The Portugal Golden Visa – Program FAQ

This program FAQ is provided by Migronis citizenship agency

Q: What are the benefits of the Golden Visa?

A: Permanent free entry and circulation in Portugal and the other 25 Schengen area countries.

  • Freedom to live and/or work in Portugal (or not – the minimum stay requirements are 7 days in the first year and 14 days during each of the two subsequent 2-year periods, consecutive or otherwise), while keeping another residence (if desired) in another country.
  • Option to become a “non-habitual resident” of Portugal for tax purposes, thereby paying little or no tax for 10 years.
  • Option to obtain permanent resident status after 5 years of having made the initial investment.
  • Option to acquire Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of having made the initial investment.
  • The benefits are extendible to the investor’s family, including the spouse or partner, underage or dependent children of either spouse or partner, dependent parents of either spouse or partner, and underage siblings of either spouse or partner if legally under their supervision.
  • Flexible and affordable investment options.
  • Safe, stable economy and country in which to live and invest.

Q: What type of investment is required?

A: The Portugal Golden Visa allows considerable freedom in each type of investment. It requires a minimum investment of €250,000 and you can choose from a range of investment routes. Most investors choose the Real Estate investment option (we will list the options below).

One key advantage of the Golden Visa in Portugal is its very low ‘stay requirement’. In order for you to maintain your Golden Visa residency, you will only need to spend seven days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years (consecutively or non-consecutively) in Portugal. This makes the program particularly suitable if you do not intend to live permanently in Portugal, but wish to access the benefits of having EU residency and, eventually, citizenship.

1) Property investment: 

  • Purchase of one or multiple properties
  • All property types qualify
  • Possibility of co-ownership
  • Freedom to use, rent or lease

An investment of €500,000 is required in real estate in Portugal. The property, either residential or commercial, can be rented for income. Any number of properties can combine to make up the €500,000 minimum investment. Joint buyers can combine investments into one property. The property can be mortgaged for any investment exceeding the minimum. A lower investment amount of €350,000 is possible for properties that need renovation.

If the property is in a “low-density area”, minimum requirement gets reduced to €280,000.

The 280,000 is a 20% reduced investment if it complies with the NUT III level with fewer than 100 inhabitants per kilometre squared or GDP per capita less than 75% of the national average. This Portuguese citizenship golden visa investment law encourages investment into lesser-known areas north of Lisbon, inland and around the Algarve. However, this amount can be substantially reduced by 20%, with the overall investment being € 280,000 if it is carried out in low-density territories (NUT III level with less than 100 inhabitants per km² or GDP per capita less than 75% of the National average). 

2) Transfer of Funds 

  • Minimum investment of € 1 million
  • Funds transferred from abroad to a bank in Portugal
  • Total freedom to invest the funds
  • Possibility of using the funds to invest in shares of companies

3) Job Creation 

  • Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs
  • No minimum investment value
  • No limitation on areas/activities
  • Compliance with Social Security obligations

Q: If the investment was made a year / two / three ago, is it possible to participate in the program with it?

A: You can. But most importantly, the investment needed to be made no earlier than October 2012 (more precisely, no earlier than the program began).

Q: If there is no investment  property yet, as it is under construction, will it be considered an investment for a residence permit?

A: If the property has not yet completed construction, you can still apply for a residence permit.  The main thing is to make a full investment for a Golden Visa (€500,000) for it to be considered.

Q: Is it possible to use borrowed funds for investment?

A:  Yes, it is possible to  borrow funds that exceed the minimum amount for a Golden Visa. For example, for an investment of €600,000, you can take out a loan of  €100,000 from a Portuguese bank). If the funds are not borrowed in Portugal, then you can use them for the full investment cost.

Q: What are the fees to obtain the Golden Visa?

A: Typical application costs paid to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Services (SEF) for the Portugal Golden Visa  

  • Initial application – € 533.90
  • Issue of Investor or family member Residency Permit – € 5,336.40
  • Renewal of Investor of family member Residency Permit – € 2,668.20
  • Family application analysis – € 83.30
  • Medical insurance  – near € 400

Q: How long does the application process take?

A: 

Q: Should I hire a lawyer to process the application?

A: Hiring a Portuguese lawyer will make your life easier during the Portugal Golden Visa processing time and protect you from entering into overpriced transactions. The Portuguese tax law requires the appointment of a Portuguese tax representative. Local lawyers are included in Migronis pricing.

Keep in mind that real estate brokers in Portugal work for the seller. They are in a conflict of interest situation. Their commission is included in the sales price. Real estate brokers are strongly motivated to sell properties for as much as possible. But Migronis has partners in the Portugese real estate market and we can recommend real estate brokers who will represent you in a deal and defend your interests. 

The risk of encountering an overpriced transaction is imminent. Saving money by not hiring a lawyer can cost you a fortune in the end. You need a local guide who is familiar with the real estate market because the demand for real estate is huge. You need somebody on the spot acting in your exclusive interest.

Upon request, Migronis will recommend a reliable Portuguese real estate lawyer with an established relationship with our company. If you need help with a fair, competent and independent Portuguese lawyer, we are delighted to refer you to a suitable specialist. The price will likely be more competitive and you can expect a better and more personal support.

Having an independent local representative finding the best real estate investment for you is absolutely crucial for a successful investment. You will pay some euros upfront but you are likely to save much, much more by buying a better property at a better price.

