Portugal Golden Visa: An Overview
The Portugal Golden Visa started in 2012 and is a residency-by-investment program launched by the Portuguese government. It is officially known as the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI). The program aims to attract foreign direct investment and stimulate economic growth in the country. It has since become one of Europe’s most popular and successful programs, attracting thousands of investors from around the world.
The primary purpose of the Portugal Golden Visa program is to encourage foreign investment in Portugal, thereby boosting the country’s economy. However, the benefits of the program extend far beyond its economic impact.
For investors, the Golden Visa program offers a host of advantages:
Residency Rights: The Golden Visa grants investors and their immediate family members the right to live, work, and study in Portugal, providing access to high-quality healthcare and education.
Freedom of Movement: Holders of the Golden Visa can travel visa-free within the Schengen Area, which is comprised of 26 European countries.
Path to Citizenship: Golden Visa holders can become Portuguese citizens after five years of legal residency, subject to certain conditions.
Investment Opportunities: Various options range from job creation to investments in research, national heritage, or small and medium enterprises.
- Portugal Golden Visa: An Overview
- Investment Options for Portugal Golden Visa
- Requirements And Eligibility For The Golden Visa In Portugal
- NIF Number and Bank Account Requirement
- Associated Costs of Portugal Golden Visa
- How to Apply for The Golden Visa in Portugal
- Portugal Golden Visa Validity and Renewals
- Permanent Residency and Citizenship in Portugal
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Investment Options for Portugal Golden Visa
The Portugal Golden Visa program offers several investment options, each with its own specific requirements and benefits.
Here’s a detailed look at the various investment routes you can take to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa:
Creation of 10 Jobs: This option involves creating at least 10 full-time jobs in a Portuguese business. These jobs must be maintained for a minimum of five years. This option has no minimum investment amount, but the costs associated with creating and maintaining these jobs can be significant.
Investment in Research Activities: At least €500,000 can be invested in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions within Portugal’s national scientific or technological system.
Investment in National Heritage: A contribution of at least €250,000 to support artistic output or the conservation of national heritage and culture.
Investment in Small and Medium Enterprises: There are two main categories within this option:
- Venture Capital Investment Fund: Making capital transfers of €500,000 or more for participation units in venture capital funds, as long as the funds have no real estate ties.
- Commercial Company Investment: Capital transfers of €500,000 or more destined for the incorporation of a commercial company with headquarters in Portugal or for increasing the share capital of an existing company. In addition, the investor must create five permanent jobs.
Before choosing the best option, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate your financial circumstances, investment objectives, and level of risk acceptance.
Seeking advice from a professional knowledgeable about the Portugal Golden Visa program and the investment landscape in Portugal can be highly advantageous in making an informed decision.
Count on Total Law’s immigration specialists to help you through the application process and pick the best investment option for your situation. Ready to start your journey to Portuguese residency? Call Total Law today at +1 844 290 6312.
Requirements And Eligibility For The Golden Visa In Portugal
The Portugal Golden Visa program has a specific set of requirements for applicants. These requirements pertain to various aspects, including age, current residency, financial capacity, and criminal record.
Here’s a detailed breakdown:
Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa. There is no upper age limit for the program.
Current Residency: Applicants must be non-European Union (EU), non-European Economic Area (EEA), and non-Swiss citizens. The program is designed to attract investment from outside of these regions.
Financial Capacity: Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial capacity to make the required investment for the Golden Visa program. The specific amount varies depending on the chosen investment option, ranging from €250,000 to €500,000.
Criminal Record: To qualify, applicants must possess a clean criminal record. The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) will check your criminal history during your application. Applicants must not be flagged in the Portuguese Immigration and Schengen services.
Health Insurance: Applicants must have valid Portuguese health insurance. The insurance can be either Portuguese public health insurance or private health insurance.
Minimum Stay: Applicants must spend a minimum amount of time in Portugal to maintain their Golden Visa. The requirement is to stay at least seven days in Portugal during the first year and at least 14 days in each subsequent two-year period.
