Open the door to your new Portuguese lifestyle!
Imagine being able to move around Europe without any restrictions and being able to benefit from Portugal’s relaxed and sunny climate... No more Brexit restrictions, Visa applications, difficult to manage minimum stays or residency obstacles...
Well, you can stop imagining and start living this reality! All of this is a distinct possibility for those who are able to fulfill the criteria outlined by the Golden Visa Program.
Legal provisions provide the possibility for those who pursue investment activities in Portugal to apply for a Residence Permit - the so-called Golden Visa (ARI) - for those who transfer capital, create jobs or acquire Real Estate. The holders of a Golden Residence Permit for the purpose of investment activity have the right to family regrouping, and may gain access to a permanent residence permit, as well as to Portuguese citizenship in accordance with the current legal provisions.
Below are the details of the criteria for application as well as the benefits of doing so. However, you should be aware that a decree was issued in February 2021 that changes some of the criteria – details below. Applications made in 2021 will still be eligible under the current rules but from 1st January 2022, the new rules will come into force. It is expected that in 2022 you will no longer be able to buy a property in Lisbon, Porto or in some coastal cities in the Algarve.
Eligible properties to qualify for Golden Visa as from January 2022 will have to be located in the Azores, Madeira or interior territories in Portugal.
WHAT IS THE ‘RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR INVESTMENT ACTIVITY (ARI)’?
The ARI allows free movement throughout the Schengen Area (26 countries), only having to stay in Portugal 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the following years.
This can be granted to foreigners who make one of the following investments in national territory:
1. Purchase of a property in Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 for properties located in urban regeneration areas and carrying out rehabilitation works or properties at least 30 years old;
2. Capital Investment:
2.1 Capital transfer of at least €1.000.000 into Portugal
2.2 Investments in the range of €250.000-€350.000 in Portuguese arts/culture, in scientific/technology research or in small-medium business in Portugal
3. Creation of at least 10 job positions in Portugal
1. Acquisition of Real Estate of €350.000 / €500.000 or more
One of the ways to make investments in Portugal that have the effect of granting a Residence Permit for Investment Activity – "gold visas" or "golden visas" – is by acquiring property (as vacation home, full-time home or rental property), namely:
- Acquisition of property of 500.000 Euros or more
- Acquisition of property, the construction of which has been completed for at least 30 years or located in an urban rehabilitation area and carrying out rehabilitation works of acquired real estate, in the overall amount equal to or greater than 350.000 Euros
Please note that real estate can be acquired under joint ownership, provided that each owner invests an amount equal to or greater than 500.000 euros, or through a promissory contract of purchase and sale, with a deposit equal to or greater than 500.000 euros, which must be evidenced through a title of acquisition before the application for renewal of ARI.
2. Capital Investment
2.1 Amount equal to or greater than EUR 1 million
- International transfer, evidenced with declaration of a credit institution authorized or registered in national territory with Banco de Portugal;
- Acquisition of public debt instruments of the Portuguese State (bonds, savings certificates or treasury certificates);
- Acquisition of securities entitled to the bearer deposited with the depositary, evidenced with proof issued by the depositary;
- Acquisition of nominative securities not integrated into a centralised system, evidenced with a certificate issued by the respective issuer;
- Acquisition of securities composed integrated in a centralized system, evidenced with a certificate issued by the financial intermediary.
2.2 Amount equal to or greater than EUR 350,000
- When applied in research activities developed by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €350,000 or more, when intended for the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital funds aimed at the capitalization of companies, which are constituted under Portuguese law and whose maturity is at least 5 years and at least 60% of the value of investments is realised in commercial companies based in national territory;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €350,000 or more, when earmarked for the formation of a commercial company based in national territory, combined with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, or when intended to strengthen the share capital of a commercial company based in national territory, combined with the creation or maintenance of jobs , of which 5 are permanent;
- Transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than €350,000, when it is applied in investment to artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €350,000 or more, which is applied in research activities carried out by public or private institutions of scientific research, integrated into the national scientific and technological system;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €250,000 or more, which is applied in investment or support to artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services of the central and peripheral direct administration, public institutes, entities that integrate the corporate public sector, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, inter-municipal entities, entities that are part of the local business sector, municipal associations and cultural public associations, which continue attributions in the area of artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €350,000 or more, intended for the acquisition of units of participation in investment funds or venture capital funds geared towards the capitalisation of undertakings, which are constituted under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the time of the investment, is at least five years and at least 60% of the value of investments is realised in commercial companies based in national territory;
- Transfer of capital in the amount of €350,000 or more, intended for the formation of a commercial company established in national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or for the strengthening of the share capital of a commercial company established in national territory, already constituted, with the creation or maintenance of jobs , with a minimum of five permanent, and for a minimum period of three years.
3. Creation of Jobs
"Enterprising investors" will also be able to obtain the Golden Visa if they generate at least 10 jobs in Portugal, and this requirement may be reduced by 20% (8 jobs) when it is carried out in low density territory.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A GOLDEN VISA IN PORTUGAL?
- Applicants must be 18 years or older and hold a clean criminal record;
- Any non-EU/EEA/Swiss national can apply;
- Applicants must own the money they seek to invest in one of the available investment options previously listed;
- Investment has to be carried out at the time of submission of the application for the residence permit;
- Applicants must maintain that investment for at least another 5 years.
