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A Look At The Portuguese Citizenship Investor Program (Golden Visa)

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What You Need To Know About Portuguese Citizenship

The Golden Visa Explained

The Portuguese citizenship programs gives you the chance to discover the world.

Portugal made a modification to its existing law which resulted in a fast track process that allows foreign investors to obtain citizenship through the citizenship by investment program.

The program is meant to ease the process and draw investment into Portugal.

It offers many attractions to wealthy foreign investors, but it does not guarantee immediate citizenship. Residency requirements must be met but a passport will be issued after six years.

No requirement to reside officially and legally in the country even after a residence permit has been issued.

The Portuguese real estate immigration program attracts foreign investors, granting them citizenship after buying real estate property worth €500,000 in Portugal.

The program is very appealing to foreign investors because it has all provisions that could grant Portugal citizenship after 6 years. Applicant’s family and children under 18 years also qualify for the residency visas in the country.

There are also many other European citizenship options. Make sure you are well informed!

The fact that you only need to spend 7 days of your first year and 14 days of the second year makes it easier for you to manage your business in your current home of residence or spend time with your loved ones.

Once you have been issued the residence permit, you can enter and leave any country in the EU without applying for a visa. Taxes don’t apply, unless you stay in the country for more than 180 days.

Since the residence scheme began in 2012, the Portuguese government says it has issued 734 so-called “Golden Visas” which has  generated more than 440m euros.

Not all of that has come from property sales though, because foreign investors can also get residency by investing a million euros in capital or creating 10 jobs in Portugal.

Research has shown that  the majority of these investors are from China and the program is becoming increasingly popular among investors worldwide.

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Requirements For The Visa

What types of investments are allowed under the rules? What are the requirements? The program was recently widened to include further types of investment.

As a result, the following types of investment now qualify for the program:

Portuguese Property Investments

  • Acquisition of property above € 500,000;
  • Acquisition of property above € 350,000 – for properties more than 30 years old or located in areas of urban renovation.

Portuguese Capital Investments

  • Transfer of Funds above € 1,000,000;
  • Transfer of Funds above € 350,000 for research activities;
  • Transfer of Funds above € 250,000 for artistic or cultural activities;
  • Transfer of Funds above € 500,000 for capitalization of small and medium size companies.

Job Creation

  • Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs;

However please note that this  only applies to  investments effectively made after 8th October 2012.

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For How Long Is The Portuguese Golden Visa Valid?

Once issued, it will be valid for an initial period of 1 (one) year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of 2 (two) years.

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Portuguese Citizenship Timeline

In terms of the general law, visa holders qualify for Portuguese citizenship after the holder has successively renewed the residence permit for a total of five years.

The visa is renewed three times:

  • One year (initial permit)
  • Two years (first renewal)
  • Two years (second renewal)

After the fifth year the permit holder may apply for Portuguese citizenship and a passport, which will give the holder all the rights of a EU national including free movement in all the EU member states, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Prerequisites For The Program

The simplicity of the program implies an extremely reduced amount of requirements being asked from the investor.

The citizenship by investment program however has some general requirements that the potential investor must comply with.

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The following are the general requirements.

  • Keep the investment for a minimum period of 5 years
  • Funds for investment should come from abroad
  • Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa
  • Absence of references in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services
  • Absence of conviction of relevant crime
  • Minimum stay in Portugal: 7 (seven) days during the first year and 14 (fourteen) days during each subsequent period of two years

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The Benefits Of The Portuguese Citizenship Program

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  • 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

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  • Extremely low minimum stay periods
  • Low taxes (see questions 22 – 24)
  • Permanent Residency after 5 years
  • Citizenship after 6 years

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The Portuguese Immigration Investor Program And Provisions For Family

Remarkably, those who acquire nationality have the right to family regrouping, and receive permanent residence permit, as well as to Portuguese citizenship as stipulated by law.

Family regrouping refers to the process by which the family and dependents of the resident both qualify for residence.

This extends to:

  • The spouse
  • Minor children
  • Adult children who are dependents
  • Parents
  • Minor siblings in the custody of permit holder

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Schengen Visa

Portuguese citizenship gives the investor the right to travel freely throughout the 26 member states.

The Schengen Treaty was signed on 14 June 1985 and this resulted in the creation of an area that is legally considered an individual state for international travel, with external border controls for travelers visiting the area but with no internal border controls.

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The Schengen area includes 26 European countries, namely: 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.

Make sure you read our article on a second passport. What You Must Know!

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