Portugal’s golden visa residence permit, which has brought in 3.7 billion in investments since its launch in 2012, grants non-E.U. nationals the same treatment as Portuguese citizens when it comes to social security, tax benefits, E.U. membership, and recognition of diplomas.
Portugal Investment Immigration Programs Overview
Portugal offers a 5-year pathway to the Portuguese (European) passport, which is the fourth strongest travel document in the world according to the Global Passport Power Rank 2018.
This citizenship pathway is built under the popular European Union Golden Visa residency-by-investment program. It’s a simple option that includes full residency, social, health, educational and working rights in exchange for a capital transfer, real-estate purchase or other qualifying investments. There are eight options of investments, ranging from 250.000 to 1 million euros, in different areas. Historically, over 90 percent of applicants have used the real-estate option, which is very straightforward and one of the most profitable, useful and liquidity guarantor options.
The Portuguese program suffered in 2015 with its enormous success, generating analysis and approval timings of more than one year due to the lack of available logistical capacity and human resources. eHowever, the program is now fully operational and benefiting from legislative changes that broadened investment options and clarified the procedure, in addition to guaranteeing their holders access to recent changes to the nationality law, which covers not only adults but also foreign children.
Applications are normally processed in three to six months. The golden-visa program has drawn 3.8 billion euros in new capital to Portugal since 2012.
Although Portugal doesn’t offer a CBI program per se – like most of the European countries -, successful residency applicants can obtain citizenship — and a well-regarded E.U. passport — after 5 years of holding this residence card, which only demands a minimum stay of 7 days per year in a Portuguese territory and works as a Schengen Visa to freely travel around Europe in the meantime.
Portugal’s residency program offers several routes to the residence permit, all of which can also be used to acquire residence permits for an applicant’s direct family members – spouses, children and adult children, parents and parents in law:
- Real estate: Investors can qualify by spending 500,000 euros on real estate, or 350,000 euros on older properties. Virtually all investors take the 500,000-euro option, with many spending well above the minimum amount in order to find a premium location home or a large villa. Investors must pay cash for their property, but there’s no requirement that investors live in the property they purchase, so rental apartments, plots, hotels, storages, vineyards or even commercial real-estate investments are all fair game, being also allowed the co-ownership or the multiple properties acquisition.
- Capital transfers: Investors can qualify by making a capital transfer of 1 million euros, either through a simple bank transfer to a Portuguese account or through an equivalent investment in company stocks and shares. Other capital transfers ring-fenced for specific activities can allow residency to be obtained at a much lower cost: it’s possible to qualify with a 350,000-euro transfer to fund scientific research or venture capital activities, for instance, or with a 250,000-euro transfer to fund artistic or cultural endeavors.
- Business investment: Portugal offers multiple options for business investors. It’s possible to qualify for residency by making business investments that create at least 10 jobs, regardless of the amount invested, or by investing a minimum of 350,000 euros in an enterprise that creates at least five jobs. So far, however, only a handful of people have qualified for visas thorough job creation.
All the investment options can be done under the investor’s own name or through a sole ownership company. Also, most of the options also allow a reduction of 20 percent in the minimum amount of investment required, if such investment is made in a low-density area of Portugal.
All the investment options confer a renewable temporary resident permit for five years, at which point the visa-holder qualifies for permanent residency or citizenship. During the temporary residency period, investors can live outside Portugal, but must spend at least one week a year in the country to maintain their status during their first year and at least 14 days in the country during subsequent years.
How to Apply
The application process is straightforward, especially for the real-estate pathway. Applicants are required to complete their purchase before applying and must then visit Portugal in person to collect the biometric data and open a Portuguese bank account. The application itself is painless, however, requiring only basic personal documentation along with a police background check. Investments in areas other than real estate can be trickier to manage, with more documentation required to demonstrate qualifying capital transfers or job creation efforts, experts say. After the approval, the residence card can be collected by the Investor or his representative.
Portuguese residency confers the right to travel, live and work across the European Union’s Schengen Zone, but doesn’t bring any travel benefits outside the E.U. Investors who gain citizenship can obt
Portugal enjoys a high standard of living, with low crime rates, a well-developed healthcare system and quality educational offerings. The country is also putting considerable resources into renewable energy. Though once economically stagnant, the country is enjoying something of a renaissance, with unemployment falling below 8 percent in December 2017 and high-end developments going up in the capital city of Lisbon.
March 26, 2018
After a period of upheaval that culminated in a brief suspension in 2015, Portugal’s golden visa program is now getting back on track, according to data from the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), the country’s immigration agency.