Portugal - Citizenship & Golden Visas for Investors
The benefits of investing in Portugal
Portugal Investor Visas for non-EU nationals provide an opportunity to obtain residence status and citizenship after the qualifying period.
The Non-Habitual Residence programme
The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) programme was introduced in Portugal in 2009. Its aim is to attract foreign investment to the country by offering attractive tax benefits to incentivise expats to consider retirement in Portugal. The programme offers a 10-year tax break on qualifying foreign income. Qualifying income, amongst other things, includes annuities and company dividends.
One of the most attractive options is the ability to apply for permanent residency and after 5 years without the need to reside in Portugal. In fact, the applicant and their family need only visit for two weeks every two years in order to renew the Portuguese Golden Visa. In Portugal, citizenship can be granted without the applicant residing in the country.
However, the investor having acquired residency through the golden visa programme will need to demonstrate ties to the country and pass a basic language test. Citizenship of Portugal and a second passport conveys the right to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
The Portuguese residency card granted through the golden visa programme allows the holder to travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.
How to qualify for this programme
To qualify as a non-habitual tax resident in Portugal, you will first need to obtain residence in Portugal. This can be done through a special retirement visa. The retirement visa requires you to spend 183 days or more per year in Portugal or establish a place of abode there. Once you have done that, you will be able to get yourself designated as a non-habitual tax resident of Portugal.
As a non-habitual tax resident, you will be exempt from paying taxes on certain types of qualifying foreign income in Portugal and only pay a low tax rate on pension funds. Private pension and most other pension income are taxed at 10% in Portugal. Most double taxation treaties grant exclusive taxation rights on pension income to the country of residence, which in this case would be Portugal.
If your tax is planned properly and thoroughly, the low tax rate on pensions means you could significantly boost your net worth. What’s more, Portugal doesn’t have an inheritance tax regime, so all your assets can eventually be passed down to your family tax-free.
Why people chose Portugal
Not only is this an excellent programme for retirement, but the NHR also opens the door for everyone to claim EU citizenship. After holding a Portuguese visa for a qualifying period (usually six years) you may be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
The Portugal Golden Visa program remains an extremely popular Golden Visa opportunity for Europe with investors attracted by the low cost of entry along with the various secure investment options available.
Investment Visas for Portugal and other countries are no longer the preserve of the few. Migration Investment programmes are now the fastest growing area of immigration law globally as people come to realise residency and a second Citizenship is not just desirable but a vital part of any effective global freedom, privacy and security strategy.
Expert in the niche area of Golden Visas for investors in Portugal. Our team strive to provide the most suitable investment opportunities to meet our clients needs to ensure they can secure residency via the Golden Visa programme as an investor.
Investing in Portugal
Golden Visas For Investors in Portugal
Previously, a residence visa was granted where investments were made in Portugal via one of the following forms:
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 350,000 to be applied to research activities carried out by entities which are part of the national scientific and technological system
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 250,000 to be applied in investment or support for artistic production, or the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 500,000 for the acquisition of units in investment or venture capital funds for the capitalisation of small and medium-sized companies
- An investment creating 10 new jobs in Portugal
- A passive investment of EUR 1 million
The new option for Property Acquisition is:
- The purchase of a property for the minimum amount of EUR 350,000 for the purpose of refurbishing it, for properties that were constructed more than 30 years ago or are located in areas of urban regeneration. The EUR 350,000 threshold includes not only the property’s price but also the investment in the refurbishment works
There are minimum residency requirements in order to qualify for the renewal of the Golden Residence Permit. However, these are very modest: seven days during the first year of residence in order to be entitled to the first renewal, and 14 days over the two subsequent year periods necessary for renewals.
Golden Visas for Investors
Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Program is offered in accordance with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Department of Consular Affairs and the Portuguese Trade and Investment Agency (AICEP).
Aimed at attracting foreign direct investments to the country, the program yields a residency permit in Portugal to non-EU investors who fulfil one of the investment options below and meet the following requirements:
- Provide proof that investment funds originate from abroad.
- Hold no criminal record.
- The main applicant’s property is not frozen within the boundaries of the EU.
- Pay application and processing fees where applicable.
- Enter Portugal for the first time on a valid Schengen visa.
- Meet or exceed the minimum stay requirements. (Seven days for the first year, 14 days for subsequent two-year periods.)
1. Property Investment Options
In July 2015, through Act 63/2015 and Regulatory Decree 15-A/2015, the required investment options were revised and new ones added. Investors can now choose from the following:
- Applicants may acquire property valued at €500,000 or more, or
- Applicants may acquire property valued at €350,000 or more for properties more than 30 years old or located in urban regeneration areas designated for refurbishing, or
- Acquisition of property fitting any of the above requirements with 20% reduction on the minimum amount of investment, if purchased on a low density population area (€400,000.00 or €280,000.00)
Golden Visas for EUR 350,000
Golden visa legislation in Portugal allows a 30% reduction in the qualifying limit through investment in buildings which are over 30 years old and in need of renovation work. This brings the required investment down from €500,000 to just €350,000.
Properties that fall into this category are not only difficult to come by, due to stringent requirements, but it is difficult for international investors to manage the renovation works from aboard.
We have a selection of renovation projects to offer in Lisbon and other locations which will allow investors to qualify for the reduced investment route. The cost of the renovation work is included in the price and will be completely managed for you by the developer, saving overseas buyers the stress and time and costs of overseeing this aspect themselves.
