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Portugal Golden Visa: A Gateway to Citizenship and EU Passport

The Portugal Golden Visa programme, launched in 2012, is one of the most popular residency-by-investment programmes in the world. The programme gives non-EU investors the option to gain residency in the country and visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen area.

2021 Change

A recent change in July 2021 declared that investment in high-density metropolitan areas of Portugal, such as Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, the Silver Coast or Setubal, will no longer qualify for a Golden Visa. These changes aim to promote foreign investment in low-density areas of the country. There will be a transition period until December 2022 to enable investors to complete their applications.  

Why is the Portugal Golden Visa Programme so popular?   

Portugal has issued Residence Permits to more than 9,000 investors and about 16,000 family members since its launch. Here are the reasons the programme is a big hit:

1. Short stay requirement

The Portugal Golden Visa or Residence Permit Programme remains valid if the investor spends only seven (7) days in the country during the first year and then a minimum of fourteen (14) days (consequently or otherwise) within (any) two (2) years for the remaining duration. An individual must spend only thirty-five (35 days cumulatively over the five-year residence period.   

Without any hindrance to their living and working situation, investors have the freedom to continue to travel freely across Europe’s Schengen Area without waiting for visas. This also becomes a gateway to live, work and study anywhere in Europe and travel visa-free to 186 countries.  

2. Family members

Dependants include children under 18 and the applicant’s parents above 66 (or 55 years and dependant). All the family members can live in Portugal and receive education and healthcare benefits.

3. Better quality of life

Portugal is a cosmopolitan and peaceful nation with a high Human Development Index ranking. Its mild climate, rich heritage, stunning beaches and idyllic countryside are a big draw for seeking a good quality of life.    

4. Affordable investment options

With a minimum investment of €280,000, investors can apply for the Golden Visa. The most popular investment option in Portugal is real estate investment 

What are the Eligibility Requirements? 

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals need to fulfil the following requirements to be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa Programme:  

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must not have any criminal record  
  • Must clear the Portuguese language test for citizenship  
  • Must have a domicile in Portugal for citizenship  
  • Must have no debts in Portugal
  • Must own the necessary money for investment
  • Must hold the investment for a minimum of 5 years  

What are the Investment Options? 

Here are the options for investors to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa:

1. Real Estate or Property Acquisition

As of January 2022, real estate properties in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal towns are ineligible for purchase. Only properties in the Azores, Madeira, and interior territories are eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa Programme.  

  • In (limited) designated interior areas: €500,000  
  • In low population density areas: €400,000 
  • In pre-owned properties (over 30 years old) scheduled for rehabilitation or in low-density areas: €280,000

2. Investment Fund

  • Investing €500,000 in a Portuguese private equity fund  

3. Capital Transfer

  • Transferring €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account  

4. Donation

  • Investing €500,000 in research activities of approved public or private entities   
  • Investing €250,000 for the preservation of national heritage 

5. Business or Job Creation

  • Creating at least ten jobs through your Portuguese business or single-member company  
  • Investing a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, provided that a minimum of five new full-time jobs are created within three years 

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Qualify for the Golden Visa and Gaining an EU Passport  

As of 2022, Portugal ranks third in the global passport power index, which allows its citizens to travel to 186 countries visa-free or with the visa-on-arrival option.

Here is the process of obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa and applying for citizenship:    

Step 1: Choose the Investment

Choose the investment among the options.  

Step 2: Application and Documentary Requirements

Fill in the Golden Visa application form and prepare all the required documents.  

Step 3: Open a Bank Account

A NIF (a tax ID number) is required to open a Portuguese bank account for this step.  

Step 4: Deposit Investment 

The investment funds outside of Portugal will be deposited in the bank account.  

Step 5: Online submission to SEF  

The pre-application and other documentary requirements are submitted to SEF online.  

Step 6: Biometrics

After reviewing your pre-application and documents, the SEF will invite the applicant and dependants (if there are any) to Portugal for an in-person appointment and biometrics purposes.  

Step 7: Golden Visa Approval

After approval of the application, a residency card will be issued, valid for two years.   

Step 8: Golden Visa Renewal

Apply for visa renewal in the second and the fourth year, staying for a minimum of 14 days in a year block period.    

Step 9: Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Permanent residence is granted after five years, and citizenship in the sixth year.    

Step 10: Portuguese Passport (EU Passport)

Investors can also apply for Portuguese (EU) passport once citizenship is confirmed.  

Portugal Residency and Citizenship: Choosing the Right Option  

A resident visa and citizenship in a new country can bring many benefits and advantages for the applicants and their families. Portuguese citizenship is highly beneficial for investors looking for global mobility without giving up the citizenship of their home country.   

A citizen of Portugal is considered a citizen of Europe and can work and live freely across the entire region. Children born after gaining citizenship automatically become citizens. There is no need to renew your visa, and you will not face deportation. You also get the right to vote and other social benefits. You may apply for government and high-security positions after becoming a citizen.