The Golden Visa Programme 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 programme, 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 programme, with simple and clear legal requirements. With extremely reduced minimum stay requirements, the Golden Visa is clearly one of the most attractive residency programs for investors in the world.
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.
The simplicity of the Golden Visa Programme implies an extremely reduced amount of requirements being asked from the investor. The Golden Visa Programme 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; and
- Minimum stay in Portugal: 7 (seven) days during the first year and 14 (fourteen) days during each subsequent period of two years.
The Golden Visa Programme 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;
- Extremely low minimum stay periods;
- Permanent Residency after 5 years; and
- Citizenship after 6 years.
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.
Yes. Under the Golden Visa Programme, 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.
The Golden Visa involves payment of the following fees (payable directly to the Services of Foreigners and Borders ("SEF")):
- Processing fee (application and renewal) - € 513,75 (plus € 80.04 per family member);
- Initial Golden Visa - € 5,137.50;
- Initial Golden Visa for Family members - € 5,137.50;
- Renewal of Golden Visa - € 2,568.75.
Yes, the investor only needs to hold the investment during the Golden Visa's validity period – 5 years
Yes, but without proof that the investment has been kept, the investor will not be able to renew the Golden Visa Permit.
No. The investor does not need to occupy the property and it can be rented out to obtain income.
There are three 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.
Note: 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.
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.
Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends, etc) will be taxed at a rate of 28%.