The Portugal Golden Visa program has proven to be one of the most popular programs of this kind in Europe. Investors are attracted to its flexibility and benefits.
Launched in 2012 the visa program has been actively promoted worldwide by the Portuguese government.
An investment of €350,000 or €500,000 in real estate in Portugal will gain a residency permit for a family including dependent children.
The golden visa can be renewed every two years providing the applicant spends two weeks in
What is it?
The Golden Visa Programme launched by the Portuguese Authorities is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal.
This residency permit will allow the investor and his family members to enter and/or live in Portugal and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen space).
What types of investments are allowed ?
a) Property Investments:
1. Acquisition of property above € 500,000;
2. Acquisition of property above € 350,000 - for properties more than 30 years old or located in areas of urban renovation.
For how long is the Golden Visa valid?
Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of one year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of two years.
What are the general requirements that the investor has to comply with?
The Golden Visa Programme sets out that the investor must comply with general requirements applicable to all types of qualifying investments and also with the specific requirements of each type of qualifying investment.
In general, all investors have to comply with the following requirements:
a) Keep the investment for a minimum period of 5 years
b) Funds for investment should come from abroad
c) Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa
d) Absence of references in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services
e) Absence of conviction of relevant crime
f) Minimum stay in Portugal: seven days during the first year and fourteen days during each subsequent period of two years
What are the specific characteristics for each type of qualifying investment?
Each type of qualifying investment has specific characteristics, as follows:
1. Property Acquisitions
a) Acquisition of property above € 500.000;
- Minimum investment of € 500,000
- Purchase of one or multiple properties
- All property types qualify
- Possibility of co-ownership;
- Freedom to use, rent or lease
- Investment amount may be reduced by 20% (€ 400,000) in case such investment is made in low density population areas
b) Acquisition of property above € 350,000
- For properties more than 30 years or located in areas of urban regeneration. This value includes not only the property but also the investment in the refurbishment works
- Possibility of co-ownership
- Freedom to use, rent for commercial or agricultural purposes
- Investment amount may be reduced by 20% (€ 280,000) in case such investment is made in low density population areas
The Golden Visa Programme will provide investors with the following advantages:
- No need to obtain a visa to enter Portugal
- No need to obtain a visa to travel in Europe (Schengen area)
- Living and working in Portugal, even with residency in a different country
- Residency extended to family members
- Extremely low minimum stay periods
- Low taxes (see questions 22 – 24)
- Permanent Residency after 5 years
- Citizenship after 6 years
Is it possible to extend the Golden Visa to family members?
Yes. Under the Golden Visa Programme, the investor’s family members may also apply and obtain a resident permit from Portugal by applying for “family reunion”. The Golden visa will be extended to family members, namely children, spouse and dependent family members.
The family members will also be eligible for Permanent Residency after 5 years Portuguese Citizenship after 6 years.
How can the investor and family obtain Permanent Residency after 5 years?
Under Portuguese Law any person that has held a valid Portuguese temporary residency title (e.g. the Golden Visa) for a period of at least 5 years, he will be entitled to obtain Permanent Residency in Portugal.
The investor and family members will have to meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for Permanent Residency in Portugal:
- Absence of conviction of relevant crime during the last 5 (five years)
- Proof of income / financial independence
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal
- Basic knowledge of Portuguese
Which documents does the investor need to provide to apply for the Golden Visa?
The application for the Golden Visa implies that the investor will have to submit the following documentation:
- Proof of Investment
- Passport & Valid Schengen Visa
- Portuguese Fiscal number
- Criminal Record from country of origin and/or residency
- Portuguese Criminal Record
- Declaration from the Tax Department proving the absence of debts to the Tax Authorities
- Declaration from Social Security proving the absence of debts to Social Security Authorities
- Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements
- Health Insurance valid in Portugal (if living in Portugal)
- Receipt of payment of the initial application fee.
The documents are not in the Portuguese Language. What does the investor need to do?
