Following months of uncertainty, Portugal’s President has officially signed the ”More Housing” bill which ends real estate investment as a route to the Golden Visa programme. The new law has been enacted. New legislation incorporates following as eligible investment vehicles:
The Golden Residence Permit Programme (Autorização de Residência para Atividade de Investimento - ARI), launched by Portuguese authorities in October 2012, is a fast-track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residence permit in Portugal (otherwise known as a Golden Visa).
Under the Golden Residence Permit Programme, non-EU citizens must carry out one of the investments set out in the law to qualify for a residency permit in Portugal. This permit allows the investor to enter and/or live in Portugal and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen Area).
Aimed at attracting foreign investment in Portugal, the Golden Visa is a straightforward, flexible program with transparent legal requirements. By reducing the country’s minimum stay requirements, the Portuguese government has made the Golden Visa one of the most attractive residency programs in the world.
The D7 visa, also referred to as the Passive Income visa, is aimed at retired international citizens or other immigrants (regardless of age) with a stable income wishing to reside in Portugal. D7 visa holders may be away from Portugal consecutively for 6 months per year only or 8 non-consecutive months per year (during the validity of each residence permit).These timings may vary, if duly justified for personal or professional reasons.
Applicants have to prove that they have a regular AND reliable income, drawn from any country, from their own resources such as pensions, rents from real estate / other assets, intellectual property, financial applications etc.
Besides the regular income, applicants should be in a position to prove that they have additional funds beyond the minimum required; this amount varies depending on the number of family members composing the applicant’s household.
By October 2022 over 11,200 global investors had participated in the Golden Visa Program and 18,400+ family members had been approved. In Europe, only the UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa program has raised more capital than Portugal’s Golden Visa Program.
Every year more and more people are taking advantage of the Portuguese government’s residency-by-investment programme showcasing trust in the economy and quality of life provided by this Iberian country.
Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of one year (since COVID-19, the initial card is issued for two years, however this may change back in future) and can be renewed for subsequent periods of two years.
It is important that the investor seeks a legal representative. The investors are making a sizable investment. As such, it is crucial that no chances are taken during the preparation, submission and renewal of the residency application.
Investors should ensure that the law firm performs these tasks:
In general, all investors have to meet the following requirements:
Kindly get in touch with us so that we can provide the updated government fees.
The Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, 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 and Switzerland.
Once the application is submitted at Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), it can take 12-18 months for the application to be processed. Please note that this is an estimate based on past experience. Time taken by SEF to approve the residency may be shorter or longer.
Yes. You may work during the period of your Golden Visa, as well as after you get the permanent residency permit.
Yes. Under the Golden Residence Permit Program, the investor’s family members can obtain a Portuguese resident permit by applying for a “family reunion”. The Golden Visa can then be extended to dependent family members (children, spouse and dependent family members).
One of the benefits of the Golden Visa is the possibility of applying for the family reunion at the same time as applying for your Golden Visa.
Like the primary investor, these family members may then be eligible for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.
The following dependents may apply for the Golden Visa at the same time as the main applicant:
Permanent residency may be granted to those who have successfully renewed their residence permit for a full five-year period. Permanent residency shall be granted to someone who can provide:
The permanent residence permit is granted for life. Notwithstanding, the card has to be renewed every 5 years or whenever there is a change of particulars, namely the holder’s address in Portugal or his / her marital status.
A permanent residence permit is not subject to minimum stay requirements. But, except in the case of the Golden Visa Permanent Residency, a permanent residence permit may be canceled if the holder, without an acceptable justification, is away from Portugal for a period of 24 consecutive months, or for a period of non-consecutive 30 months over 3 years. However, it is explicitly deemed acceptable to be away for any period of time in one’s country of origin in order to carry out a professional, entrepreneurial, cultural or social activity. In practice, SEF will only demand to see proof of the holder having actually lived in the country or of a justification of absence from the country in the event the renewal of the card is requested after its expiry date. As such, provided the renewal of the permanent resident’s ID card is applied for before the expiry date, Portugal’s minimum stay requirements should not be a major concern.
