Unlocking Opportunities – The Ultimate Guide to Portugal’s Golden Visa Program

The Golden Visa program in Portugal is one of the most innovative visa schemes ever introduced, not only in the country but also throughout the European Union (EU). This program, which has seen a significant revamping in the recent past, has become even more accessible to investors mulling setting up ventures in Portugal. 

If you’ve never heard about the Golden Visa or are still skeptical about its potential, this article shall help change your point of view. Read below as we delve into what this visa program is and how it might transform your fortunes as an aspiring entrepreneur.

What Is The Golden Visa Program?

The Golden Visa program is a pioneering residency-by-investment scheme introduced in October 2012 by the Portuguese government to target non-EU citizens. It’s more accurately known as the Portugal Golden Visa program or the residence permit for investment activity (ARI). 

The Portugal Golden Visa was intended to attract foreign investment into the country following the 2008 economic crisis. The program would later serve as a benchmark for similar initiatives launched by other European countries, such as Spain and Greece. It has also raised more than €7 billion since its inception.

What Are The Benefits Of The Golden Visa Program?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program provides a range of investment options for qualified applicants. Noteworthy mentions include investments with the government through instruments like bonds. 

It’s also worth noting that the Golden Visa is a 5-year program. However, investors in the scheme enjoy incredible flexibility. These include the ability to live, work, and study in Portugal while traveling visa-free throughout Europe’s Schengen Area. 

Besides, beneficiaries must only spend at least seven days in Portugal each year. This provision gives investors interested in multinational companies the freedom to spend a significant amount of time attending to their overseas businesses without risking penalties. 

Another perk of the Golden Visa scheme is the provision for an easy entryway to Portuguese citizenship. Investors on the Golden Visa program are eligible for Portuguese citizenship within five to six years. Becoming a full citizen offers even more benefits, including the opportunity to experience the country’s hidden gems. 

Portugal is famous for its breathtaking sceneries, expansive coastline, diverse cuisines, and hospitable people. Its warm climate makes it a go-to tourist destination when the rest of Europe is shuddering from winter’s icy chill. Being a full-time citizen eliminates the hassles of applying for a visa to visit the country. 

The cherry on the cake is that Portuguese Golden Visa applicants can rope in their family members. Persons eligible to apply alongside the primary applicant include spouses, children under 18 years, parents of the principal applicant aged at least 65 years, and dependent children aged 26 years who are full-time students and unmarried. 

Other perks of the Portugal Golden Visa include the following;

  • Low minimum investment of €500,000
  • Tax exemptions for beneficiaries unless you spend over 183 days each year in Portugal.
  • Option to apply for Non-Habitual Tax Residence (NHR)

Requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa

Applicants to the Portugal Golden Visa program must commit €500,000 in venture capital or private equity within Portugal. This commitment guarantees a golden visa residency permit for both the primary applicant and their eligible family members. 

There are alternative investment methods that prospective ARI applicants may explore, such as creating employment opportunities and making charitable donations. However, the latter options do not guarantee a return on your investment. That explains why the vast majority of ARI members constitute private equity investors or venture capitalists.

It’s also important to beware of other associated costs, including legal and government fees. 

Eligibility for the Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa is available to non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals with a demonstrated capacity to meet the program’s minimum investment, including the statutory commitment of €500,000 and any associated fee. 

Applicants must also open a Portuguese bank account, be fully insured, and have no criminal record. 

If you meet the above criteria, you can submit a formal application accompanied by the following documents;

  • A copy of your government-issued travel document, preferably a passport
  • Evidence of capacity to make the requisite investment through the following documents;
  • A deed or promissory sale agreement complete with proof of deposit payment (for real estate investors)
  • Proof of fund subscription obtained from a fund manager (for investment funds)
  • Confirmation of funds transfer by a Portuguese financial institution
  • Evidence of healthcare coverage 
  • Statement of criminal record in the current residence country obtained within three months of ARI application
  • Statement from the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority & Social Security system (issued within 45 days) confirming the applicant is in good standing

Wrap Up

The Portugal Golden Visa is a fantastic program for non-EU citizens to invest in this country and unlock its hidden gems. 

What makes this scheme outstanding is the relatively low minimum investment and the ability to tag along your family members.  


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