Golden Visa Portugal 2022: All you need to know
Launched in October 2012, the Golden Visa Portugal Program is one of the most sought after in the World. Aimed at those who want to invest and/or live in Portuguese territory, since it was created, almost ten thousand families have already received their Golden Visa Portugal. Learn more about this program, how it works, and how to get your visa.
What is the Golden Visa Portugal?
The Golden Visa Portugal, also known as the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), is a visa modality that allows citizens from countries outside the European Union to reside in Portuguese soil by making proven investments.
After the economic crisis of 2008, Portugal launched the program in October 2012, with the main goal of attracting international capital to Portuguese territory. Proving to be a great success, the Golden Visa Portugal Program has made it possible, through investments of at least five years, for non-European citizens to have the right to apply for Portuguese nationality, allowing them to live permanently or just make investments in the country.
In recent years, the demand for this type of visa has increased, especially because with just a passport or residence permit you leverage a number of other benefits, such as free movement in Schengen and access to the EU’s free market.
Real Estate is undoubtedly the most sought-after sector.
- From October 2012 to March 2022, 6,224,560,351.18 euros have already been invested in the Golden Visa Portugal program.
- Of this total, 5,604,285,459.59 euros were invested in the real estate market, which reflects a rate of 90%.
On January 1, 2022 some changes to the conditions of access to the Golden Visa Portugal were applied. In this article, you will learn about the changes in the new legislation.
Golden Visa Portugal Program: how does it work?
Aimed at investors who invest large sums of money in the domestic market, the Golden Visa Program suits those who seek flexible and legal access to great investment opportunities in Portugal, creating new opportunities and resources in national territory, in the most varied sectors.
It is possible to obtain the Golden Visa Portugal respecting the following requirements/types of investment:
- Investing capital in the amount equal to or greater than 1.5 million euros
Being the most flexible method to obtain Visa access to Portugal, this modality, among other ways (such as the purchase of shares in a Portuguese company or the incorporation of a private limited company) allows the possibility of a capital transfer to a deposit account, both for the acquisition of public debt instruments of the Portuguese State and for the acquisition of book entry securities.
- Investing in real estate
In this type of investment, the Visa applicant has two options:
You have the possibility to acquire the Golden Visa Portugal by investing in real estate worth €500,000 or more – which can later be used as a method of investment through rental, for example. In addition, if the investment is in a low density area of the country, the minimum value decreases by 20%, to 400 thousand Euros.
Another possibility allows the investor to acquire the Golden Visa by investing in old real estate, in areas of urban rehabilitation, for an overall amount equal to or greater than 350,000 euros. This investment is redirected to properties built more than 30 years ago, with the aim of promoting their rehabilitation. If these are located in low density territories, the minimum investment amount can be reduced by 20%, to 280 thousand Euros.
- Creation of new jobs
The Golden Visa can also be obtained by investors who create at least 10 new jobs, in a Portuguese company owned by the main applicant. If it is formed in a sparsely populated area, this minimum requirement can be reduced by 20%, or 8 jobs.
- Investment in scientific research
Since 2015, the Golden Visa Portugal can also be acquired through investments in scientific research of at least €500,000. Research must be integrated in the Portuguese scientific and technological systems, developed by both public and private institutions.
Similarly, if this type of investment is made in a low population density territory, the minimum value can be reduced by 20%, about 400 thousand Euros.
- Investment in the preservation and/or conservation of cultural heritage, or artistic production
The investor is also eligible for the Golden Visa Portugal through investments in the preservation and conservation of the country’s cultural heritage or artistic production. This investment has a minimum amount of 250,000 euros, and, if applied in an area with low population density, it can be reduced by 20% to 200,000 euros.
- Investing in investment funds
Investing in venture capital and investment funds is another alternative to applying for the Golden Visa. With a minimum value of 500 thousand Euros, the investor is eligible for the Visa provided that the amount is invested in a company that (with at least 5 years at the time of the investment) is under Portuguese law. In addition, 60% of the amount invested must be in commercial companies based in Portuguese territory.
