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What is the Portugal Golden Visa program?

In the landscape of global investment, the Portugal Golden Visa represents a strategic opportunity for non-EU investors to gain residency - and ultimately citizenship - in a country renowned for its stability, quality of life, peacefulness, safety, and as a gateway to Europe.

Launched in 2012 amid the aftershocks of the global financial crisis, the program was Portugal’s innovative solution to stimulate the economy by attracting foreign capital. It offered a residency-by-investment scheme that allowed investors to gain a foothold in Europe with the added prospect of permanent residency and citizenship.

The primary route to the Golden Visa has traditionally been through real estate investment, with a significant shift in 2018 when investment funds became a new avenue. By 2023, these funds represented 30% of Golden Visa total investment, reflecting a strategic diversification encouraged by the government.

Fast forward to 2024, the program has been fine-tuned. The Portuguese government, addressing rising concerns over housing affordability and the intent behind investment flows, has completely terminated the option of real estate investment for Golden Visa candidates. It also terminated the capital transfer option, which had been criticized for allowing a straightforward purchase of residency. These decisive actions were taken to preserve the program's integrity and to ensure that investments genuinely contribute to economic growth.

Despite these changes, the program has maintained its integrity, with the government ensuring that the rights of previous investors are protected, thus enhancing the program's credibility.

Today, the Portugal Golden Visa continues to offer a valuable residency option for those looking to invest in a country that serves as a portal not only to Europe but to a quality of life that’s among the best in the world.

Why Investors Seek the Portugal Golden Visa?

Investors globally are drawn to the Portugal Golden Visa for a multitude of reasons, seeing it not just as a pure financial investment, but as an investment in a future filled with possibilities and security for themselves and their families.

  • The "Plan B" Security: In an unpredictable world, the Portugal Golden Visa acts as a "Plan B" for investors. It’s a safety net, ensuring that should economic or political instability affect their home country, they have secured residency in a stable and peaceful nation. Portugal's consistent ranking as one of the most peaceful countries in the world adds to its allure as a safe harbor for investors and their families.
  • Visa-free Travelling: One of the most compelling reasons to obtain the Golden Visa is the travel freedom it affords. It offers visa-free access to the Schengen Area, providing convenience for business travel and personal exploration. This ease of movement is invaluable to those who require unfettered access to Europe for professional or personal reasons.
  • Future Prospects for Children: For many investors, the future of their children is the driving force behind their decision to apply for the Golden Visa. The program opens up opportunities for education within Portugal’s high-quality school system, as well as universities across Europe. It lays the groundwork for children to gain Portuguese citizenship, which can greatly broaden their horizons, offering them the choice to live, work, and travel freely in Portugal and other Schengen countries.
  • Gateway to Citizenship: The path to Portuguese citizenship is perhaps one of the most strategic advantages. After five years, investors and their families can apply for citizenship, which provides them with the rights of an EU citizen, including the ability to live, work, and travel within the EU with minimum bureaucracy. This long-term benefit is often a key consideration for investors, as it grants them not just a second residency but the option to fully relocate their lives to Portugal or another EU country if they choose to do so.

In essence, the Portugal Golden Visa serves as a multifaceted investment - securing a lifestyle of freedom, providing educational avenues for the next generation, and ensuring a place of refuge. It’s these aspects that make it a sought-after program for investors looking towards a future with more choices, more freedom, and greater security.

What are the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa is laden with advantages for investors and their families, crafted to extend far beyond the immediate financial gains. Here are the key benefits that have made the program a choice par excellence for global investors:

  • Schengen Visa-free Travel: Holders of the Portugal Golden Visa enjoy the privilege of visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, granting them unfettered access to 26 European countries for business or leisure, without the need for additional visa paperwork.
  • Minimal Stay Requirements: The program only requires a minimal physical presence of fourteen days in Portugal every two years, offering a flexible residency option that does not demand significant disruption of the investor’s existing lifestyle or business activities.
  • Diverse and Supervised Investment Options: In 2024, investors can choose from a range of government-sanctioned and supervised investment opportunities that are designed to be affordable and secure. These investments are varied to cater to different interests and are vetted for safety and potential for growth.
  • Path to Portuguese Citizenship: One of the most significant benefits is the pathway to obtaining Portuguese citizenship, typically possible after five years of maintaining the investment and fulfilling minimal residency requirements. This opens the door to an EU passport, which is a powerful tool for global mobility and business, and to one of the most powerful passports in the world, allowing visa-free travel to over 190 destinations.
  • Extension of Rights to Family Members: The program allows for the inclusion of family members in the application, ensuring that the benefits extend to the immediate kin. This means that spouses, children, and dependent family members can also enjoy the rights of residency, education, and healthcare in Portugal.

Each of these benefits is designed to ensure that investors not only enjoy the fruits of their investment but also a lifestyle that is enriched by mobility, security, and future opportunities for themselves and their families.

