• Main Blog

How to get a Golden Visa in Portugal ?

Find out what the Portuguese Golden Visa is, its advantages and how to get it. 

In this article, we will help you understand how the Golden Visa in Portugal works by answering the most frequently asked questions about it.

Specialized in real estate investment and installation in Portugal, De Brito Properties offers a complete turnkey service to its clients who wish to obtain a Golden Visa through the purchase of a property in Portugal.

How to get a Golden Visa in Portugal ?

What is the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa is the name used to categorize a residence permit intended for investors, conferring many advantages to its owner. It started on October 8, 2012. Since then, in 9 years, 10,170 Golden Visas have been granted by SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service)

According to the legislation in force, it would be more appropriate to call the Golden Visa : Residence Permit for Investment (ARI). 

The Golden Visa is, therefore, the common name given to this permit. It is effective for a period of 5 years. After this period, the Golden Visa holder is eligible for Portuguese nationality. The document is renewable.

Why does the Golden Visa exist?

The Portuguese government took the decision to implement the Golden Visa program in response to the 2008 economic crisis. The implementation of such a policy turned out to be innovative for Portugal. The goal of the Portuguese government is clear: to attract new investors in order to revitalize the country's economy. Therefore, the ARI program is a win-win situation for the Portuguese government as well as for the people who benefit from it.

 What are the benefits?

  • Living in Portugal

The Golden Visa gives you the opportunity to live, study and work in Portugal. By living in Portugal, you have access to all Portuguese public services, such as education and public health care. Once you live in Portugal, you can benefit from a privileged tax status. However, you will only be eligible for non-habitual resident status if you have not lived in Portugal for the past five years.

Commonly known as NHR, this status allows you to benefit from tax advantages of income from foreign sources. In particular, dividends, rents received from abroad, or capital gains on real estate are tax exempt. This exemption can be contested if there is an agreement between Portugal and the country of origin. This is the case, for example, with dividends from the UK. Other advantages : Private pension funds are taxed at 10%. For Portuguese income, the tax is 20% in case it’s an high value-added activity. This applies to professions such as company directors, doctors, engineers or university professors.

  • Family reunification

When applying for a Golden Visa, you can benefit from family reunification. However, this process has some criteria. It is not possible to reunite your entire family. Here is a list of people you can include in your application: 

  • Your spouse; note that Portugal is a very open country with LGBT+ regulations. Same-sex marriage is legal. 
  • Your children under the age of 18.
  • Your parents aged 65 or older, as long as they are financially dependent on you. You must be their guarantor and provide them with housing. 
  • Your children under the age of 26 and only if they are still students. 

According to the SEF, in the first 9 years of the ARI program, 17,123 visas were issued to the family members of the main applicants. 

  • The Schengen Area 

The Golden Visa is famous for giving its holder the right to travel freely in the Schengen area, to a total of 26 countries. It is an ideal opportunity for passport holders who have to apply for a visa every time they travel to this free circulation area.

  • Portuguese Nationality 

After a valid 5-year Golden Visa period, you can apply for Portuguese Nationality. The Portuguese passport is one of the most powerful, allowing you to travel to 186 countries without a visa. Since Portugal is part of the European Union, your passport allows you to live, work and study anywhere in the Schengen area. This obviously also applies to your family that has been grouped in Portugal through the Golden Visa. 

Capture dcran 2022 05 20 162021

What are the requirements for obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa?

Who is entitled to the visa? 

The Golden Visa is, given the advantages it grants, reserved only for inhabitants of countries outside the European Union or the European Economic Area. In fact, all the inhabitants of the EU or EEA already have access to these advantages. 

1- Real estate investments

To obtain a Golden Vista, you must buy a property eligible for the ARI program. Depending on the location and license, the minimum amounts vary. The minimum amount most often required is €500,000. 

Since January 1, 2022, the decree-law n°14/2021 of February 12 has changed the regions and the different types of investment where the Golden Visa is allowed. The attribution of the Golden Visa will depend on the geographical area where the property is located and its purpose (residence, tourist activity or commercial premises). For example, in Lisbon and Porto, only commercial and services premises with a minimum value of 500,000 euros are eligible for the Golden Visa.

If you want to acquire other types of property you will need to search in other specific areas of the country where the Golden Visa is eligible. Low density areas like Alentejo or some areas of the Algarve region are eligible for the Golden Visa. In these cases, to obtain the Golden Visa, the minimum investment value required is 400,000 euros.

It is also possible to buy a property to renovate with the obligation to carry out the renovation work. In this case, to obtain a Golden Visa, the minimum amount is 280,000 euros, including acquisition and labor costs.

The purchase of property under the ARI program has a specific funding requirement. The funds should not come from a loan made at a Portuguese bank. Instead, you can take out a loan in another country and transfer the funds to Portugal.

According to the SEF, between 2012 and 2021, 93,5% of Golden Visas were granted through real estate investment. This represents a total investment volume of 9,5 billion euros over this period.

