The Golden Visa - Residence permit for investment activity (ARI)

The Golden Visa programme is a residence scheme that was established in 2012 to attract foreign investment in Portugal. It has done just that, bringing in over 6 billion euros in the decade since its inception - of which over 5 billion went directly into the Portuguese real estate market.

The Golden Visa scheme offers some fantastic benefits for investors including visa-free access to the Schengen area and the opportunity to extend the golden visa to immediate family members. The qualifying investment threshold is one of the lowest in Europe and investors can qualify for the NHR tax residence regime. Once granted, the Golden Visa is valid for an initial 1 year period and renewed every subsequent 2 years by providing proof of time spent in the Portuguese territory.

Spending just 7 days in the country within the first year and 14 in the second is sufficient (consecutive or non-sequential) so you needn’t relocate to Portugal to benefit from its Golden Visa programme. For those interested in a more permanent move, you are eligible for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of residency - giving you permanent visa free access to 26 European countries.

The applicant need not be in Portugal to begin the Golden Visa application, but they will be required to present original documentation and biometric data to the Portuguese Foreign Services during the application process. An analysis fee at the beginning of the process and insurance card fee at the end bring current application costs to less than EUR 6000. Processing time is typically 1 year.

As of January 2022 to qualify for the Golden Visa scheme one of the following conditions must be met:

Real Estate Investments

  • Residential acquisitions only qualify if located within the indicated area. Residential acquisitions in Lisbon, Porto and on the coast of Portugal do not qualify for the Golden Visa scheme.
  • In the Algarve, eligible residential investments are limited to the municipalities of Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique and Vila do Bispo. For the municipality of Loulé, the investments are limited to the parishes of Alte, Ameixial, Salir, Querenca, Tor and Benafim.
  • Acquisition of residential real estate, including vacant building plots, in interior Portugal (see map) with a value of at least EUR 500,000. Acquisition of non-residential property with a value of at least EUR 500,000.
  • Acquisition of residential or non-residential real estate in Portugal with a value of EURO 350,000 where construction was completed thirty years prior or more.
  • Acquisition of residential or non-residential real estate with a value of at least EUR 350,000 in an area under urban regeneration with the intention to renovate the property.

Capital Transfer

  • A transfer of capital to Portugal of at least EUR 1.5 Million.
  • An investment of EUR 500,000 into research by scientific institutions integrated into the national scientific and technological system.
  • An investment of EUR 250,000 into or supporting artistic production or the recovery and maintenance of national cultural heritage.
  • Acquisition of shares to the value of EUR 500,000 in investment funds or venture capital funds dedicated to the capitalisation of companies incorporated under Portuguese law, under certain requirements.
  • Subscription of share capital to the value of EUR 500,000 in a commercial company with a head office in Portugal, combined with the creation of 5 permanent jobs for a minimum of 3 years.

Creation of jobs

  • The creation of, at least, ten permanent job positions in Portugal.

The ARI regime is not applicable to citizens who hold Portuguese nationality and to EU and EEA nationals.

If you are looking to spend more time in Portugal before investing, there are other visa options available that do not require purchasing real estate or capital investment. 

D7 and D2 visas are part of the long-stay visa programme and are issued to enable foreigners to apply for a residence permit in Portugal. Applicants will therefore be expected to spend more time in the country than with the Golden Visa, not leaving for more than 6 consecutive, or 8 interpolate, months of the year. D7 and D2 visa holders are entitled to family reunification options, as well as the opportunity to enrol in the NHR scheme if eligible. They are also granted visa-free access to the Schengen zone. 

  • The D7 visa is ideal for those with a stable income from outside of Portugal, be it through remote work, a pension or rental income from a property. It is otherwise known as the ‘passive income visa’ and those with a monthly income above Portuguese minimum wage (EUR 700 a month) are eligible.
  • The D2 visa is more suited to entrepreneurial types who intend on starting a business in Portugal or expanding their current business into the country. No upfront investment is required, but the applicant will be expected to present a business plan and proof of funds above Portuguese minimum wage.

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