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Golden Visa for investors in Portugal

The Golden Visa Program launched by the Portuguese Authorities in October 2012 is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal (“Golden Visa”). Under the Golden Visa program, non-EU citizens simply need to carry out one of the investments set out in the law to qualify to obtain a residency permit in Portugal.
This residency permit will allow the investor to enter and/or live in Portugal and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen space). Aimed at attracting foreign investment to Portugal, the Golden Visa is a very straightforward and flexible program, with simple and clear legal requirements.  With extremely reduced minimum stay requirements, the Golden Visa is clearly one an attractive residency program for investors and non-EU- individuals.


What types of investments are allowed under the Golden Visa rules?

The following types of investment qualify for the Golden Visa program:


A) Property Investments:

  • Acquisition of property above € 500,000;
  • Acquisition of property above € 350,000 - for properties more than 30 years old or located in areas of urban renovation


B) Capital Investments:

  • Transfer of Funds above € 1,000,000 in funds, for example investment in SELFIBA PROPERTY FUND PORTUGAL
  • Transfer of Funds above € 350,000 for research activities;
  • Transfer of Funds above € 250,000 for artistic or cultural activities;
  • Transfer of Funds above € 500,000 for capitalization of small and medium size companies.


C) Job creation

  • Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs; 


* In order to prove compliance with the minimum requirements associated with this type of investment activity, the Golden Visa applicant has to present:


  • Document that proves the purchase or promise to purchase the real estate – this document must also include a declaration from a financial institution operating in Portugal confirming the actual transfer of the capital for the purpose (definitive purchase or payment of deposit, of at least 500.000€);
  • An up to date land registry certificate including registration of the purchase and, if possible, of the promissory sale and purchase contract in favour of the IRP applicant.


For how long is the Golden Visa valid?

Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of 1 (one) year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of 2 years.


What are the general requirements that the investor has to comply with? 

The simplicity of the Golden Visa Program implies an extremely reduced amount of requirements being asked from the investor. The Golden Visa Program sets out that the investor must comply with general requirements applicable to all types of qualifying investments and also with the specific requirements of each type of qualifying investment.   In general, all investors have to comply with the following requirements:  


  • Keep the investment for a minimum period of 5 years
  • Funds for investment should come from abroad
  • Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa
  • Absence of references in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services
  • Absence of conviction of relevant crime
  • Minimum stay in Portugal: 7 (seven) days during the first year and 14 (fourteen) days during each subsequent period of two years 


    What are the specific characteristics for each type of qualifying investment? 

    Each type of qualifying investment has specific characteristics, as follows:  

    • Property Acquisitions: Minimum investment of € 500,000
    • Purchase of one or multiple properties
    • All property types qualify
    • Possibility of co-ownership
    • Freedom to use the property: rent, lease, use
    • Transfer of Funds: Minimum investment of € 1 million
    • Funds transferred from abroad to a bank in Portugal
    • Total freedom to invest the funds, for example: SELFIBA (
    • Possibility of using the funds to invest in shares of companies
    • Job Creation
    • Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs
    • No minimum investment value
    • No limitation on areas/activities
    • Compliance with Social Security obligations
    • Possibility of grants/incentives/benefits  


    What are the main advantages of the GOLDEN VISA Program?

    The Golden Visa Program will provide investors with the following advantages:

    • No need to obtain a visa to enter Portugal
    • No need to obtain a visa to travel in Europe (Schengen area)
    • Living and working in Portugal, even with residency in a different country
    • Residency extended to family members
    • Very low minimum stay period   
    • Permanent Residency after 5 years
    • Citizenship possible after 6 years  


    What is the Schengen Area and what are the countries included? 

    The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. With a resident permit from Portugal, the investor is entitled to enter and travel freely throughout all the countries of the Schengen area.    The Schengen Area includes the following countries:

    Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.  

    Is it possible to extend the Golden Visa to family members? 

    Under the Golden Visa Program, the investor’s family members may also apply and obtain a resident permit from Portugal by applying for “family reunion”.  The Golden visa will be extended to family members, namely children, spouse and dependent family members.  The family members will also be eligible for Permanent Residency after 5 years Portuguese Citizenship after 6 years.  

    How can the investor and family obtain Permanent Residency after 5 years?

    Under Portuguese law any person that has held a valid Portuguese temporary residency title (e.g. the Golden Visa) for a period of at least 5 years, he will be entitled to obtain Permanent Residency in Portugal. The investor and family members will have to meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for Permanent Residency in Portugal: 

      • Absence of conviction of relevant crime during the last 5 (five years)
      • Proof of income / financial independence
      • Proof of accommodation in Portugal - Basic knowledge of Portuguese  

    How can the investor and family obtain Portuguese Citizenship?

    The Portuguese legislation also sets out that any person who has been validly resident in Portugal for at least 6 (years (either under a temporary or permanent residency title), is eligible for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship.  In order to be able to obtain Portuguese Citizenship, the investor and family members will also have to comply with the following requirements:

      • Be at least 18 years old (or at least 16 but married or legally responsible)
      • Absence of conviction of any relevant crime
      • Pass a simple Portuguese language test, which will serve to show sufficient knowledge of the language

    Which documents does the investor need to provide to apply for the Golden Visa?

    The application for the Golden Visa implies that the investor will have to submit the following documentation: 

      • Proof of Investment
      • Passport & Valid Schengen Visa
      • Portuguese Fiscal number
      • Criminal Record from country of residency
      • Portuguese Criminal Record
      • Declaration from the Tax Department proving the absence of debts to the Tax Authorities
      • Declaration from Social Security proving the absence of debts to Social Security Authorities
      • Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements
      • Health Insurance valid in Portugal
      • 2 passport-type pictures

    Any document that is not in the Portuguese or English languages needs to be translated to Portuguese.  The translation needs to be certified.  De Micco & Friends will take care for all translations.

