Golden Visa for Portugal: Acquire Citizenship by Investment in Real Estate
Golden Visa is a governmental initiative that offers individuals EU residency and 5 years later a citizenship of Portugal. Individuals can obtain the visa by investing in various sectors of state, or purchasing real estate for a minimum required value of €500,000.
Golden Visa in Portugal is available through different routes, but the real estate investment is, by far, the most popular.
Since 2012, 94% of applicants obtained Golden Visa through buying real estate.
Citizenship by Investment
Portugal’s Golden Visa for long had been a lucrative target for investment immigration. The main reason is a range of advantages associated with the status of the European citizen.
After an individual made an investment in real estate, he/she receives the Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit that grants a complete freedom to travel within the Shengen area, therefore acting as a visa for European countries.
To be more specific, Golden Visa provides full access to 26 countries in Europe, including countries of Scandinavia, Iberian Peninsula,
Western & Eastern Europe.
The second benefit of Golden Visa scheme is the right to live and work in Portugal (even if the applicant is a resident of another country).
When Portugal had started offering European citizenship by investment, the country attracted an influx of foreign money that revitalized the capital – Lisbon – making it one of the best places to live in Europe.
Besides 300 days of sun per year, outstanding gastronomy, and some of the best beaches in Europe, the Portuguese Golden Visa offers the access to European education system, healthcare, and safety.
Upon receiving the EU citizenship (after the investment had been held for at least five years), investors are eligible for more rights. Holders can freely work in or, if they desire, relocate to any of 28 EU member states.
Additionally, such “passport by investment” offers visa-free access to 122 countries – Portuguese passport is the fourth strongest in the world.
Golden Visa for Family Reunification
Both, the residency by investment and citizenship can be extended on the dependent family members: be it parents, spouses, and/or children – so-called family reunification.
Specifically, family members who also wish to apply for the Golden Visa programme defined in Portuguese law as following:
- The spouse of the applicant and minors or dependent children of the couple, or of one of the members of the couple
- Adopted children, adult children that are still financially dependent on parents, financially dependent parents or parents over 65 years old, and minor siblings
There are also provisions that allow to obtain second citizenship by investment to certain non-marital partnerships and their adopted children.
Please note, that the investment requirement only applies to the main applicant. Meaning, that applying family members do not need to invest the minimum value of €500,000.
Portugal's Real Estate Route
Since the programme launch, real estate in Portugal had blossomed, now offering plenty of beautiful Golden Visa properties.
As it has been mentioned, the main requirement for Portuguese Golden Visa remains real estate investment with the value equal to or above €500,000.
The amount can be invested either in one or multiple units with the total value of €500,000. Moreover, the investment can be made individually or jointly, as long as each applicant invests at least €500,000.
Note, that there is also an option to buy real estate in Portugal with the value equal to or above €350,000.
This level of investment applies to properties which construction has been concluded at least 30 years ago, or to properties located in the urban rehabilitation area. If the property’s price is below €350,000 the cost of rehabilitation works can be added, to, therefore, qualify this investment for Golden Visa.
After the property investment has been made, the buyer can either live there, leave it empty, or rent the property for short- and long-term.
Considering the rise of tourism in Lisbon, short- and long-term rentals gain the momentum as the way to generate income from Golden Visa property.
Eventually, the property can be sold after the status of citizen by investment had been granted.
Real estate in Lisbon is now experiencing a healthy growth with property prices steadily increasing.
Lisbon real estate market offers properties good for living, renting out, or investing-and-reselling. For the most part represented by apartments, the city is currently at “property boom” and dominates the foreign demand to buy citizenship in Portugal.
Central Lisbon apartments for sale around Avenida da Liberdade, Príncipe Real, and Baixa [bye-sha] are particularly popular amongst investors.
Buying property in Lisbon is, therefore, considered not only a convenient way to obtain European citizenship, but to also make money off Lisbon apartment rentals.
One of the leading property management companies in Lisbon – Lisbon Serviced Apartments – will take care of your property.
Golden Visa Requirements
Requirements to apply for Golden Visa in Portugal are following:
The buyer must hold a real estate investment for a minimum period of 5 years from the date Golden Residence Permit has been issued. Once it has been issued, the Golden Visa is valid for an initial 1-year period followed by two subsequent 2-year periods. The permit has to be renewed before each of them (2 times).
After the 5-year period, the permit can be further renewed as often as the applicant wishes and continues to qualify for the Golden Visa programme.
The buyer and applying family members have to stay in Portugal for only 7 days each year. The minimum staying period may include circulation in the Shengen Area countries. Additionally, the total of 35 staying days necessary to maintain EU residency do not have to be consecutive.
Upon entry to Portugal, the buyer and applying family members must have a valid Shengen Visa. Otherwise, applicants must be either exempt or able to legalise their entry into Portugal within 90 days.
The buyer and applying family member should not have any criminal convictions in the past, or issues with the Portuguese or Shengen Immigration Service.
Lastly, funds for real estate investment must come from outside of Portugal.
Golden Visa Application and Processing Time
To apply for Portuguese Golden Residence Permit the buyer has to, first, register online. The registration can also be done by applicant’s legal representative.
Then, the buyer must come to Portugal and visit SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – Foreigners and Borders Service) located in Lisbon. In the SEF’s office, the buyer must submit biometric data (fingerprints, photograph, etc.) and sign the affidavit.
If the buyer wants, she/he can fill the relevant documentation and conclude the opening of Portuguese bank account with the same office.
The opening of Portuguese bank account is not mandatory, yet, strongly recommended, as it makes matters of applying for Golden Visa easier and faster.
Once these initial steps have been completed, the legal representative may handle the filing of remaining documents.
The processing time for approving the Golden Visa application and issuing the Golden Residence Permit varies.
The maximum period of time given by Portuguese authorities for the application’s approval is 90 days. But if application contains all the required documents in the correct formats, the SEF takes as little as 4 weeks to approve it.
The physical Golden Visa residence card normally takes a further 2 weeks to issue.
Golden Visa Document Requirements
To apply for Golden Visa in Portugal, the following documents are required:
- A valid Passport or other travel document
- Health Insurance issued within 3 months prior to application
Specifically, the applicant must to present a document proving that he/she is covered by the National Health Service. This can also be the document proving that the buyer is covered by internationally acknowledged Health Insurance Plan for the duration of the stay, with indication of automatic renewal.
- Criminal Record Certificate
Duly certified by a Portuguese diplomatic or consular post abroad. This can be either the country of origin, or the country of residence in case the applicant has lived in another country for over a year.
- A declaration of consent for a criminal record check carried out in Portugal
Usually, an application form to complete upon the visit to SEF.
- Up-to-date declarations by the Portuguese Tax Authorities and Portuguese Social Security issued within 45 days prior to application
Declarations should confirm tax conformity and absence of any debts.
- Affidavit signed by the applicant
The applicant has to declare that she/he complies with the quantitative requirement for Golden Residence Permit (€350,000 or €500,000), and is ready to hold the real estate investment for a minimum period of 5 years.
Please note, that required documents have to be presented by all family members who also seek Portuguese residency by investment.
Contact Real Estate Agents in Portugal
If you have any additional questions, reach out to us.
We are a multi-lingual team of real estate experts with more that 15 years of industry experience, specialising in Golden Visa and rental investments.
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