Portugal

Residency By Investment

200,000 euros

Capital Transfer In Low-Density Areas

280,000 euros

Real Estate Investment In Low-Density Areas

Mobility

186

Visa Free Travel

Portugal Investment Immigration Programs Overview

Portugal offers a five-year pathway to the Portuguese (European) passport, which is one of the strongest travel documents in the world according to the Global Passport Power Rank 2020.

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 200,000 to 1 million euros, in different areas. The majority of applicants have used the real estate option, mostly due to the tourism boom and the possibility of converting the property in Local housing allowance (Airbnb).

In the last year, the interest for non-real estate option is growing, especially in investment and venture capital funds, thanks to the simplicity of the process, zero tax impact and inexistent maintenance costs.

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. Since then, the program has undergone several legislative amendments that made it faster with more diverse investment options and clearer procedures. These amendments also guarantee their holders access to recent changes to the nationality law, which covers not only adults but also foreign children.

Applications are normally processed within nine months. The golden-visa program has drawn 4.8 billion euros in new capital to Portugal since 2012.

This program can couple with the NHR Tax program to grant a 10-year period of tax exemption on foreign personal income and a lower flat rate on income obtained in Portugal from qualified activities.

Citizenship By Investment

Although Portugal doesn’t offer a CBI program per se, successful residency applicants can obtain citizenship — and a well-regarded E.U. passport — after five years of holding this residence card, which only demands a minimum stay of seven days per year in a Portuguese territory and works as a Schengen Visa to allow free travel around Europe.

How to Apply

The application process is straightforward, especially for the real estate pathway. Applicants are required to request a Portuguese Taxpayer Number (NIF), open a Portuguese bank account and transfer the necessary investment amounts. Once the purchase of real estate is completed, applicants must submit their application through the Immigration and Borders Service’s online platform. After the online approval, they must then visit Portugal in person to submit the biometric data.

The application itself is painless, requiring only basic personal documentation along with a police background check. If an applicant wants to bring the spouse and children to Portugal, a marriage certificate and birth certificates are needed.

Investments in areas other than real estate are also very appealing, with different documentation and complexity required to demonstrate qualifying investment. After the approval, the residence card can be collected by the Investor or his representative.

Mobility

Portuguese residency confers the right to live, study and work in Portugal, as well as visa-free travel across the European’s Schengen Zone. It doesn’t bring any travel benefits outside the E.U.

Investors who persevere and gain citizenship can obtain a Portuguese passport, which is among the world’s strongest, allowing visa-free travel to 186 countries.

COUNTRY

Portugal enjoys a high standard of living with low costs, an internationally well-developed healthcare system and quality educational offerings. The country is ranked for consecutive years as the third safest country in the world, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index. It is also putting considerable resources in attracting entrepreneurs and startups, as well as into renewable energy, supporting the development of green and blue projects. High-end developments are going up not only in the capital city of Lisbon, but also in other majors cities like Porto, Aveiro and Faro.

Updated by Tiago Gali Macedo and Sara Sousa Rebolo

Residency By Investment

Portugal’s Golden Visa program offers eight alternative routes to a resident permit, all of which can be used to acquire resident permits for an applicant’s direct family members – spouses, children and adult children, parents and parents.

  • Real estate:  Investors can qualify by spending 500,000 euros on real estate, or 350,000 euros on older properties, provided rehabilitation work is performed. A significant percentage of the 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. Rental apartments, plots, hotels, storages, vineyards or even commercial real estate investments are all fair game. Co-ownership and multiple properties acquisition are also allowed. If the property is located in a low-density area, the minimum amount of investment benefit from a 20% reduction. A low-density area means a region with fewer than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer or a GDP of less than 75% of the national average.
  • 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, shares and public debt. 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 or technological research, for instance, or with a 250,000-euro transfer to fund artistic or cultural endeavors. These two last options of investment, if made in a low-density area, can benefit of a 20% reduction in the minimum amount of investment required.
  • Investment / Venture Capital Funds: Investors can qualify by making a capital transfer of 350,000-euro to a Portuguese fund dedicated to the capitalization of companies. All the funds all licensed and managed by certified entities and offer different types of risks and returns based on the investor’s profile.
  • 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 (eight if in a low-density area), regardless of the amount invested, or by investing a minimum of 350,000 euros in an enterprise that creates or maintains at least five jobs. So far, however, only a handful of people have qualified for visas through job creation.

All the investment options can be done under the investor’s own name or through a sole ownership company.

All the investment options confer a temporary resident permit that can be renewed as long as the investment is maintained. Achieving five complete years, the investor and family members 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 Portugal to maintain their status during their first year and at least 14 days in the country during subsequent periods of two years.

Updated by Tiago Gali Macedo and Sara Sousa Rebolo

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