The Golden Visa for Portugal is one of the most sought-after citizenship by investment programs in the world, due to the lenient residency requirements, low investment options (by Golden Visa standards, of course), and the allure of an EU passport.

If you receive a Portuguese Golden Visa, you and your family members will be able to live and work in Portugal, have access to its health and education system, travel visa-free to Schengen, and five years later, you’re eligible to apply for a Portuguese passport.

Of course, you need to make a sizable investment – in the hundreds of thousands – but many consider the pay-off to be worth the price.

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements

To get a Golden Visa for Portugal, you have to make one of the following investments:

  • Buy real estate worth at least €500,000. The amount is brought down to €400,000 if the property is in a low-density area.
    • Note: Starting from July 2021, you will not be able to purchase property in metropolitan areas of Portugal, such as Lisbon, Porto, or the coastal Algarve.
  • Invest €350,000 in a property located in a Portuguese urban regeneration area. The amount is brought down to €280,000 if the property is in a low-density area. The project you invest in must be qualified by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).
  • Invest at least €350,000 in a qualifying Investment Fund.
  • Transfer at least €1 million in a Portuguese bank account.
  • Buy at least €1 million worth of shares or make an investment of at least €1 million in a Portuguese company.
  • Create at least ten new jobs for Portuguese citizens.
  • Invest at least €350,000 for research activities in science or technology in scientific research institutions.
  • Invest at least €250,000 to support the reconstruction of Portuguese heritage or arts.

You must have no criminal record, your assets must have been obtained legally, and you must be over the age of 18.

Applying for a Portugal Golden Visa

After making your investment, you can apply for a Golden Visa yourself, or you can appoint a legal representative to submit the application at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) on your behalf. The application process is as follows:

  1. Register online with the SEF’s portal for receiving Golden Visa Applications, the ARI Portal. There are separate application options on the website, depending on whether you are applying yourself or if a legal representative is applying instead.
  2. Complete the online application form.
  3. Upload the required documents for the Golden Visa, depending on the type of investment you make. The documents must be in PDF format, maximum of 4MB. See Documents Required for a Portugal Golden Visa below.
  4. Confirm the submission of your application.
  5. Pay the Golden Visa application fee. You can pay all relevant fees via a single document, called the Single Collection Document (DUC).
  6. Wait for confirmation from the SEF to proceed with scheduling your appointment.
  7. Login to the ARI portal again, and go to the “Calendar” section.
  8. Select the SEF service counter where you want to apply as well as the date and time of your appointment.
  9. Print out the schedule receipt.
  10. On the date of your appointment, appear at the selected SEF service desk and submit your biometric data and the physical copies of the required documents.

Documents Required for a Portugal Golden Visa

The documents you have to submit for a Golden Visa application depend on the type of investment you make. You will need to submit:

  • Your passport. It must be valid for at least another six months.
  • Two passport-size pictures. The pictures must follow Portugal visa photo requirements.
  • Proof of health insurance. You must get valid health insurance for Portugal or enroll under the National Health System in Portugal.
  • Your criminal records. You have to get a certificate proving that you do not have a criminal record. The certificate has to be issued in the last three months, and you must get one from any country that you have lived in for longer than one year.
  • Sworn Statement to maintain your investment for at least five years.
  • Printed payment receipt from the ARI portal.
  • If you have purchased real estate property:
    • Acquired Property Deed or the pre-contract agreement.
    • Proof you have transferred the assets to a financial institution in Portugal.
    • The Land Register Certificate, and any other documents which prove your ownership of the property.
  • If you have invested in a property in an urban regeneration area:
    • A document, issued by the relevant entity that proves that the property is in a regeneration area.
  • If you have made a capital transfer of at least €1 million:
    • Declaration from the bank proving the existence of the deposit.
  • If you have created at least ten new jobs:
    • Declaration from a bank registered in Portugal, proving you have made the required deposit.
    • The employment contracts for each employee.
    • Extract from the register of companies (only if you are a shareholder in a company).
  • If you have made an investment in the arts:
    • Declaration from a bank registered in Portugal, proving you have made the required deposit.
    • A Declaration by the Portuguese Strategy, Planning and Cultural Assessment Office. The document must support the legibility of your investment and state that they have consulted with the relevant authorities in the sector of your investment.
  • If you have made an investment in research activities:
    • Declaration from a bank registered in Portugal, proving you have made the required deposit.
    • Declaration from the public or private scientific research institution in which you have invested, supporting the existence of your investment.

Document guidelines:

When you attach the electronic copies of the documents on the ARI Portal, they must be in PDF and a maximum of 4MB.

The documents you submit have to be either in English or Portuguese. If they are not, you must send them to a certified translator for translation and then notarize the translation.

Documents such as birth and marriage certificates, criminal records, and other civic documents have to be legalized, either through an Apostille Stamp (if your country is part of the Apostille Convention) or by the nearest Portuguese Embassy.

Duration of the Portugal Golden Visa

When you apply for a Golden Visa, you will receive a residence permit which is initially valid for one year. After the first year, you can apply for renewal and you will get a two-year residence permit. You can keep renewing your residence permit every two years, then after five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Residency Requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa

You only have to be in the country for seven days per year in the first year to maintain the residence permit, then at least 14 days for every subsequent two-year period. That means that at the end of the five year period which makes you eligible for citizenship, you only need to have spent 35 days in total in the country.

Portugal Golden Visa to Permanent Residence

After you have maintained your investment for five years, you can apply either for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency. If you have a permanent residence permit, you can live and work in Portugal indefinitely and travel to other countries in the EU without a visa.

The permanent residence permit is valid for five years, and you can keep renewing it indefinitely. There are no language requirements to get permanent residency, as opposed to citizenship.

Portuguese Citizenship by Investment

Five years after you get a Golden Visa, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship . You must submit the application at the SEF, along with documents proving the following:

  • That you have maintained your investment for the last five years
  • That you have spent at least 35 days in Portugal in the last five years
  • That you have passed the Portuguese language test.
  • That you have no criminal records.

Obtaining a Portuguese passport means that you have the same rights as other EU citizens, including the right to free movement and work, and visa-free access to over 180 countries.

Where do Family Members Stand?

Your immediate family members (spouse/partner and dependent children) will also get residence permits if you get a Golden Visa. To apply for family reunification, you have to:

  • Login on the ARI portal.
  • Create a “family group”.
  • Submit the required documents for each family member:
    • Passport
    • IDs
    • Proof of family relationship
    • Proof of health insurance
    • Any other required documents.
  • Pay the visa application fee.
  • Wait for confirmation.
  • Schedule an appointment for them to appear at the SEF offices to submit their biometrics and documents.

The following family members are eligible to apply for family reunification with you:

  • Your spouse
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Dependent children up to age 26. They must be students and not married.
  • Parents, if they are over the age of 65.

Can I Travel to Other EU Countries With a Golden Visa?

Yes, if you qualify for a Golden Visa for Portugal, you will receive a Portugal residence permit. This will allow you to travel to other countries in the EU and Schengen Zone, for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Changes to the Golden Visa Program in Portugal in 2021

In January 2021, the Portuguese government announced changes to their Golden Visa Program which are aimed at increasing foreign investment in low-density areas. As per the new rules, starting from July 2021, investment in metropolitan or coastal cities, such as Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Setubal or the Silver Coast will no longer qualify for a Portugal Golden Visa.

These changes were implemented because since the program came into force in 2012, the majority of investments were made in bigger and high-density cities, neglecting other areas of the country.

There will be a transition period that will run to the end of December 2021, and allow anyone who has applied until July 2021 to finalize their investment and their visa applications.