BENEFITS / RIGHTS
- Freedom to enter Portugal, without limitations of number of times of entry or exit with waiver of any type of visa;
- Freedom to move through the Schengen area, which covers 26 European countries, without the need for a visa;
- Family reunification (spouse, common-law partnership, minor children, older children and dependent parents, who are outside the national territory, who have lived with you in another country, who depend on or who cohabit with you);
- Benefit a friendly tax regime such as the NHR tax status, which is hard to beat;
- Being eligible for Portuguese Permanent Residency, after five years or the acquisition of Portuguese nationality, by naturalization – foundational knowledge of the Portuguese language will be a requirement;
- Access to healthcare system, education/teaching, law/courts;
- Benefit from the political stability, safety ranking and peacefulness of Portugal;
- Reside and work freely in Portugal, being able to maintain another residence in another country, having only to remain in national territory, at least, a period of not less than 7 days in the first year and not less than 14 days in subsequent years, having a greater freedom of movement than in the other residence permits;
- Request the renewal of a temporary residence permit up to 30 days before its validity expires;
- Have means of subsistence;
- Have fulfilled your tax and social security obligations;
- Have not been sentenced to a sentence/sentences that, alone or cumulatively, exceed one year in prison;
- Have met the minimum periods of stay of at least 7 days, followed or interpolated, in the first year and at least 14 days, followed or interpolated, in subsequent two-year periods;
- Prove the maintenance of the investment initially made in national territory;
MINIMUM LENGTH OF STAY
Those who wish to apply for The Golden Visa must stay in Portugal for more than 7 days in the first year, followed or interpolated, and 14 days, followed or interpolated, in subsequent periods of 2 years.
The Golden Visa is allocated for a period of 1 year and then renewed for 2 successive periods of 2 years to the investment, in any modality, must be maintained for five years, from the date of granting the Residence Permit.
- Valid passport
- Proof of entry and legal stay in Portuguese
- Proof that you are covered by health protection, which may be PB4 or travel insurance
- Country of origin criminal registration certificate issued up to 3 months before documentation is submitted
- Proof of Tax Identification Number of the country of tax residence
- Completed application for consultation of the criminal record Portuguese
- Declaration under commitment of honour, in which the applicant declares a commitment to maintain for five years investments in the country
- Proof of regularized contributory status upon presentation of a negative debt statement issued, with a maximum advance of 45 days, by the Tax and Customs and Social Security Authorities or, in its impossibility, declaration of no registration with these entities;
- ARI order analysis fee payment receipt
WHEN DO THE NEW GOLD VISA RULES BECOME VALID?
Decree 14/2021, published by the Portuguese Government on 12th February 2020, determines the 1st January 2022 as the date for the beginning of the validity of the new Portugal Golden Visa rules.
This decree changes the legal regime of entry, residence, departure and removal of foreigners from the national territory.
This amendment limits the granting of Residence Permits for Investment (ARI), in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto and in the territories of the Intermunicipal Communities (CIM's) of the coast that are excluded from the scope of the regime in the case of investments in housing real estate.
Investments in real estate for tourism, commerce and services seem to be excluded.
- The minimum amount of investment in capital transfer will be €1.500.000 (instead of the currently in force €1.000.000);
- The minimum amount of investment in capital transfer in research activities carried out by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system will be €500.000 (instead of those currently in force €350.000);
- The minimum investment amount for the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital funds for the capitalisation of companies, which are constituted under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the time of the investment, is at least five years and at least 60% of the value of investments is realised in commercial companies based in national territory will be €500.000 (instead of those currently in force €350.000);
- The minimum amount of investment in the transfer of capital intended for the formation of a commercial company established in national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or for the strengthening of the share capital of a commercial company established in national territory, already constituted, with the creation or maintenance of jobs , with a minimum of five permanents and for a minimum period of three years, will be €500.000 (instead of those currently in force €350.000);
- Reduction of the territories allowed to invest real estate, both in investments of €350.000 with rehabilitation works and investments of €500.000, and investments in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira or in the interior territories are allowed.
- The planned changes enter into force on 1st January 2022 and there is no transitional period.
It is therefore also possible to obtain this residence permit under the old requirements during 2021.
The Government stresses that these changes are without prejudice to the possibility of renewal or the granting or renewal of visas for family reunification where the residence permit for investment has been granted under the current law. This also means that you will still be able to apply for and benefit from this programme in its current form for almost a year.
In addition, the benefits associated with those who obtain the program will continue, with the great difference of the regions of the Portuguese territory where it can be requested.
The Golden Visa procurement regime is a very complex process with many associated conditions. If you are looking for a residence permit in Portugal under this program you should consult your law firm or seek close follow-up from a real estate agency to ensure that you meet all the mandatory requirements. The same applies to know whether your property for sale is eligible for Golden Visa or not.
WHERE MAY I APPLY?
You may submit your application online at SEF’s Portal (online pre-registration is mandatory)
Online pre-registration at http://ari.sef.pt or at http://ari.sef.pt/Account/RegistoRepresentanteLegal.aspx through a legal representative, duly appointed to this purpose (upon completion of registration, the legal representative must deliver a power of attorney signed by the applicant, giving him / her powers to this end).
Submit the application to the closest Regional Directorate or Local Branch of Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – SEF.
FOREIGNERS AND BORDERS SERVICE
INSTITUTE OF REGISTERS AND NOTARIES