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Portugal Golden Visa

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Portugal
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The Portuguese government grants a residence permit for purchasing property to be renovated starting at €350,000, or any property starting at €500,000.

€350,000

minimal real estate investments

2–6 month

to obtain a residence permit

5 years

of residence to acquire citizenship

Portugal Golden Visa is a state residence by investment program. This immigration program started in Portugal in 2012 and is considered one of the best in the world according to various ratings. It is an opportunity for foreign investors to travel without a visa across the Schengen Area and a short path to EU citizenship in just 5 years.

More than 9 thousand foreign investors were granted Portugal Golden Visa over the lifetime of the program. The majority of them are from China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia.

Program benefits

Fast obtaining of residence permit. The timeframe to obtain a residence permit is only 2-6 months, depending on the number of participants in the application.

Residence permit for the entire family. All family members can enroll in the program: the investor, his/her spouse, minor children, and dependent parents over the age of 55. Children under the age of 26 can also be included in the application if they are financially dependent on the applicant, not married, and are full-time students.

No exams. You don't have to take the Portuguese language and history exams to get the Golden Visa.

Limitless residence permit for maintaining the investments. A residence permit for investment is given for one year and is extended twice for two years (5 years in total). If you keep the purchased property, the residence permit may be extended further.

Relaxed requirements for staying in the country. To renew a residence permit for the investment you must spend at least 7 days in Portugal in the first year, and 14 days every next two years. In comparison, under the usual residence permit, you need to stay in the country for at least 183 days a year. However, if the investor intends to get a permanent residence permit or citizenship of Portugal, they will have to live in the country permanently.

Residence permit and citizenship in 5 years. In five years, the investor receives permanent residence in Portugal and applies for Portuguese citizenship. This is one of the fastest naturalizations in the European Union. In Spain and Italy, you may apply for citizenship only after 10 years, and in Greece, this period constitutes 7 years.

Dual Citizenship. Portugal recognizes dual citizenship, so you can keep your first passport.

Cheaper than in neighbouring countries. Housing in Portugal is cheaper than the European average, and for the same money, you can buy a larger property of better quality. Property in Portugal can be purchased for an average of 1,100 euros/m², while the average price in Spain is 1,800 euros/m².

Returns in euros. An investor may buy one or more properties on the primary or secondary market. Housing can be rented out and receive an income of 3–5% per annum.

Return on investment. You need to own the property for 5 years before obtaining permanent residence status. After that, you can sell the property and return the investment. If the investor sells the property earlier, he loses his residence permit.

Special tax regime. Investors planning to become tax residents in Portugal can request a special tax status – Non-Habitual Residents. The preferential tax regime is valid for 10 years and reduces the income tax rate to 20%. Investors are also exempt from tax on income received outside Portugal. There is no inheritance or gift tax and no estate tax. In addition, holders of this tax status have a free transfer of funds to Portugal and abroad.

Options for investments

  1. Buy real estate in Portugal worth €500,000 and more.
  2. Buy real estate in Portugal for an amount of €350,000 or more for renovation. The object must be over 30 years old and located in an area of cultural and historical heritage or urban regeneration. The investor undertakes to renovate the object.
  3. Buy shares in a Portuguese company or open a bank deposit of 1 million euros or more.
  4. Buy shares in an investment or venture capital fund worth €500,000 or more. At least 60% of the fund's investment must be in companies registered in Portugal.
  5. Register a business and create at least 10 jobs for Portuguese citizens.

Residence permit in Portugal for investment in real estate

Buying real estate is the most popular option for obtaining a residence permit in Portugal for investment. In 2019, more than 93% of investors chose this option among all Golden Visa options.

Real estate in Portugal is in steady demand. According to Standard & Poor's, Portugal is in the top three in Europe in terms of the real estate prices growth rate having a 7% growth rate in 2019.

The investment threshold for obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa is €500,000 for any property or €350,000 for property to renovate.

The minimum investment amount can be reduced by 20% to €400,000 and €280,000 respectively if the property is purchased in an area with low population density (less than 100 people per sq.km.) or low GDP (below 75% of the national average).

Residence by real estate investment in Lisbon, Porto and other coastal areas is available only until 1 January 2022. Starting from 1 January 2022, the Portuguese government will issue golden visas for the purchase of real estate only in the landlocked areas, the Azores, or Madeira.

The cost of housing outlined in the program is paid without a mortgage. However, it is possible to apply for a loan for an amount exceeding the minimum requirement of the program. For example, if you buy real estate for €700,000 while the minimum required by the program constitutes €500,000, you can take a mortgage for €200,000.

Please note that registration of the bought property in Portugal will constitute about 10–12% of its value. The maintenance of housing in Portugal will cost an average of €2,000 a year.

Investing in renovation properties for €350,000: pros and cons

Renovation property for €350,000 also gives the right to obtain a residence permit in Portugal. The housing must be built more than 30 years ago and be located in an area of cultural and historical heritage. Such properties are usually offered by developers. They buy whole buildings, carry out renovations and sell ready-made apartments as part of the Golden Visa program.

Therefore, real estate for €350,000 is often offered with a guaranteed rental income from the apartment or as an apart-hotel with the revenues from the occupancy rate. Depending on the location the owner may receive an income of 4% per annum.

Pros

  • A much lower entry threshold to the program of €350,000 instead of €500,000;
  • Guaranteed returns (often).

Cons

  • Gainful properties find a quick sale, the supply in this market is very limited;
  • Not all locations are available: there are almost no properties for sale in Algarve or Madeira.

How do I get a Golden Visa? 

  1. Choose a real estate property in Portugal;
  2. Open an account in a Portuguese bank to transfer funds and receive a foreigner’s tax ID number;
  3. Collect the documents and make a real estate deal that meets the requirements of the program;
  4. Submit an application on the website of the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) and schedule an appointment;
  5. Book an appointment for biometrics (appointments are scheduled 2–4 months in advance);
  6. Submit the documents for residence permit personally and/or through your representative;
  7. Come to Portugal to submit biometric data;
  8. Receive a residence permit card (you can do it through your representative).

Documents for a residence permit for purchasing real estate 

  1. Certificate of title and deed of purchase; 
  2. The renovation project, approved by the government (if the property was purchased for more than €350,000);
  3. Passport or copies of passports of all applicants;
  4. Documents proving legal entry and residence in the country;
  5. Medical insurance policy;
  6. Application for criminal background check in Portugal;
  7. Certificate of no criminal record in the applicant's country of residence;
  8. Tax clearance certificate from the tax authorities and social welfare institutions;
  9. Marriage certificates and birth certificates of children;
  10. Certificate of employment;
  11. Confirmation of the student status for children over 18 years old;
  12. Taxpayer Identification Number.

The documents must be translated into Portuguese by a certified translator, notarized and apostilled. 

Costs for obtaining a residence permit

The fee for a residence permit in Portugal constitutes €5,173 for each family member. Renewal of the residence permit will cost 50% of this rate, which is €2,586. 

The processing of the application for registration and renewal of the residence permit costs 517 euros for the main applicant and 80 euros for a family member.

Obtaining a tax number and the services of a tax representative will cost 200 euros. Health insurance also costs about 200 euros per person.

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    Anastasia Istomina
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