In addition to these requirements, applicants must provide a range of documentation as part of their Golden Visa application. This includes:
- Proof of investment
- Passport and valid Schengen visa
- Proof of health insurance
- Declaration of compliance with the investment requirements
- Criminal record certificate
- Portuguese fiscal number and a Portuguese bank account
- Evidence of Lawful Entry and Residence in Portugal
It’s important to note that the requirements for Portugal’s Golden Visa program can change, and the application process can be complex. Therefore, it’s advisable to seek professional advice before starting your application.
Opening a Bank Account in Portugal
In Portugal, you are typically required to be in person to open a bank account, although some banks will allow you to open an account remotely. Here are the general steps to open a bank account in Portugal:
Selecting a Bank: In Portugal, you have a wide array of banking options, including both local and international institutions. Some well-known banks are Banco Santander Totta, Millennium BCP, and Novo Banco.
Gather Necessary Documents: Generally, you will need to provide your passport, evidence of your address (for example, a bank statement or utility bill), and your Portuguese NIF (Tax Identification Number).
Visit the Bank: To open an account, you must visit the bank in person. Some banks may offer the option to start the process online, but you will still need to visit the bank to finalize the process.
Deposit Funds: Most banks will require you to deposit a minimum amount of funds to open the account.
Receive Your Bank Details: Once your account is open, the bank will provide you with your account details, including your account number and bank routing number.
Obtaining a NIF Number
The NIF number is a tax identification number in Portugal. Here’s how to get a NIF number:
Visit a Local Tax Office: You can obtain a NIF number by visiting a local tax office (Finanças) in Portugal.
Provide Necessary Documents: You will need to provide your passport and proof of address. If you are not a resident of Portugal, you will also need to provide a tax representative who is a resident of Portugal. This can be a lawyer, a solicitor, or a trusted contact.
Complete the Application Form: An application form must be filled out at the tax office, and it’s important to note that this form is in Portuguese. If you’re not fluent in the language, you may require assistance to complete it accurately.
Receive Your NIF Number: Once your application is processed, you will receive your NIF number.
Both the NIF number and the Portuguese bank account are crucial for the Golden Visa application process. They are used to verify your identity, process your investment, and pay any necessary fees. It’s advisable to seek professional advice to help you navigate these requirements and ensure that you fulfill them correctly.
The Portuguese government charges several fees as part of the Golden Visa application process:
Application Fee: You will be charged this fee to process your Golden Visa application. As of 2023, the application fee is €533 for the main applicant and €83 for each family member.
Initial Golden Visa Fee: Once your application is approved, you will need to pay an initial Golden Visa fee of €5,147.80 for the main applicant and €5,147.80 for each family member.
Renewal Fee: The Golden Visa needs to be renewed at the end of year one and year three, each time costing €2,573.90 per person.
Be aware that these fees may vary, and it is advisable to verify them with the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) or consult a legal professional to ensure accuracy.
The cost of your legal case will depend on the complexity of your case and which law firm you hire. On average, you can expect to pay between €4,000 and €6,000 in legal fees. This includes services such as legal advice, document preparation, and liaising with the Portuguese authorities on your behalf.
There are several other potential expenses to consider:
Real Estate Related Costs: If you choose a real estate investment option, you will need to pay property transfer tax (IMT), stamp duty, and notary fees. These costs typically amount to about 7-8% of the property purchase price.
Translation and Notarization: Any documents that are not in Portuguese will need to be translated and notarized, which can incur additional costs.
Travel and Accommodation Costs: You will need to travel to Portugal at least once during the application process, and you will need to spend at least seven days in Portugal during the first year of residency. You will need to budget for travel and accommodation costs accordingly.
It’s important to factor in all of these costs when considering the total investment required for the Portugal Golden Visa. It’s advisable to seek professional advice to help you understand and plan for these costs.