- Investments to establish or strengthen a domestic commercial company
Also eligible for the Golden Visa Portugal is the investor who applies a minimum amount (or more) of 500 thousand Euros, as long as it is directed to the constitution of a commercial company with headquarters in Portugal, and generates five new permanent jobs.
As a capital stock reinforcement, this investment can also be applied in a commercial company that has already been incorporated, which must have its headquarters in national territory. In addition, it must also have the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of five permanent ones, and for a minimum of three years.
Changes effective January 1, 2022
As of January 1, 2022, changes were applied, imposing new limits to some criteria that were established for granting ARI, as determined by Decree Law 14/2021. These changes brought significant changes and affect the types of investments made in Portugal. The two main changes were:
- The delineation of the specific areas to acquire the Golden Visa through residential real estate investment.
Official data show that 90% of the Gold Visas granted in Portugal come from real estate investment (until March 2022). With the new changes applied, investments in residential real estate became more conditioned, and are now more directed to the inland regions of the Portuguese territory.
Thus, residential real estate investment is no longer allowed in coastal regions, such as Oporto, Lisbon, and the Algarve, among others. Current investors who are Golden Visa applicants will thus be limited to investments in the inland territories of the country and the islands, Madeira and the Azores, in their entirety.
Still, it is important to note that this limitation only applies to investments in residential properties, while commercial and tourist properties have no restrictions on location.
- Increase of the minimum amounts in some of the investment hypotheses.
These new measures are not retroactive. Thus, processes that already exist or those that began to develop up to the date when the new limitations went into effect are not affected.
The current war conflict on European territory, between Ukraine and Russia, has also brought conditioning factors access to investments and residence permits, namely, for Russian citizens. As of February 26, due to the new SEF guidelines, the SEF suspended its evaluations of applications for investment residency permits.
Added to this update is the blocking of Russian applicants from applying the Golden Passport and Golden Visa schemes by member states, following an appeal by the European Parliament (EP).
Since the beginning of the Golden Visa program, Portugal has granted 431 authorizations to Russian citizens, who have invested a total of 278 million Euros in the country. Furthermore, according to the SEF balance, Russia is the fifth country with the highest number of residence permits granted in Portuguese territory.
In January, before the application of this new restriction, Russia was the 4th country that invested most in Portugal via the Golden Visa. Around 4 million euros were spent on the acquisition of real estate, and seven new visas were issued.
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Who can apply for the Golden Visa Portugal?
Any citizen who is not a member of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) becomes eligible for the Golden Visa Portugal. The applicant must be at least 18 years old, have no criminal record in the country of origin (as well as in Portugal), and his/her investment funds must be of foreign origin.
The applicant must make one of the 7 minimum investments mentioned above in order to obtain the visa. This can be done individually or through a company incorporated in Portuguese territory, as well as in another member state of the European Union.
- Besides this minimum quantitative requirement needed to invest, it is necessary to pay attention to the minimum period of stay in the country: who requests the Golden Visa Portugal, has to stay for some periods in national territory, also known as minimum residency requirement. Per year, those with a GV must stay in the country for at least 7 days.
Initial residence permits are valid for two years, and subsequent ones for every three years. When the change is permanent, the holder of a visa valid for two years will have to stay at least 14 days, during this period in Portugal. Then, once renewed, they are validated for 3 years, and the applicant is required to stay at least 21 days in the country every three-year period.
- Regardless of the type of investment, it must be maintained for about 5 years from the date the residence permit is granted.
For families, under family reunification, the principal applicant is able to extend his Golden Visa to the remaining family members. Thus, any family member who falls under the limitations of family reunification is entitled to a residence permit in Portuguese territory. What are these limitations?
- Children under 18;
- Dependent children under the age of 26, provided they are full-time students and not married;
- The parents of the main applicant, if they are over 65.
What are the advantages of acquiring a Portuguese Golden Visa?
Besides being an alternative for those who wish to take advantage of investment opportunities in the national territory, the Golden Visa is a viable means for those who wish to reside or work legally in Portugal. Among other benefits, holding a Golden Visa Portugal allows you to
- Obtain permission to live, work and study in Portugal.
- Benefit from family reunification.
