Portugal launched ARI/Golden Visa scheme in Oct 2012 for third country non-EU nationals to obtain a residence permit through property investment or business activities. It is one of the most popular residence by investment schemes in the world offering a full path to portuguese citizenship after five or six years.
Since the introduction of the scheme, Portugal received investment of over €5 billion euros through golden visa scheme and over 20,000 residence permits issued under the scheme. The average property investment in Portugal under the ARI/Golden visa scheme remains at €565,000
- Live, study and travel in Europe.
- Most popular european property investment scheme
- Very minimal residency requirements.
- Profitable real estate investment
- Naturalize for citizenship after 6 years.
- No taxes unless you live 183 days in Portugal
- No interviews, No language tests
- Immigrate to Europe with family and children.
- Travel freely in Schengen including Switzerland, Germany etc.
- Qualify for Portuguese PR after 5 years of living.
The following investments qualify for portuguese golden visa scheme.
1. Business : Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €1 million Euros;
2. Real estate property: The purchase of real estate property with a value equal to or above €500,000 Euros;
3. Real estate refurbishing: 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;
4. Research & Technology: Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €350,000 Euros for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technology system;
5. Art, Culture & Public interest: 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, through the local and central authorities, public institutions, public corporate sector, public foundations, private foundations of public interest, networked local authorities, local corporate sector organizations, local associations and public cultural associations, pursuing activities of artistic output, and reconstruction or maintenance of the national heritage;
6. Investment funds: Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €350,000 Euros, for purchasing shares in investment funds or in venture capital geared to capitalize small and medium companies that, in turn, must present a feasible capitalization plan.
7. Employment: Job creation at least, 10 job positions or
8. Startup visa for entrepreneurs
Once the application is approved, investors will be issued a residence permit to live in Portugal. Investments above €500,000 will receive permanent residence cards valid for 5 years, while investments less than €500,000 are issued residence permits with 2 year renewals. The validity of residence permit depends on how much disposable income you show for living in Portugal.
Golden visa fees
The following fees are payable to the Government and SEP (immigration office).
Government Processing Fee
Initial investor residency permit
Renewal of residence permit
Residence permit for family members
Real estate transfer Tax 8%
Financial Management and Fiscal Representation (0.5% per year)
Real estate stamp duty 0.8%
Property Transfer Service 1.5%
Permanent residency application
Portugal Real Estate
Property prices are soaring in the real estate market in 2016 because of the huge number of chinese investors investing in real estate market. The prices have increase for apartments (3.5%) and villas (3.9%) since january 2016 in Lisbon, Madeira, Algarve, Cascais. The average per square metre costs €1260 in lisbon area, while € 1287 in algarve and € 1230 in Madeira. Rental yields in lisbon from 5% to 6.8%. In Lisbon average rent for an apartment is €8 to €10 per square metre, usually 50m2 apartments available for 500 euros monthly.
To qualify for Golden visa (GV) under real estate option, investment of EUR 500,000 must be made in purchase of new property in Portugal. We do not recommend the 350,000 euro refurbishment route as the paperwork is very difficult and takes very long time to apply. The periods of mandatory stay in Portugal are 7 days on the first year and 14 days over the subsequent periods of 2 years.
The Portugal program does not require you to live or stay in Portugal at all. No minimum residence requirements, except you are only required stay in Portugal are 7 days on the first year and 14 days over the subsequent periods of 2 years. For example if you have a business to look after in UAE, you might like to stay in UAE for most of the time but want to visit or live in Portugal anytime you want, without applying for visa. We also take care of property rentals, when you are out of the country. We work with developers of many real estate projects in Portugal (Lisbon, Porto etc).
Non-Habitual Tax Regime
The Non-Habitual Residence Tax Regime (NHR) is an often overlooked by HNW investors, while taking up residence in Portugal through Golden visa scheme.
This taxation scheme was introduced in 2009, with the aim of attracting talent and high net worth individuals. Portugal is a top choice for Ultra and High Net Worth Individuals who wish to take up residence in the European Union, according to PWC
In short, by becoming a Portuguese tax resident under the Non-Habitual Residency scheme, your income will be tax-free both in Portugal and in the income’s source country (example income from UK).
- Non habitual residents will be exempt from Personal income tax (PIT) on salaries of a non Portuguese source if such salaries were subject to tax in the country of source under an existing Double Tax Treaty or, if no Tax Treaty exists, were subject to tax in another jurisdiction and are not considered as Portuguese source income under domestic rules.
