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Portugal Golden Visa: Is it the Best Residency by Investment in Europe?  

The Portugal Golden Visa program launched in 2012 accepts over 2,000 applicants a year making it one of the world's most popular residency by investment programs and the easiest way to get an EU citizenship. They have two main ways that you can get residency and that is through investment or through real estate.

In this article, we will take a look at:

Table of Contents:

What is the Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa program, foreign investors who have invested at least €500,000 in real estate in major cities of Portugal or at least € 280,000 in one of its regions have the right to obtain a residence permit in the country.

There are a number of Golden Visa Programs in Europe that offer residency by investment and then after usually 5+ years you are eligible to apply for EU citizenship and an EU passport.


Before submitting an application, it is advised to consult with a Portugal Golden Visa lawyer or a Portugal Golden Visa consultant to check what documentation you need. Golden Visa requirements for foreign nationals:

  • A non-EU, non-Swiss, or non-EEA
  • Minimum investment of €250,000
  • A clean criminal record
  • A minimum of seven days stay in Portugal during the first year and no less than 14 days each two-year period. 

Investment Option

Portugal is an ideal destination for businesses looking to set up EU operations due to its stable political and economic climate. The country’s prime real estate market is also luring investors who are seeking out properties that they can purchase with the intention of renting them or selling them at a later date.

While the real-estate option is bar far the most popular, here are some other options that you can consider.

Portugal Golden Visa investment options include:

  • The requirement of capital transfer of no less than 1 million Euros
  • Start a Portuguese business that employs (8-10 national depending on the location)
  • 350,000 EUR investment in local business
  • 350,000 EUR Investment in a national fund
  • Investment into specific governmental approved research 350,000 EUR

Real Estate Option

  • Purchase property via real estate investment route of 400,000EUR- 500,000EUR (depending on low or high-density area)
  • Real estate investment in rehabilitation project at 280,000 EUR -350,000 EUR (depending on location)
  • 250,000 EUR investment into preserving buildings that have a national heritage

Getting a Golden visa through Portugal's real estate option is the most popular way to get residency in Portugal largely because the country has a booming housing market that has been proper up thanks to the success of this program.

It has a booming tourism industry that makes purchasing a piece of real estate all the more worthwhile as you can use the price of the property and rent it out either in the cities or through the cheapest option for 280,000EUR develop a low-density piece of land/house.



There are a number of advantages of getting a golden visa which include:

  • Free entry to 26 countries in the EU and visa-free travel to 183 countries
  • Variety of affordable investment options
  • Citizenship after 5 years of residence in the country
  • Tax deduction for 10 years
  • Short stay requirement (7 days)
  • Access to social and medical benefits


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Who is Eligible?

The Portugues golden visa program Portugal accepts family members as well all individuals that are:

  • A spouse or a live-in partner
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Dependent children under 26 (as long as they are single, enrolled as full-time students or financially dependent on their parents)
  • Parents of either spouse if they are over 66 years old (or 55 and dependent);
  • Siblings under the age of 18 from either spouse of legal partner (if they act as legal guardians)

Regulations Update

At the request of the authorities, new requirements for investors applying for Golden Visa will come into force in Portugal on January 1, 2022. Initially, the changes to the terms were announced for July 1, 2021. At the moment, the government states that the 2020-2021 period will be a transitional year.

These changes will include:

  • Investment -The investment fund amount option for the Golden Visa will change from €350,000 to €500,000

  • Real Estate - Properties in popular high-density coastal towns will not qualify for property investments

The Portuguese Council of Ministers approved changes to the Golden Visa programme on December 22, 2020. According to the new requirements, you won’t be able to apply for a residence permit if your purchased real estate is located in Lisbon, Porto and other cities of the entire coastline. Only less densely populated internal and autonomous regions will be part of the programme.

However, the Golden Visa programme will be relevant in the central part of the country, in the Azores and Madeira.

The amount of investment will also change. The table below compares the rules that are in action until January 1, 2022, and the ones when the changes come into force.

  • No less than €500,000 for any property (one or more) in any area of the country or €400,000 in a low-density area
  • No less than €350,000 for over a 30 years old building or a house located in urban rehabilitation areas.
  • No less than € 280,000 for a property that needs renovation and is located in a sparsely populated region
  • No less than €500,000 for properties in the interior of the country, as well as in the Azores and Madeira

No less than €350,000 for residential properties in urban rehabilitation areas, or for properties over 30 years old or located in the interior of Portugal, the Azores and Madeira.

It is worth noting that the new requirements apply only to residential properties. The purchase of commercial real estate is still available in Lisbon, Porto and other cities on the coast.

residency by investment visa.jpeg


The program sets an initial legal fee for submitting an application.

  • For a single applicant, the legal fee is €6,000 (dependents under the age of 18 can apply free of charge)
  • Additional Golden Visa Legal Fee for dependents at the age of 18 and older is €500 (Children are free)


The list of required documents may be altered at the discretion of the Portuguese government. It is obligatory to provide these documents for the application and for each subsequent renewal.