Without prejudice to any special provisions, a residence permit holder is implicitly entitled to:
The legal provisions securing equal treatment to foreign citizens, specifically in connection to social security, fiscal benefits, participation in unions, recognition of diplomas, certificates and other Professional qualifications, as well as the right of access to goods and services available to the public and the application of provisions granting them special rights, are secured
Foreigners must abstain from engaging in activities that lead to convictions that, separately or cumulatively, exceed one year imprisonment, independently from the suspension of sentences delivered on grounds of deliberate crime as contained in the provisions of this Law, or on grounds of terrorism, violent crime or organized crime.
Proving basic knowledge of the Portuguese language is required from every applicant for either permanent residency or citizenship, regardless of the basis on which the application is submitted. The language knowledge requirements for obtaining citizenship are exactly the same as those for obtaining permanent residency. Under the Foreigners’ Law, the applicant for a permanent residence permit must prove having knowledge of “basic Portuguese”. According to SEF (Portugal’s border agency), in case such knowledge cannot be proved, the temporary residence permit will be renewed until this requirement is met. In case the temporary residence permit is a Golden Visa, this may be renewed every two years as long as the required investment is kept in place. The proof consists of a certificate of A2 level proficiency (in accordance with CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) issued by one of the following institutions:
The test has a written and an oral component, but the written component may be waived for people over the age of 60, who are illiterate and for seriously ill or handicapped people. In addition, under 10-year old children and people having special needs may request that the test be adapted to their particular circumstances. Under 18-year old children may not take the test at some of the centers for evaluating the knowledge of Portuguese as a foreign language, but the certificate may be replaced by a declaration issued by a school that the minor has attended.
Unlike residency, the application for citizenship is to be submitted to a civil registry office and not to SEF. However, once citizenship is acquired, passport applications are handled by SEF. Portuguese citizenship by naturalization may be applied to someone who:
The applicants for citizenship must submit documentary evidence of the existence of effective ties to Portugal and / or the Portuguese community, and the State Attorney may oppose the granting of citizenship if such ties are either too few or too weak. Examples of acceptable ties include:
A fiscal number is an identification number for the Portuguese Tax Authority (also known as the tax number). This number is required to carry out the investments. Unless you are a fiscal resident in the EU you will need a fiscal representative in the country.Despite recent alterations that permit residents outside the EU to choose to be notified online rather than have a tax representative, in practical terms, in order to access online notifications, the person will still need a tax representative to acquire the tax number and up until they select to be notified online (via their online access to the Tax Authorities website). It should be noted that even after this stage it is important to have a tax representative, as the notifications (which can contain important deadlines) will be sent entirely in Portuguese and will only be sent to the website, which requires the person to constantly check if they have been notified.
The following documents must be submitted by Golden Visa applicants for the initial application and then for applying for each renewal:
To be accepted, the criminal record certificate (or Police clearance letter) must have been issued no more than 90 days before the date of its submission and, in the case of other certificates, 180 days.
In addition to the above, in order to apply for permanent residency or citizenship, a basic Portuguese language test must be passed.
Except for the passport, in order to be accepted by the Portuguese authorities each document issued outside of Portugal has to be a) legalized and, if it is not in Portuguese, b) translated into Portuguese by means of a certified translation.
The rules governing the granting of Residence Permit for Investment (ARI / Golden Visa), in force from 8 October 2012, enable third country nationals to obtain a temporary residence permit to conduct business activities with visa waiver to enter national territory. The beneficiaries of ARI / Golden Visa are entitled to:
All Non-EU citizens who conduct an investment activity, provided these citizens fulfill the quantitative requirements and the time requirements set out by the relevant legislation, may apply for a Residence Permit for Investment, by one of the following routes:
Portuguese, EU and EEE nationals are not eligible for the ARI / Golden Visa scheme.
