What is the Portugal Golden Residence Visa?
Portugal is considered the best citizenship in the world for investors who are looking to relocate to Europe. The Portugal Golden Visa program is a fast track to citizenship through investment. It grants individuals residency after the investment is made and makes the citizenship application available in just five years. Individuals and their families can relocate to Portugal or live elsewhere while still maintaining their residency and working towards getting their citizenship.
The benefits include:
- Visa-free travel across 26 European Countries
- Ability to apply for a Portuguese citizen passport after five years
- Residence permits for the whole family with just one investment
- Requirement to stay in country for only seven days a year to maintain residency
- Many investment options
- Right to live, work, study in Portugal and the rest of the EU
- Option of social security, pension and healthcare in Portugal
- Simple and straightforward processing of documents
Portugal also offers a non-habitual residence tax regime which allows qualifying individuals the opportunity to become tax residents without having to pay taxes on their foreign-sourced income. This tax residency is good for 10 years. After receiving their residency, individuals have to apply for the NHR status before March 31st and send in an official document stating that they were not a tax resident of Portugal during the five years prior to gaining residency.
Why Choose The Golden Visa?
When choosing a new country for dual citizenship, none compare to Portugal. With its growing economy, beautiful coasts, perfect weather and high standard of living it is a sought after destination in Europe. Its ties to the European Union and the Schengen region, many investment opportunities and comparatively fast citizenship process attracts investors from all over the world.
The cost of living is one of the cheapest in the first world, about one third the price for the same standard of living in the US. Individuals can rent for as little as $300 a month for a three bedroom apartment and just over $600 a beach home. Groceries can be bought for under $20-30 a week. For these reasons, it is considered one of the best places to retire in 2020.
Since the economic crisis in 2008, Portugal has worked hard on boosting its economy which is why investors are offered such a great opportunity to gain a second passport by helping Portugal rebuild. Portugal is also considered a stepping stone to the rest of Europe and a Golden Visa provides the opportunity to gain full EU citizenship, expanding business and living options for individuals and their entire family.
The Golden Visa is a perfect fit for US citizens who plan to renounce their US citizenship, emerging-world citizens with weak passports and business owners and investors who are interested in new opportunities in Europe.
Requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa Program
As with all countries that accept dual citizenship, Portugal requires individuals to have no criminal record, a good personal and business reputation, and no sanctions, restriction or bans on entry to EU countries, US, UK and Canada. Proof of wealth and income is also required. Since Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, individuals will also be required to take a language exam. All investments must be maintained for at least five years.
The investment options are as follows:
- A direct transfer of €1,000,000 or more
- Creation of 10 jobs within Portugal
- Purchase of real estate property valued at €500,000
- Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €350,000 Euros for investing in research activities.
- Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €250,000 Euros for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage.
- €350,000 invested into a venture capital fund from a Portuguese company that is at least five years old and has a head office in the country
- 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 €350,000 Euros.
There are other costs associated with getting the Golden Visa:
- €5,173.60 per visa per individual
- €520.40 processing fee for the main applicant plus € 80.20 per family member
- Lawyer costs
Golden Visa Application Process
The application process takes about six to eight months and a real estate purchase for the investment requirement may take one to three months. Investors must get a NIF which acts as a social security number and allows individuals to get a phone number, bank account, to buy or rent property and pay utilities. This is necessary for paying for the investment. While waiting for the investment to go through, individuals should gather all the necessary documents such as birth certificates and proof of foreign income. All documents must be translated into Portuguese. Note that Portugal has moved the entire application process online, but a lawyer is still recommended to make sure everything is properly documented.
Then there is a pre-application registration that can be handled by a legal representative and once the pre-approval goes through, an appointment must be scheduled for which the investor must travel to Portugal. Waiting for approval after the interview takes about three to six months after which you get your residency permit. The residency permit must be renewed every two years, about a month before the current card expires. This entails retaking biometrics, providing up-to-date criminal records and paying the renewal fees.
After five years, investors can choose to apply for citizenship or continue to renew their residency every two years.
Proposed Changes To The Portugal Golden Visa in 2020
In February 2020, the Portuguese Government passed a budget proposal to change some of the investment options in the Golden Visa program. Since the country has seen real estate investments boom in cities like Porto and Lisbon, legislators want to see more investment in low-density regions and urban areas. They also want investment to flow into cultural heritage, productivity and job production and activities that further promote environmental and social value.
The new law has not been published yet and is on temporary hold due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The final decision may be postponed until 2021 or indefinitely. There is still time for investors to take advantage of the real estate options in coastal cities.
Overall, Portugal’s Golden Visa program is a great choice for individuals looking to invest in real estate, pay capital contributions or pursue entrepreneurial endeavours that can justify the investment costs and fees. To get started, please message us to chat form or give us a call.