How to apply for a Portuguese golden visa

Gaining citizenship through investment, also referred to as gaining a ‘Golden Visa’, has become an increasingly popular way for those with the available funds to obtain residency in a new country. Many countries offer these …

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Gaining citizenship through investment, also referred to as gaining a ‘Golden Visa’, has become an increasingly popular way for those with the available funds to obtain residency in a new country. Many countries offer these visa routes to boost their economy through investment in exchange for residence, but some of these visas are more sought after than others.

One of the most popular over the past few years has been the Portugal golden visa, and when you examine its terms in comparison to some others, it’s not hard to understand why this might be the case.

To begin with, although you will need to commit to and maintain an investment for 5 years in order to gain citizenship through this visa, the minimum residence required is low. You will only need to be resident in Portugal for an average of 7 days per year over the 5 years required for citizenship. This means that it would be possible to meet the minimum requirement while maintaining property or work in another country.

There are several investment methods you can use to obtain this visa, although they each carry a different minimum amount that you’ll need to spend, and some also carry specific terms, so you’ll need to carefully assess which investment type you wish to pursue.

The different routes and minimum costs are as follows:

Fund subscription: If you want to make an investment with an established hedge fund which is headquartered in Portugal, then the minimum investment amount will be €500,000.

Capital transfer: While it’s the most costly investment route at a minimum of €1.5 million, it is possible to obtain the golden visa by transferring funds directly into the Portuguese banking system. This will involve setting up an account with a Portuguese bank, but as we’ll discuss later that’s something that’s required with every investment route.

Donation: If you wish to make an investment via a donation, then you’ll need to consider the type of entity you wish to donate to, as their sector will dictate the amount of funds you need. If you’re giving to an organization within the heritage or arts sectors you’ll need to donate a minimum of €250,000. This is the lowest cost investment to be found across all available investment types. If the organization you’re giving to is in the technological or scientific sectors, then the minimum investment raises to €500,00.

Job creation: You can contribute to the Portuguese economy through the creation of jobs, either by investing in an existing business or starting a new organization based there. Which of these options you choose will determine the amount of jobs you will need to create, but the value of these jobs will remain the same. If you choose to invest in an existent company, you’ll need to create a minimum of 5 jobs, worth at least €500,000. These jobs will have to last for at least 3 years and must be full time. If you create a new business then the value of the jobs will stay at €500,000 but must be spread across a minimum of 10 new jobs in order to be eligible.

Real Estate: The type of property you wish to purchase will determine the level of investment you need to make if you choose to invest in real estate. If the property you purchase is modern and already up to code, then the minimum amount of investment will be €500,000. However, if the property you choose to purchase is over 30 years old and sits within one of the Portuguese urban rehabilitation zones then the cost will drop to a minimum of €350,000. It should be noted however that you will need to refurbish the property and as such will need to have the available funds to do so in order to honour your commitment.

As mentioned previously, whichever investment route you choose you will need to open an account with a Portuguese bank. In order to do this you’ll need to first obtain an NIF number. This is the number which acts as your tax identifier in Portugal, and once obtained it will enable you to operate within the Portuguese banking system.

As well as this, there are a few other requirements you’ll need to meet in order to be eligible for this visa route. You’ll need to be over the age of 18 and possess a completely clean criminal record. You will also be ineligible for this visa route if you’re a citizen of a country within the European Union, the European Economic Area, or a Swiss National.

As these elements will factor into your application, you should prepare any supporting documentation ahead of time to ensure that if required, it is available for you to evidence that you meet any of the additional criteria laid out above. This will help to avoid any delays in the application process and serve to reduce the risk that the application may be rejected. Further to this, any supporting documentation should be as recent as possible, ideally dated within the 3 months prior to your application and additionally, if your documentation originates from a country other than Portugal, you may need to have the documents notarized in order for them to be accepted.

The final step once you begin your application through the Portuguese border agencies ‘ARI’ portal, is to pay the required fees in order to have you application processed. The fee’s differ depending on whether you are applying for the first time, have dependents or are simply renewing an existing visa.

Initial fee: €5325 per person applying.

Processing fee: €533 for the main applicant and an additional €83 per dependent.

Renewal fees: €2663 per person plus the above processing fees for yourself and any dependents.

Although the application process is handled through an online portal, and is able to be carried out by you directly as the applicant, you may wish to obtain the advice of an experienced legal practitioner who specializes in immigration. This will help to ensure that all the documentation you intend to provide is correct and that you have completed the application correctly. This will help to ensure that the application is processed as smoothly as possible, as they are likely to notice any potential errors with your application or documentation before it is submitted.

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