Golden Visa program Portugal

Start a New Life With the Portugal Golden Visa Program 

Whether you are an American wondering how to move out of the US, or from elsewhere and looking to relocate, the Portugal Golden Visa 2022 makes your dream of living in Europe true. 

Great weather, affordability, friendly people, and a welcoming atmosphere are all key factors why the country is a top destination for expats. In fact, there are many Australian, Asian, Latino and black expats living in Portugal.

Using the Portugal Golden Visa Program (ARI) is one of the fastest and safest ways to move to Portugal for non-asylum seekers outside of Europe. You’ll have to invest a minimum of 280,000 EUR for a Portgual residence permit, which allows you to live, work, and enjoy free movement within the Schengen area. 

If you’re not familiar with the country, check out our list of why living in Portugal as an expat (American, Australian, Canadian or other non-asylum seekers from outside Europe) is so appealing: 

  • Low cost of living in Portugal vs. USA and other Western countries
  • A liberal political climate
  • High security and stability
  • Affordable education for children
  • Affordable housing market
  • Easier travel opportunities 
  • A welcoming culture toward the LGBTQ community

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa Program 

Here’s a list of the many benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa Program:

  • You will be registered with the Schengen Area Central System, which will allow you to enter 26 European countries without the need for an additional visa after your application has been approved by the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras)
  • After five years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship
  • Certain dependent family members can also get Portuguese residency
  • You’ll have access to free Portuguese healthcare and a high-quality European education system
  • You’ll be a resident in one of the safest countries in the world
  • Having a second passport allows you flexibility and the possibility to leave your home country whenever necessary
  • You do not have to live year-round in Portugal to get a visa or citizenship
  • You can optionally become a non-habitual resident of Portugal and pay little or no tax for 10 years. GV holders automatically qualify for the Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Regime (NHR). For this, you must stay in the country for more than 183 days, consecutive or not, in any 12-month period beginning or ending in a given tax year and register as a taxed resident.

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements 

Any legal adult with a clean criminal record who is not a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland can apply for the Golden Visa. Here is an overview of all the requirements:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Clean criminal record
  • Investment period of at least 5 years 
  • No previous refusal to a visa application or to enter the EU
  • Sufficient medical insurance if you decide to stay in Portugal
  • Anyone who applies for the Golden Visa must spend a minimum of 7 days in the country in the first year, and 14 days in the subsequent years

Currently, applications coming from Iranian citizens are suspended.  SEF’s (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) reasons for not accepting these applications were not made public. In addition, the Portuguese embassy in Pakistan is currently closed.

Can the Golden Visa Extend to My Family Members?

Yes, the Golden Visa is extendable. Here’s who can qualify: 

  • A spouse or legal partner
  • Children under 18 years
  • Dependent children under 26 years, provided they are unmarried and are full-time students, in which case they will also have access to the European education system
  • Parents of either spouse over the age of 66 or 55 if proven dependent
  • Siblings under the age of 18, from either spouse/ partner, if legally responsible

Why Invest in Real Estate in Portugal? 

  • It’s Profitable – Real estate can easily grant annual capital growth rates of around 8%. Touristic renting can achieve rates of 15% or higher. Liquid funds do not guarantee a return rate, and if they do, the maximum is 1,5%.
  • It Provides Stability – Even during a financial crisis, rent remains. Savings, however, will likely lose capital. Real estate increases in value over time and does not depend on venture capital managers. The fund investor can expect to achieve all gains in only 5 to 10 years.
  • Safety – If you come to Portugal because you have to leave your home country, you already have a home you can use. If your children want to live and study in Europe, they immediately have a place to stay. 
  • Growth – Despite some increases in prices, Portugal is still among the cheapest real estate markets in Europe. With a strong growth rate of around 15% per year in cities, and 5% in rural areas, investments in Portuguese real estate remain profitable.

Can I Invest in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve? 