- Move freely within the Schengen area without the need for additional visas.
- Applying for citizenship or permanent residency after 5 years in the country – respecting some requirements such as: 1º) not having any pending tax payments in Portugal; 2º) having both criminal records (the home country’s and the Portuguese) clean, and 3º) the approval in the basic Portuguese language test.
Process for obtaining the Golden Visa Portugal, step by step
Understand how you can get your Golden Visa Portugal by following these steps:
- Decide on the type of investment
This is one of the most important steps. You should go through the list of available investment types and decide which one best fits you, your investor profile and budget.
- Choose the best investment location
With the changes imposed in January 2022, it is important to pay attention to where you will invest. There are more benefits to investments in the interior of the country, and the minimum required amounts are lower compared to those in densely populated areas.
- Make the investment
Once you have reviewed the above points, it is time to make a decision and realize the investment. At this stage it is important to analyze the various forms of payment. It should also be noted that the minimum amount cannot be borrowed from Portuguese banks, as the country expects the main applicant to bring the minimum required amount from abroad.
- Apply for the visa
The Golden Visa Portugal can only be requested after the investment has been made, thus being the last step. Here, it is also necessary to pay attention to the necessary documentation, and the following documents are indispensable:
- Passport or other government issued travel document;
- Proof of investment made by the lead applicant individually;
- Proof from a Portuguese bank confirming the transfer of the funds;
- Proof of health insurance;
- Criminal record from the country of origin, issued 3 months after submission of the documentation;
- SEF authorization form to access the criminal record;
- Statement on meeting the minimum investment investment requirements for the five-year period;
- Documents proving regularity with the Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security;
- Receipt for payment of the ARI application;
Attention: Depending on the type of investment made, there may be other requests for documentation different from the one listed above.
Costs and Fees when applying for the Golden Visa
According to the SEF fee schedule, the costs are:
- 533.90 for the Processing Fee (once at the beginning and then at each renewal);
- 5,336.40 for the Initial Application Fee (only at the beginning of the process);
- 2,668.20 for the renewal Application Fee (per person);
- Legal Fees (progressive payments, which vary according to the law firms and the types of investments of the applicants).
Key steps to advance with a Gold Visa through Real Estate
When it comes to choosing the best investment route to obtain a Gold Visa, investment in real estate is by far the one that best meets the profiles of the requesting investors.
Discover some steps that will make your investment process easier through the real estate medium:
- The selection of a lawyer in Portugal, with previous experience in similar cases, is indispensable. With a trustworthy lawyer specialized in this type of procedure, he/she will be responsible for dealing with all the fiscal and bureaucratic processes to obtain your visa, as well as coordinating all the procedures with the SEF.
- Selecting a real estate partner with strong references and proven experience in this type of process is fundamental.
A strong and reliable real estate partner will be able to offer the best real estate investment option, suitable to what you are looking for, as well as ensure that the investment made has a good profitability and/or potential, being assured of its future appreciation. In this type of option, there are many issues that need to be taken into account when making a decision, such as the selection of the best area, the typology of the property, the investor’s specific requirements, and the long-term strategy, among others. Therefore, having someone on your side to guide you through this process is very important.
For you, who are looking to obtain your Golden Visa through real estate investment, the 5 Stars Team is at your disposal, working exclusively to help you both in the way of real estate investment, and also in recommending competent lawyers to accompany you through the process successfully.
The Golden Visa is increasingly sought after by investors, and Portugal is a country of choice. Portugal’s prospection in the markets is enticing, and when it comes to investments, it is in the sights of the most powerful.
Figure 1- Arrábida – Setúbal (Portugal)
The important thing is always to weigh your options, make an assessment of the market, and calculate the risks.
To apply for a Golden Visa Portugal you need to pre-register online at the ARI Portal, available at http://ari.sef.pt.
You may also consult the Procedures Manual Regarding the Investment Residence Permit (Ari) at: Manual_ARI_2017.pdf (sef.pt)
TEAM 5 STARS provides all the necessary support to foreign investors and Gold Visa applicants. We can help you find investment opportunities in the real estate sector.
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