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Golden Visa Portugal

Residence by Investment

Minimum Investment


Citizenship after 5 years

Freedom of movement within Schengen

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Portugal is a safe and stable country, affordable and with a great quality of life. It has good health care and education options, well-connected airports and the best climate in continental Europe. Portugal’s investment visa program is one of the most popular in both Europe and the world for excellent reasons:

  • In the Portugal Golden Visa program possible to choose from a variety of investment options. All of them are relatively affordable and
  • will grant you permanent residency and/or citizenship in 5-6 years.
  • The required length of stay in Portugal is on average only 7 days per year.
  • As a resident of Portugal, you can travel freely throughout all Schengen treaty countries.
  • Once you meet the criteria to apply for citizenship, you can live and work anywhere in the EU/EEA.

As far as your investment visa is concerned, the Portuguese program is also relatively accessible. These are the best options for most people wishing to invest in Portugal:

  • Real estate investments starting at 280 thousand euros (although more commonly 350 thousand or 500 thousand euros).
  • An investment of 350 thousand euros in a private equity fund.

Residence Visa for Investment in Portugal (ARI)

The ARI visa better known as Golden Visa is a program through which investors from non-EU countries can obtain a permit to temporarily reside in Portugal. The process is relatively simple once the requirements are met. Portugal has one of the fastest systems for obtaining the Golden Visa. During 2019 Portugal granted 1245 investment visas.

Who is eligible for the Golden Visa?

Anyone except Portuguese and EU/EFTA citizens, can apply for the Golden Visa after completing a suitable investment in Portugal. The investment can be made individually or through a legal entity that must meet certain requirements.

Requirements for obtaining residence by investment in Portugal

The main requirements you will need to meet before applying for any Portuguese visa including the Investment Visa (ARI) are:

  • Be absent of any criminal record that may disqualify you. (Not having been convicted of a crime, not being banned from entering Portuguese territory, not having an indication of non-admission in the Schengen information system, not having an indication of non-admission in the SEF information system).
  • A valid passport
  • Evidence that you are legally present in Portugal (visa, entry stamps, etc.).
  • Proof that you are covered by the Portuguese public health system. This can also be a private primary health insurance that will cover you for the duration of your residence in Portugal (or for a shorter period, but with automatic renewal).
  • Criminal record letter from your country of origin and/or the country (or countries) where you have been living for more than one year.
  • It is essential that the criminal record extract is issued within 3 months of the online application.
  • Completion of a form authorizing SEF to obtain an extract of your Portuguese criminal record.
  • Affidavit stating that you will meet all minimum investment requirements (amount and term of 5 years).
  • Documents showing good standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and the Social Security system.  These can be issued no later than 45 days prior to your online application.
  • A receipt showing payment of the ARI visa application processing fee.
  • Specific documentation related to your investments (see below).

All documentation (unless otherwise indicated) must be issued within 90 days prior to the date you submit your online application. It must also be legalized (for example, with an apostille if your home country has signed the Hague Convention). In addition, everything that is not in Portuguese must be translated and certified.

Golden Visa (ARI) What kind of minimum investment is required?

If you are not a citizen of an EU member country and you wish to gain access to permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship while moving freely within the Schengen area in practically record time compared to other countries, you can apply for the Portuguese investment visa.

To do so, you will have to meet one of the minimum investment conditions required by the Portuguese state for its concession:

Last but not least, in order to maintain the benefits of your Portugal Investment Visa in all the above cases you must comply with the minimum requirements of physical presence mentioned below:

  • Maintain the investment for a minimum period of five years .
  • Stay a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year, then at least 14 days in each subsequent 2-year period.

Advantages of the Golden Visa

It should be noted that the holder of an ARI investment visa is eligible for the benefits of the non-resident status (RNH) which exists in Portugal and is highly desired by thousands of international investors.

The investment residency program in Portugal grants residency through real estate investments but without the requirement of residency. These programs are especially popular with investors who do not wish to emigrate and move their family, but require flexibility should they ever need it.

The Portugal Investment Visa comes with freedom of travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.

Eventually, if you and your family wish to obtain permanent residency and/or Portuguese citizenship, you can usually apply within 5 to 6 years. On the other hand it is not possible to work in Portugal or any EU/EEA country with this visa until you meet the requirements for permanent residency or citizenship, in which case you will obtain a Portuguese passport.

Process for applying for the Golden Visa of Portugal (ARI)

The initial application for the Portugal Investment Visa is submitted online at the ARI portal, including copies of supporting documentation. Once the Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF) approves the application, you will need to appear in person for an interview. The SEF portal will allow you to book the interview in any district of your choice.