Yes, you may invest in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve. Here’s what you can and can’t buy in these regions: 

  • You can invest in non-interior areas and buy commercial properties such as offices, hotels, and local serviced accommodations (e.g. Airbnb apartments with service licenses). The Algarve is considered a low-density area, so you only need 280,000 EUR to invest in a  property that requires renovation.
  • You can no longer buy residential investments in non-interior areas, e.g. an apartment in Lisbon where you live permanently.       

How We Can Help You Find the Right Property in Portugal 

When you choose to work with Pearls of Portugal, we help you find the right area, based on the two regional parameters. Whether you prefer to invest in a tourism condo with a high return rate or already know which region you want to buy real estate in, we help you find a property that meets your needs and is eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa program.   

Where to buy real estate

High Density Low Density
Interior Region
Mixed Region*
Not Interior Region

*Some Parishes are part of the interior region.

 








What is quite confusing regarding the real estate location is that the new rules now have two regional parameters that determine your investment: A: “low-density” / “high-density regions” and B: “interior” / “non-interior” regions. Looks complicated but it is quite easy if you understand the practical implications.

The “density” factor basically determines the minimum investment thresholds you have to meet for the GV application. The values in low-density areas are 280k with renovation and 400k without renovation while the high-density areas are 350k with renovation and 500k without renovation.

The new regional parameter is the “interior parameter” and defines the investment types in real estate you can do for the GV.  In “interior areas” you can buy residential or non-residential properties. In “non-interior” you can buy non-residential properties like tourists buildings, offices, hotels, stores, etc.

THE PORTUGUESE GOLDEN VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

Since the application for the golden visa in Portugal follows a strict process, we recommend you get the help of a lawyer to guide you through it. Here are the steps to obtain your GV:

Step 1: Make Your Investment

Before you can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa Program, you have to have made an investment. Since real estate investments may take between 1 to 3 months to finalize, plan accordingly. You don’t have to wait for renovation projects to be completed to apply for the GV. You must only prove that you have already deposited the necessary funds in a Portuguese bank account.

Step 2: Prepare and Translate Your Documents Into Portuguese

While you look for an investment property, gather all necessary documents needed for the application – this step may take a few months. Once you have all documents, translate them and have them certified by a Portuguese notary or a Portuguese consulate in your country of origin to meet SEF’s requirements.

Here’s a list of documents you will need to obtain:

General Documents

Coordinated by the Golden Visa Lawyer

  • Portuguese Tax Identification Number
  • A copy of your passport 
  • Portuguese bank account documents
  • Proof of entry and stay in Portugal – (stamp in your passport)
  • Health insurance with international coverage
  • Criminal record certificate of your country of origin 
  • Proof of tax number of the country of origin/residence (tax return)
  • Declaration signature for consultation with the Criminal Record in Portugal
  • Declaration of investment compliance
  • Declaration by the Portuguese Tax Authority that you have no debts
  • Portuguese Social Security Declaration confirming that  you have no debts

Investment Documents

Coordinated by Pearls of Portugal

  • Promissory Purchase and Sale Agreement
  • Property Purchase Deed
  • Bank statement confirming  the transfer of €280,000
  • Certificate from the Registry with the registration of the property
  • Tax Authority’s Land Booklet (caderneta predial)
  • Communication of renovation works to the City Council
  • Architectural work contract 
  • Proof of Licensing of the IMPIC Contractor
  • Proof of payment for the contract work, or proof of deposit in a Portuguese account of the total value of the contract works
  • Property Use License proving that it is over 30 years old

Step 3: Get a Portuguese TAX-Number (NIF) and Open a Bank Account

If you’re not in Portugal, you can get your NIF and bank account remotely with the help of a third party like a lawyer or Pearls of Portugal. Keep in mind that once you get this, you are a tax resident in Portugal and bound to the local tax regime (granted you’ve already been approved after the visa interview). Fortunately, the Portugal Golden Visa Program categorizes you as a non-habitual resident, meaning you won’t have to pay most of the local taxes. 

Step 4: Finalize Your Investment

Once you’ve decided on an investment, transfer the funds from a bank account in your name to your Portuguese bank account. Your lawyer should help you finalize the application process. 

