for non-residents and foreigners. The banking and maintenance fees are also quite low compared to the rest of Europe. Just follow the below steps:
Opening and maintaining a bank account in Portugal is easy and reasonably cheap in compare to other European countries. The following documents are required to open a bank account:
Passport or government-issued travel document,
Local phone number in Portugal,
Proof of address of the main applicant from country of his/her residence,
Proof of income of the main applicant,
Then simply you go to a bank branch carrying all the above documents and open your account.
It is best to get advice and support from experienced law firm in order to speed up the process of opening bank account.
How To Get a Golden Visa in Portugal: Portugal Golden Visa Application
We frequently face queries from people like ‘How do I get a golden visa for Portugal?’
The Golden Visa application process in Portugal is reasonably simple. If you follow the following stages you will reach the goal of obtaining golden visa:
Stage One: Select Your route of Investment
Firstly, you need to research on the list of available investment routes and select the investment type you will go ahead with. Please note, more than 90 percent of all Portugal Golden Visa applicants have selected a real estate investment. Though, in recently, the fund option also getting attracted by the applicant.
Stage Two: Collecting Required Papers
You need to collect all required documents for being the main applicant and for your dependents (if any). This stage may get a bit tricky and exhausting, especially with all the necessary translations, notarizing, apostilles, and certifications. You can avoid this struggle and rest assured by getting help from professional advisor.
Stage Three: Obtain a NIF and Open a Bank Account
As discussed above, this can be obtained by your lawyer even you are absent in Portugal by giving power to your lawyer via power of attorney.
Stage Four: Confirm the Investment
In this stage you chose the investment route and confirm it by investing in Portugal.
Stage Five: Submit Pre-Application
After completing requisite investment and documentation, you must lodge your pre-application online into SEF. It is highly advised, you hire an experienced lawyer or law firm to do this task on your behalf so that they can check your documents and inform you if there is anything lacking.
In general, it takes around2to 4 months from the time of submitting your documents till obtaining your SEF appointment date.
Stage Six: Select and Appear in Your SEF Appointment
Subsequently, examining your pre-application, SEF will give you a bunch of available dates for selecting a bio-metric appointment. On your selected appointment date, you and your dependents need to physically present at the corresponding SEF office in order to submit your and your dependents fingerprints and officially submit the application.
Stage Seven: Obtaining Golden Visa and Renewal
When your application will be successfully accepted by SEF then you and your dependents will obtain Golden Visa residency cards.
Your lawyer or law firm may collect the cards on your behalf and send them your way. As mentioned earlier, your 1stcard is valid for two years and before the validity period expired, you must apply for renewal of your Golden Visa card to receive a new one for a visa of 3 years.
In general, the time frame between your bio-metrics appointment and you receive your visa cards is roughly 4 months.
Step Eight: Become a Portuguese Citizen
After completing 1sttwo years and then 1st renewal of three years, that means, completion of 5 years golden visa, you qualify for applying permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.
In general, the time frame of completing a citizenship application is in between six months to a year. The moment you receive your permanent residence or citizenship, you don’t require to continue the investment any more, you can encash it straight away.
Portugal Golden Visa Timeline:
So, a usual query arise as to how long does it take to get Portugal golden visa.
As discussed above, it takes around 2 to 4 months from the time of submitting your documents by online application till obtaining your SEF appointment date i.e. appearing physical interview.
And the time frame between your bio-metrics appointment and you receive your visa cards is roughly 4 months. Thus in total the approximate rime is required from 6 to 8 months for obtaining the Golden visa.
There are many SEF offices all over Portugal, and you may apply for any of them, in spite of the location of your investment. We recommend low demand locations since districts with long wait lists like SEF office in Lisbon will cost you delay the bio-metrics appointment date up to six months.
Please note, being the main applicant, you and all your dependents can reserve the SEF appointment concurrently.
Your countdown to achieving residency begins with you and your dependents obtaining Golden Visa card.
1st and 2ndYear
Your 1stGolden Visa residence card will be valid for two (2) years. In these two years, you must stay a minimum total of fourteen (14) days in Portugal.
You need to renew your visa 30-90 days before the expiration date of your Golden visa card. So, you need to replicate the above Golden visa application process like SEF interview including re-submit the up-to-date documentation (i.e. criminal records), bio-metrics, and necessary application processing fee to renew your cards.
