Skip to content

D2, D7, and Digital Nomad Visas vs. the Golden Visa: Which Residency and Citizenship Option Is Better?

D2, D7, and Digital Nomad Visas vs. the Golden Visa

After the two latest changes to the Portugal Golden Visa program, which limited the eligible investments for residency purposes – namely real estate –, investors have been seeking different residency options. Investment promotors, taking advantage of this demand are offering the D2, D7 and Digital Nomad Visas as safe alternatives to the Golden Visa, with equal rights (namely in terms of minimum stay periods and tax residency).

But are they really an alternative, or at least a safe one for investors intending to remain permanent and tax residents in their home countries?

Introduction to the D2, D7 and Digital Nomad Visas

  • D2 Visa – The residence permit for self-employed professionals (commonly known as D2 Visa) is directed for foreigners who incorporate a company in Portugal or have signed a services agreement for the exercise of a self-employed profession, and who show to have sufficient funds to support their stay (by showing evidence of at least €9,840 deposited in a Portuguese bank account).
  • D7 Visa The residence permit for passive income holders (best known as D7 Visa), is aimed for foreigners who receive, in their individual bank accounts, passive income (namely rents, interest, royalties, dividends and pensions) exceeding the minimum monthly wage in Portugal (currently €820), without the need of evidence of employment.
  • Digital Nomad Visa – The digital nomad visa is destined for foreigners who, being either self-employed professionals or company employees, perform their jobs remotely and would like to work from Portugal to abroad, and whose monthly income corresponds to four minimum wages (currently €3,280).

Either of the above residency permits are initially valid for 2 years and renewable for successive 3-year periods.

Comparison Chart

Below you may find a chart comparing the different conditions per residency option:


  D2 Visa D7 Visa Digital Nomad Visa Golden Visa
(Fund Investment)
Financial conditions € 9,840
/ company investment
€ 9,840/year € 3,280/month € 500,000
Average Minimum Stay Year 1-2: 16 months(1)
Year 3-5: 28 months(1)
7 days/year
Tax Residency Changed to Portugal once 183-day yearly stay is exceeded May remain unchanged

From the above is it easy to conclude that the D2 Visa, D7 Visa and Digital Nomad Visas are the easiest ways to obtain residency in Portugal, due to the low quantitative requirements. However, these residency options are aimed for foreigners intending to relocate to Portugal on a permanent basis, and residency candidates are therefore required to present evidence of:

  1. Accommodation in Portugal;
  2. Sufficient funds to support their stay, deposited in a Portuguese bank account;
  3. Health insurance valid in Portugal;
  4. Enrolment in a Portuguese education institution, when children over 18 years old are included in the application as family members.

The Golden Visa, on the other hand, was designed to attract investment from wealthy individuals, but not necessarily to attract citizens wanting to relocate permanently to Portugal (although that option is also possible), granting such investors the exclusive right of holding residency while keeping their permanent and tax residencies abroad, in return for a higher cost.

Are there exceptions to the minimum stay periods for D2, D7 and Digital Nomad applicants?

The Foreigners and Borders Law sets forth that, except for the Golden Visa:

  1. Residency holders may be absent from Portugal by periods exceeding the maximum allowed if such absence is justified before the immigration authority before leaving national territory; and
  2. Residency shall not be cancelled when the applicant is able to present evidence that during his/her absence, professional, corporate, cultural or social activity is developed.

However, it should be noted that this is meant to be an exception and its acceptance will be subject to the immigration authority’s discretion, and abusing its use can lead to disastrous consequences:

  1. The applicant may see his/her residency renewal request delayed until reasonable justification of absence from national territory is presented;
  2. The applicant may see his/her residency cancelled if the justification of absence is not accepted;
  3. The applicant may be expelled from Portugal if the authorities consider that the applicant has tried to circumvent the applicable immigration rules (2).

Be careful on who you trust! Always question yourself when you hear of Portuguese residency options other than the Golden Visa that ensure that the applicants are not required to live permanently in Portugal, as that is not the general legal rule. Exceptions exist to safeguard occasional events, and abusing them may be deemed as intentionally circumventing legal rules, affecting your right to residency and future right to citizenship, along with your family’s.

The information contained herein was prepared by GoldenVisaFunds legal team based in Portugal, with extensive expertise in Portuguese immigration laws and regulations. GoldenVisaFunds aims to serve as a platform of legal accuracy for investors worldwide, and we are therefore committed to working with Portuguese professionals who can provide our clients legal certainty and a safe residency route.


(1) Article 85(2)(a) of the Foreigners and Borders Law (Law 23/2007, of July 4)

(2) Article 134(1)(h) of the Foreigners and Borders Law

Leave a Comment