Portuguese Golden Visa Introduction
The Portuguese Golden Visa is a residency permit based on The Portuguese ARI – Authorization of Residency for Investment Activity, or Golden Visa, is a special Residence Permit for investment activity, accessible to non-European Union or European Economic Area citizens and their immediate family members, who are willing to engage in a qualified investment in Portugal. Amongst many other features, holders of the Portuguese Golden Visa, are able to move freely throughout the Schengen Area and, later, apply for a permanent residency and citizenship.
The residency permit grants the applicant and his/her family the right to live, study and work in Portugal for 6 years and to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. It is approved for a first period of 2 years and renewed twice for periods of 2.
The investment in real estate has 2 routes, the regular real estate investment in the minimum of EUR 500,000 or the renovation route in the minimum of EUR 350,000 (property + renovation works).
In the regular real estate route, the applicant may choose any property in any location, however in the renovation route, the property must be located in a rehabilitation area (identified by each city council) or the building has to have 30 years old or more. We assist clients in identifying the eligible EUR 350,000 products available in the market.
The above-mentioned minimum amounts will decrease 20% if the property is in a low-density area, meaning that the regular real estate investment will be in the minimum of EUR 400,00 and the renovation route in the minimum of EUR 280,000.
The third most popular route is the investment in funds. The minimum to invest is Eur 350,000, and it must be in a fund that invests at least 60% in Portuguese companies and has a duration of at least 5 years.
The main requirements for applying for Golden Visa are:
- Choosing an investment (in the Guide attached you will find all eligible options)
- Fulfilling and keeping the investment for 6 years
- Clear police report
- Staying at least 7 days per year in Portugal
Golden Visa Benefits
- Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
- Right to live and work in Portugal, however with no obligation to move permanently to Portugal.
- Direct family members, such as spouse, minor children, children over 18 if studying and single (no age limit), and parents can also obtain residency.
- No worldwide taxation.
- Significant tax reductions or exemptions should the applicant choose to live in Portugal.
- Right to education, recognition of degrees and qualifications, access to national health system, social security, trade union protection, access to Portuguese law and Portuguese judicial courts.
- After 5 years, the possibility to obtain permanent residency and/ or citizenship, which will allow the applicants and their family to reside and work anywhere within the EU.
The law allows the applicants to choose between in vesting in their own name or through a sole shareholder company based in Portugal or another EU member state.
- Transfer of capital in an amount equal to or higher than €1.000,000
Bank Deposits. Transfer to a Portuguese bank account a minimum amount of €1,000,000
Public Debt Securities. Acquisition of government bonds, savings certificates and treasury bills in the minimum amount of €1,000,000
Securities and Shares in Commercial Companies. Acquisition of securities, either listed in the Lisbon Euronext or private companies and shares in a limited liability company for an amount equal to or higher than €1,000,000
- Employment. Creation of 10 employment posts. Job creation is reduced to a minimum of 8 posts in low-density areas.
- Real Estate in the minimum amount of €500,000.00 or €400,000
Acquisition or promise to acquire real estate property in the minimum amount of €500,000 or €400,000.00 (in a low-density area). Property can be for housing, commercial, services, etc.
- Real Estate in the minimum amount of €350,000.00 or €280,000.00.
Acquisition or promise to acquire real estate property that was constructed more than 30 years ago or located in an area of urban rehabilitation and in need of refurbishment. The sum for the property and rehabilitation of the latter must reach the minimum amount of € 350,000.00 or €280,000.00 (in low density areas).
- €350,000.00 in research activities. Transfer of at least € 350,000.00 to be applied in research activities carried out by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated in the national scientific and technological system. The value will be reduced to €280,000.00 if the area is of low density.
- €250,000.00 in investment or support of artistic production. Transfer of a t least €250,000.00 to be applied in investment or support of artistic production, rehabilitation or preservation of national cultural heritage. The eligible institutions are either public or private non-profit associations and foundations. The value will be r educed to €200,000.00 if the area is of low density.
- €350,000.00 or more for the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital funds. The applicant shall invest at least € 350,000.00, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds for the capitalization of companies, which are set up under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the time of the investment, is a t least 5 years and if at least 60% of the value of the investments is made in commercial companies based in the national territory.
- Portuguese company with a capital of €350,000.00 together with the creation of employment. Incorporation of a Portuguese company or injection of capital in an existing one of at least € 350,000.00. This investment also requires the creation of at least 5 full time employment posts for a minimum period of 3 years.
- Analysis Fee (per person): €533.00 (payable at the moment of the application submission).
- Temporary Residence card (per person): €5,325.00 (payable once the application is approved).
- Analysis Fee (per person): €533.00 for the investor and each family member (payable at the moment of the application submission).
- Temporary Residence card (per person): €2,663.00 (payable once the renewal application is approved).
The Golden Visa is a temporary Residence Authorization valid for a period of 2 years renewed for periods of 2 years. The minimum stay in Portugal, for each 2- year period, is 14 consecutive or interpolated days.
After a minimum period of 5 years, the applicant may apply for a Portuguese Permanent Residence Permit, which requires basic knowledge of the Portuguese language, a Portuguese address, and a clean criminal record, or apply for Portuguese citizenship, with the same requirements as the former with an additional demonstration of existing connections and ties within the Portuguese Community .