Family Inclusion Requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program is not only an investment in one's future but also an opportunity for family inclusion, allowing investors to extend the benefits to their immediate family under one sole investment. Understanding who qualifies and the process of including dependents is essential for applicants.

Under the current Golden Visa rules, the following relatives can be included in the application:

  • Spouses or Legal Partners: Recognized marital partners or those in a legal partnership are eligible.
  • Children: This includes children under the age of 18 or those over 18 as long as they are unmarried and full-time students, including the children of the main applicant’s spouse or partner. Adopted children may also apply under certain circumstances.
  • Parents: Dependents include the parents of either the primary applicant or their spouse, provided that they are over the age of 65 or financially dependent on them.
  • Siblings: Under specific circumstances, siblings under the age of 18 under the guardianship of the primary applicant may also be included according to the Portuguese law.

Process of adding family members involves submitting applications that parallel the primary applicant's process, with necessary personal documentation and evidence of the family relationship.

Family members included in the Golden Visa program do not need to apply for citizenship at the same time as the main applicant (nor is the main applicant required to apply for citizenship so that their family members can). They can submit their applications at a sooner or later date, allowing for flexibility in planning. However, it's important to note that their five-year countdown toward eligibility starts from the date of their own application, not the main applicant's.

Which Investment Options Are Available in 2024?

The Portugal Golden Visa program opens several investment avenues for non-EU citizens who wish to engage in investment activities, either personally or through a company established in Portugal. Applicants must meet specific quantitative requirements and the temporal requirement set out by the applicable legislation. Here are the most sought-after eligible investment options:

  1. Job Creation: Investors can opt to create at least 10 new jobs in Portugal. This option is a direct contribution to the Portuguese economy and employment market.
  2. Investment and Venture Capital Funds: A capital transfer equal to or above €500,000 into investment funds or venture capital funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies is also eligible. These funds must be established under Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years at the time of investment, and at least 60% of the fund’s investment must be made in Portuguese companies. The law allows main applicants to split their investment between several funds, provided that the global invested capital meets the above criteria, with the inherent benefits of portfolio diversification and risk mitigation.
  3. Capitalization of Companies: Another option is a capital transfer equal to or above €500,000 for the incorporation or capital increase of a commercial company headquartered in Portugal, combined with creating five permanent jobs, or maintaining them for a minimum of three years.

For a comprehensive overview of all available options, please refer to our detailed guide on the latest legislative updates here.

Investment and venture capital funds have emerged as the premier choice among investors. In 2023, they accounted for 30% of the total investment in the Golden Visa program, while real estate investments led with a 68% share, and other options filled the remaining 2%. With the recent shut-down of the real estate investment option, it is projected that Golden Visa funds will soon represent 95% of the total investment moving forward, making them the predominant avenue for applicants seeking the benefits of the program.

What Are the Costs?

The Portugal Golden Visa program involves various costs that applicants should be aware of from the outset. These costs include government fees, legal fees, and other associated expenses:

  • Golden Visa Fees: Each applicant must pay government fees which are updated annually according to inflation. The global amount for 2024 is EUR 12,369.64 per applicant, due throughout the 5-year program duration.
  • Citizenship Fees: When applying for citizenship via the Golden Visa scheme, the government fee currently amounts to EUR 250 per applicant.

Additional Costs:

  • Legal Fees: Investing in a foreign country often requires the advisory of legal expert, as to ensure a smooth and safe investment process, whose legal fees shall add to the global cost of the program. We have an extensive track-record in Residency and Citizenship matters, and may assist you throughout these applications;
  • Health Insurance: Applicants residing in Portugal are required to maintain valid health insurance. This represents an extra cost for those planning to move permanently to Portugal. However, most Golden Visa applicants prefer the Portuguese program over others, such as Spain's or Greece's, because obtaining Portuguese citizenship does not necessitate relocating to Portugal;
  • Tax Advisory: Applicants may also need to budget for tax advisory services, as to understand and plan the tax impact of their investment in Portugal. We can offer you advise on these matters too.

It is important for applicants to note that these fees are subject to change and should be confirmed during the application process. By understanding these costs, investors can prepare accordingly and ensure a smooth application process for the Portugal Golden Visa.

Our consultation offers a detailed breakdown of the costs for you and your family, completely free of charge.

What is the Application Process?

