Officially called “ARI” (“Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento”), the Golden Visa in Portugal is Europe’s most successful residency-by-investment program.
The idea of Portugal’s Golden Visa program is to attract foreign investment and boost the Portuguese economy. The visa is also known as the ‘Resident Permit for Investment’ as it ‘fast-tracks’ Portuguese residency.
Holders of a Portuguese golden visa are given a temporary residence permit in Portugal for one year, which is renewable for two-year periods. After five years, holders of Portuguese Golden Visa can apply for a permanent residence permit in Portugal, while after six years they can apply for Portuguese citizenship by investment, if all other legal requirements are met.
Since the launch of the golden visa programme’s in 2012, more than 4,200 Portuguese Golden Visas have been given out, representing more than EUR 2.5 billion investment in the country.
The Portuguese Golden Visa program is one of the most popular both in Europe and the world, and for good reasons:
Any non-EU/EFTA national can apply for apply for a golden visa in Portugal, or Portuguese investor visa, provided they make at least one of the investments below, either as an individual business person or via a business set up in Portugal or another EU member state.
You must fit at least one of the following categories to claim Portuguese residency by investment:
Real Estate and its rehabilitation, investment in eligible properties that are over 30 years of age or are located in designated areas of urban rehabilitation AND the property purchase price plus the ex-VAT value of the rehabilitation work contract of at least €350,000. (Reduced to €280,000 if located in a low-density area).
Real Estate investment of at least €500,000 of any type of real estate and anywhere in Portugal. (Reduced to €400,000 if it is located in a low-density area);
The transfer of at least €1 million to Portugal
Creation of 10 new full-time jobs within a Portuguese business in the format of a single-member limited company. (Reduced to eight positions if in a low-density area);
Investment into the conservation of national heritage, arts and culture of at least €250,000;
Investment in research conducted by accredited institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system of at least €350,000;
Investment into an existing Portugal-registered business, or at least €350,000 to either incorporate or increase the share capital AND create at least 5 full-time permanent jobs for a minimum period or three years;
An investment of at least €350,000 can be made to a private equity fund. This can be a more convenient option for some as it avoids the hassle of looking for property and subsequent management.
The investment established for the Golden Visa has to be maintained for a minimum of five years from the date when the Portuguese Golden Visa is established.
The initial application is now submitted online, including copies of the supporting documentation. After the request is approved by Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF), you will have to appear in person for an interview.
Initially, the interview would take place in the district where the investment was made. Nowadays, however, SEF will allow you to book the interview in any district of your choice. This change has helped reduce the waiting time overall, especially in the more popular districts such as Lisbon and Faro.
Usually, you complete the application through your lawyer, and it can take up to 6 months for approval. It is technically possible to do everything on your own, but it is not recommended to do so.
While the process isn't very complicated, it does involve gathering a lot of documentation - both in Portugal and in your country of origin.
GET A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF STEPS REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR THE PORTUGUESE GOLDEN VISA HERE
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