Golden Visa in Portugal

Portugal is a welcoming destination. It's renowned for its warm climate, stable economy and developed infrastructure. It attracts foreigners with its rich cultural heritage, decent living standards and reasonable pricing. In this overview, we'll scrutinize the specifics of Portugal's Golden Visa program 2022.

Arguments in favor of Portugal

Many countries offer lucrative programs to wealthy foreigners. Portugal differentiates itself from all the rest for a few reasons.

  • It belongs to Western Europe which sets the bar high for the quality of life. You'll appreciate the professionalism of local constructors, doctors and teachers.

  • The landscapes are picturesque. There are a lot of beaches to select from.

  • The climate is mild and sunny. You'll feel comfortable here all year round. If you live in a rural area, your health will improve as you'll get rid of stress and insomnia.

  • The food is delicious. The Portuguese know how to grow excellent fruits and vegetables as well as cook meals. Local wines might be lesser-known than their French or Spanish counterparts but they're amazing.

  • Portugal is a cosmopolitan state. Its inhabitants are tolerant and open to new trends. It's a great place to get inspired and benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas.

  • Portugal offers superb opportunities to expats of any age and lifestyle. Retirees love it for its laid-back vibes. Kids can get a good education here. Youngsters jump at the opportunities that the government opens for businesses.

  • It's a relatively small country. You'll be able to explore all of it in a short time and decide which areas you love best. Expats begin feeling at home quickly after relocation.

  • When you feel like traveling, you can easily fly or drive to other European countries. It won't be a problem to catch a plane to the Americas, the Middle East or Africa.

  • The local language is rather easy to learn.

Expats don't need to be extra rich to feel comfortable here. It's enough to have $1,500 in your pocket each month to enjoy life.

Opportunities to Travel Without a Visa

Every year, the rating of the strongest passports on a global level is released. In 2022, Portugal landed in the third position. Approximately 170 countries welcome Portuguese nationals without a visa. With a residence permit, you, your spouse, your kids and your parents get a chance to travel hassle-free across the Schengen area, and after getting citizenship — all over the globe.

Employment Perspectives

Local residents are legally allowed to land jobs all across the EU. You'll get access to a highly developed labor market. You'll appreciate the prospects for professional fulfillment and lucrative salaries.

Portugal Permanent Residency by Investment

To become a local resident, be ready to invest at least half a million euros in a property. In low-density areas, the threshold is €100,000 lower. Feel free to select from residential, commercial or renovation properties.

In urban regeneration territories, the thresholds are more affordable: €350,000 and €280,000, respectively. You pay less for investing in an area where few people live. Only selected houses and apartments qualify for this category. Please resort to the assistance of experienced consultants before signing the deal.

Regardless of how much you can afford to spend, you would fail to get a Golden Visa in the most popular areas. According to the new rules, this privilege is not valid for the capital or coastal territories. You'll need to settle down in those towns and villages that are not too popular among tourists.

To get the status of a resident, it's essential to tick these boxes:

  • Come of age

  • Sign a property purchase contract for a specific sum

  • Retain the ownership right for your property for at least five years

  • Prove that the investment funds belong to you and not the third party

  • Provide evidence to the fact that you have always been law-obedient

Feel free to feature these family members in your application:

  • Your better half

  • Underage kids

  • Kids who have come of age but haven't tied the knot yet and keep studying full-time

  • Brothers or sisters of whom you have legal custody

  • Your better half's brothers or sisters of whom your partner has legal custody

  • Mom and dad if they're aged at least 65

  • Your partner's mom and dad if they're aged at least 65

If your or your better half's mom and dad are aged at least 55, they won't need separate applications. You may include them in yours. This opportunity is valid for elderly people who don't sustain themselves financially and rely on their kids. Please be ready to prove with official papers their dependency on you.

Here is exactly what you should do to obtain a Golden Visa:

  1. Visit your future overseas homeland

  2. Pick a property

  3. Open an account in a local banking institution

  4. Get a tax number

  5. Sign the purchase contract

  6. Prepare the papers and apply for the Golden Visa

  7. Get it!

If your current residency doesn't permit you to visit Portugal freely, get a Schengen visa with biometrics. It might take up to a year to get the ownership right for your purchase. Those who can't stay in this country for too long may empower an attorney to represent them.

It's very easy to open a bank account. Just visit any branch of any bank. Show your ID, postal address and papers that prove your income.

The application for the Golden Visa should be submitted through the government website. Your attorney can do it for you. Plus, they can visit a brick-and-mortar branch of the local governmental structure after receiving approval offline. Alternatively, you may go there yourself.

In around half a year, your residence card will be released. In a year, it will expire and you'll be able to renew it for two years. In the first 12 months, it's a must to spend at least a week in this Mediterranean country. Otherwise, your visa will be suspended. In the next two years, it's a must to spend two weeks here.

Paperwork

The list of documents required for the application includes:

  • Application form

  • Passport copy

  • Two passport-style photos

  • Proof of being law-obedient in the past

  • Medical coverage

  • Payment receipt for your fees

  • Papers that confirm the fact of purchasing the property

  • Sworn statement to confirm that you're not planning to resell it in the next five years

The papers can be accepted in English. However, the authorities might ask you to translate them. Make sure the translator whom you hire is certified. Selected papers might require an Apostille Stamp.

