Golden Visa

Golden Visa

The Portuguese Golden Visa programme, or the residence permit for investment activity (ARI), is one of the most popular residency by investment schemes in Europe and across the world. The Golden Visa programme is designed for non-EU citizens and offers full residency with a minimal physical presence requirement. 

The programme was launched in October 2012, primarily to help attract international capital and boost the Portuguese economy following the 2008 economic crisis. Since then, over ten thousand families have received Golden Visas and €5.5 billion has been raised for the Portuguese economy. 


Benefits of the Golden Visa

  • Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme has one of the lowest investment thresholds in Europe, and there are a range of different investment options to choose from.
  • There is a low physical presence requirement of just seven days per year, meaning you don’t need to move to Portugal to maintain your residency. This also means that there is no requirement to become a tax resident unless you decide to spend more than 183 days per year in Portugal.
  • With the Golden Visa, you are entitled to free movement across the Schengen zone, allowing you to travel without a visa throughout the Schengen countries. 
  • You will have the right to live, work and study in Portugal and access to public services, including public healthcare once registered.
  • Eligibility to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years.
  • The entitlement to family reunification, allowing the main applicant to extend their Golden Visa application to their spouse, their parents if they are above the age of 65, their children up to the age of 18 and dependent children up to the age of 26, as long as they are in full-time education and not married.


Investment Options (Until January 2022)

  • Capital transfer of at least €1,000,000 to Portugal 
  • Investment of at least €500,000 in real estate or €400,000 in a low-density area
  • Investment of €350,000 into real estate that is at least 30 years old or located in an area of urban rehabilitation, reduced to €280,000 in low-density areas
  • Investment into national heritage, arts or culture of at least €250,000
  • Investment in scientific or technological research of at least €350,000
  • Investment of at least €350,000 into a Portuguese registered company and the creation of five full-time jobs for three years
  • Creation of ten full-time jobs in a Portuguese company, or eight full-time jobs in companies in areas of low density

This investment must be maintained for at least five years, or the length of time you and any family members that you applied for hold Golden Visa residency status.


Can Money From a Loan be Used to Qualify for the Golden Visa?

The money used for the investment cannot come from inside Portugal and therefore to qualify for the Portuguese golden visa, the minimum investment requirement must be met using funds obtained from outside Portugal.  

Money borrowed from a non-Portuguese financial institution can therefore be used to meet the investment required for the Golden Visa. If your investment exceeds the minimum amount required, any money above the minimum investment can be taken out as a loan from a Portuguese bank. 


Documents required for the Golden Visa

  • Submission of Golden Visa application online by you here or by your legal representative, or in person at a branch of SEF/SEA 


Along with the application, you will be required to present:

  • Passport or legal travel document
  • Proof of legal entry into Portugal
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Criminal record certificate from country of origin and anywhere where you have resided for more than one year
  • Signed application enabling of the Portuguese Criminal Record by SEF
  • Receipt of payment of the Portuguese golden visa fees
  • Evidence of compliance with tax obligations by a declaration proving the absence of debts issued by the Inland Revenue and Customs Authority and Social Security


Evidence of the investment must be presented as well, by one of the following:

  • A bank statement showing financial investment
  • Employment contracts for job creation
  • Deeds of purchase for real estate investment

You will need to show commitment to maintaining this investment for at least five years.


Upcoming Changes to the Golden Visa in 2022

There are some big changes coming to the Golden Visa in January 2022, mostly surrounding the areas where real estate investment will qualify for the Golden Visa and the amount required for capital transfer and for investment into businesses and research.


Property purchased in Lisbon, Porto, and the majority of the coast will no longer qualify for the Golden Visa

This change is likely to be felt the most as these areas are particularly popular with tourists, investors and those looking to purchase residential property. Properties in low-density areas, the interior of mainland Portugal, the islands of the Açores and Madeira, and in certain areas in the Algarve that are further away from the coast will still qualify. You can see which areas will qualify on pages 2-4 of this document.

Since this change only applies to residential properties, investments in commercial real estate such as hotels and other touristic projects should still be eligible in these higher density regions after 2022.


The minimum amount to invest in funds will increase from €350,000 to €500,000

Investing in a fund, such as a venture capital fund, has been another popular option with those looking to qualify for the Golden Visa. The hope being that the investment should grow and it comes with less hassle than the real estate investment. As of January 2022, the €350,000 minimum investment will increase to €500,000.


The minimum investment into research and development will increase to €500,000

The option to invest in scientific or technological companies will increase from €350,000 to €500,000. 


The minimum amount that must be invested into a Portuguese business will increase to €500,000

Currently, the required amount that needs to be invested into a Portuguese company to be eligible for the Golden Visa is €350,000 alongside the creation of five full-time jobs that must be maintained for three years. The investment requirement will increase to €500,000 but the number of jobs to be created will remain at five. 


The Minimum Amount for Capital Transfer Will Increase to €1.5 Million

As of January 2022, the minimum amount that will need to be transferred to a Portuguese bank account will increase from €1 million to €1.5 million.


Nothing will change until January 2022, if you are thinking about the Golden Visa and will be affected by the upcoming changes then you need to act fast but there is still time. If you have any further questions about the Golden Visa then please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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