3rd , 4th& 5thYear
Your newly extended Golden Visa will be valid for three (3) years. In these three years, you must stay a minimum total of twenty-one (21) days in Portugal.
After Year Five
After completing 5th year in Portugal, you have 3choices:
(i) Apply for Permanent Residency; (ii) Apply for Citizenship
Or, (iii) Continue with the Golden Visa temporary residency program
The good news is the moment you become a permanent resident or a citizen in Portugal, you don’t require to preserve the Golden Visa investment any more.
The above application, stay, and renewal requirements in regard to Golden Visa are the same for the main applicants and their dependents as well.
Fees and Costs: What Are the Government Fees and Legal Costs Related to Portuguese Golden Visa Program?
In addition to the minimum required investment money, you will require other related fees to pay. The following fees explained here:
If you hire a lawyer or law firm then there will be legal fees. This fee depends on the firm you chose for your representation. The Portugal Golden Visa investment is a substantial amount, so you should hire someone experienced to support you professionally.
Taxes: What Are the Portuguese Golden Visa Tax Implications?
Tax residency and legal residency are not the same. If you obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal, that doesn’t mean you are automatically a Portuguese tax resident too.
Though being legal resident, if your investment in Portugal generates income, then you must pay taxes.
You will qualify as tax resident only when stays more than 183 days out of a fiscal year in Portugal.
Real Estate Tax Implications
Buying a real estate in Portugal will cost you acquisition taxes. There are also local taxes per year. If you rent your property then there are rental income taxes too.
Maintenance, repair costs and IMI may be subtracted from the calculated tax amount.
The rental income taxes may differ if you rent out your property on a short-term basis to tourists.
If you sell your property in future at a profit then you have to pay capital gains tax as well.
Statistics on Portugal Golden Visa
The above image of government statistics of last 10 years shows the clear picture that how popular the program still is. The total main applicants of 11,263 people bring over €6 billion of international funds into Portugal economy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Which Golden Visa program is the best? Comparison: Portugal vs Spain vs Greece
Answer: It actually varies based on the criteria of the investor/ main applicant. There are many factors that need to be considered in answering the above query. However, if you looking for European citizenship, Portugal Golden Visa are better in numerous categories in compare to Spanish and Greek Golden Visas. To learn more please see comparison of Portugal vs Spain vs Greece Golden Visa Programs.
Question: What is the Portuguese golden visa?
Answer: It is a residency by investment program introduced by Portugal government available to non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss citizens. The program is designed to bring investment funds from outside world in to Portugal.
Question: Which requirements for golden visa Portugal do investors have to comply with?
Answer: The requirements discussed in above in detail. In short, the main applicant has to be a non-EU, non-EEA, and a non-Swiss citizen of 18 years or older, and ability for required financial investment in Portugal.
Question: What are the specific requirements for each type of qualifying investment?
Answer: Qualifying investment requirement discussed in detail above. But in short-
Real Estate investment: Purchasing any real estate in Portugal amounting at least €500,000 or a real estate in an urban rehabilitation project amounting at least €350,000. Both amounts fall 20% further, as long as the investment is in a low-density population area in the country.
Transfer of funds: The amount of €1.5 million transfer of capital to a Portuguese bank account or €500,000 subscription in any of the qualifying Portuguese venture capital funds.
Job creation: Making at least 10 jobs in Portugal job market.
Financial donation: €250,000 donation to cultural heritage or €500,000 donation to research carried out by public or private scientific research institutions.
Question: Who in my family benefits from my Golden Visa?
Answer: The main applicant’s spouse, minor children, dependent children, and dependent parents of main applicant can be benefited from your Golden Visa.
Question: How much does Portugal Golden Visa cost? Or How much is Portugal Golden Visa?
Answer: The calculation of the total cost of Golden Visa Portugal depends on the types of investment you chose. In addition to the investment cost, there are other costs like acquisition fees, legal fees, and Golden Visa fees also. The price schedule discussed above.
Question: Portugal golden visa processing time? Or, Portugal golden visa waiting time?
Answer: The waiting or processing time for Golden Visa application varies and it mostly depends on which SEF (Immigration and Borders) office you made your interview appointment.
