The so-called Golden Visa is a residence visa for non-EU citizens who invest €280,000 or more in Portugal.
The primary aim of the Portuguese Golden Visa is to attract foreign investors who want to buy real estate. In return, it’s easier for them to get a residence permit. Other countries, including Spain, Greece, the UK and Malta, also have Golden Visa programs.
Table of contents
- What are the requirements?
- What paperwork do I need?
- Who is this visa for?
- What are the advantages of a Golden Visa?
- What taxes are there for a Golden Visa?
- How long is a Golden Visa valid for?
- Which investments qualify for a Golden Visa?
- Can I invest in something other than Real Estate?
What are the requirements?
The following are the requirements for successfully applying for a Golden Visa in 2022:
- You must be a resident of a country that’s outside of the European Union (EU). This visa is only for investors from outside of Europe.
- Have a clean criminal record
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Make the investment in one of the following:
- Capital transfer:
- €1.5 million minimum capital transfer into a Portuguese bank account or approved investment.
- €500,000 in an investment fund or venture capital fund unit committed to investing in Portuguese companies. They must have a maturity of at least five years. Also, at least 60% of the investment portfolio must be in Portuguese companies.
- €500,000 in public or private research as part of a national scientific and technological project.
- €250,000 in supporting an artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage
- Property acquisition:
- €500,000 real estate investment. However, this falls to €350,000 if the property is in a designated improvement area. It can go as low as €280,000 in an area of low population density. This applies to both residential and commercial real estate.
- Creating at least ten new jobs. This falls to eight new jobs if it’s in an area with a low population density.
- A €500,000 investment in creating or increasing the share capital of a Portuguese company. This investment must create or support at least five permanent jobs for three years.
A low population density area has:
– fewer than 100 inhabitants per km²
– or a GDP per capita that’s 75% of the national average.
What documentation do I need?
To qualify for a residence visa for investment, you must prove that the investment was made by showing the correct paperwork.
There must be proof that the property was purchased. This can be shown with a certificate for domain and land registry fees. The immigration officials may also ask for a deed of sale.
Bank deposit investment:
You will need a certificate issued by the financial institution that brokered the deal. In addition, the document must state that you are the only holder of the investment.
There must be a certificate from the company that received the investment. It must clearly show that you hold the investment.
The applicant must provide the following documentation for their Golden Visa application once confirmed by immigration authorities.
- A completed application form
- Two passport photos
- A valid passport with at least two blank pages
- A criminal record background check
Sometimes the officials may ask for additional documents, like valid healthcare insurance. After sending the paperwork to the authorities, you can expect a decision in 60 days, but it can be longer.
Once we receive a positive response, you will go to an appointment with SEF. Depending on your office, this can take anywhere between a few days to a few months. If approved, you get a residency card sent to your Portuguese address, which is valid for two years.
The appointment with SEF is for biometric data collection and must be done in person with their family.
Who is this visa for?
Portugal’s Golden Visa has been specially created for those who live outside the European Union (EU). It allows them to live in Portugal by investing, usually, in real estate.
The Golden Visa allows the applicant and their family to live in Portugal. They can also enjoy visa-free travel in much of Europe.
While most people invest in a home, some prefer commercial real estate in improvement zones or invest in a local business.
What are the advantages of a Golden Visa?
Portugal’s Golden Visa comes with the following benefits:
- There’s no need to live in Portugal. You will only need to be in the Portuguese territory for seven days per year period. This is much more flexible than the D-7 or passive income visa.
- The visa allows the holders’ family to join them in Portugal and gives their children access to public schools.
- The residence visa derived from the Golden Visa allows visa-free travel across 26 European countries. This allows the holder and their family to enjoy being a regular tourist in Europe.
- If you have lived in Portugal for five consecutive years, it is possible to apply for permanent residence. Permanent residents are not penalized if they decide to leave the country.
- If you have been in Portugal for ten straight years, the ex-pat can apply for Portuguese citizenship.
