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Golden Visa Spain vs Portugal Comparison Guide

spain and portugal flags

When it comes to choosing a European Golden Visa, the Spain vs Portugal debate is a hot topic. Both countries offer attractive pathways to residency (and potentially citizenship) through investment, but the specifics of their programs vary significantly. 

This comparison guide will take you through the ins and outs of the Spanish and Portuguese Golden Visa schemes, arming you with the right knowledge to pick one that suits your unique circumstances.

We’ll cover everything from investment thresholds to the perks of each program, helping you make an informed decision on where to lay down your investment and possibly call home.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Overview

Embarking on the journey to secure a Golden Visa in Spain or Portugal involves navigating distinct programs, each with its unique features and advantages. Whether you’re leaning towards Spain’s energetic lifestyle or Portugal’s relaxed vibes, we’ve got the details to help you make that all-important decision.

Spain’s Golden Visa Program

Spain has one of the most popular Golden Visa programs in Europe. It is known for its accessibility and flexibility. Eligibility requires a significant investment in real estate, business, or capital transfer, unlocking the doors to the vibrant Spanish lifestyle.

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is equally popular, emphasizing investments in fund subscription, business, or donation. 

Recently, the program has undergone some changes. Since October 2023, the real estate and capital transfer routes are no longer available. However, this Golden Visa program continues to be a popular route through its other investment options.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the benefits, delve into investment options, discuss specific requirements, and address the pathway to citizenship in both Spain and Portugal. This comprehensive guide aims to assist you in making an informed decision tailored to your preferences and goals.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Benefits

benefits of golden visa in spain and portugal

Understanding the benefits of obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain or Portugal is crucial for making an informed decision. Let’s explore the unique advantages each country offers through its Golden Visa program.

Spain’s Golden Visa Top Benefits

Diverse Investment Options

Spain’s program provides flexibility, allowing investors to choose from various investment options, including real estate, business, or capital transfer. 

If you’re particularly interested in Real Estate or Capital Transfer as a route to residency, the Spanish Golden Visa is particularly interesting as this is no longer offered in Portugal.

Family Inclusion

One of the standout features is the inclusion of family members. Spain’s Golden Visa extends to spouses, children, and dependent relatives, ensuring a holistic approach to relocation.

Pathway to Citizenship

After ten years of continuous legal residence in Spain you can apply for Spanish citizenship. This long-term commitment can be appealing to those seeking a permanent settlement.

No Minimum Stay Requirement

Unlike some countries, Spain does not impose a minimum stay obligation. You have the flexibility to manage your time freely without being bound by strict residency requirements. But remember, you have to show that you have visited spain at least once during the validity period of your residence permit.

Portugal’s Golden Visa Top Benefits

Visa-Free Travel

Portugal’s Golden Visa opens the doors to visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, providing you with enhanced mobility and convenience.

Residency for Dependents

Similar to Spain, Portugal’s program is family-friendly. It allows for the inclusion of your family members, including spouses, dependent children, and parents, fostering a supportive and unified relocation experience.

Potential for Citizenship

Portugal offers a much faster route to citizenship than Spain. It’s possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of holding the Golden Visa, making it an attractive option for those seeking an expedited naturalization process.

Minimum Stay Requirement

While Portugal imposes a minimum stay requirement, it is relatively reasonable. You are required to spend a minimum of seven days per year. Since this residence card is issued for 2 years, you can spend 14 days in Portugal in the first year and this will count for the entire period.

Both Spain and Portugal present compelling benefits, and the choice between the two depends on individual preferences, investment goals, and the desired pace of obtaining citizenship. 

In the next section, we’ll explore the specific investment options available in each country’s Golden Visa program.

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Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Investment Options

The heart of any Golden Visa program lies in the investment options it presents. Let’s examine the investment landscapes in Spain and Portugal.

spain vs portugal golden visa investment options

Spain’s Golden Visa Investment Options

Real Estate Investment

Investors can acquire real estate in Spain with a minimum value of €500,000, opening doors to residential or commercial opportunities.

Business Investments

Those with an entrepreneurial spirit can invest at least €1 million in Spanish companies or undertake projects leading to job creation.

Capital Investments

For a less hands-on approach, you can opt for capital transfer, requiring a minimum investment of €1 million in a Spanish bank account.

Portugal’s Golden Visa Investment Options

Fund Subscription

Invest at least €500,000 in a qualifying Portuguese investment fund.

Job Creation

You can either create 10 new full-time jobs in your own Portuguese business.

Another option is investing €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, which must then create at least 5 new full-time jobs for three years.


You can choose to donate €250,000 to preserve Portugal’s national heritage or 

Research and development activities

€500,000 Investment in Scientific and Technological Research

Both countries offer diverse investment avenues, catering to different investor preferences and objectives. 

Next, we’ll delve into the specific requirements for obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain and Portugal.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Requirements

golden visa requirements in spain and portugal

Understanding the requirements for obtaining a Golden Visa is crucial in making an informed decision. Let’s explore the prerequisites for securing residency in Spain and Portugal.

Spain’s Golden Visa Requirements

Investment Criteria

Choosing your investment path—real estate, business, or capital transfer—means meeting specific financial requirements for each. Check you align with these before diving in.

