Are you a non-EU citizen looking to invest in Portugal? Portugal’s Golden Visa Program 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.
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 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:
There have recently been discussions and declarations around the Golden Visa Program and its future. Nothing was decided, yet the government may want to change it (again) or even terminate the program.
The prime minister defended the continuity of the policy of attracting investors in Portugal, especially in the technological area, but made a distinction between such visas and the Golden Visa program.
While the program is benefiting the Portuguese economy overall, there has also been increasing pressure from the European Commission to harmonize residency-by-investment programs across the EU. There are more than 20 countries within the EU that have similar programs, so the goal seems to be harmonizing rules and conditions between them.
Our advice is that any new investment targeted towards the Golden Visa should be done within the next 12 months – a reasonable ballpark in which we are expecting the present rules and current legal framework to still be applicable. So from our point of view, 2023 can be used to invest in the Golden Visa program in Portugal without time pressure.
Rights that were granted by a certain legal frame cannot be removed and will need to be respected by the Portuguese authorities. Therefore, if the program is changed in the future or even totally removed, this will only affect future applications and not the ones already ongoing, granted that the investment was done and the application submitted before the rules change.
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:
Yes, you may invest in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve. Here’s what you can and can’t buy in these regions:
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 Golden Visa program in Portugal.
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.
|High Density||Low Density|
|Not 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. Whereas in “non-interior” you can buy non-residential properties like tourist buildings, offices, hotels, stores, etc.
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. 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.
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:
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 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!
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