Yes, as the investor, you only need to hold the investment during the Golden Visa’s validity period of five years. After this, the investor can sell the property, transfer the money to another country or close the job positions. We recommend that you keep the investment until citizenship is granted.
No, the investor does not need to occupy the property; it can be rented out to obtain income.
Yes, the application can be made in your name or through a Portuguese company fully owned by you.
The investor (or any family member) will only be refused the Golden Visa (or its renewal) if:
No, if the holder of the Golden Visa is not staying in Portugal for more than 183 consecutive days, he / she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal.
The Golden Visa is a temporary visa and has no impact on tax residency. Only if a person is considered a tax resident in Portugal will he / she be subject to tax here.
Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends etc.) will be taxed at a flat tax rate of 28%. All expenses related to the property are deductible, such as insurance costs, levies, monthly costs, municipality tax, rental and property management fees, and any maintenance done on the property prior to or during the rental period.
The non-habitual resident (NHR) regime is open to anyone who is a tax resident in Portugal (the person must have the right to reside in Portugal - i.e.,EU / EEA / Swiss citizens or a holder of a residence permit) and has not been a tax resident of the country during the previous 5 years.
The tax regime for non-habitual residents aims at attracting to Portugal non-residents engaged in high value-added activities or receiving income from intellectual or industrial property rights or know-how, as well as beneficiaries of pensions obtained abroad. It is applied for a period of 10 consecutive years.
Foreign-source self-employment or sole trader income derived from an eligible occupation, royalties, capital gains and investment or rental income will be exempt from Portuguese tax as long as they may be taxed in the source country either under a double taxation agreement or under the OECD model tax convention. In addition, such income must not be deemed Portugal-sourced under applicable Portuguese law, and must not be sourced from a blacklisted tax haven.
Foreign-source employment income will be exempt from Portuguese tax as long as it is liable to tax (at whatever rate) in the source country either under a double taxation treaty or under the OECD model tax convention and is not deemed Portugal-sourced under applicable Portuguese law.
Occupational pension income will be subject to a flat tax rate of 10% as long as it is liable to tax in the source country under a double taxation treaty or it is deemed as not being Portuguese-source income under applicable Portuguese law.
If your occupation is eligible (see list of eligible occupations below ), Portugal-source employment or self-employment / sole trader income will be taxed at a flat rate of 20%, while other Portugal-sourced types of income will be taxed at the normal rates applicable to resident taxpayers, the calculation of the applicable marginal tax rate taking into account all income, including exempt income.
Portugal does not tax wealth or capital duty, and an inheritance or a gift received by a spouse, descendant or ascendant is tax exempt. Inheritance or gifts received by other individuals will be either not taxable under territoriality rules, or else may be subject to a flat 10% stamp duty.
The individual must be deemed a resident, for tax purposes, of Portugal when he / she submits the application.
For this one must fulfill one of the following criteria:
In order to qualify as a “non-habitual resident”, a Portuguese national or a foreign individual having the right to live in Portugal must register as a tax resident of Portugal as long as he / she has not been resident in Portugal during the last 5 years. It should be noted that under the law, an unregistered individual will be deemed resident for tax purposes if he / she either spends more than 183 days in the country during a 12-month period, or has a place of abode in the country, “in a way that may lead to the supposition of an intention to keep and occupy it as a habitual home”.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have an automatic right to live in Portugal, individuals of other nationalities must obtain a residence permit.
Recognition of non-habitual resident status is not automatic and must be requested by March 31st of the year following that in which the applicant became a tax resident in Portugal. This regime is granted for a period of 10 years upon successful application to the Portuguese tax authorities..
In order to apply, one must fill out the request and provide a statement that the applicant was not resident for tax purposes in Portugal during the 5 years preceding arrival in Portugal. In case of doubt, tax authorities may request additional documentation such as a tax residence certificate from the previous country and / or a document ensuring that the vital and economic interests of the applicant were in another country during the previous 5 years.