At De Brito Properties, we have all types of property eligible for the Golden Visa program. Contact us so we can discuss your project. 

2 - Starting a company or create new jobs

To obtain a Golden Visa, you can also start a company in Portugal, as long as it creates ten full time jobs.

Or, similarly, you can increase a company’s capital by at least 500,000 Euros. This investment must be able to create five full-time jobs.

3 - Other types of investment 

The Portuguese government has also created other types of investment that allow you to join the Golden Visa program. You can invest a minimum of :

  • 500,000 euros in an investment fund recognized by the program;
  • We can help you if you are looking for a fund recognized by the program;
  • 500,000 in a local research and development project;
  • 250,000 in the conservation of Portuguese heritage; 

You can also make a capital transfer of a minimum of 1,500,000 euros to a Portuguese bank.

The steps to get your Golden Visa

Now that you know the basics of the ARI program / Golden Visa, here are the main steps of the process and how to complete it.

1 - Finding a Portuguese lawyer

In order to facilitate the steps, you are about to take, it is essential to be advised by a Portuguese lawyer.

He or she will be able to answer your more detailed legal questions about the ARI program, walking you through all the steps, along with the different entities you will approach during the process. In particular with SEF (Serviços de Estrangeiros & Fronteiras) the competent authority in charge of the ARI program. 

Ask us for references of credible and experienced Golden Visa lawyers.

2 - What documents are required to obtain a Golden Visa?  

In accordance with the current law, we leave you here this list of documents required to obtain a Golden Visa: 

  • A valid passport;
  • A Schengen visa;
  • An affidavit of honor showing the commitment to the temporary and financial criteria of the ARI program;
  • A copy of the criminal record from your country of origin or residence;
  • Proof of health insurance;
  • A non-debt certificate provided by the Portuguese Finance Department; 

All the documents provided must be translated into Portuguese by a qualified professional.

Note: this list is not exhaustive and may change according to the current legislation governing the ARI program. 

3 - Tax procedures and Tax number (NIF)

In order to register with the Portuguese tax authorities, you must obtain a NIF (Tax Identification Number). This number is essential and you will be asked for it on many occasions, especially when you open a bank account. The steps to take to obtain your NIF are very simple and your lawyer as your tax representative will help you. 

To follow up on your online application for the NIF, SEF will grant you a physical appointment in Portugal, where you must present your data.

4 - Opening a Portuguese bank account

Regardless of the type of investment you intend to make, you will need to open a bank account at a local establishment. This process is quick and easy, but first make sure you have your NIF as a non-resident.

5 - Finalize your investment 

Once you have completed the bureaucratic procedures, or in parallel to their completion, you should choose your type of investment. In the case of an investment property, we advise you to use the services of a "Property Hunter". It will save you time and money by advising you on the best property and area to invest in. 

De Brito Properties is one of those references in the sector.

Once your type of investment is chosen and once you have taken the necessary steps to finance it, all that is left is to finalize the purchase.

6 - Where do I apply for the Golden Visa?

Once you have made your investment, it is time to make your application to join the ARI program, which is done online at the SEF website. When you are applying, it is imperative that you have the documents listed above. Usually, your lawyer will take care of that for you.

7 - How long is the Golden Visa valid for? 

The golden visa is valid for 1 year and must be renewed twice in a 2-year period. To do so, you will have to book a new appointment at a SEF center. After the renewal of your Golden Visa, you have between thirty and ninety days to complete the remaining procedures. Don't forget that you must bring updated documents, such as your criminal record. 

To keep your Golden Visa, you must live in Portugal for one week per year during the first year and two weeks per year on the year after.

After 5 years, the Golden Visa entitles you to apply for Portuguese nationality, giving you a passport that allows you to travel to 186 countries without a visa. The Golden Visa also allows you to live and work wherever you want within the Schengen area. 

Testimonial from Eran, a client who obtained his Portuguese Golden Visa with De Brito Properties :

Google review: 

As we were looking for a Portuguese real-estate investment, we viewed many (MANYYYY) agents.While browsing (by chance) we came across Debrito Properties.
At first they seemed like a boutique real estate company, but after a short (virtual) meeting with César (the beginning of COVID19…) he left an impact which no one else did.
Obviously we did our due diligence (Since we're not Portuguese and didn't know who to trust), and they came out with flying colors.
Later on we met Fernanda and understood that she was a perfect match for us.Some major advantages:

  1. Always warm & friendly
  2. Understand the market
  3. Understand the need
  4. Showed relevant properties while fine-tuning the criteria
  5. Gave direct and genuine assessment of the properties
  6. Pushed us when we needed a shove
  7. Paused when we needed a pause (logistic issues
  8. Assisted in finding great professionals (lawyer, architect)
  9. Kept on helping with post-sale (mostly service providers)

Won't sell you a dream!!!Bottom line - TRUSTWORTHY