Real Estate Investment
Visa Free Travel
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. However, 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.
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 persevere and gain citizenship can obtain a Portuguese passport, which is among the world’s strongest, allowing visa-free travel to 177 countries.
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.
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:
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.
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