- Business and professional income of a non Portuguese source relating to high added value services of a scientific, artistic or technical nature, as well as from intellectual or industrial property or industrial, commercial or scientific information, earned by non habitual residents abroad are exempt from PIT provided such fees could have been taxed under an existing Double Tax Treaty or could have been taxed in another non black listed jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the OECD.
- Rental income, investment income and capital gains of a non Portuguese source obtained by non habitual residents are also PIT exempt, provided the above mentioned conditions are met.
- Pensions paid abroad to non habitual residents are also PIT exempt if such pensions were subject to tax under an existing Double Tax Treaty or if the pension should not be considered as obtained in Portugal and related contributions did not allow a PIT deduction in Portugal.
- Under the non habitual residents tax regime, MNC’s will have a major advantage in placing their centres of excellence in Portugal, for example their R&D departments, and Portuguese companies will have a significant stimulus to attract the best talent.
- UHNWI’s are able to accrue their wealth in a white listed friendly tax environment, to dispose of their assets benefiting from tax exemptions, to pass on their wealth or estate without inheritance or gift taxes and/or to enjoy their retirement without tax leakage on their pensions.
All nationalities including EU/EEA nationals can qualify for this NHR scheme. Anyone who has not been a tax resident in Portugal during the preceding five years and takes up residence in Portugal is eligible to participate in this scheme. Becoming a Portuguese tax resident requires residing in Portugal for at least 183 days in a 12 month period. A person who does not fulfil this requirement can still be considered a tax resident in Portugal if he has a home in Portugal which is intended to be his permanent residence. Ownership of home and residency status can be easily obtained by purchasing a property for 350K euros through the existing Golden visa scheme in Portugal.
The NHR status is issued for ten year period is not extendable. For ten years, the migrant can profit from advantageous tax rates. The migrants’ Portuguese sourced income will be taxed at a flat rate of 20% if the income is derived from ‘high value activities’, while many forms of foreign source income (including foreign source pensions) are exempted from taxation. Moreover, Portugal does not impose wealth taxes.
There are no wealth tax or capital duties in Portugal. Inheritance or a gifts received by a spouse, descendant or ascendant is tax exempt. capital gains from the sale of securities will be subject to tax in Portugal, currently at a flat rate of 28%.
After five years of legally living
Under the requirements set out by the Nationality Act (Act number 37/81 of 3 October) after 6 years, it is possible to naturalize for Portugal passport and citizenship.
Portugal has the fifth powerful passport in the world with visa free travel to 186 countries in 2018 (UK, Ireland, Canada, United States etc..)
Visa free travel
The ID card (residence permit) issued by Portugal allows you to travel all 26 schengen countries including Switzerland and maximum stays of 90 days in 180 day period allowed in combined in all EU member states. Non EU citizens cannot visit UK using the portuguese residence card (will need a separate visa). You may also visit other non schengen EU countries such as Croatia, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Montenegro etc. using the EU residence permit issued by portugal for stays upto 30 days.
As long as the investors do not stay more than 180 days per year in Portugal, no taxation applies (except a slight property tax).
The basic documents needed are:
– The application
– Proof of legal entry into Portugal
– Proof of health insurance
– Criminal record certificate from the relevant authority of the applicants home country or from any other country where he/she resided for over a year
– Signed application enabling consultation of the Portuguese Criminal Records by SEF
– Proof of the requirements fulfillment
We provide the services which includes a full handholding process over the next 6 years until citizenship can be applied, hence we take care on renewal of the residence permits, mail, authorities etc.
Portugal Golden visa – FAQs
The following are the frequently asked questions about the golden visa investment program in Portugal.
What is Golden visa?
Golden visa offers fast track long term permanent residency status against a business or real estate purchase in Portugal.
- Pleasant warm climate.
- Low cost of living.
- Excellent healthcare system.
- 300 daily flights from Portugal to destinations worldwide including USA.
- Freely travel in schengen.
Can EU/EEA nationals apply?
No, it is only open for third country nationals outside EU.
Are there any residency requirements?
No, except you have to visit Portugal using schengen visa once a year (7 days).
How do i start the process?
You have to pay 1% initial retainer fee usually €5,000 euros and our lawyers will start the process .
When do i get permanent residence permit (PR)?
After 5 years of living in Portugal uninterrupted living. You must NOT be absent from the country for more than 6 months every year before and after PR.
Can family members apply?
Yes, all family members can apply for visa under “family unification”.
Can i travel to all Schengen countries?
Yes, you can enter and exit through any schengen country with the pink ID card issued by Portugal immigration office.