TAX NUMBER CREATION AND BANK ACCOUNT OPENING
The first steps of the Portuguese GV are creating a tax number and opening a Portuguese bank account.
Please note that the account can be opened remotely with no need of physical presence.
The necessary documents for the tax number and bank account opening are the following:
- A quality copy of the applicant’ Passport picture and signature page
- A proof of address (utility bill, electricity, water, phone, bank statement)
- A proof of profession (employer declaration, self-employment declaration, etc.) – issued less than 3 months
- 3 last salary receipts (with professional position/category, if applicable)
- Annual income statement (if applicable)
- Bank statements that show the minimum to invest in GV
- Ownership of Real Estate (if applicable)
- Foreign tax number or equivalent (ID number)
- Email and phone number mobile (for the bank to contact the client directly)
After the investment is choose, we will conduct a due diligence on it and will confirm or deny its eligibility for GV. If the investment is eligible, we will prepare all the necessary facts and documents needed to complete it, such as prepare a promissory purchase and sale agreement, represent the client at the title deed, registries, etc).
GOLDEN VISA APPLICATION
After the completion of the investment, we will be able to submit the GV application. At this stage, we will need to have the documents listed at the checklists attached.
Please note that the criminal record in Portugal expires within three months after the date of issue.
When we submit this document to SEF (immigration office), it must be valid, legalised and translated, and it must continue valid when you come over for the biometrics.
If by any chance its validity has expired on the date of the biometrics – you will have to request a new one.
Golden Visa process, step by step:
- The initial application is submitted online, including copies of the supporting documentation.
- Once all the requested documents are submitted, the system generates a DUC reference for you to pay the government analysis fee (EUR 533,00 for each applicant. The application of family members can be submitted simultaneously or any time during the 6 years of residence granted through GV.
- SEF then proceeds with a first analysis and accepts the application (this process can take 4 weeks to 3 months).
- Once the application is accepted, an agenda opens and we can schedule an appointment where the applicant and his/her family will have to appear in person and where their biometric data will be collected. The appointment can be scheduled in any immigration Portugal of Portugal, from the north to the south.
- After having completed this step, the applicant will have to wait for SEF to approve the Golden Visa application. The completion (approval) of the application is taking around 8 months in Lisbon (from experience, we have noted that some districts, for instance, the Algarve, takes less time to approve the application, around 4 months).
- Once the application has been approved, an approval fee of €5,325,00 must be paid for each applicant. After approximately one month, SEF will notify the applicant and lawyer to pick up the residency cards which will be valid for two (2) years.
Once the client has gathered all the documents, he/she must scan them and send them via email so that we can check if all is in order and give the OK to send them via DHL.
PERMANENT RESIDENCY AND CITIZENSHIP
After having 5 years of legal residency in Portugal, meaning after the Golden Visa program ends, the applicant may apply simultaneously for permanent residency and citizenship.
With a permanent residency, the applicant is entitled to live, work and study anywhere in Europe but shouldn’t be away from Europe more than 1 year in a row and should return to Portugal every 6 years.
With citizenship, the applicant is totally free to live and work anywhere in the world, being always entitled to live and work in Europe.
The main requirements for applying for Permanent Residency and Citizenship are:
- 5 years of previous legal residency in Portugal
- Proving ties to the Portuguese community (being enrolled in clubs, associations, social security, national healthcare, bank account, tax number, etc., we assist clients to fulfil this requirement)
- Being approved in a Portuguese test (A2 level) (which is being discussed by the Portuguese Parliament to be removed from the criteria for applying to citizenship).
TAX BENEFITS FOR TAX RESIDENTS IN PORTUGAL
It is important to mention that during the Golden Visa Program and even when requesting permanent residency and citizenship, the applicant will not be subject to worldwide income taxation. The applicant will only be subject to taxes in Portugal if he/she receives income from an activity performed in Portugal or if he/she receives property income from a property located in Portugal.
If the applicant chooses to live in Portugal 183 days or more, he/she will be considered as tax resident and will be subject to worldwide income taxation.
Nevertheless, there is a special tax regime for those who want to become tax residents in Portugal, called the non-habitual tax regime.
- 20% special flat tax rate applies to labour and self-employment income sourced in Portugal if derived from high value-added activities.
- Labour income sourced outside Portugal is not subject to taxation in Portugal if taxed in the source country.
- Self-employment income from a high value activity sourced outside Portugal is not subject to taxation in Portugal provided that income may be taxed in the source country under a tax treaty signed between Portugal and that state.
- Zero tax on interests, dividends and royalties sourced outside Portugal, and if taxed in the source countries the tax so charged shall not exceed the reduced rates established in the tax treaties signed with Portugal ranging from 5% to 15%;
- Foreign pensions are subject to a flat rate of 10%.
Other Tax Advantages:
- No wealth taxes.
- Gifts and inheritances are fully exempt from taxation between ascendants, descendants and spouses. In relation to other beneficiaries, stamp tax at a 10% rate applies.
- Disposal of foreign assets is not subject to stamp tax.
- Exclusion from taxation of capital gains on sales of permanent residence if proceeds are reinvested in another personal residence in Portugal, European Union or European Economic Area
Who may apply and duration of the Program:
- Individuals, including Portuguese, that were not tax residents in Portugal in the preceding 5 years
- The regime is granted for a period of 10 years.
For more information, also download our factsheet for the Portugal Golden Visa.