What is the Portugal Golden Visa ?
The Portugal Golden Visa, is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal. It was launched by Portuguese authorities in October 2012, through which non-EU citizens can through investment activities in Portugal can qualify for a residency permit and eventually passport for Portugal. This permit allows the investor to enter and/or live in Portugal, and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen Area).
The Portugal Golden Visa is a straightforward, flexible programme, aimed at attracting foreign investment into Portugal. It is considered one of the most attractive residency programmes in the world, since investors do not need to live in Portugal and can include both dependent children and dependent parents.
What are the main advantages of the Portugal Golden Visa?
The holders of a Portuguese Golden Visa have many advantages:
- You do not need a visa to enter Portugal or travel through Europe (Schengen Area).
- You can live and work in Portugal, even with residency in a different country.
- Portuguese residency can be extended to family members.
- It has extremely low minimum stay periods compared to other residency / citizenship programmes.
- You can attain permanent residency after five years.
- You can attain citizenship after six years.
What types of investments are allowed under the Portugal Golden Visa?
The three most popular types of investments that qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa are:
- Acquisition of property in the amount of or greater than € 500,000
- Transfer of funds above € 1,000,000
- Creation of at least 10 (ten) jobs in Portugal
Please note, only investments made after 8th October 2012 are eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa and you only need to make of these investments
What are the general requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa is one of the most popular residency by investment programmes because of its simplicity, speed and limited number of requirements. It requires investor to comply with the following general requirements across all types of qualifying investments:
- Maintain the investment for a minimum period of 5 years
- Ensure funds for the investment come from abroad
- Entry into Portugal should be with a valid Schengen visa
- There must be no breaches or reference in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services
- Absence of conviction of crime both in Portugal and in home country
- Minimum stay in Portugal: 7 (seven) days during the first year and 14 (fourteen) days during each subsequent period of two years
What is the flexibility within each investment type for the Portugal Golden Visa?
The Portugal Golden Visa allows considerable freedom in each type of investment
(a) Property investment:
- Minimum investment of € 500,000
- Purchase of one or multiple properties
- All property types qualify
- Possibility of co-ownership;
- Freedom to use, rent or lease
(b) Transfer of Funds
- Minimum investment of € 1 million
- Funds transferred from abroad to a bank in Portugal
- Total freedom to invest the funds
- Possibility of using the funds to invest in shares of companies
(c) Job Creation
- Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs
- No minimum investment value
- No limitation on areas/activities
- Compliance with Social Security obligations
What is the validity of the Portugal Golden Visa ?
The Portugal Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of 1 (one) year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of 2 years.
Can family be included in the Portugal Golden Visa Residence Permit?
The Portugal Golden Visa will be extended to family members, namely children, spouse and dependent family members. The family members will also be eligible for Permanent Residency after 5 years Portuguese Citizenship after 6 years. Portuguese law defines family as:
- The spouse of the applicant
- Minors of the couple or of one of the members of the couple
- Adopted children by an unmarried applicant or by his/her spouse, provided such adoption was authorised by the relevant authority of the country of origin and has the same legal effects to those natural children, and that such decision is recognised in Portugal
- Children of age, who are financially dependent on one or both parents, provided they are single and studying
- First degree ascendants (parents) of the couple on the condition that they are financially dependent
- Minor siblings (on the condition that they are legally under the responsibility of the resident in their country of origin).
How can the investor and family obtain Permanent Residency and / or Citizenship.
Under the laws of Portugal, any person that has held a valid Portuguese temporary residency card (Portugal Golden Visa) for a minimum period of 5 years, will be entitled to obtain Permanent Residency in Portugal.
- The investor and family members will have to meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for Permanent Residency in Portugal:
- Absence of conviction of crime during the last 5 (five years)
- Proof of income / financial independence
- Proof of accommodation in Portugal
- Basic knowledge of Portuguese
The Portuguese legislation also sets out that any person who has been validly resident in Portugal for at least 6 (years (either under a temporary or permanent residency title), is eligible for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship. In order to be able to obtain Portuguese Citizenship, the investor and family members will also have to comply with the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old (or at least 16 but married or legally responsible)
- Absence of conviction of any crime
- Pass a simple Portuguese language test, which will serve to show sufficient knowledge of the language
What documents are needed for the application of the Portugal Golden Visa?
The application for the Portugal Golden Visa requires submission of the following documentation:
- Proof of Investment
- Passport & Valid Schengen Visa
- Portuguese Fiscal number
- Clean Criminal Record statement from country of residency & Clean Portuguese Criminal Record
- Declaration from the Portuguese Tax & social Security Departments proving the absence of debts to them
- Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements
- Health Insurance valid in Portugal
It should be noted that document issued by foreign authorities need to be Translated / legalized before being submitted in Portugal. This legalization means obtaining the Appostille of the Hague Convention (when applicable) or legalization by the Portuguese Consular services.
What are the costs for the Portugal Golden Visa ?
Typical application costs paid to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Services (SEF) for the Portugal Golden Visa
- Initial application - € 520.40
- Issue of Investor Residency Permit - € 5,202.60
- Renewal of Investor Residency Permit - € 2,601.30
- Family application analsis - € 80.20
- Issue of Portuguese Residency Permit for Family Members - € 5,202.60
- Renewal of Portuguese Residency Permit for Family Members - € 2,601.30
What are the taxes and costs for property purchase and ownership?
For the Portugal Golden Visa via property investment, an investor must also consider the following taxes and costs:
a) Payable when the property is purchased :
- “IMT” or Property Transfer Tax”, is the tax on transfer of ownership and varies with price of the property ( It is sliding scale based on the purchase price - a guidelne figure is circa 5-6%)
- Stamp Duty - normally 0.8% of the property price
b) Payable on an annual basis:
- “IMI” or Council Tax, which is the annual municipal property tax; it is levied between 0.3% and 0.5% on the property’s tax value
c) Payable on an annual basis:
- Rental income will be taxed at a rate of 28%.
Does the investor have to live in the property he is purchasing or can it be rented out ?
There is no obligation for the investor to live in the property that he has bought for the Portugal Golden Visa Permit. It can be rented if the investor wishes. It must be noted that rental income will be taxed at a rate of 28%.
With the Golden Visa does the investor need to pay taxes in Portugal on his worldwide income?
If the holder of the golden visa does not stay in Portugal form more than 183 consecutive days, he/she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal. Only income arising in Portugal (eg from rent, interest) is taxed in Portugal at 28%.
Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he no longer needs the Portugal Golden Visa?
Yes, the investor is free to sell the property / investment if he no longer wishes to continue with the Golden Visa programme. However to qualify fully, investor must hold the investment during Portugal Golden Visa’s validity period – 5 year
What are the grounds for refusing the Portugal Golden Visa ?
The investor (or any family member) will be refused the Golden Visa, or its renewal, if:
- the investor has not maintained the investment for the minimum period of 5 (years)
- the investor has not complied with the minimum periods of stay in Portugal
- the investor has been convicted of a crime
- the investor in a period where he/she has been banned entry into Portuguese territory following a removal measure of the country
The Golden Visa may be also refused on the grounds of public order, public security or public health.
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