Step 5: File Your Initial Application to SEF 

Pre-register, then submit your application through the online portal of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). While you can do this on your own, we recommend that your lawyer do this on your behalf to ensure there are no issues with your paperwork. 

Step 6: Book Your Interview 

Once you are pre-approved, you can schedule your interview appointment. Simply log into the ARI (Golden Visa) portal and select the Calendar option on the Applications page. Choose a date and time that suits you. It can take up to three months to get an appointment in Lisbon or  similar large cities. You may be able to get an appointment sooner in a less populated district. 

During the interview with an immigration official, your biometric data will be collected. Bring your family with you if you are applying with them. Make sure to have a copy of all the documents that were digitally attached to the Portugal Golden Visa Program application in case the official needs to validate anything.

Step 7: Wait for Approval 

As soon as your application is approved, you have to pay an authorization fee of 5.324,60 EUR per applicant. 10 days later, you will receive your residence card, which is valid for one year. Congratulations, you may now legally live and work in Portugal! 

HOW TO RENEW YOUR PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA APPLICATION  

The residence card can be renewed for two years via the SEF website. In the second, third, fourth and fifth year, you have to submit your biometric data, present a current criminal record, and pay a fee of 2.662,30 EUR per applicant. The renewal process costs 532.70 EUR for the main applicant and 83,10 EUR for each additional family member.

Each year, you will have to prove that you are committed to maintaining your investment for at least five years and provide proof of your investment, like a deed of purchase for your real estate investment, employment contracts of jobs you created in Portugal, or a bank statement with your capital contributions. 

For your renewal, bring the following certified documents from a Portuguese consulate, or the embassy of your country translated into Portuguese with you:

  • Criminal record certificate from the country of origin/residence (issued within the last three months)
  • Marriage certificate (if married)
  • Birth certificate of the children (if needed)

HOW TO GET PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP

Just like other foreigners in the country, Portugal Gold Visa applicants who want to gain citizenship can do so after 5 years. The process requires an intensive vetting process where applicants are checked for money laundering,  criminal records, and contributions in Portugal. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

There are tons of Americans living in Portugal, as well as Australians, Asians, Latin Americans, Canadians, and more. And for good reason: the country offers great weather, a low cost of living, safety, a liberal political climate and a welcoming culture toward people of all backgrounds. 

Moving to Portugal as a non-asylum seeking non-European is easy with the Portugal Golden Visa Program: you will just need to be an adult with no criminal record and make a minimum investment of 280,000 EUR.

Not only is this a great way to invest in Portugal and in your future, but it also allows you to live and work in Europe and move freely in the Schengen area. What’s more, you can even bring your family members, granted they fulfil a set of requirements. 

So, pack your bags and plan ahead, as a new life awaits you in Europe with the Portugal Golden Visa Program! 

Services

1. Submission of Visa application

  • Obtaining a NIF (Tax Identification Number).
  • Opening a bank account in Portugal.
  • Acknowledgment of signatures.
  • Manage the legalization of documents, where applicable, in Portugal.
  • Manage the legalization of documents, when applicable, in Switzerland.
  • Collect, prepare, legalize the translation, and transmission of the initial documents for the visa application.
  • Manage the initial administrative formalities.
  • Provide all representation services.
  • Submit the visa application to the competent local authorities, for the main applicant and family members, including dependants, if applicable.

2. Visa Application Follow-up

  • Follow-up and coordinate the administrative processing with local authorities.
  • After the request is accepted, collect and transmit the residence permits.
  • Orientation and accompaniment during visits to Portugal.
  • Organize the necessary appointments (namely for the biometric process) and provide all the necessary guidance during the stay in the country.

3. Services after obtaining the Visa

  • Submit the residence permit application.
  • Follow-up of residence permit renewals (after two years).
  • Various administrative and support services (Numero de Utente and NISS).
  • “Orientation Program”: The goal of this program is to offer orientation about Portugal, giving an overview of the lifestyle, cultural activities, infrastructure, transportation, health services, and commercial areas.

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