Documents include:

  • Application form
  • Copy of passport
  • Original contract of the purchased property or signed promissory contract proving of the deposit payment
  • Declaration from bank which confirms the transfer of funds
  • Certified copy of the criminal certificate
  • Completed form authorizing SEF to get access to your Portuguese criminal record
  • Declaration of investment requirements
  • Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system document demonstrating good standing (can be issued 45 days prior to your application); and
  • Receipt for application processing fee

Keep in mind that the certificates of criminal records must be issued no more than 90 days before submitting your application. For other certificates the requirement is 180 days.

Additional Application Requirements

1. Legalizing & Translating documents

Another requirement to get a Portugal Golden Visa is that all forms are legalized and translated into Portuguese (through a certified translator)

Documents must have a certified translation which can be done by:

  • The Consulate in Portugal or someone who is accredited by the Consulate
  • Or anyone whereby documents are certified by a Portuguese lawyer


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2. Getting a NIF and opening a bank account in Portugal

A NIF is a tax identification number and is distributed by the Portuguese fiscal authorities used for tax purposes and opening a bank account and buying property.

3. Language Proficiency

You don’t have to take a language test when applying for a Portugal Golden Visa. However, if your aim is to get Portuguese citizenship in 5 years, then the Portuguese language test for citizenship is a must. The CIPLE Portuguese proficiency test checks your basic comprehension of the Portuguese language.

4. Yearly Renewal of Visa

Every year the visa needs to be renewed:

  • For a single applicant — €1,000.
  • Additional fee for dependents at the age of18 and older — €500 (Children are free)

Other fees may arise depending on the investment.

Disclaimer: The fees may be changed at the discretion of the Portuguese government.

See our Cheapest Countries in the world to buy a passport in as little as 3 months.

portugal golden visa.jpeg

Tax Relief

Many foreign investors who are looking to get the most out of their financial contribution are appealed by Portugal’s Golden Visa income tax relief.

Golden Visa holders are not subject to extra taxes on revenue produced outside of Portugal. Moreover, you can become a fiscal resident for tax purposes in Portugal. It allows you to benefit from Portugal’s Non-Habitual Tax (NHR) Regime.

NHR is a functioning tax program with a number of benefits relating to your global income. There are tax-free incentives on certain categories for a period of up to 10 years.

Types of income eligible for the NHR program:

  • Dividends
  • Rental income and capital gains from the disposal of real estate
  • Pensions
  • Royalties
  • Business and self-employment profits derived from eligible occupations

Portuguese-based income would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% in the course of the first ten years. You can also pass on your wealth to a spouse or a dependent without paying inheritance or gift taxes.

See some of the world's best countries with no taxes.

Why you should consider buying and investing in a property in Portugal right now?

During the pandemic, Portugal did not suffer as many losses as some other EU countries. Many state structures have switched to online, and the authorities have taken measures to support the economy in the conditions of the crisis.

Now you can open a bank account and get a tax number remotely by issuing a power of attorney to a local lawyer. All documents are translated by certified specialists, their copies can be submitted to the relevant authorities.

You only need to come to the country to submit your biometric data. You can register for the procedure online on the portal of the Ministry of Immigration.

Previously, the consideration period of the application for a residence permit was 4 to 8 months. Now it is reduced - you can get an ID card sent by international postal services in just a few months.

The personal submission of documents for the delivery of biometric data will resume, which is likely to increase the queue. Moreover, interest in real estate in Lisbon and Porto has recently grown among investors from China. Therefore, in six months, there will be fewer liquid objects at good prices.

Experts say that one of the most profitable investments are new buildings. Developers are selling off properties and temporarily delaying the construction of the new ones, as there are suggestions that soon Portuguese banks will no longer issue a large number of loans. Housing in new buildings is becoming scarce, so buyers are actively booking properties that are still under construction.

Real estate for rent in Portugal is extremely appealing, as there are many international educational institutions in the country, not only in Porto and Lisbon, but also in other cities of the central region, such as Coimbra. The acquired property with universities and schools nearby will bring a stable rental income.

See the list of the best countries to buy citizenship around the world.

Summing up

At the moment, Portugal has no competitors that equal what Portugal offers among other members of the European Union in terms of the programme for obtaining a residence permit. There are many liquid properties in the country at reasonable prices and all real estate transactions can be carried out remotely.

Please note: Offshore Protection does not offer work visas services nor services related citizenship through ancestry. We only offer citizenship by investment and golden visa services. Read more for info on EU work visas and EU ancestry visas
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***Please Note: If you are a resident of a country that is a signatory of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) (or a US citizen) your tax reduction possibilities are limited. Due FATCA, CRS, and CFC laws you may not be able to completely eliminate your taxes without moving your residence. While opening an offshore company can increase privacy and asset protection, your tax obligations remans tied to your ownership of overseas entities. Offshore company's are often not taxed in the country where they are incorporated, rather you as the owner are obligated to pay taxes in the country where you reside. Please make sure you know your tax obligations, as we are not tax advisors. Please seek a local tax professional for help regarding your situation. 

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