Clean Criminal Record

A must-have is a clean criminal record, both in Spain and any other place you’ve lived. It’s straightforward: no blemishes allowed.

Health Insurance

Don’t forget about health insurance. Spain requires you to have comprehensive coverage to look after you and your loved ones while you’re living there.

Portugal’s Golden Visa Requirements

Investment Criteria

Whether you’re leaning towards a fund subscription, making a donation, or creating jobs, hitting the financial mark for your chosen investment avenue in Portugal is key.

Clean Criminal Record

Just like in Spain, Portugal insists on a clean slate. A spotless criminal record is non-negotiable for securing a Golden Visa.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is not required by the Portuguese Authorities for Golden Visa applicants.

While the investment options may vary, the essence of what’s required—financial commitment and legal integrity— remains consistent across both nations. However, while you need health insurance for the Golden Visa in Spain, this is not required for the Portuguese Golden Visa.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Pathway to Citizenship

spain golden visa and portugal golden visa

Thinking about the long-term with your Golden Visa? Citizenship might be on your radar. Let’s see the differences between Spain and Portugal when it comes to making your stay permanent.

Spain’s Golden Visa: Path to Citizenship

Spain offers a pathway to citizenship after ten years of continuous residence (or 2 years if you are from an Ibero-American country). This long-term approach is for those ready to deeply root themselves in Spain before becoming eligible for citizenship.

Portugal’s Golden Visa: Path to Citizenship

Portugal provides a much faster route to citizenship compared to Spain. You can apply for Portuguese citizenship after only five years of holding the Golden Visa. This shorter timeline can be appealing to those seeking a more expedited naturalization process.

It’s essential to note that both countries require applicants to meet certain criteria, including a clean criminal record, compliance with residency requirements, and adherence to the specific conditions of their chosen investment path.

Now that we’ve explored the individual aspects of Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs, let’s highlight some key differences between the two countries that may influence your decision.

Quality of Life: Spain VS Portugal

Choosing between Spain and Portugal for your Golden Visa comes down to personal preferences in quality of life, both offer warm climates, rich cultures, and relaxed lifestyles.

Known for its diverse climate and regional cultures, Spain features a vibrant social life, late-night dinners, and varied traditions. Whether you’re after beach days or mountain hikes, Spain offers a bit of everything.

Portugal offers a consistently mild climate, particularly in the Algarve, with over 300 sunny days a year. Its culture emphasizes community, history, and a laid-back lifestyle. English is widely spoken, making it easier for expats to adapt.

Both countries can offer you a high quality of life. Your decision depends on your preference for climate, language, and cultural lifestyle each can afford you.

Cost of Living: Spain VS Portugal

When you’re weighing the options between a Golden Visa for Spain or Portugal, the cost of living can be a big factor in your decision-making. 

Generally, in Spain, the cost of living can vary quite greatly depending on where you choose to settle. Big cities like Madrid and Barcelona will cost you much more. But if you venture into smaller cities or the countryside, your euros will stretch further. 

Portugal is often praised for being more affordable than its Iberian neighbor, especially in terms of housing. Even in Lisbon, the capital, living costs can be lower than in Spain’s major cities. But, as with Spain, prices climb in tourist areas and the Algarve coast.

Even though Portugal tends to be the more budget-friendly option, both countries offer affordable living compared to many Western European destinations. The real cost difference lies in your chosen lifestyle and location within each country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which golden visa is better, Spain or Portugal?

The “better” choice between Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa depends on what you’re looking for. If you value a wide range of investment options, Spain might be for you. But if you’re aiming for a fast track to citizenship, Portugal is the way to go.

Which golden visa route is faster, Spain or Portugal?

Spain’s application process for the Golden Visa is quicker and more straightforward, typically taking about 2 to 3 months. On the other hand, Portugal’s process is longer, often taking 12 to 18 months, and involves more paperwork and fees.

Is it cheaper to live in Spain or Portugal?

Both Spain and Portugal offer a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many other European countries. Regional variations within each country can impact costs, so it’s essential to consider specific locations based on personal preferences and lifestyle.

Are taxes higher in Spain or Portugal?

Tax rates vary, and both countries have competitive tax regimes. Spain and Portugal are known for offering favorable tax conditions, but the specifics depend on individual circumstances. 

Seeking advice from a tax professional is advisable to understand the implications of your unique situation.

Which EU country has the cheapest golden visa?

The definition of “cheapest” can vary based on individual preferences and investment goals. 

Both Spain and Portugal offer competitive Golden Visa programs, and the most suitable option depends on factors such as investment choices, residency requirements, and the desired pathway to citizenship.


The choice of whether to apply for the Golden Visa in Spain or Portugal ultimately hinges on your specific priorities and goals. Spain provides flexibility and a diverse cultural experience, while Portugal offers a faster route to citizenship.

Before you leap, think about what you’re looking for: the type of investment you’re interested in, how much money you’d like to invest, and the type of lifestyle you’re after. 

Can Lexidy Help Me Apply for a Golden Visa?

Absolutely! If you’re ready to take the next step in your Golden Visa journey, Lexidy’s team of experienced immigration lawyers is here to guide you through the process with ease. Simply fill out the form below to kickstart your investment journey.

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