Generally SEF offices in big cities like Lisbon have a long queue, but in less busy areas are not. In general, after making your in investment in Portugal, it takes around six to eight months to get your Golden Visa. Your 1st time Golden Visa will be valid for 2 (two) years.
Question: Should all supporting documents be translated to Portuguese?
Answer: The majority of the supporting documents submitted for Portugal Golden Visa require translation either in Portuguese or in English. See above regarding required documents.
Question: Can you make the investment through a limited company?
Answer: The Golden Visa investment required to be executed by an individual being the main applicant. But if the main applicant establishes a company and invests a minimum of €1.5 million as funds into the company, then the limited company may invest on behalf of the investor with that said capital.
Question: Do I need to get a lawyer for the Golden Visa application?
Answer: You’re not obligatory to hire a lawyer to apply for the Golden Visa, you can apply by your own. Nevertheless, it’s very much recommended that you have an experienced lawyer by your side in regard to help you with your application procedure.
Question: Do the investors have to pay taxes in Portugal on their global income?
Answer: Well, no. If the investor doesn’t stay 183 days or more in Portugal in a year, the investor will not be considered as a residence. Then the investor doesn’t pay taxes in Portugal on the global income, except income from Portugal.
Question: Is the cost of living in Portugal low or high?
Answer: Portugal living expenditure is low in compare to the rest of Europe.
Question: Do I have to register and pay Social Security contributions in Portugal?
Answer: No, you don’t. Though, you must obtain private health insurance to have your healthcare facilities in Portugal.
Question: Can people from Bangladesh apply for the Golden Visa to Portugal?
Answer: Yes, Bangladeshi people can apply for Portugal Golden Visa. Because any non-EU citizen can apply for this visa and Portugal Government did not restricted any particular country for visa application or there was no other eligibility requirements that stopped Bangladeshi people from applying.
Question: Can UK citizens apply for Golden Visa Program Portugal?
Answer: Yes, as Brexit transition is complete, UK citizens can now apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa.
Question: What’s the best way to get a Golden Visa Portugal?
Answer: It completely depends on your choice as to which route you would like to invest or you comfortable with. But please note, the real estate investment option is always very popular among the applicants.
Question: How long does it take before I can apply for Portuguese citizenship and passport?
Answer: You qualify to apply for citizenship in Portugal at the end of your 5th year as a Golden Visa holder. Once you obtain citizenship, you will qualify to receive your Portugal passport then.
Question: Does Portugal allow dual citizenship?
Answer: Yes, it does.
Question: Does Golden Visa in Portugal lead to citizenship?
Answer: Yes, the Golden Visa Portugal eventually leads to citizenship. After completing 5 year Golden visa period, you will qualify to apply for citizenship.
Question: Do I need a language test for Golden Visa program in Portugal?
Answer: No, you don’t need to pass a language test in order to qualify. However, you only have to pass a Portuguese language test only when you choose to get a permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal, after completion of obtaining five (5) years of the Golden Visa.
Question: What is “basic knowledge” of Portuguese?
Answer: It means, you must have ability to write, read, and speak in Portuguese at a beginning level. This includes a comprehensive understanding of common phrases and vocabulary.
Question: Is level A2 the only accepted language test for Portugal citizenship?
Question: Where can you learn Portuguese and prepare for the test?
Answer: There are many online resources available. Furthermore, if you browse in internet you will also found various institutes offers offline language courses in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Question: What countries are included in the Schengen Area?
Answer: The Schengen area covers 26 countries and they are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Question: Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he/she no longer needs the Golden Visa?
Answer: Yes, the applicant can.
Portugal is a great place to live when you consider settling down you, your family and next generations in Europe. Furthermore the weather in Portugal is wonderful to live in . If you are looking for a great place to stay with your loved ones then citizenship in Portugal Golden Visa by real estate investment can be a wise choice.
The content of this blog is for knowledge or information sharing purpose only and may not be relied on as legal advice. In terms of getting any legal help we always strongly advise to contact a professional immigration lawyer. For professional legal help you can call or contact here.
Written By: Sheikh Saiful Islam Rajib
The author is experienced and authorized immigration lawyer for Portugal Golden Visa i.e. Portugal citizenship by investment in real estate program and can be reached by +8801753178887(WhatsApp).