The Portugal Golden Visa Guide
The road to the portuguese citizenship
The Portuguese Golden Visa Guide
The rules governing the granting of Residence Permit for Investment (Golden Visa Portugal) enable third country nationals to obtain a temporary residence permit to live, work and study in Portugal. The application is done at SEF.
The beneficiaries of the Portuguese Golden Visa residence permit are entitled to:
Residence visa waiver for entering Portugal.
Living and working in Portugal, on the condition that the investor and family members stay in Portugal for a period of at least 14 days after the Golden Visa was issued and within its validity.
Visa exemption for traveling within the Schengen Area.
Applying for a specific golden visa investor permanent residency.
Applying for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of legal residence.
Eligibility – Who may apply?
All third country citizens who conduct an investment activity, as an individual businessperson or through a company set up in Portugal and who fulfill the quantitative and qualitative requirements. They may apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa by one of the following routes:
a) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1,5 million Euros.
b) The creation of, at least, 10 job positions.
c) The purchase of real estate property with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros.
d) The purchase of real estate property, with construction dating back more than 30 years or located in urban regeneration areas, for refurbishing, for a total value equal to or above 350 thousand Euros.
e) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 350 thousand Euros for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technological system.
f) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 250 thousand Euros for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage, through the local and central authorities, public institutions.
g) Capital transfer of the amount of 500 thousand Euros, or higher, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund of funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies.
h) Capital transfer of the amount of 350 thousand Euros, or higher, for constitution of a commercial society with head office in the national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent working jobs.
Portuguese, EU and EEE nationals are not eligible for the ARI / Golden Visa scheme.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Funds
There are a number of benefits to investing in private equity funds which are eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Fund is professionally managed by experts of each specific sector.
You may obtain the Portuguese Golden Visa by investing a minimum of 500 thousand Euros into a officially registered investment fund.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Funds are a tax-efficient vehicle — dividends and capital gains returned to investors may be tax-exempt.
Depending on the Golden Visa Investment Fund, they will offer a minimum return hurdle-rate usually between 1% and 6%, were some managers are only compensated in case the funds performance is above a certain percentage.
Some Investment funds have the support of the Portuguese Government through subsidies or financed by the IFD.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Funds are regulated and must comply with the rules stipulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), which means that fund managers are regularly audited by third parties.
To comply with the Portuguese Golden Visa legal requirements the Golden Visa Investment Fund usually has a maturity of investment for at least 6 years and should invest at least 60% into companies which have their head office in Portugal.
The advantage to choose investing into a golden visa elegible Investment Fund is that compared to real estate you will not pay acquisition tax (around 6%) neither stump duty tax (0,8%) based on the value of the real estate property.
By deciding to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa through the investment fund option you will save time and money.
Necessary documents for the Golden Visa application:
The Applicant must present supporting evidence in which he has made the investment of the minimum amount required, individually or through a shareholder limited liability company of which the Applicant is the shareholder.
• Declaration from your portuguese bank attesting the effective transfer of the amount equal to or above the legally required.
• Supporting document attesting the ownership of the Participation units (shares) on your portuguese bank account.
• Declaration issued by the Investment Fund managers attesting the feasibility of the capitalization plan, the maturity of, at least, five years, and the application of at least 60% of the investment in commercial companies with head office in national territory.
1. The Management company will receive from the investor the KYC (Know Your Client) Form, subscription form and personal documents.
2. The Golden Visa investor will obtain his Portuguese tax identification number (NIF) as a non-resident and can then open a Portuguese bank account (checking and securities account).
3. The investor will transfer the money from his foreign account to his Portuguese bank account.
4. The investor orders the bank transfer to the bank account of the Fund chosen by the investor.
5. The Management company issues a declaration necessary for the Golden Visa application and the Portuguese bank issues two declarations (money transfer overseas and certificate of holding the Participation units (shares).
Note: "US Persons" (investors with American citizenship or being tax residents in the US) need to open their Portuguese bank account with a FATCA compliant bank account as for example:
The Portuguese Golden Visa Real Estate Investments
For your real estate investment to be eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa, you may buy a property which is worth more than 500.000€ or a property for the amount of 350.000€ if it is older than 30 years or located in a rehabilitation area in Portugal. The required amounts do not include the taxes to be paid.
1. Get your budget straight: First of all, you have to work out how much you can reasonably spend on purchasing your new Portuguese property.
2. Type of property and location: Decide what type of property you want and where, whether that’s a new construction or a used home, free or protected, by the sea or in a town centre. Choose the one that is best suited to your needs and personal situation.
3. Visit the property, chat with the neighbours and find out everything you can. When you go to visit your potential new house, be sure to take notes about everything, taking photos of anything and everything. Take measurements and consider the room layout, which direction the property faces, how much light comes in, the ventilation in the bathroom and kitchen, the state of the wiring and how energy efficient it is, how noisy it is and the amenities available in the neighbourhood.