Can i travel to US and UK with the schengen residence permit card?
No, you will need a separate visa. UK does not participate in schengen, neither does US.
You may apply for UK and USA at the consulates in Lisbon using your residence status.
What is the visa procedure?
After completing the real estate acquisition with the necessary papers, you have to apply for long term residence permit status, at the Portugal embassy in your country. After 2 months they will issue you D visa which is valid for 1 year. You have to enter Portugal using D visa and within 30 days, you have to report at SEF immigration office and collect your residence permit card which is initially valid for 1 year.
Remember with D visa, you must enter Portugal first (not other schengen countries). Only after getting your residence permit card (pink card) you may travel to schengen countries.
If you already have schengen visa, you can come to Portugal to complete the investment process, but you still have to apply for long term status at the Portuguese embassy in your home country.
If you already have schengen residence permit, issued by another EU member state, then you can apply for Portuguese residence permit (under golden visa rules) at Portuguese consulate in that EU member state.
What is the processing time frame?
It may take from 3-6 months.
What is the validity of the residence permit issued under golden visa?
Permanent residence permits issued with 2-5 year validity depending on the investment. If you dont visit Portugal, you cannot prolong your residence permit.
How many years for Portuguese citizenship?
Golden visa investors qualify for citizenship after 6 years of uninterrupted living. You must pass portuguese language tests. Portuguese citizenship means you get full EU citizenship.
How good is the portuguese passport?
Portugal is one of the founding members of Schengen. Portuguese passport is ranked 6th best passport in the world with visa free travel to 172 countries according to henley restrictions index 2016. Portuguese passport gives right to live and work in 26 member states of EU including Switzerland and United Kingdom.
Can the property be rented out?
Yes, we can help you to rent it out (Airbnb) and managing the property when you are out of the country.
What is the minimum for real estate investment?
We recommend €500,000 euros invested in Lisbon or coastal areas. We do not recommend the €350,000 euro option because it involves renovation of old buildings (over 20 years old) which is really difficult doing renovations. The documentation required by authorities are really difficult causes long delays, and poor living conditions inside the property.
What are the taxes with property investment?
Stamp duty(0.8%), Property transfer tax (5-6%), and IMI (municipal tax annually 0.3% to 0.5%) are applicable.
Can i invest in Government bonds or securities?
Yes, you can invest in Government bonds for golden visa but the minimum is €1m euros
Who are the main foreign investors in the Golden visa portugal scheme?
Chinese, Brazilians, Turks, South Africans and Lebanese. These are the people who have invested in properties
What are the reasons for golden visa refusal?
- Criminal record in the past.
- Threat to safety, health and security of the EU
- Ban in Schengen information System (SIS)
- Frozen property assets in EU
You wont be able to prolong or extend your residence permit if you dont maintain the investment for 5 years.
Do i have to pay income taxes in Portugal?
No, only if you have lived in Portugal for 183 days.
Can i buy more than one property totalling 500,000 euros?
Yes, you can buy multiple properties to qualify for golden visa.
Can the investors apply jointly?
Yes, joint acquisition of properties allowed, provided that each of the joint owners invest €500,000 or more 3 investors could make a joint investment of 1,5 million euro. Only then each investor will get their visas approved.
Are there any taxes on rental income of the property?
Rentals or income from the property (dividends, interest) are taxed 28% in Portugal.
Can the property be sold off in the market anytime?
Yes, you can sell your property anytime in the market, but your golden visa wont be renewed after expiry.
Must the property owner occupy and live in the property?
No, the property can be freely rented out for the purpose of golden visa?
Are there any country restrictions for golden visa?
No, the golden visa program is open to all country nationals. EU citizens cannot apply.
How long must the real estate must be held for?
You must hold the real estate for 5 years, if not golden visa will stand canceled.
How to prolong the validity of the portuguese residence permit issued under golden visa?
You can renew or prolong the validity of your portuguese residence permit, at immigration offices in Portugal well before 30 days of expiry date, by satisfying the following conditions.
- You have met the minimum periods of stay in Portugal ( 7days 1st year, 14 days 2nd year onwards)
- You have maintained the investment for the minimum period of 5 (years)
- You have no criminal record in Portugal
- You have been a threat to public health or security in Portugal.
- You have sufficient funds to live in Portugal.
It will take about 60 to 90 days and the authorities will arrive at a decision .
Can i invest for Green visa?
This is approved but still in the pipeline. The minimum required is €500,000 invested in clean green energy projects