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Portugal’s Golden Visa – New Rules in 2024

Portugal’s Golden Visa

Portugal’s Golden Visa programme has been a very successful scheme but new rules have removed the option to invest in real estate which has been the most popular option.  The problem has been that the programme’s success is believed to have had a significant impact on property prices and so the option has been withdrawn.  So how does the scheme work now?

The scheme was most popular with investors from China, Brazil and the US and had attracted over €7 billion since its launch in 2012.  Approximately 90% of the investment was invested in real estate which is now no longer an option.

The main benefit of Golden Visa over other options is that it gives flexibility over residence. You do not have to become a full time resident but have the right to become a full time resident and ultimately to become a permanent resident or Portuguese citizen after five years. However, if you plan to live full-time in Portugal other visas may be more appropriate, such as the D7, Passive Income visa if you plan to retire to Portugal (you will become tax resident in Portugal and subject to Portuguese tax). There are several other options depending on your plans: see A Quick Guide To Portugal’s ‘D’ Visas

Investment Options

The investment will need to be made in one of the following options:

  • €500,000 for investment in funds or venture capital fund units committed to the capitalization of companies incorporated under Portuguese law.  The fund must have a maturity of at least five years with at least 60% of the investment portfolio in companies with a registered office in the national territory (real estate entities do not apply)
  • €500,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system.  The investment must have a minimum term of five years.
    • €400,000 if invested in a low population density area*
  • €250,000 investment into the production of arts or donate €250,000 to national cultural heritage.  The investment will need to be made to an eligible project which will need to be approved by the government.  The investment must have a minimum term of five years. This is the lowest cost option.
    • €200,000 if invested in a low population density area.

An alternative is to set up a business which achieves one of the following options:

  • Creation of a minimum of ten new jobs
    • Eight new jobs in a low population density area*
  • €500,000 invested to incorporate a company registered and headquartered in Portugal,
    • creating a minimum of five permanent jobs for a period of three years or
    • for the increase of the share capital of a company already incorporated and headquartered in Portugal, creating at least five permanent jobs or maintaining at least ten jobs for three years

Benefits of the Golden Visa

The benefits of Portugal’s Golden Visa are as follows:

  • Flexibility of residence requirement – You are only required to spend 7 days in Portugal in the first year and fourteen days in the following two years.  You are, however, also free to be a full-time resident of Portugal if you wish.  It is worth noting that if you spend 183 days in more in Portugal you will become tax resident in Portugal and subject to Portuguese tax on your worldwide income.
  • Eligibility for permanent residence or citizenship – Provided you meet the residence requirements you can apply for permanent residence or citizenship after five years.
  • Visa Free Access to Schengen Zone – With the Golden Visa you can visit other European countries within the Schengen Zone without having to apply for a visa. You will, however, remain subject to the 90 in 180 day rule.
  • Dependents – As well as the applicant the spouse and dependents can also gain the same rights.
  • Healthcare – Applicants gain access to the excellent Portuguese healthcare system.

Application Process

The process for applying for Portugal’s Golden Visa can be quite straightforward.

  • Decide which investment option to take up.
  • Gather all required documentation for yourself, the main applicant, as well as those for any dependents. You will also need to ensure that you meet all the requirements for translations, notarizing, apostilles, and certifications. You will need to provide the following:
    • Copy of a passport or other government-issued travel document,
    • Proof of evidence of the qualifying investment made by the main applicant individually.
    • Declaration from a Portuguese financial institution confirming the transfer of funds,
    • Proof of healthcare coverage:
      • If in Portugal, from the National Health System in Portugal,
      • If outside of Portugal, from an internationally covered insurance company.
    • Criminal record from current country of residence issued within three (3) months of the application.
    • A completed form authorizing SEF to access criminal records in Portugal,
    • A sworn declaration of compliance with the minimum investment requirements for the necessary time period of five years,
    • Documents outlining good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system issued within 45 days of the application.
    • Payment of ARI application payment.
      • The documentation must be issued within three months of the submission of your application.
  • Get a NIF and Open a Bank Account
  • Finalize the Investment
  • Submit Pre-Application.  It generally takes around two months from submission of your documents until your appointment date.
  • Schedule and Attend Your SEF Appointment.  After reviewing your pre-application, SEF will offer potential dates for a biometrics appointment.  You and your dependents will need to be physically present for, your appointment at the SEF office so that you can submit your fingerprints and make your application official.

You will then receive your Golden Visa residence cards.  You can expect this to take around four months from your biometrics appointment until you receive your cards.