4. Make and offer.
5. Sign the promissory note (contrato de promessa de compra e venda). This is the first contract to sign and it acts a sort of preliminary safeguard for the buyer’s and seller’s rights. It means paying a 10% deposit on the house, and with this you take on all the rights and responsibilities of a buyer. If you as the buyer later decide not to go through with the transaction, you will lose this down payment. If the seller is the one who cancels the sale, though, they will have to return the deposit to you.
6. Pay the transaction costs and taxes. The main expenses when buying a home in Portugal are the IMT Property Transfer tax between 4 up to 8% and Stamp Duty with a tax rate of 0,8%, not to mention the notary costs, the payment to register the transaction with the Property Register.
7. Sign the public deed. The signing of the deed must be done in front of a notary with both the buyer and seller present. Ensure that the deed contains a description of the property along with any outstanding mortgages or charges on the house, the sale price and the payment method, and all taxes and expenses related to the sale. You should also take this opportunity to check that all the documents are present and correct, like the Energy Performance Certificate, insurance if applicable, and invoices for the latest tax and community cost payments.
8. Change the name on the energy, water and gas bills. Inform the energy companies and any other service providers that you are the new owner and will be paying the bills from now on.
9. Keep all the documents. Put them somewhere safe. You’ll need them again one day when you come to sell or rent the house.
10. Get the keys and start moving in to your brand new home.
If you were not able to find right property in Portugal yet, please have a look at the service provided by ABC HOMES.
The Portuguese Venture Capital Fund
In Portugal, the income of Venture Capital Funds incorporated and operating under the Portuguese legal regime is exempt from taxation.
The subscription of units in the Fund do not levy any taxes.
Venture Capital Funds incorporated and operating under the Portuguese legal regime are exempt from income tax, regardless of the type of income that they obtain.
This means that the VCF’s tax regime was designed with a view of being a neutral vehicle for tax purposes.
Also, there is no stamp duty taxation in Portugal related to the net assets of these funds. Consequently, all the income obtained by a Portuguese Venture Capital Fund, as well as the positive variation of its asset´s value, is fully exempted from taxation.
The steps to set up your Venture Capital Fund are the following:
(i) Creating the Fund’s Management Regulation (Prospectus).
(ii) Submitting to CMVM.
(iii) Operational process.
From our experience, the item (i) usually takes most of the time while structuring a fund. It can take up to 2.5 months depending on the complexity of the fund rules. The item (ii) relies on CMVM’s agility. It usually takes up to 1.5 months to receive the final approval.
For both items, we hire external lawyers to assist the client structuring the prospectus and submitting all the information to CMVM.
The Portuguese Citizenship after 5 years of Golden Visa
In Portugal we have two different laws which regulate the Portuguese citizenship applications.
One is the Portuguese citizenship law and the Portuguese citizenship regulation.
According to the Portuguese citizenship law you need to fulfill the following :
a. Be older than 18 years.
b. Be a legal resident of Portugal for at least 5 years.
c. Know the Portuguese language.
d. Not have been sentenced for a crime with a punishment of 3 years or more.
e. Connection to the national community. This is a very subjective requirement in which all connections with Portugal will be considered like for example: flights to Portugal, Portuguese NIF, public health insurance (SNS), Portuguese bank account, the Golden Visa residence permit itself, owning property, utility bills, tax returns etc. There is no magic formula to comply with this requirement.
As per the recent news regarding the amendments carried out in the Portuguese Investment Program (Golden Visa Portugal), we would like to inform you that last Friday the final regulation was approved by the Portuguese Government (Decree Law no. 14/2021 the 12th of February).
The main changes of the Portuguese Golden Visa program are:
1M euros capital transfer option will increase of the amount of the threshold to 1,5M euros capital transfer.
350.000,00 euros or more capital transfer for acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds option will increase of the amount of the threshold to 500.000,00 euros capital transfer.
Acquisition of Real Estate for housing of 500.000,00 euros or more and acquisition and restoration work of Real Estate for housing of the amount of 350.000,00 euros or more options. Properties for residential purpose to be eligible need to be purchased in regions with low population density or at the Islands of Madeira and Azores. To check the low population density areas please click here (page 2–4).
The amendments approved on last Friday are due to enter into force on the 1st of January 2022.
Finally, we also clarify that the previous terms and benefits of the program remain unchanged, such as:
The threshold amount of the 280.000,00 euros in real estate assets in the low population density areas of Portugal.
The possibility to renew the residence permit applications (for the main investor and the family reunion) already submitted under the terms of the existing regulation.
More information on the new changes:
Regarding habitational policy, the government seeks to promote balance and quality in territories, whether they are metropolitan, urban or rural regions, guaranteeing access to decent housing conditions for all.
What this means is that anyone seeking to buy a residential property in exchange for a golden visa in Lisbon, Porto or a coastal area like Algarve now has a golden window until the end of the year.
Removing the possibility to buy residential properties in the most sought-after locations but exempting commercial purchases.
The law makes it clear that a golden visa for the purchase of property for a value equal or above 500.000,00 euros will only be eligible if these properties are located at the Islands of Azores or Madeira, or in low population density on the mainland.
But for investors interested in commercial property, the new law holds no restrictions — and this has delighted the real estate sector.