Q: How long is the wait until I can apply for citizenship and a Portuguese passport?

 A: In 2018, the Portuguese government changed the Portuguese Nationality Law and reduced the required period of residency to 5 years from 6 years.

After the fifth year of holding your qualifying investment and residence permit, you may apply for permanent residency or citizenship. If you do not want to apply for a residence permit or a Portuguese passport, you must renew your residence permit in year six again.

The Portuguese passport is a top-notch travel document allowing visa-free travel to 182 countries.

Q: Do I have to learn Portuguese to get my citizenship?

A: The main objective for many Golden Visa applicants is the acquisition of the Portuguese citizenship. Part of the application is the proof of basic language skills. The applicant has to show an ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts. 

This level is quite easy to achieve and can be accomplished by online courses or courses in your home country. The Portuguese Language Assessment Center (CAPLE), for example, can also be taken abroad so you do not need to come to Portugal for the certificate. 

The knowledge of the Portuguese language can also be proven in one of the following ways:

  • a) Qualification certificate issued by a public, private or cooperative educational establishment recognized in the legal terms, provided that its holder has successfully attended the Portuguese course / discipline for at least 2 academic years
  • b) Certificate of approval in a Portuguese language test carried out in public schools, when carried out in the national territory, or in places accredited by Camões – Cooperation and Language Institute, IP, when carried out abroad. There is an ordinance by the members of the Government responsible for the areas of foreign affairs, internal administration, justice and education that regulate and control this process.
  • c) Certificate in Portuguese as a foreign language, issued by taking a test in a Portuguese assessment center, as a foreign language, recognized by the Ministry of Education and Science, by means of a protocol (see the Portuguese Language Assessment Center website CAPLE);
  • d) Qualifications certificate attesting the completion of level A2 or higher, issued by a public education establishment, employment and training centers and protocol centers of the IEFP – Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, I.P. (IEFP, IP)

Q: Can I bring my family with me to Portugal?

A: At the same time as applying with your own application, you may apply for the Golden Visa for the following family members:

  • Spouse or legal partner
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Dependent children under 26 as long as they are unmarried and enrolled as full-time students
  • Parents of either spouse if over the age of 66 years old (or 55 and dependent)
  • Siblings under the age of 18 years from either spouse or partner if legally responsible

Q: Can spouses who are not officially registered apply?

A: Yes, they can, but it will be necessary to prove their union.

Q: Can sisters / brothers of the main applicant apply together?

A: No, sisters and brothers must file their own separate application.

Q: Can the investment be made through a limited liability company (LLC)?

A: The investment may be completed by the investor as an individual or through a Portuguese Limited Liability Company incorporated by the investor in Portugal.

Q: Do I have to pay taxes in Portugal?

A: Being a tax resident in Portugal is also a good option, because for both residents and citizens, Portugal’s tax law is one of the best in Europe. If the applicant or the resident spends less while holding a Golden Visa, than half of the year in the country, they are exempt from nearly all taxes on your income produced outside of Portugal.

There is the option to become a non-habitual resident of Portugal and pay little or no tax for 10 years. Setting up your fiscal residence in Portugal may yield many benefits and help you maximize your benefits pertaining to your global income.

Q: What are the key benefits of the NHR tax regime?

A: Non Habitual Residents in Portugal enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pay no wealth taxes
  • Enjoy tax exemption on gifts for family members
  • Enjoy free remittance of funds to Portugal
  • Enjoy a tax residency in an EU white listed jurisdiction
  • 0% tax on foreign sourced income (Except only 10% tax rate on foreign-source pension income, since April 1, 2020)
  • Pay a flat tax of only 20% on a range of Portuguese income types.

Q: What is the process for applying for NHR status in Portugal?

A:

  • Step 1: First, you will need to register as a Portuguese resident and gain a Portuguese tax number via the relevant tax office.
  • Step 2: Complete the online form via Financas Portal to register for the use of the Portuguese tax authority’s website.
  • Step 3: Your password will be delivered via mail, after which you can register yourself as a Non Habitual Resident via this website. Your application’s progress can be followed on the site.
  • Step 4: Once approved, download your confirmation document and store it in a safe place.
  • You can also opt to seek the help of a professional service provider to assist you in the above application.

Here is the list of types of income that may qualify for tax exemption:

  1. Dividends
  2. Interest
  3. Real estate income
  4. Capital gains from the disposal of real estate
  5. Occupational pensions
  6. Royalties
  7. Business and self-employment profits derived from eligible occupations (but be mindful of relevant double taxation agreements in this respect)

Additionally, any Portuguese-sourced income would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% during the first 10 years and there is also the ability to pass on your wealth to a spouse or dependent without incurring inheritance or gift taxes.

Q: Do I have to pay Social Security in Portugal?

A: No, you do not need to pay Social Security. Portugal grants its residents access to the National Health Service and it enables the beneficiaries to get treatment with minimal costs. Also, being a Portuguese resident earns the applicant and their family the right to education, in-country work, social security, trade union protection and many more advantages.All you need is a residency permit and to register for Portuguese social security.

However, if not registered, the resident has to cover all the social security expenses themselves, including healthcare. So, in the end, it might not be logical to cut expenses on this front. 

Please note, all information provided here should not be considered legal advice.

For further information about the Portugal Golden Visa program, please visit Migronis or contact us directly through Migronis e-mail.