Golden Visa programmes offer an opportunity for people to emigrate to another country by way of investment.
Even if someone has no Portuguese family and no job offer in Portugal, thanks to the Portugal Golden Visa, they can access legal residence by making an appropriate investment in the country.
Overview of the Portugal Golden Visa Programme
This programme, which is also known as the residence permit for investment activity (ARI), welcomes investors into Portgual if they are prepared to make a qualifying investment. This only applies to non-EU/EA/Swiss citizens.
The idea behind the scheme was that Portugal would benefit from much-needed foreign investment after the economic crisis in 2008. In return, investors get temporary residence in Portugal without having to stay in the country for more than 7 days per year.
What Makes the Portugal Golden Visa Attractive?
Obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa means you can access the benefits of life in Portugal without committing to living there permanently. The offer of great weather, affordable living costs and a reliable healthcare system (Serviço Nacional de Saúde) is one that is difficult to refuse.
Many Golden Visa holders enjoy this lifestyle enough to want to live in Portugal permanently. Fortunately, this programme provides a clear route to Portuguese citizenship. Candidates simply need to satisfy the requirements of their visa for 5 years before becoming eligible to apply for naturalisation.
If you can’t currently travel to the Schengen area with ease, that wll change when you access the Portuguese Golden Visa. It allows visa-free access to 188 countries.
Finally, the minimum investment threshold of €250,000 is low in comparison to many countries. This makes the Golden Visa scheme highly accessible.
Eligibility Criteria for the Portuguese Golden Visa
To get the Portugal Golden Visa, you must be at least 18 years old. Eligible dependants under this age may be able to enter Portugal through their family member’s Golden Visa, but they cannot obtain a visa independently.
In terms of nationality, the main requirement is to be a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen. This includes British citizens.
Finally, an obvious requirement is to make a qualifying investment in Portugal. This must be one of the following types of investment:
A minimum of €250,000 must be donated to preserve Portuguese national heritage. If the donation is going towards research and development activity in Portugal, the minimum investment must be €500,000.
Investors can become eligible for this scheme if they invest at least €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business (provided that the business will create at least 5 new full-time jobs that will last at least 3 years).
Alternatively, the investor may start a business in Portugal and create at least 10 new jobs. In low-density locations, 8 new jobs is the minimum criteria.
This entails committing to a €500,000 (or more) subscription in a qualifying Portuguese fund.
There used to be a further two types of eligible investment, which were known as real estate acquisition and capital transfer. These pathways are no longer valid.
Supporting Documents for the Portuguese Golden Visa
A set of documents must be provided as part of the Portugal Golden Visa application. These are:
- Evidence of healthcare coverage
- Copy of valid passport or alternative travel document
- Declaration to commit to the minimum residence requirements
- Documents demonstrating good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security system (must be provided within 45 days of applying for the Golden Visa)
- Criminal record details (must be provided within 3 months of the Golden Visa application date)
- Completed form authorising the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) to access criminal records in Portugal
- Proof of qualifying investment (e.g., deeds or fund management documents)
- Receipt of application processing fee
SEF may ask certain candidates to provide specific documents in addition to the supporting documents. For example, you may be asked to provide declarations from organisations involved with the investment.
If any documents are not written in Portuguese, the applicant must submit a certified Portuguese translation of the document.
Any documents that are issued outside of Portugal must be legalised through the official verification process.
Application Process for the Portuguese Golden Visa
When you know which type of investment you are ready to make, you can begin to gather the documents you need to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
At this point, you will also need to open a Portuguese bank account and obtain an NIF number. This will alow you to secure your investment in order to make it official.
Next, you can apply online for the Golden Visa using SEF’s ARI portal. As well as attaching the correct supporting documents, all applicants must pay the application fees. This costs a minimum of €5858 per person, including the processing fee (€533 plus €83 per dependent) and the initial application fee (€5,325).
Candidates will be notified by SEF that their application has been received, allowing them to schedule an appointment with SEF at a Portuguese office. This appointment is dedicated to providing physical copies of supporting documents and giving biometrics information.
Around 4 months after the face-to-face meeting, successful applicants will receive a Portugese Golden Visa Residence Card in the post.
Anyone who wishes to renew their Golden Visa can apply on the SEF portal and pay a fee of €2,663.
Legal Assistance for the Portuguese Golden Visa
No one is advised to pursue a Portugese Golden Visa alone. There are many things that could go wrong if you don’t find a legal professional to talk you through every step of the application process.
Immigration lawyers can help you to understand how the Golden Visa programme works, as well as mentor you through the application to make it as accurate as possible.