During the ongoing pandemic, many have been looking for options for a secure future while observing markets that are profitable. In the midst of this, there is a pathway that has been available since 2012 that is catching the eyes of more investors by the day, which is Portugal’s real estate investment, also known as the ‘Golden Visa’.
What is it?
The Portuguese Golden Residence Permit program is a 5-year residence-by-investment program for non-EU nationals that leads to both permanent residency and citizenship. With the ‘Golden Visa’, the applicant gains the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and free circulation in Europe’s Schengen Area for themselves and their family including dependent children. This is done by investing into Portugal with an amount starting from 250,000 Euros and further options of 350,000 and 500,000 Euros. To gain the rights to permanent residency or citizenship afterwards, the applicant should maintain this investment throughout the 5 years of the permit while fulfilling the ‘stay requirement’.
Who is eligible and what are the requirements?
Any third country national – meaning anyone except Portuguese and EU/EFTA citizens – can apply for the Golden Visa after completing a suitable investment into Portugal.
You will have to maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years and meet the minimal physical presence requirement, which is to spend seven days in Portugal during the first year, then not less than 14 days in each subsequent 2-year period.
What are the available investment options?
The best investment option for this pathway is the acquisition of real estate. The traditional option of this is direct real estate investment with 500,000 Euros to buy a property where you intend to live yourself. Another alternative to this is to go with a reduced minimum investment of 350,000 Euros on a real estate with construction competed at least 30 years ago or located in an urban rehabilitation area, with the execution of rehabilitation works. An alternative option would be to transfer a capital of at least 250,000 Euros as investment or support for artistic production, or recovery r maintenance of national cultural heritage.
Other options include the transfer of capital of at least 1 million Euros or to start and run a company in Portugal, hiring 10 employees. These options have been available since the beginning of the Golden Visa program, but has not been as popular as investment in real estate as the highlight of the program that most look at is the residency aspect.
How to prepare and apply?
The process to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa is not very complicated and mainly involves documentations.
Here are the overall steps for the initial application:
- Get a Portuguese fiscal number (NIF) and open a local bank account;
You will need the above as you need a Portuguese fiscal number to open a bank account and a proof from a Portuguese bank that you have transferred the funds and made your investment.
- Identify and make your investment;
- Gather all required documentation from your country of origin to have them legalized and translated to Portuguese;
You will need to provide documentations such as identifications and proof of criminal records from your country of origin and have them certifiably translated into Portuguese.
- Gather necessary documentations from Portugal;
- Fill out and submit the application for the Golden Visa;
The easiest and safest option to do so is to let your agency handle and guide you through the application process.
- Pay the processing fee and wait to hear back from SEF with a preliminary approval;
- Pick a date, time, and place, and bring along bring along the originals of the documentation that was submitted with the application to an in-person interview;
- Wait for final approval;
- Get your residence card;
- Repeat a substantial portion of the same process at the end of year 1 and 3.
Details of the application and renewal process:
The purchase of property usually takes around 1-3 months, and after making the investment, it takes another few months to complete the visa application. Usually, the application is guided by an agency and can take up to 6 months for approval. If applicants plan to bring along their family members, the applications will be done simultaneously.
A processing fee of 532.70 Euros is paid for the first application and 83.10 Euros for each of the remaining family members and after the applications are approved, an approval fee of 5,274.40 Euros for each applicant. Then, a residency card will be issued.
The renewal process of the Golden Visa is relatively straightforward. It will only have to be renewed on year 1 and year 3 after you have met the stay requirements.
In the first year, you must spend at least 7 days in Portugal and in years 2 through 3 and 4 through 5, you must spend at least 14 days in Portugal within those 2 years, whether or not they are consecutive.
After the 5th year, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship. If you do not want to apply for either, you can continue renewing your Golden Visa every 2 years.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of a Portugal Golden Visa are one of the main reasons why foreign investors are so vested in applying and seeking residency. Some of the main benefits include access to 26 nations in the EU and visa-free travel to 183 nations. Furthermore, it will only take 5 years for you to qualify for a European passport after meeting the requirements of maintaining the investment and a short stay requirement.
Another benefit of the Golden Visa is the fact that your dependent family can be included in the application, which means that they can also enjoy the same benefits and freedom that you will be entitled to, with a second residence in a safe and stable country. Family members that can be included in the application are spouse or legal partner; children under the age of 18; dependent children under 26 as long as they are single and enrolled as a full-time student; parents of either spouse if over 66 years of age (or 55 and dependent); and siblings of either spouse under the age of 18 if the spouse is legally responsible.
The Golden Visa also offers amazing residential benefits, allowing families to have access to all public services including state medical care and schooling. Applicants also have the right to work and set up a business in Portugal. Furthermore, applicants can apply for permanent residency after 5 years and Portuguese citizenship after 6 years. After the permanent residency or citizenship is obtained, applicants are free to dispose of their investment as further Golden Visa renewals are not necessary.
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