Financial Return on Investment
Some of these properties offer a guaranteed rental return of 4% per annum. The projects we can offer vary in price and a portfolio of properties can be bought to make up the required €350,000 investment.
Due to the rarity and demand for such developments, these properties sell quickly when released onto the market. We urge investors who are seriously interested in these opportunities to contact us as soon as possible as we often have a waiting list in place for such renovations.
Golden Visas and Guaranteed Rental Income
There are several great opportunities to purchase an investment property which are managed by a globally recognised property management companies, offering guaranteed rental return and access to the Portuguese Golden Visa programme. These are often within a managed hotel complex.
- The guaranteed total return of 25%, paid over a minimum of 5 years (5% p.a)
- 25-year management and rental agreement
- Prices ranging in price from €550,000 to €1,050,000 for existing freehold property
- Ongoing performance-related annual income, this is not guaranteed but projected to be 5% pa
- No additional management costs
Investors purchasing property at or above €500,000 will qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
To Qualify and Apply For a Gloden Visa For Portugal
To qualify for the Golden Visa, the foreign investor must purchase the aforementioned property valued at the required rate. Alternatively, the investor must transfer at least one million Euros as an investment into a Portuguese commercial enterprise and this investment must create at least ten jobs for Portuguese nationals.
The application for the Golden Visa
the program must contain:
- proof of the foreign national’s investment
- A copy of your passport
- Two passport photos
- A Portuguese fiscal number
- Criminal record report
- A declaration from the Tax Departments of previous countries of residence
- A declaration from the Portugal Social Security confirming no debts to the country
- A declaration from the investor stating that the investor has complied with the Golden Visa program rules and proof that the investor obtained valid Portuguese health insurance.
The foreign investor is allowed to bring his/her spouse and children to Portugal. The Golden Visa is initially valid for one year and may be renewed twice for two year increments as long as the investor proves that the investor has resided in Portugal for at least seven days during the first year of residence and at least fourteen days during the second year of residence, and that the investment funds remain in place and are creating (or have created) the necessary ten new employment positions for Portuguese workers.
Benefits of the Golden Visa
In the inaugural year of the Golden Visa program, Portugal issued 318 visas, most of which were awarded to Chinese nationals with the remainder going to Russian nationals, Angolan nationals, and Brazilian nationals. Golden Visa holders are authorised to live, work, and travel into Portugal without the need for additional employment or travel documents.
Because Portugal is part of the European Schengen Area, which is comprised of 26 European countries, Golden Visa holders are authorised to travel anywhere within the Schengen Area for up to ninety days per trip. These areas include:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Obtaining Permanent Residency and Portuguese Citizenship
After five years of holding the Golden Visa, the foreign investor and family can apply for Portuguese permanent residency. The application must contain proof that the foreign investor possesses a clean criminal record, financial independence sufficient to support him/herself and family, proof of domicile and residence in Portugal, and basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.
Once the investor has been a resident for six years (counting the five years that the investor was a Golden Visa holder), the investor can apply for Portuguese citizenship through a legal proceeding called naturalisation. The naturalisation application also includes proof of a clean criminal record but requires passage of a Portuguese language test to ensure the foreign national and family can adequately speak the nation’s language. Upon approval, the investor can apply for a Portuguese passport and live, work, study, and travel in Portugal without restriction or condition.
Importantly, Portugal recognises dual citizenship and does not require new citizens to renounce their previous nationality.
More facts about Portugal
Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe
it became the kingdom of Portugal in 1139, and Portugal’s borders have barely changed since 1297 when the Portuguese and Spanish signed a treaty handing over the Algarve to Portugal. The first king, Alfonso I Henriques, came to power in 1143 and the country remained a kingdom for the next 800 years up until 1910 when it became a republic.
Portugal’s official name República Portuguesa (the Portuguese Republic) is named after the country’s second-largest city of Porto
Today, Portugal consists of mainland Portugal, the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago. The nine islands of the Azores are situated about two hours’ flight from the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. The Madeira Archipelago, which consists of Madeira, Porto Santo and two uninhabited islands which are nature reserves, lies about 500km off the African coast.
Portugal was the world’s first maritime power and birthplace to some of the world’s first explorers
It was at the forefront of European exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries: During the Age of Discovery, Ferdinand Magellan was the first person to circumnavigate the globe; Vasco de Gama discovered the sea route to India; Bartholomew Diaz was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa, which he called the Cape of Good Hope; and Álvares Cabral and others discovered new lands, including Brazil, parts of Africa and the Far East – and claimed them for Portugal.
Portuguese is the official language of eight other countries outside of Portugal
As a result of its colonisation, Portuguese is spoken in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, as well as Goa in India and Macau. It’s the 6th most spoken first language in the world with around 203 million speakers (2014).
Portugal is a founding member of NATO and an EU member
It joined the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union (EU), in 1986. Portugal was awarded a 78 billion EUR EU/IMF bailout by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2011 on the understanding that the government would adopt austerity measures.
Portugal was one of the first countries to adopt the euro
You can still exchange Portuguese escudo banknotes for euros: it officially gave up its own currency, the Portuguese escudo, in favour of the euro in 1999. The euro currency was introduced in 2002 and the Banco de Portugal (Central Bank of Portugal) will continue to exchange escudo banknotes until 28 February 2022.