Portugal’s Golden Visa program has become one of the most sought-after residency by-investment programs in Europe and worldwide. Launched in October 2012, the program has attracted over 12,000 applicants who have successfully obtained Golden Visas. The program aims to attract international investors to Portugal, boost the economy, and provide investors with the opportunity to live, work, and study in the country.
This comprehensive guide will explore the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa, eligibility requirements, investment options, application process, fees and costs, and the pathway to obtaining Portuguese citizenship. Whether you are a business-oriented individual or an investor seeking second citizenship, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the Portuguese citizenship by investment process.
Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa
The Portugal Golden Visa offers a range of benefits for investors looking to obtain Portuguese residency and citizenship:
- Visa-Free Travel: The Golden Visa provides visa-free access to the Schengen states, allowing you to travel freely within Europe without additional visas.
- Residency and Work Opportunities: With a Golden Visa, you have the right to live, work, and study in Portugal. The program allows you to pursue employment opportunities and start your own business in the country.
- Family Reunification: As the principal applicant, you can extend the Golden Visa to your family members, including your spouse, children under 18, dependent children under 26 who are full-time students, and parents over 65.
- Pathway to Portuguese Citizenship: After holding a Golden Visa for five years, you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, which grants you all the rights and benefits of a Portuguese citizen, including a Portuguese passport and visa-free access to 188 countries.
- Tax Benefits: Portugal offers a favourable tax regime for foreigners who become tax residents. Through the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program, you can benefit from certain tax exemptions and reductions for the first ten years of residence.
Eligibility for the Portugal Golden Visa
To be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Non-EU/EEA/Swiss National: The program is open to non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals 18 or older.
- Clean Criminal Record: You must have a clean criminal record in your home country and Portugal.
- Investment Funds: You must make a qualifying investment in Portugal. The investment options include real estate acquisition, transfer of capital, job creation, and financial contributions to cultural heritage or research activities.
- Minimum Stay Requirement: While there is no requirement to reside in Portugal permanently, you must spend a minimum of seven days per year in the country to maintain your Golden Visa status.
Investment Options for the Portugal Golden Visa
The Portugal Golden Visa program offers several investment options for obtaining residency and citizenship. These options include:
- Fund Subscription: A minimum of €500,000 subscription in a qualifying Portuguese fund (excluding estate-related funds)
- Creation of jobs: At least ten new full-time jobs in a Portuguese business owned by yourself as the primary applicant.
- Invest a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, where the incorporated business must create at least five new full-time jobs for at least three years.
- Donation: Invest a minimum of €250,000 in preserving national heritage in Portugal.
- Invest a minimum of €500,000 in Portugal’s research and development activity.
Application Process for the Portugal Golden Visa
The application process for the Portugal Golden Visa can be summarized in the following steps:
- Choose Your Investment Option: Select the investment option that best suits your needs and preferences.
- Gather Required Documents: Gather all the necessary documents for your application, including your passport, proof of investment, criminal record certificates, and proof of healthcare coverage.
- Obtain a NIF and Open a Bank Account: Obtain a fiscal number (NIF) and open a bank account in Portugal. These are necessary for financial transactions and investment-related activities.
- Make the Investment: Make the qualifying investment according to your chosen option.
- Submit Pre-Application: Submit your pre-application online to AIMA, the official immigration and border services office in Portugal.
- Attend the Biometrics Appointment: Once your pre-application is approved, schedule a biometrics appointment at an AIMA office to submit your fingerprints and finalize your application.
- Receive Your Golden Visa: After approval, you will receive your Golden Visa residence card, which is valid for two years.
- Renew Your Golden Visa: Renew your Golden Visa residence card every two years by submitting the necessary documents and paying the renewal fees.
- Apply for Permanent Residency or Citizenship: After holding a Golden Visa for five years, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.
Fees and Costs of the Portugal Golden Visa
When applying for the Portugal Golden Visa, you should consider the following fees and costs:
- Government Fees: The government fees include a processing fee, an initial application fee, and a renewal application fee. These fees vary depending on the number of applicants and dependents.
- Legal Fees: Legal fees depend on the law firm you choose to work with and the complexity of your application. Operating with an experienced law firm is advisable to ensure a smooth and successful application process.
- Investment Costs: The investment costs vary depending on your chosen investment option. These costs include the acquisition costs for real estate, transfer of capital, or financial contributions.
- Annual Taxes and Expenses: As a Golden Visa holder, you may be subject to yearly taxes and expenses related to your investment, such as property taxes and maintenance costs.
It is important to note that the costs associated with the Portugal Golden Visa can be significant. It is advisable to consult with a professional advisor to understand the full financial implications of the program.
Obtaining citizenship in Portugal by investment
You can apply for Portuguese citizenship after holding a Golden Visa for five years. The process for obtaining Portuguese citizenship involves the following steps:
- Meet Residency Requirements: During the five years, you must maintain your investment and fulfil the minimum stay requirements in Portugal.
- Language Requirement: As part of the citizenship application process, you must pass a basic language test in Portuguese. This test assesses your ability to write, read, and speak Portuguese at a preliminary level.
- No Outstanding Tax Payments: You must have no outstanding tax payments in Portugal and maintain good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority.
- Clean Criminal Record: You must have a clean criminal record from Portugal and your home country.
- Application and Approval: Submit your citizenship application to the Portuguese government and go through the approval process. The timeline for approval can vary, but it typically takes several months to a year.
Once granted Portuguese citizenship, you will receive a Portuguese passport allowing you to live, work, and study anywhere within the European Union.
Obtaining citizenship in Portugal by investment through the Golden Visa program offers a range of benefits, including visa-free travel, residency opportunities, and a pathway to European citizenship. You can successfully obtain Portuguese residency and citizenship by carefully considering the investment options, meeting the eligibility requirements, and navigating the application process. It is crucial to seek the guidance of experienced professionals who can provide expert advice and assistance throughout the process. With the Portugal Golden Visa, you can enjoy the advantages of living in a safe, affordable, and culturally rich country while gaining access to the European Union.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional for specific guidance tailored to your circumstances.
The founding of Madeira Corporate Services dates back to 1995. MCS started as a corporate service provider in the Madeira International Business Center and rapidly became a leading management company… Read more