The Golden Visa application is usually completed through a lawyer and can take up to 6 months to be approved. It is technically possible to do everything on your own, but it is not recommended as the procedure requires a fiscal address in Portugal.  Documentation proving a national tax number (NIF) and a Portuguese bank account are necessary for the confirmation of the transfer of funds to a Portuguese bank when making your investment.

You need a Portuguese tax number (NIF) to open the bank account. It is not a complicated process and can be done in less than a day. To obtain a NIF as someone without a fixed legal address in the EU/EEA, you will need a Portuguese representative for the tax authorities. This can be your lawyer.

If you wish to bring your family members, their application is sent simultaneously. A processing fee of 532.70 Euros is paid for the first applicant and 83.10 Euros for each of the remaining family members.

When your application is approved, you will pay an approval fee of 5,274.40 Euros for each applicant.

After ten to twenty days, you will receive your green card valid for one year.

How to prepare to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa

While the process is not very complicated, it does involve gathering a lot of documentation, both in Portugal and in your home country. It is a good idea to work with a native Portuguese speaker if you do not already know the language. The documents must be translated into Portuguese and apostilled for submission. Below you can see the data and documents requested in the ARI portal:

Registration of new Candidate for Residence Permit for Investment.

The following fields must be completed, after logging into the ARI Portal.

  • Email: optional if you have a legal representative
  • Type of investment
  • Identification
  • Passport
  • Address and telephone contacts, preferably in national territory
  • Legal representative (email) – An optional email was identified in item 1 above

Presentation of application for residence authorization for investment regime

  1. Enter the ARI Portal
  2. Complete the application and submit it
  3. Upload the documents required for the application according to the type of investment
  4. Submission of the application with all the requested documents (documents must be placed in PDF format with a maximum of 4MB).
  5. Confirmation of application submission
  6. Entry on the “Payments” page
  7. Indication of the NIF
  8. Printing of the Documento Único de Cobro (DUC) with the respective fee analysis
  9. Proceed with the payment of the DUC within the indicated deadline
  10. Wait for SEF email informing that: a) The application has been accepted and you can now schedule. b) The application has errors and needs to be corrected and resubmitted.

Scheduling trips to SEF (after SEF validation of the documents entered in the application)

  1. Log in to the ARI Portal
  2. On the Application page, go to the “Calendar” option.
  3. Select the service office (availability is guaranteed at various SEF service counters on the national territory).
  4. Choose the year / month
  5. Select the day
  6. Choose the time (if the desired time is no longer available, you will have to select another time)
  7. Receipt of an email with trip scheduling data to the SEF service desk to deliver the necessary documents and collect biometric data.

Process for renewing the Portugal Golden Visa (ARI)

During the first year of Golden Visa in Portugal your residence card will allow you to travel freely within the Schengen countries. You must also present your passport, without applying for any visa. In the first two years, you must spend at least a total of fourteen days in Portugal.

To renew your residence permit, you must go through a renewal process approximately one month before your current residence card expires. During the renewal process, you must again provide biometric data (fingerprints, etc.), updated criminal record. Also, re-pay a fee of 2,637.20 euros per applicant. In addition to that, the processing fee is again 532.70 euros for the first applicant and 83.10 euros for other family members.

Your new residence card is again valid for two years. During this period, you must again be in Portugal for at least 14 days (consecutive or non-consecutive). At the end of year 4, another renewal process takes place.

When applying for renewal for the 5th year you will have another residence card, valid for another two years. Again, in this period you must be in Portugal for at least 14 days, consecutive or non-consecutive. After the fifth year, you can apply for permanent residence or citizenship (you can choose which).

If you do not wish to apply for either, you can continue to renew your Investment Visa in Portugal every two years.

Recommendations for buying a house or property in Portugal as an investment

The purchase of a property in Portugal is open to anyone, with no nationality or residency restrictions. However, you must first obtain your NIF (Portuguese tax identification number).

It is advisable to search for interesting properties beforehand on real estate agent websites. Some companies offer both rentals and sales.

These companies can help you find investment properties with high yields and rent them out. It is important to take into consideration that in Portugal, brokers usually work for the seller. While they are not paid a fee directly they are incentivized to sell properties for the highest possible price.

In February 2020 a proposal was approved that seeks to exclude properties in Lisbon, Porto and other coastal municipalities from qualifying for the Golden Visa. The final changes and new rules will come into effect by the end of the year. Currently only real estate investments in Lisbon and Porto are eligible to recover your investment if you are not granted an Investment Visa (ARI).

Other countries offering Investment Visa programs

Now that you know how to apply for your Investment Visa in Portugal and if you are planning to invest in a property, we invite you to fill out our form to receive personal advice from our experts to facilitate the process.