Investing in Portugal for citizenship has become an increasingly popular option for individuals seeking a European passport and access to the benefits of living and doing business in the European Union. Through the Portugal Golden Visa program, the Portuguese Government offers a pathway to citizenship for foreign investors who meet specific investment criteria. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the recently proposed amendments to the Portugal Golden Visa program, the changes in eligible investments, and the process of obtaining Portuguese citizenship through investment.
Proposed Amendments to the Portugal Golden Visa Program (not yet in force)
The Portuguese Government’s Socialist Party has recently proposed an amendment to the “More Housing” bill, which initially foresaw the elimination of the Golden Visa scheme and, therefore, the end of investing in Portugal for citizenship. This proposed amendment brings unexpected changes to the program, specifically focusing on the eligibility criteria for investments.
Under the new approach, the program will no longer allow investments in capital transfers of 1.5 million euros or more, the acquisition of properties valued at or exceeding 500,000 euros, and the purchase of real estate that is at least 30 years old or located in urban rehabilitation areas requiring rehabilitation works costing 350,000 euros or more.
However, if approved, the new amendment maintains the residency program and offers alternative investment options. These include the creation of a minimum of 10 jobs, capital transfer for research activities conducted by scientific research institutions, support for artistic production and cultural heritage preservation, investment in venture capital funds, and the incorporation or share capital increase of a commercial company with job creation requirements.
Eligible Investment Options for Portuguese Citizenship
- Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs:
- Foreign investors can obtain Portuguese citizenship by creating a minimum of 10 jobs. This investment option contributes to job creation in Portugal and promotes economic growth.
- Capital transfer for research activities:
- Investors can transfer 500,000 euros or more for research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions integrated into the national scientific and technological system. This investment option supports innovation and scientific development in Portugal.
- Support for artistic production and cultural heritage preservation:
- A capital transfer of at least 250,000 euros can be made to support artistic production, preservation, or maintenance of national cultural heritage through various public and private entities engaged in these tasks. This investment option promotes the preservation and promotion of Portugal’s rich cultural heritage.
- Investment in venture capital funds:
- Investors can transfer 500,000 euros or more to acquire participation units in investment funds or venture capital funds focused on company capitalization. These funds must comply with Portuguese legislation and have a maturity of at least five years, with a significant portion of the investment value allocated to national-based commercial companies. This investment option supports entrepreneurship and the growth of Portuguese companies.
- Incorporation or share capital increase of a commercial company:
- A capital transfer equal to or exceeding 500,000 euros for incorporating a commercial company with headquarters in Portugal, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, can lead to Portuguese citizenship. Alternatively, the transfer can be used to increase the share capital of an existing company headquartered in Portugal, leading to job creation or retention for a minimum duration of three years. This investment option promotes business development and job opportunities in Portugal.
Application Process and Requirements
To apply for the Portugal Golden Visa program, foreign investors must fulfil certain requirements and follow a specific application process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the process:
Step 1: Eligibility Check
Before starting the application process, it is important to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Portugal Golden Visa program. The eligibility criteria include the following:
- Being a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
- Having a clean criminal record.
- Having a valid passport.
- Having proof of sufficient funds to make the chosen investment.
Step 2: Choose an Investment Option
Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you must select one of the eligible investment options mentioned earlier. Consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and the impact you wish to make in Portugal when making your decision.
Step 3: Engage Professional Assistance
Given the complexity of investing in Portugal for citizenship and the corresponding application process, it is highly recommended to engage professional assistance from experienced service providers. These professionals can guide you through the entire process, ensure compliance with all requirements, and optimize your chances of success.
Step 4: Prepare Documentation
Gather all the necessary documentation to support your application. This may include:
- A valid passport and other identification documents.
- Police clearance certificate.
- Proof of funds and financial statements.
- Investment-related documents, such as contracts or share purchase agreements.
Step 5: Submit the Application
Submit your application to the Portuguese authorities along with the required documentation. It is crucial to ensure that all documents are complete, accurate, and adequately translated into Portuguese, if necessary.
Step 6: Attend Biometrics Appointment
Once your application is submitted, you may be required to attend a biometrics appointment. Your fingerprints and photograph will be taken during this appointment for identification purposes.
Step 7: Application Processing
The Portuguese authorities will review your application and conduct due diligence checks. This process may take several months, so being patient and prepared for potential delays is essential.
Step 8: Receive Residence Permit
If your application is approved, you will receive a residence permit, allowing you to reside in Portugal and enjoy the benefits of the Golden Visa program. The residence permit is typically valid for one year and can be renewed.
Step 9: Maintain Residency Requirements
To maintain your residency and progress towards Portuguese citizenship, you must comply with the minimum residency requirements. The minimum requirement is 7 days of residency in Portugal per year.
Step 10: Apply for Citizenship
After completing the required duration of the Golden Visa program, typically 5 years, you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. The citizenship application process involves additional requirements, such as language proficiency and knowledge of Portuguese culture and history.
Investing in Portugal for citizenship through the Portugal Golden Visa program offers foreign investors an attractive opportunity to obtain European citizenship and access the benefits of living and doing business in the European Union. The recently proposed amendments to the program provide new investment options while aligning with national priorities and promoting economic growth, innovation, cultural preservation, and job creation. By following the application process and fulfilling the requirements, investors can embark on a journey towards Portuguese citizenship and enjoy its many advantages. Engaging professional assistance and ensuring compliance with all regulations are critical to a successful application. Start your investment journey in Portugal today and unlock a world of opportunities.
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