Any document that is not in the Portuguese or English languages needs to be translated to Portuguese. The translation needs to be certified.
Are there any specific requirements for documents issued by foreign authorities?
Document issued by foreign authorities need to be legalized before being submitted in Portugal. This legalization means obtaining the Appostille of the Hague Convention (when applicable) or legalization by the Portuguese Consular services.
What is a Fiscal Number? Why does the investor need one and how does he get one?
A fiscal number is an identification number before the Portuguese Tax Authorities (also known as the tax number). This number is required to carry out the investments.
Where may the investor apply for a Golden Visa?
Any investor interested in applying for a Golden Visa, can submit the application, either personally or via a legal representative appointed by him, in one of the following manners:
a) Online Registration
By registering online at the Services of Foreigners and Borders’ (“SEF”) website. After the registration is complete the investor will receive a password and will be able to access online in order to submit the necessary forms and documents.
b) In Person
In person, at the Services of Foreigners and Borders in Portugal.
It should be noted that the investor and family members will always have to be present at the Service of Foreigners and Boarders of Portugal for fingerprinting, signature and other formalities.
We strongly recommend obtaining legal advice from an experienced law firm before taking any of the steps of the Golden Visa, namely before making any kind of investment or submitting any applications or documents.
What are the costs involved in obtaining a Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa involves payment of the following fees (payable directly to the Services of Foreigners and Borders (“SEF”):
a) Processing fee (application and renewal) - € 517.40 (plus € 80.60 per family member)
b) Initial Golden Visa - € 5,173.60 per applicant
c) Renewal of Golden Visa - € 2,586.80 per applicant
How long will the application take to be processed and does the investor have to pick up the Golden Visa in person?
Once the application is submitted at the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF), it will take a between 3 and 9 months for the application to be processed (please note that this is just an estimate based on our recent experience).
Once the application is processed, the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF) will contact the investor or the investor’s legal representatives in Portugal to proceed with the payment of the corresponding approval fees.
Are there any grounds for refusing the issuing of a Golden Visa or its renewal?
The investor (or any family member) will only be refused the Golden Visa (or its renewal) if:
a) He/she has not maintained the investment for the minimum period of 5 (years)
b) He/she has not complied with the minimum periods of stay in Portugal
c) He/she has been convicted of a crime punishable with a prison sentence of more than one year
d) The investor is in a period where he/she has been banned entry into Portuguese territory following a removal measure of the country
e) On the grounds of public health (this may only be based on diseases that have been defined by the World Health Organization or other infectious or parasitic contagious diseases which are the object of protection measures in Portuguese territory)
f) A Golden Visa may be refused on the grounds of public order, public security or public health
What happens to the investment after 5 years – can the investor sell the property / transfer the money to another country/extinguish the job positions?
Yes, the investor only needs to hold the investment during the Golden Visa’s validity period – 5 years.
Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he no longer needs the Golden Visa?
Yes, but without proof that the investment has been kept, the investor will not be able to renew the Golden Visa Permit.
Does the investor need to live in/use the property he is purchasing or can it be rented out?
No. The investor does not need to occupy the property and it can be rented out to obtain income.
What are the taxes and costs for property acquisitions and ownership?
There are three taxes in Portugal related to property:
a) Payable with the acquisition of the property:
- “IMT” or Property Transfer Tax”, which is the tax on transfer of ownership of property
- Stamp Duty
Note: The exact amount of taxes to be paid varies according to the actual value of the acquisition.
b) Payable on an annual basis:
“IMI” or Council Tax, which is the annual municipal property tax; it is levied between 0.3% and 0.45% on the property’s tax value ( the property tax value is different from the property cost, the makority of the properties have a lower tax valuation
With the Golden Visa does the investor need to pay taxes in Portugal on his worldwide income?
No. If the holder of the golden visa does not stay in Portugal form more than 183 consecutive days, he/she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal.
What income taxes apply to income generated in Portugal?
Rental income and income arising from capital will be taxed at a rate of 28%.