At Total Law, we understand that the financial aspects of the Portugal Golden Visa application can be complex and overwhelming. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through every detail, ensuring that you are fully aware of all associated costs and that your investment aligns with your goals.
Step 1: Choose Your Investment Option
The first step is to decide which investment option you want to pursue for your Golden Visa. This could be a job creation or an investment in research, national heritage, or small and medium enterprises.
Each has its own requirements and benefits, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your financial situation and investment goals.
Step 2: Make Your Investment
Once you’ve chosen your investment option, the next step is to make your investment. This could involve setting up a business and hiring employees or making an investment in a qualifying project or business.
Step 3: Gather the Required Documentation
You will need to gather a range of documents for your Golden Visa application. This includes proof of investment, your passport, a valid Schengen visa, proof of health insurance, a criminal record certificate, a Portuguese fiscal number, a Portuguese bank account, and proof of legal entry and stays in Portugal.
Any documents that are not in Portuguese will need to be translated and notarized.
Step 4: Submit Your Application
You can submit your Golden Visa application online through the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) website. The process involves completing the application form, uploading the necessary documents, and paying the associated application fee.
Step 5: Attend an Interview
After submitting your application, you will need to attend an interview with the SEF. This interview can be scheduled online through the SEF website. The interview will typically take place in Portugal.
Step 6: Receive Your Golden Visa
If your application is approved, you will need to pay the initial Golden Visa fee. You will then receive your Golden Visa, which grants you and your family the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and travel freely within the Schengen Area.
The Golden Visa process in Portugal can take a few months. It depends on your situation and how many applications the SEF is handling.
Here are a few tips for a successful application:
Seek Professional Advice: The Golden Visa application process can be complex and time-consuming. A professional who knows the process can help you meet all the rules and avoid mistakes.
Plan Ahead: The Golden Visa process involves several steps and can take several months. Start planning and preparing as early as possible to ensure a smooth process.
Stay Informed: The rules for the Golden Visa can change. Make sure to keep up with the latest information.
In order to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa, you have to do a lot of preparation, but if you plan well, it can go smoothly.
The process of renewing the Golden Visa involves several steps:
- Maintain your investment
- Meet the minimum stay requirement
- Submit your renewal application
- Attend an interview
If your renewal is approved, your Golden Visa will last for two more years. You can keep renewing it if you meet the needed requirements.
Portugal Golden Visa Refusal
While the Portugal Golden Visa program is designed to attract foreign investment and is generally welcoming to applicants, it is possible for an application to be refused.
If your Golden Visa application is refused, you should first seek to understand the reason for the refusal. The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) should provide a reason for the refusal.
If you believe that your application was refused unfairly, you may be able to appeal the decision. You would have to tell the SEF why you think they were wrong and give them any extra information or papers that help your side.
Given the complexity of the Golden Visa application process and the potential for refusal, it’s advisable to work with a professional who is familiar with the process.
They can help ensure that you meet all the requirements and guide you through the process of appealing a refusal if necessary.
Process and Requirements
Residency Requirements: After five years of legal residency through the Golden Visa program, you can apply for permanent residency while also ensuring you stay under the qualification status.
Rights and Responsibilities: Permanent residents must adhere to Portuguese laws and regulations and continue to meet residency requirements. They have the right to participate in local elections but not national ones.
Benefits and Privileges: Permanent residents enjoy extended residency rights, including access to social benefits, healthcare, and education. They can live and work in Portugal indefinitely without the need for renewal.
Residency Requirements: Along with the requirements for permanent residency, applying for citizenship may require additional integration into Portuguese society, such as community involvement or cultural understanding.
Language Proficiency: Applicants need to show they can speak Portuguese at a basic level, usually at the A2 level. They can prove this with a language test or a diploma from a school in Portugal.
Cultural Integration: Applicants may be assessed on their understanding of Portuguese culture and society. This can include knowledge of history, customs, and values.
Rights and Responsibilities: Citizens have full political rights and responsibilities, including the duty to serve on juries and the right to run for public office. They must also adhere to Portuguese laws and fulfill civic duties such as paying taxes.