Alternative Ways of Obtaining Portugal Residency by Investment

Apart from spending half a million euros on housing, consider these alternatives:

  • Invest €350,000 or more in an Investment Fund. Instead of picking an organization yourself, please follow the guidelines of the local authorities. Most probably, your funds will be used to support technological businesses or real estate VC.

  • Transfer €1 million or more to your account in a local banking institution.

  • Get shares of a local company for €1 million or more.

  • Invest €1 million or more in a local business.

  • Invest €350,000 or more in an already existing business or the establishment of a new one. The former will get extra share capital thanks to you. The latter should offer five or more full-time vacancies.

  • Register a business in this state and hire 10 or more locals.

  • Transfer €250,000 or more to reconstruct the cultural heritage or sponsor artistic projects.

  • Transfer €250,000 or more to sponsor scientific or technological developments. It doesn't matter whether these developments are governmentally or privately funded.

After you opt for any of these variants, you'll need to find local accommodation nevertheless. Maybe, it would be wiser to invest in housing from the onset.

Timeframes

Be ready to wait for at least half a year to obtain your Golden Visa Portugal for investment in properties. In the slowest case, the process might take up to a year. Anyway, it's one of the fastest methods of becoming an EU resident.

Costs

Your primary expenditure items will be:

  • €5,325 — main fee

  • €2,663 — residence permit renewal

  • €533 — paperwork fee

  • €200 — help of a tax representative and the fact of getting a tax number

  • €200 — medical insurance

All the prices are indicated per 1 individual. Plus, factor in your lawyer's services and advisory assistance.

Taxation

The national authorities expect foreigners to pay taxes only for their activities within the country. Your income in your homeland or elsewhere won't be taken into account.

An individual is considered a local tax resident if they spend 183 days or more yearly on the Portugal territory. You can be coming and going. The number of days is calculated as a sum. It's not necessary to stay half a year here consecutively. Residents are supposed to pay taxes on their income from other states.

Be ready to transfer to the treasury a percentage of what you earn in the following ways:

  • Carrying out professional activities

  • Running a business

  • Getting retirement benefits

  • Making gains on capital

  • Renting out properties

The latter type of tax is fixed at a 28% flat rate. All the others can fluctuate within the range from 14.50% to 48%. The wealthier you are, the more you pay.

Here is a smart trick. Your Golden Visa doesn't oblige you to spend a lot of time in the country. If you stay in your homeland or travel elsewhere for the most part of the year, you'll qualify as a Portugal resident but not a tax resident. This means you'll be taxed for only what you own within this state but not abroad.

Tax Benefits

Expats who decide to make this Mediterranean state their first home can enjoy a decade of special taxation regime — the non-habitual residence program (NHR). Here are its main perks:

  • 10% flat tax rate on pensions received from abroad

  • 20% flat tax rate on locally-sourced income

  • 0% tax on gifts, inheritance, wealth and selected varieties of income that come from abroad

We won't focus too much on the NHR details in this overview.

Citizenship by Investment in Portugal

Five years after becoming a resident, you'll be eligible for Portugal citizenship by investment. For this milestone, it's vital to:

  • Become fluent in Portuguese (at least conversational)

  • Understand the specifics of local laws and social norms

  • Prove that you have somewhere to live here

  • Show sources of substantial income

Portugal allows dual citizenship. You'll be allowed to keep your original passport.

Golden Visa Program Comparison: Portugal vs Greece

Expats who're dreaming of making Portugal their second home often consider Greece as an alternative. Both countries share a lot in common. They're sunny, have decent standards of living and require affordable investments from foreigners. Let's compare Portugal's Golden Visa requirements with those of Greece.

 

Portugal

Greece

Occupies one of the top 5 positions in the rating of states with the strongest passports

Yes

Yes

How long it takes to get the residence permit

Less than a year

Less than a year

Lowest investment threshold

€280,000

€250,000

Taxation

0% for a decade

22% or more (income)

For how long it's mandatory to stay in the country

On average, one week per year

No requirements

Employment opportunities

Feel free to land a job

No employment opportunities — only permission to launch a business

In the foreseeable future, the minimum investment threshold in Greece will be half a million euros. The government hasn't clarified yet when exactly the changes will take place. Then, the Portuguese offer will become more affordable. Besides, you'll be able to save on taxes in Portugal and land a job.

Is It Possible to Get a Golden Visa with a Mortgage in Portugal?

It's crucial that you pay the minimum required sum from your own pocket. If the price of your overseas home exceeds that limit, feel free to apply for a mortgage. Let's imagine that you purchase a property not in an urban regeneration area and not in a low-density area. The minimum threshold is half a million. If you're supposed to transfer to the vendor, let's say, €650,000 in total, you may borrow up to €150,000.

This rule is relevant only to local banking institutions. If you apply for a mortgage abroad, feel free to borrow up to 100% of the purchase.

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