    Are there any specific requirements for documents issued by foreign authorities?

    Document issued by foreign authorities need to be legalized before being submitted in Portugal.  This Golden Visa Portugal – legalization means obtaining the Apostille of The Hague Convention (when applicable) or legalization by the Portuguese Consular services.  

    Where may the investor apply for a Golden Visa?

    Any investor interested in applying for a Golden Visa, can submit the application by De Micco & Friends.

    What are the costs involved in obtaining a Golden Visa?

    The Golden Visa involves payment of the following fees (payable directly to the Services of Foreigners and Borders (“SEF”)):

      • Legal costs, applications, consulting, fillings:  4,500 – 10,000 €
      • Processing fee (application and renewal): 513,75 € (plus 80.04 € per family member)
      • Initial Golden Visa: 5,300.00 €
      • Renewal of Golden Visa:  2,568.75 €

    How long will the application take to be processed and does the investor have to pick up the Golden Visa in person?

    Once the application is submitted at the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF), it will take around 1-2 weeks for the application to be processed (please note that this is just an estimate based on our recent experience).   Once the application is processed, the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF) will contact the investor or the investor’s legal representatives in Portugal and set up an appointment with the investor (and family members) to collect signature and fingerprints.   It should be noted that in some cases, it is possible for the investor to go to the immigration services to leave the fingerprints and signature shortly before the investment and/or submission of the required documents.

    Are there any grounds for refusing the issuing of a Golden Visa or its renewal?

    The investor (or any family member) will only be refused the Golden Visa (or its renewal) if:  

    • He/she has not maintained the investment for the minimum period of 5 (years)
    • He/she has not complied with the minimum periods of stay in Portugal
    • He/she has been convicted of a crime punishable with a prison sentence of more than one year
    • The investor is in a period where he/she has been banned entry into Portuguese territory following a removal measure of the country
    • On the grounds of public health (this may only be based on diseases that have been defined by the World Health Organization or other infectious or parasitic contagious diseases which are the object of protection measures in Portuguese territory)
    • A Golden Visa may be refused on the grounds of public order, public security or public health

    What happens to the investment after 5 years – can the investor sell the property / transfer the money to another country/extinguish the job positions?

    Yes, the investor only needs to hold the investment during the Golden Visa’s validity period.

    Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he no longer needs the Golden Visa?

    Yes, but without proof that the investment has been kept, the investor will not be able to renew the Golden Visa Permit. 

    Does the investor need to live in/use the property he is purchasing or can it be rented out? 

    No. The investor does not need to occupy the property and it can be rented out to obtain income.  

    What are the taxes and costs for property acquisitions and ownership?

    There are several taxes in Portugal related to property: 

    • Payable with the property’s acquisition: – “IMT” or Property Transfer Tax”, which is the tax on transfer of ownership of property -  Stamp Duty   (The exact amount of taxes to be paid varies according to the actual value of the acquisition). 
    • Payable on an annual basis:
    • “IMI” or Council Tax, which is the annual municipal property tax; it is levied between 0.3% and 0.5% on the property’s tax value.

    With the Golden Visa does the investor need to pay taxes in Portugal on his worldwide income?

    No.  If the holder of the golden visa does not stay in Portugal form more than 183 consecutive days, he/she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal. 

    What income taxes apply to income generated in Portugal?

    Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends, etc) will be taxed at a rate of 28%

    General Information about Portugal

    Being one of the oldest nations in Europe, Portugal is blessed with unique competitive advantages such as its Strategic Location and its Global Language.  But most of all, Portugal is a resilient country that has developed and modernized over time while still creating the best conditions for companies that wish to take advantage of these assets. Portugal touches millions of people every day with new and innovative products like sophisticated software, biometric solutions, health products, communication systems but also traditional products such as wine, olive oil and shoes.

    Member of the European Union since 1986, Portugal is a developed and sophisticated country with modern infrastructures. A country that has experienced extensive and dynamic changes to make its economy more competitive. It’s now much easier to do business in Portugal, and the European Union has recognized it as one of the countries that most reduced bureaucracy. It’s possible to set up a company in less than one hour, and according to the 2010 Global Benchmark Report, Portugal is the 7th country in the OECD with the lowest level of costs and taxes.  It is also a welcoming country, full of sun, with breath-taking landscapes and a unique cuisine. However, our most valuable asset is our people that mobilize the country for the future, with their talent, resources, and qualifications. 

    Official Statistics about Portugal

    Area: 92,212.0 sq km (2010) Population (thousands): 10,514 (2014) Working population (thousands): 5,182 (2014) Population density (inhabit./sq km): 115.4 (2010) Official designation: Republic of Portugal Capital: Lisbon (2.8 million inhabit. – metropolitan area) Language: Portuguese Currency: EUR (in units of 100 cents)


    There has been a massive effort to renovate the historic part of the city and new investors renovated homes and buildings, discovering the charm and the privilege of living in the centre of Porto. Despite the renovation boom, prices haven’t gone up and are still very competitive. The formerly rigid tenancy rules have also finally been loosened up, opening up a new market for long-term rentals. 

    If you would like to be put in touch with a lawyer to assist you with buying property in Portugal and/or applying for the Golden Visa in Portugal, contact De Micco & Friends.


    *The information provided is intended as general guidance only for those considering applying for the Golden Visa in Spain and is not a substitute for specific legal advice about your specific information. If you would like specific legal advice in relation to Golden Visa Applications from an experienced lawyer, please contact De Micco & Friends at

    **The Schengen area countries in Europe are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
    ***EU countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

    Last actualisation: May 2018

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