The Portuguese Golden Visa
The road to the portuguese citizenship
The rules governing the granting of Residence Permit for Investment (Golden Visa) enable third country nationals to obtain a temporary residence permit to live, work and study in Portugal.
The beneficiaries of the Portuguese Golden Visa are entitled to:
Residence visa waiver for entering Portugal.
Living and working in Portugal, on condition that they stay in Portugal for a period of 7 or more days, in the first year, and 14 or more days, in the subsequent years.
Visa exemption for traveling within the Schengen Area.
Applying for permanent residence.
Applying for Portuguese citizenship.
Eligibility – Who may apply?
All third country citizens who conduct an investment activity, as an individual businessperson or through a company set up in Portugal and who fulfill the quantitative and time requirements, may apply for the Golden Visa by one of the following routes:
d) The purchase of real estate property, with construction dating back more than 30 years or located in urban regeneration areas, for refurbishing, for a total value equal to or above 350 thousand Euros.
e) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 350 thousand Euros for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technological system.
f) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 250 thousand Euros for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage, through the local and central authorities, public institutions.
h) Capital transfer of the amount of 350 thousand Euros, or higher, for constitution of a commercial society with head office in the national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent working jobs.
Portuguese, EU and EEE nationals are not eligible for the ARI / Golden Visa scheme.
There are a number of benefits to investing in private equity funds to be eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Fund is professionally managed by experts on each specific sector.
You can obtain Portuguese residency from a minimum investment of 350 thousand Euros into a officially registered investment fund.
Venture capital funds are a tax-efficient vehicle — dividends and capital gains returned to investors may be tax-exempt.
Depending on the Golden Visa Investment Fund, they will offer a minimum return hurdle-rate usually between 1% and 6%, were managers will only be compensated if the fund performance is above a certain percentage.
Some Investment funds have the support of the Portuguese Government through subsidies or financed by the IFD.
The Golden Visa Portugal Investment Funds are regulated and must comply with the rules stipulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), which means that fund managers are regularly audited by third parties.
To comply with the Portuguese Golden Visa legal requirements the Golden Visa Investment Fund usually has a maturity of investment for at least 6 years. The Golden Visa Fund Investment is also obliged to invest at least 60% into companies which have their head office in Portugal.
An advantage of the Golden Visa Investment Fund investment is that compared to real estate you will not pay acquisition tax (around 6%) neither stump duty tax (0,8%) of the property value.
By deciding to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa through the investment fund will save you a lot of time.
The Applicant must present supporting evidence in which he has made the investment of the minimum amount required, individually or through a shareholder limited liability company of which the Applicant is the shareholder.
• Declaration of a credit institution authorized or registered in the national territory within Bank of Portugal, attesting the effective transfer of the amount equal to or above the legally required.
•Supporting document attesting the ownership of the units of investment, free from any charges and obligations (issued by the entity responsible for keeping an updated record of the units of investment holders, under the law, of the respective management regulation or of contractual instrument).
•Declaration issued by the holding company of the respective investment fund, attesting the feasibility of the capitalization plan, the maturity of, at least, five years, and the application of at least 60% of the investment in commercial companies with head office in national territory.
1. The Management company will receive from the investor a KYC Form; Subscription Form and personal documents.
2. The Golden Visa investor will obtain his Portuguese tax identification number (NIF) and open a Portuguese bank account (checking and securities account).
3. The investor will transfer the money from his foreign account to his Portuguese bank account.
4. The investor orders the bank transfer to the Funds bank account.
5. The Management company issues a declaration necessary for the Golden Visa application and the Portuguese bank issues two declarations (money transfer overseas and certificate of holding the Participation units (shares).
Note: "US Persons" (investors with American citizenship or being tax residents in the US) need to open their Portuguese bank account with a FATCA compliant bank account as for example:
The Government is expected to advance, by the end of the year, with restrictions on the golden visas in large urban centers. The measure was foreseen in the state budget.
The Government will even end the possibility to obtain golden visas residence permtis in Lisbon and Porto, and the diploma should be ready by the end of the year, according to Jornal de Negócios. This means that foreigners who intend to acquire a residence permit in the country by making a real estate investment will have to bet on regions in the interior or the portuguese islands.
The Golden Visas in Lisbon and Porto seem to have their days counted. The Government should restrict investments in real estate with a view to obtaining a golden visa residence permit to the interior territories of the country and the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, as well as increasing the minimum value of investments and the number of jobs to be created.
After the Government announced that it intends to end the program in Lisbon and Porto, the European Parliament came to demand an immediate end of the Golden Visa, generating a new wave of panic in the Portuguese real estate market. It turns out that, after all, Portugal escapes this European petition, since the program in force leads to a residence permit and not directly to citizenship, as in Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria, for example. This is, at least, the interpretation of APPII - Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors. "The European Parliament does not refer to programs for attracting foreign investment such as Portuguese, which are residency programs, but to those of those three countries, which are under fire because they are citizens," says the idealist / news Hugo Santos Ferreira, vice-president of the association, whose approximately 200 members represent annual investments in Portugal in the order of 30 billion euros, that is, equivalent to 15% of the national GDP.
The spokesman for property developers and investors - who has been a strong supporter of the gold visa program in Portugal - insists that "it is necessary to clarify all this", arguing that "there has been a lot of confusion, that it is necessary to demystify".
