The Portuguese Golden Visa program allows non-EU nationals to obtain residency and citizenship through various investment channels. Holders of a Portuguese Golden Visa are free to live, work and study in Portugal and throughout Europe as well. After five years, applicants are also eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Golden Visas are awarded to applicants in exchange for contributing to and stimulating the Portuguese economy by making a qualifying investment in 1 of 7 approved ways.
Golden Visa Funds – minimum investment €500,000
The route of Golden Visa Investment and Venture Capital Funds was allowed in 2018. To qualify, the investment fund or venture capital fund must be registered in Portugal and have at least 60% of its capital invested in commercial companies with their head office in Portugal. Some funds choose to specialise whilst others tend to diversify with investment areas ranging from real estate (e.g. retail, hotels, student accommodation etc), energy, technology, agriculture, start-up ventures etc) so you should inform yourself about the details of each fund to find which best suits your investor profile.
Such funds are tax efficient, professionally managed by experts and regulated and supervised by the Portuguese Securities Markets Commission (CMVM), Bank of Portugal and the tax authorities.
Amounts invested in qualifying funds cannot be capitalised for 5 years.
Real Estate Acquisition – minimum investment €500,000
Residential purchases in Lisbon, Porto or on the mainland coast no longer qualify, but commercial properties still do.
The acquisition does not need to be in a single property but may involve a number of properties provided that the minimum amount is met. If there is more than one applicant, they may combine their investments in the purchase of a property or properties provided the individual minima are met.
Real Estate Renovation – minimum investment €350,000
Investment in properties that are over 30 years old or located in an area of urban regeneration and renovating them for a minimum of €350,000 is an alternative route for Golden Visa qualification.
Establish a Company and Create 10 Job Positions – minimum investment €500,000
Your new company must create a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs (8 in low-density areas) for Portuguese Nationals registered in the Portuguese Social Security system in order to qualify.
Alternatively, if you invest a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, this enterprise must create a minimum of 5 new full-time jobs for at least three years
Invest in Portuguese Research & Development – minimum investment €500,000
A capital transfer of €500,000 to invest in research programs run by approved public or private entities that are part of the national scientific or technological system can also qualify for a Portuguese Golden Visa.
Donate to Portuguese Cultural Heritage – minimum investment €250,000
A donation via a capital transfer in support of Portuguese artistic productions or in the recovery and/or maintenance of national cultural heritage of €250,000 (reduced by 20% in low-density areas) can also qualify for a Portuguese Golden Visa.
Capital Transfer to a Portuguese Bank – minimum investment €1,500,000
A capital transfer of any amount above the minimum qualifying amount of €1.5 million can be made into a Portuguese bank account or approved investment option like a Portuguese Public Debt Instrument, with associated top-ups with each visa renewal.
Do loans qualify?
It should be noted for all of these options that in order to qualify for Golden Visa status the minimum amounts required have to be brought into Portugal from outside of the country. A loan or mortgage from a Portuguese financial institution does not therefore qualify towards the minimum amount. However, if the amount is in the form of a loan from a non-Portuguese financial institution which is then brought into Portugal this will qualify. Having secured the minimum amounts from sources outside of Portugal, you can still take a loan from a Portuguese bank for any exceeding amount.
A Qualified Investment must be maintained for five years
Supporting evidence that you have individually made the investment of the minimum amount required must be presented and the investment must be maintained for as long as the main applicant holds Golden Visa residency status. However, once you become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen, the investment no longer needs to be maintained and this can then be liquidated if you wish.
Reducing the Risk
Any investment entails risk and while you can assess the risk by yourself, assistance from qualified and experienced professionals is always recommended, especially if you are not fluent in Portuguese or familiar with Portuguese bureaucracy.
One such company is Lince Capital which has 40 years of experience in the Portuguese market, helping applicants not only with obtaining the respective documentation but in choosing the best options for your situation.