Portugal’s Golden Visa program is now in its 10th year of adoption and represents one of Europe’s most successful residency-by-investment options. To date, more than 10,000 applicants have secured a Golden Visa. For real estate investors seeking to purchase property for immigration purposes, the Golden Visa is your golden ticket to a fresh start.
Here’s what you need to know about the Golden Visa program and how it works.
What is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program?
Portugal established the Golden Visa program as a way to provide permanent residency options in exchange for a five-year investment in Portugal’s economy. Applicants receive all the benefits of a permanent residency visa in the country, including a faster path to citizenship (more on benefits of a golden visa in a moment).
In return, Portugal pumps money into its economy via a sizable investment from the visa holder. Applicants can choose how to make this investment in several ways:
- A direct money transfer of at least €1 million
- Creating 10+ jobs in Portugal
- Purchasing real estate in Portugal with at least €500,000 in value
- Purchasing real estate in an urban area of Portugal that’s at least 30+ years old with the intention of revitalizing it AND has a value of at least €350,000
- Investing in scientific research (minimum of €350,000)
- Contributing at least €250,000 to cultural or arts productions
- Contributing at least €350,000 to a venture capital fund headquartered in Portugal and has been in business for at least five years
- Investing at least €350,000 in a Portuguese company and creating 5+ jobs lasting at least three years
- Investing €500,000 or more in a project related to organic farming, eco-tourism, carbon neutrality, or renewable energy
Once your Golden Visa has been established, you must maintain your investment for at least five years from the date of your visa. In addition, you must reside in Portugal for at least seven days during your first year. This period can be consecutive or non-consecutive. From there, you must spend at least 14 total days within Portugal every two years.
The Benefits of a Golden Visa in Portugal
There’s more than one way to gain a visa for legal residency in Portugal. There’s also more than one way to become a bona fide citizen of the country. But applicants of the Golden Visa may find there are several additional benefits that come with this option compared to others.
Live, Work, and Study Like a Citizen
With a Golden Visa, you gain permanent residency in Portugal and can live life like a citizen. This means going to Portugal public schools or higher education, working at Portuguese companies, starting your own business, and owning your own home or property.
If you choose to live in Portugal full time, you will be required to purchase medical insurance. However, this also means you will have uninhibited access to medical care in the country, as well as other public services.
Freely Travel Within Europe
Portugal is part of the Schengen Countries. With a Golden Visa, you are treated like a Portugal citizen and can freely travel to any of the Schengen Countries without a visa. These countries include:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
At the end of your five-year residency, if you choose to become a permanent citizen of Portugal, you will be eligible for a Portugal passport. This passport grants you access to 188 countries without the need for an additional travel visa and is considered the 6th most powerful passport in the world.
Include Your Family on Your Golden Visa
One of the benefits of a Golden Visa is the inclusion of your immediate family. Rather than each person in the household having to apply for their own visa (and make individual investments), one Golden Visa will include all eligible family members, including:
- The applicant’s spouse
- Children under the age of 18
- Dependents under the age of 26 that are full-time students and not married
- The applicant’s parents over the age of 65
- This means one process to follow and one investment to make that will apply to your entire household.
Apply for Portugal Citizenship Faster
If you decide that you’d like to become a permanent citizen of Portugal, you may have an easier time completing the citizenship process with a Golden Visa. After five years of holding a Golden Visa, you may apply for citizenship.
To qualify, you must have a clean criminal record in Portugal and your home country, pass a basic language test, and not owe any outstanding tax payments.
You Don’t Have to Be a Permanent Resident to Qualify
If you decide that you would like a Golden Visa without becoming a permanent residence, there’s built-in flexibility. You only need to “live” in the country for seven days during your first year, and then 14 days every two years after that. These days do not need to be consecutive to qualify.
Who Can Apply for a Golden Visa?
Any international outside of the EU and EEE who can meet the investment requirements can apply for a Golden Visa. In addition, you must be at least 18 years or older and have a clean criminal background in your home country, as well as in Portugal. In addition, the funds you’re investing must come from outside Portugal.
How to Apply for a Golden Visa
Is the Golden Visa program right for you? You can start the application process online at http://ari.sef.pt.
We’re also going to cover the application process in more detail in a future blog post — stay tuned!