Visas, residence permits and citizenship in Portugal in 2020
Entry, departure and stays in Portugal are governed by the Law on immigration (
Portugal is a member of the Schengen Area: certain nationalities must apply for a visa beforehand. There are four main types: A, B, C or D. For more information, check out our Schengen Visa article.
How to get a residence permit
Residence permits in Portugal are granted for:
- family reunification (spouses and children)
- marriage to a Portuguese citizen
- official employment permit
- university studies
- investment into the economy (“Golden Residence Permit”)
How to get a “Golden Residence Permit”
This programme was launched in October 2012 and offers residence permits to applicants who invest in the Portuguese economy. The process takes less than two months and has several stages.
1. Investment criteria:
- purchase of property worth more than €500,000 (investment amount may be reduced by 20% (€400,000) in case such investment is made in low density population areas)
- purchase of property built over 30 years ago or located in areas of urban renovation worth more than €350,000. Property built more than 30 years ago must remain in its initial state: any changes, even to minor planning, deprive the property of this status and it is excluded from programme eligibility. Several objects can be purchased (e.g., two apartments worth €175,000), residential or commercial property, as well as land destined for construction or agriculture. The property can be used as a personal residence or for rental purposes. The property must be free of encumbrances including a mortgage.
- creation of 10 jobs via social security service of Portugal: affidavit (statement) regarding the fulfilment of minimal investment obligations in due time, signed by the investor and a receipt for state duty fee paid to the Borders and Foreigners Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF).
- €1M investment minimum into a Portuguese bank, shares or bonds of local companies (with the possibility of withdrawal). When opening a bank account, a residence address outside the EU is required.
- €350,000 investment in cultural or scientific research
- €250,000 investment in artistic production or national natural inheritance
- €500,000 investment in small business support fund
2. Due diligence. A lawyer conducts due diligence of the documents to confirm that the applicant is eligible for the programme.
3. Personal identification procedure performed in Portugal. The applicant must be present in person to give their biometric details (fingerprints). However, a representative in Portugal can file the required documents:
- proof of legal entry and stay in Portugal (Schengen visa)
- criminal record check from country of residence
- international medical insurance
- proof of investment (e.g. title deed or real estate
- statement of no liability issued by the State tax and customs control service of Portugal
A Golden Residence Permit lasts five years. Investment activity is interchangeable: property can be sold and employment can be created instead or vice versa. Moreover, it is not necessary to own the same house for five years as long as the level of investment is maintained.
Investment can be direct or indirect: shares in a Portuguese or EU company are considered a indirect investment; shares in a company held by the investor is considered as an investment. For example, if the applicant holds 50% of the shares in a company, the investment doubles (to a minimum of €1M).
A residence permit is valid for one year from the date of issue and can be prolonged for two additional
(+ 80.04 for each family member)
|Application fee (investor)||5 137.50|
|Application fee (family member)||5 137.50|
|Extension fee||2 568.75|
How to get a citizenship
After five years on a golden visa the holder can apply for a citizenship. This requires a language test in Portuguese at A2 (basic) level and criminal record check.
Portuguese citizenship can be granted:
- by right of birth
- after three years of marriage to a Portuguese citizen
- adoption by Portuguese citizens
- by naturalisation after six years of residence
A Portuguese passport gives the holder the right to travel without a visa to 172 different countries including the EU, Schengen countries, Canada, Singapore, USA and Hong Kong. The holder can also live, work and conduct business in EU. Portugal allows dual nationality.
Tranio collaborates with professional agencies specialised in residence programmes in Portugal and around the world. Contact us and we will refer you to reliable and experienced brokers.
New changes in the residence permit program for investments
The Portuguese Parliament on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, approved a bill to limit the issuance of residence permits for investment in real estate in the coastal regions of the country, including Porto and Lisbon. This means that a residence permit will be issued only for investments in the internal regions, as well as the Azores and Madeira. This is explained by the desire to revive the poorer and less populated regions of the country.
Changes to the residence permit program will come into force in 2021 and will not affect those who have already managed to take advantage of the residence permit program for investments.