Embarking on the application process for the Golden Visa is a journey that demands precision and strategic planning. As your trusted advisors, we streamline this process, ensuring a seamless experience. Here's how we manage the steps on your behalf:

  1. Selecting Proven Advisors: The initial and most critical step is to engage with expert advisors. Our team, boasting a track record of over 100 successful applications in the past nine years, stands ready to guide you. Our comprehensive understanding of Portugal's residency by investment program and the recent legislative changes ensures that you receive informed and reliable counsel.
  2. Opening a Bank Account: A Portuguese bank account is essential for your investment transactions and a mandatory step in the Golden Visa process. We simplify this procedure by utilizing our established local networks and knowledge to expedite the setup of your financial base in Portugal.
  3. Selecting Your Investment: Choosing the right investment is crucial. Our team provides a bespoke service, curating a list of eligible funds that align with your investment profile. We then facilitate introductions to these funds, assisting you in making an informed decision that best serves your interests.
  4. Submitting Your Application: Once you've chosen a fund, we take charge of the application submission. Our meticulous approach ensures that every document reflects the most current regulations and that your application stands on solid ground. It is at this juncture that the 5-year countdown towards your eligibility for citizenship commences, in line with the latest legal framework.
  5. Awaiting Pre-Approval: Your application then enters the review stage by the Portuguese immigration authorities. Based on our extensive experience, this process can take up to 12 months. We maintain open lines of communication with you during this waiting period, providing updates and managing expectations.
  6. Scheduling the Immigration Appointment: Upon receiving pre-approval, we arrange your appointment with the Portuguese Immigration Authority (AIMA) for biometrics and any further necessary verifications, ensuring that you are well-prepared for this step.The culmination of the process is the issuance of your first resident card, valid for two years. This card is a testament to your new residency status in Portugal and unlocks a host of benefits that accompany the Golden Visa.
  7. Renewing Your Golden Visa: Once you’ve obtained your first resident card, you will not be left unassisted, since our advisory covers the entire program duration, namely as regards to the renewal of the resident cards as they expire;

At every turn, we are here to navigate the intricacies of the application process with you. Our goal is to facilitate your successful acquisition of Portuguese residency, laying the groundwork for your future citizenship and the myriad opportunities it brings.

For a visual guide to the Golden Visa and citizenship process timelines, please click here for an illustrative overview.

Path to Citizenship

The Portugal Golden Visa is not merely a residency program; it is a stepping stone towards obtaining Portuguese citizenship. This coveted status grants investors and their families the rights and benefits associated with being a citizen of the European Union. Here's how the Golden Visa can lead to citizenship:

  1. Residency Requirement: The journey to citizenship begins with fulfilling the residency requirement associated with the Golden Visa throughout the program, allowing them to successfully renew their resident cards and achieve five years of residency;.
  2. Five-Year Timeline: After five years from having submitted the application, Golden Visa holders become eligible to apply for permanent residency and citizenship. This period allows investors to demonstrate their commitment to Portugal and integrate into the community.
  3. Language Proficiency: To qualify for citizenship, applicants must exhibit proof of knowledge of the Portuguese language. This requirement is assessed through a simple language test (A2 level), or by the approval in a Portuguese language course.
  4. Clean Criminal Record: Throughout the five years and at the time of the citizenship application, the applicants must maintain a clean criminal record both in Portugal and abroad.
  5. Application for Citizenship: The citizenship application involves submitting documentation that proves the applicant's residency, absence of criminal convictions by crimes punishable in Portugal with prison sentence equal to or higher than 3 years, and proof of knowledge of the Portuguese language.
  6. Dual Citizenship: Portugal allows dual citizenship, which means that applicants can retain their original nationality while gaining Portuguese citizenship. This aspect is particularly appealing to those who do not wish to renounce their existing citizenship.
  7. EU Citizenship Benefits: Upon obtaining Portuguese citizenship, investors become citizens of the European Union. This status offers a myriad of benefits, such as the right to live, work, and study in any EU country, vote in European and local Portuguese elections, and access to healthcare and social security systems.

Conclusion: Securing Your Future with the Portugal Golden Visa in 2024

In conclusion, the Portugal Golden Visa program stands out as a beacon of opportunity for investors seeking to secure not just a financial investment, but a future ripe with possibilities.

Through this guide, we've explored the essence of the Golden Visa, uncovering why it's a sought-after path for global investors who value security, mobility, and prosperity.

The benefits, extending from visa-free travel across the Schengen Zone to the prospect of family inclusion and eventual citizenship, present a compelling case for the Golden Visa as more than an investment - it's a life choice. With inclusive family requirements and diverse investment options adapting to the changing landscape of 2024, the program remains robust and appealing.

Understanding the costs involved is crucial, as is navigating the application process. The step-by-step journey we've outlined provides clarity and demystifies the path from application to citizenship. The structured timeline ensures that investors can plan their journey with precision, looking forward to the day they can call Portugal their second home.

As we stand in 2024, the Portugal Golden Visa continues to be a gateway to Europe for investors around the world, providing stability in an ever-changing global climate. Whether it's for the lifestyle, the safety, or the array of benefits that extend to your family, the Golden Visa is more than an investment in Portugal - it's an investment in a future filled with potential.

For those ready to take the next step, the definite guide to the Portugal Golden Visa in 2024 serves as a compass to navigate the path ahead, leading to a world where borders are opened, and dreams are realized. With the right preparation, guidance, and understanding of the comprehensive process, your vision of a life enriched with the privileges of the Portuguese Golden Visa can be brought to fruition.