With the aim of attracting foreign investors to live and invest in Portugal, the Portuguese government has created a special residence card (Golden Visa) for foreign (non-EU/EEE national) investors.
For the purposes of obtaining the Golden Visa, the applicant should meet at least one of the following conditions:
- A transfer of capital to Portugal of at least EUR 1 Million;
- Creation of at least 10 new jobs in Portugal;
- Acquisition of real estate in Portugal with a value of, at least, EUR 500,000;
- Acquisition of real estate in Portugal, where construction ended at least 30 years ago, or is located in an urban regeneration area and implementation of renovation works on the purchased real estate, amounting to a global value equal to, or greater than, EUR 350,000;
- A transfer of capital equal to, or greater than, EUR 350,000, that is aimed at developing and enhancing research activities developed by public or private scientific institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system;
- A transfer of capital equal to, or greater than, EUR 250,000, that is aimed at the investment or support of artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage, through certain recognised institutions;
- A transfer of capital equal to, or greater than, EUR 350,000, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds dedicated to the capitalisation of companies, which are/were incorporated under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the moment of the investment, is, at least, of five years, and, at least, 60% of the investment is realised in commercial companies with head office in Portugal;
- Capital transfer in the amount of EUR 350,000, or higher, for incorporation of a commercial society with head office in Portugal, combined with the creation of 5 permanent working jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial society with head office in Portugal, already incorporated, with the creation or maintenance of working jobs, with a minimum of 5 permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of 3 years.
Please note that the amounts mentioned above may be reduced by 20% when the related activities are carried out in certain less populated areas in the Portuguese territory (as defined in Portuguese law).
For the purposes of obtaining the criteria relating to the acquisition of real estate, the following situations are also admissible:
- Co-ownership of the real estate, with each co-owner making an investment of a minimum of EUR 500,000;
- Making only Promissory Contracts of purchase before the initial application for the Golden Visa, provided that a deposit of a minimum of EUR 500,000 is made. However, at renewal stage (i.e. after 1 year), the purchase of the property must have been completed;
- (Bank) financing of the acquisition of the property for the purchase price in excess of EUR 500,000;
- Rental or letting of the property for commercial, agricultural and tourism purposes.
The individual may invest directly or by means of a limited liability company of which the applicant is the sole owner, registered in Portugal or in an EU Member State (with a permanent establishment in Portugal).
The requirements should be met throughout a minimum period of 5 years, counting from the date the residence card is issued for the first time, with the aim of applying for permanent residence.
Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of 1 year and then should be renewed for subsequent periods of 2 years, provided that the conditions are maintained. For the purposes of renewing the residence permit, the investor shall provide proof that they have remained in Portuguese territory for the required minimum periods during the validity of the card: 7 days, consecutive or staggered, in the first year; or 14 days, consecutive or staggered, in subsequent 2 year periods.
The investor can apply for family reunification and extend the residence to their immediate family members, including: spouse, minor children, dependent adult children, first degree ancestors who are dependents of the bearer or his spouse, minor siblings provided they are under the tutelage of the resident. Once in possession of the Golden Visa, investors are allowed to travel within the Schengen Area, which is constituted by 26 European countries, without the need to apply for a visa. With the Golden Visa, the applicant may stay in other Schengen countries up to 90 days in each period of 180 days.
The Golden Visa programme was established in 2012. Since the programme was established, it has brought more than EUR 3.2 billion in investment to Portugal and has been utilised by more than 14,000 immigrants, including principal investors (5,553) and their family members (9,315), according to recent information released in January 2018. Of these investors, the vast majority have come from China, followed by Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Lebanon.
From the alternative ways of investment chosen by investors to obtain the Golden Visa, the acquisition of real estate has been the preferred way and the most requested areas to invest are in Lisbon, its neighbourhood areas of Estoril and Cascais, and the Algarve.
The investors who obtain the Golden Visa may also qualify as potential beneficiaries of the NHRs tax residence regime.
Through the beneficial tax regime for NHRs and the Golden Visa regime, Portugal is a very attractive country to live and invest, both for European and non-European nationals.
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