The Golden Visa is a fast track process involving immediate approval for a two-year visa and renewals every two years.
What taxes are there for a Golden Visa?
If you buy real estate and obtain a Portuguese residence permit in Portugal, you will be subject to some taxes. How much and which ones depend on the length of your stay in Portugal.
If you stay in Portugal for more than six months, you become a Portuguese resident. This means your worldwide assets and income are taxed. However, if you are in Portugal for less than 183 days, you only pay taxes on your real estate purchase.
The buyer mostly pays taxes and fees, which vary throughout Portugal’s regions. They typically include the following:
- Property transfer tax ranges from 1% to 8%, depending on the purchase price
- Stamp duty of 0.8%
- Notary costs, title deed tax and land registration fee of 1% to 2.5%
Some people may benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident Regime. This programme was created for ex-pats that work in high value-add activities or earn income abroad. Income obtained inside Portugal will be taxed at a fixed rate of 20%. However, income earned overseas might not be subjected to Portuguese taxation, provided a double taxation treaty is in place.
How long is a Golden Visa valid for?
Once the investor has obtained his golden visa, they will have two years to reside legally in Portugal. After that, the applicant can renew their visa to remain in the country for two years.
The person in question must prove that they still own the asset. In addition, you must have visited Portugal for at least seven days each year to qualify. There is no need to be a full-time resident in Portugal.
The Golden Visa is also a way to become Portuguese. After living in Portugal legally for a five year period, the investor can apply for permanent residency or citizenship.
Which investments qualify for a Golden Visa?
The most common route to getting a Golden Visa in Portugal is purchasing land, apartments, homes or commercial property. The total investment in real estate must be at least €500,000, and it can be made in any kind of property.
Sometimes the investment can be as little as €280,000. However, this has unique requirements, such as being in a low population area or regeneration zone.
The property can be mortgaged, but the value of the investment must exceed €500,000 in fees and taxes. You can make mortgage payments on your investment.
Some maximize their return on investment, or ROI, by taking income from a rental property. This allows them to boost their annual ROI metrics and net profit by offsetting the cost of investing.
One spouse from a married couple can apply for a Golden Visa. They just need to invest €500,000 or more in Portuguese real estate. However, both cannot qualify as the main applicant and their status is tied to their partner.
For both spouses to be the main applicants, they must invest €1 million in total.
Unlike in Spain, you cannot get a Golden Visa in Portugal by building a home. However, you can qualify for it if you regenerate an existing building.
Can I invest in something other than Real Estate?
Portugal’s Golden Visa program also allows investments in the following assets:
Investment in a Fund in Portugal
They can make a €500,000 investment in a fund. However, they must meet specific criteria to be valid. Some focus on real estate, while others focus on equities, companies, startups, or commodities. They are regulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission or CMVM, and each has a unique investment strategy.
An investor can also transfer €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account. It’s the most straightforward route for a Golden Visa. It’s also one of the most conservative as there is little or no investment risk.
Create ten jobs in Portugal
This is the cheapest investment option since there is no minimum spending requirement. However, the company must be founded and run for at least five years while creating ten new positions.
The business should be a limited company, with a single owner who will qualify for the Golden Visa. There is no requirement to manage the business, which is attractive to some investors. In addition, this can be a relatively affordable option as you just need to hire ten people full-time.
Capital Transfer and job creation:
This option combines creating a company and investing in a fund. However, you only need to create five jobs and for only three years while investing €500,000.
Donations to arts, national heritage or culture
If you make a €250,000 donation to the Portuguese Arts, National Heritage, or Culture, you can qualify for a Golden Visa. This is also relatively affordable; however, there is no return on investment.
Investment in Scientific and Technological Research
An investor can make a €500,000 investment in scientific or technological research. An accredited national institution in Portugal must do this research.
The above options all have advantages to consider when closing your costs and calculating the ROI. Our team of immigration lawyers are here to help you with your Golden Visa application. They can advise on the right investment or how to best draft a real estate purchase agreement.
Speak with the team today!