Benefits and Privileges: Portuguese citizenship is a coveted status that can be achieved through the Golden Visa program. It offers a host of benefits and privileges, including:
- EU Passport: Portuguese citizens are entitled to an EU passport, allowing them to live, work, and travel freely within the European Union.
- Voting Rights: Participate in national and European elections.
- Consular Protection: Portuguese citizens can seek assistance from Portuguese embassies and consulates worldwide.
- No Renewal Requirements: Unlike temporary residency, citizenship is a lifelong status that does not require periodic renewals.
How Can Total Law Help?
The Portugal Golden Visa program is a great chance to live in one of Europe’s nicest and most interesting countries. Whether you’re interested in permanent residency or taking the next step toward citizenship, our team at Total Law is here to guide you through every step of the process.
Our team of experienced lawyers and immigration specialists can provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation and goals. We can help you understand the requirements of the Golden Visa program, choose the best investment option, and navigate the application process.
We can assist you with every step of the Golden Visa application process, from gathering the required documents to submitting your application and preparing for your interview. We can also help with any special circumstances or challenges you may face.
After your Golden Visa is approved, we can provide ongoing support to ensure you maintain your residency status and take full advantage of the benefits of the program. This includes assistance with renewing your Golden Visa, applying for permanent residency or citizenship, and navigating life in Portugal.
At Total Law, we understand that every client’s situation is unique. Our golden visas experts provide personalized service to meet your specific needs and goals. Whether you’re an individual investor, a business owner, or a family looking to relocate, we can provide the guidance and support you need.
With Total Law, you can have peace of mind knowing that your Golden Visa application is in expert hands. For our clients, we are committed to providing the highest level of service.
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Yes, the Portugal Golden Visa program allows you to include immediate family members such as your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents in your application. They will enjoy the same rights and benefits as the main applicant, including residency rights and freedom of movement within the Schengen Area. The process involves submitting relevant documentation to prove the family relationship and fulfilling the same health insurance and criminal record requirements.
If you sell or change your qualifying investment during the Golden Visa validity period, it may lead to the cancellation of your Golden Visa and associated residency rights. It’s essential to maintain the qualifying investment for the entire validity period of the Golden Visa to ensure continuous residency.
Consultation with a legal professional familiar with the program is advisable if you are considering changing your investment.
The Portuguese Golden Visa program itself does not confer specific tax benefits, but Portugal offers a Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime that may provide certain tax advantages for new residents. This regime can offer reduced tax rates or exemptions on specific income types for a period of ten years.
It’s essential to consult with a tax professional in Portugal to understand the full implications and eligibility for the NHR regime or any other tax obligations related to your investment.
Yes, the Golden Visa grants you the right to live and work in Portugal, including starting and operating a business. You can engage in employment or entrepreneurial activities in accordance with Portuguese laws and regulations. It’s advisable to consult with legal and business professionals in Portugal to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations related to your specific business or employment situation.
In general, the Golden Visa application process takes from submission to approval between four to six months, depending on the complexity of the case and the volume of applications.
While there is no official expedited process, you can benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer to ensure your application is thorough and accurate, potentially reducing delays. In addition, be sure to respond promptly to Portuguese authorities when you are requested to provide additional information or documentation.
There are several alternatives to the Golden Visa for obtaining residency in Portugal. These include the D7 Passive Income Visa, which is for individuals who have a regular income from outside Portugal, such as pensions, rental income, or dividends. There’s also the D2 Entrepreneur Visa for individuals who want to start a business in Portugal.
Generally, changes in the rules or regulations of the Portugal Golden Visa program should not affect those who have already obtained their Golden Visa, as they would typically be subject to the rules in place at the time of their application.
However, it’s essential to stay informed about any changes and consult with a legal professional specializing in Portuguese immigration law to understand if any new regulations might impact your specific situation. Continuous compliance with the requirements remains crucial for retaining Golden Visa status.