To clarify, and briefly, he explains that, in theoretical terms, "there are three types of visas: temporary visas, as they are for tourists and students; those with residency with investment (case of the Portuguese ARI and others close to 20 countries Europe) and citizenship visas ". Brussels does not want to end the golden visa programs like the Portuguese, which is for residence for investment, but rather it does away with the citizenship programs", he reiterates, after the European Parliament note that "the citizenship of the European Union (EU) it cannot be marketed as a commodity ".
In the Portuguese case, the Golden Visa provides grants a residence permit to a citizen of a country outside the European area who invests in real estate, at least, 500 thousand euros. But this residence permit allows its holder to move in the Shengen zone is not automatic. Unlike other countries, such as Cyprus and Malta, national legislation provides for a minimum residence period of seven days in the first year and fourteen in subsequent renewals.
In Portugal, the income of Venture Capital Funds incorporated and operating under the Portuguese legal regime is exempt from taxation.
The subscription of units in the Fund do not levy any taxes.
Venture Capital Funds incorporated and operating under the Portuguese legal regime are exempt from income tax, regardless of the type of income that they obtain.
This means that the VCF’s tax regime was designed with a view of being a neutral vehicle for tax purposes.
Also, there is no stamp duty taxation in Portugal related to the net assets of these funds. Consequently, all the income obtained by a Portuguese Venture Capital Fund, as well as the positive variation of its asset´s value, is fully exempted from taxation.
The steps to set up your Venture Capital Fund are the following:
(i) Creating the Fund’s Management Regulation (Prospectus)
(ii) Submitting to CMVM
(iii) Operational process
From our experience, the item (i) usually takes most of the time while structuring a fund. It can take up to 2.5 months depending on the complexity of the fund rules. The item (ii) relies on CMVM’s agility. It usually takes up to 1.5 months to receive the final approval.
For both items, we hire external lawyers to assist the client structuring the prospectus and submitting all the information to CMVM.
Click here, if you need help setting up your own venture capital fund,
We have helped many institutional and private clients to invest in real estate in Portugal.
For the Golden Visa process you may buy a property which is worth more than 500.000€ or a property for the amount of 350.000€ if it is older than 30 years or located in a rehabilitation area in Portugal.
According to the Golden Visa law it is possible for you and your non-direct family members to purchase a property together. For example, if you, your sister and your cousin would like to buy a property for the price of 1.500.000€, each one of you will be able to apply for an independent Portuguese Golden Visa residence permit.
This means that a property valued at 2.500.000€, could be elegible for 5 Golden Visa investors.
When acquiring a property in Portugal you need to pay two taxes:
1. Stamp duty with a tax rate of 0,8%.
2. IMT is levied on the transfer for consideration of real estate located in the Portuguese territory. IMT is due by the purchaser and levied on the purchase price or on the property tax value whichever is higher. As mentioned above, property tax value is computed according to the rules foreseen in the Municipal Property Tax Code and the rate varies between 4 up to 8%.
Urban property not exclusively used for residential purposes and other acquisitions - 6.5%.
Urban and rural property acquired by a resident in a blacklisted jurisdiction - 10%.
Click here, if you need help finding the right property in Portugal.
The Program is designed for:
a. Foreign entrepreneurs.
b. Aged over 18 years old.
c. With no permanent residency among the Schengen area.
d. Who have their own financial resources.
e. Who whish to develop an innovative project in Portugal.
This can be made through the relocation of your own business, or through the launch of a new company. However our advice is to do it through a new company once the requiments are less strict.
a. A 5 year program with no minimum permanency time in Portugal.
b. Maximum of 5 entrepreneurs per project.
c. Enables multiple professional activities in Portugal.
d. Elegible for family reunification.
e. School enrolment for children.
f. Acces to Portugal´s health public system.
g. Enables the Permanent Residency.
h. Enable to citizenship purpose ( after 5 years of legal residence).
1. Start Business Plan ( target return of at least 325.000€ in 5 years).
2. Submission of the Startup application to IAPMEI System.
3. Presetation of the Startup Project to Certified Incubators.
4.Launching the Business ( Company set up).
5. Company Support Services (Optional).
6. General other services.
In Portugal we have two different laws which regulate the Portuguese citizenship applications.
One is the Portuguese citizenship law and the Portuguese citizenship regulation.
According to the Portuguese citizenship law you need to fulfill the following :
a. Be older than 18 years.
b. Be a legal resident of Portugal for at least 5 years.
c. Know the Portuguese language.
d. Not have been sentenced for a crime with a punishment of 3 years or more.
e. Connection to the national community. This is a very subjective requirement in which all connections with Portugal will be considered like for example: flights to Portugal, Portuguese NIF, public health insurance (SNS), Portuguese bank account, the Golden Visa residence permit itself, owning property, utility bills, tax returns etc. There is no magic formula to comply with this requirement.
The non-habitual tax regime is available for those who have not been deemed resident on Portuguese territory during the five years prior to the year they intend to change residence to Portugal and be taxed as a non-regular resident taxable person.
An individual should register this status with the Taxpayer Registry of the Tax Services. Under these terms, the non-habitual resident acquires the right to be taxed as a non-habitual resident for the period of 10 consecutive years. For each of those years, the individual is to be considered a resident for fiscal purposes.
How can you acquire Non-Habitual Resident Status?
Having not been a resident in Portugal for the last 5 years.
Register at the local tax office as a tax resident in Portugal.
The request for enrollment as a non-habitual resident.