The Golden Visa program in Portugal makes your dream of living in Europe true. Great weather, affordability, friendly people, and a welcoming atmosphere are all key factors on why the country is a top destination for expats. Come find out how to get a Golden Visa for yourself in a hassle-free way with Pearls of 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 250,000 EUR for a Portugal 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 is so appealing:
Back in March, the Portuguese government announced that the Golden Visa program would end. However, the final set of measures, approved on July 19th, allows the Golden Visa to remain active under certain conditions. No real estate options are eligible, either through direct or indirect investment. But there’s an extension of the option related to investment funds to “collective investment entities” whose purpose is the capitalization of companies.
As stated, there are some types of investments that will continue to have access to a residence in Portugal.
Investments equal to or greater than 500.000 euros, that are applied in scientific research led by a public or private institution that’s officially recognized by the Portuguese Scientific and Technological System
Capital transfers equal to or greater than 250.000 euros, applied in the artistic production, recovery, and/or maintenance of national cultural heritage through public institutes, foundations or associations, local business entities and services associated with the government
Investments equal to or greater than 500.000 euros, intended for the acquisition of shares in non-real estate collective investment entities, that must be at least five years old and have 60% of investments materialized in companies with Portuguese headquarters
The minimum amount or quantitative requirement of the investment activity stated for some options may be lower by 20%, when the activity is carried out in low-density regions. The investment activities cannot be used, directly or indirectly, for real estate investment. According to the proposal, these investment activities will be evaluated every two years with regard to their impact on scientific and cultural activity in Portugal, and this analysis will decide their future maintenance.
Note that you can not get a bank loan or mortgage in Portugal. You have to prove that you bring the capital 100% to Portugal. However, you can apply for a mortgage in your own country. The money transfer to Portugal also must come from accounts in your name – You cannot transfer money or make purchases from other people’s or company accounts.
A set of competent authorities verify the suitability of the investment to the respective entrepreneurial project namely:
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:
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.
Yes, the Golden Visa is extendable. Here’s who can qualify:
After getting your Golden Visa, you must find residence in Portugal. Luckily, when you choose to work with Pearls of Portugal, we help you find the right area and the perfect property for you. Take a look at our buyer’s agent service and research our real estate offers on the Pearls of Portugal marketplace!
Due to complaints of violence and abuse of power, the abolition of the SEF and the creation of a new Borders service (APMA) was announced in 2021. It has been delayed since then but the change is set to be officially implemented in 2023.
Besides the more serious troubles, the SEF was also known for its delays and administrative issues. So it’s expected that this change will speed up response times and improve the overall quality of the organization and, by doing so, your experience of immigrating to Portugal.
The SEF held law enforcement powers, which will now be completely transferred to the respective authorities. The APMA (Agência Portuguesa para as Migrações e Asilo) will only be responsible for migration and asylum matters, such as:
So if you’re worried about delays and the general dealing of migration bureaucracy in Portugal, those are expected to improve greatly.
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:
Before you can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa Program, you have to have made an investment. 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.
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 need:
Coordinated by the Golden Visa Lawyer
Coordinated by Pearls of Portugal
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Just like other foreigners in the country, Portugal Golden 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.
There are tons of Americans living in Portugal, as well as many other nationalities. 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 250,000 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!
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