The Portuguese Golden Visa
The road to the Portuguese citizenship
The rules governing the granting of Residence Permit for Investment (ARI / Golden Visa), in force from 8 October 2012, enable third country nationals to obtain a temporary residence permit to conduct business activities with visa waiver to enter national territory.
The beneficiaries of ARI / 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 travelling 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 or in another EU Member State and who in addition are stably settled in Portugal, provided these citizens fulfil the quantitative requirements and the time requirements set out by the relevant legislation, may apply for a Residence Permit for Investment, 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 technologic 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, public corporate sector, public foundations, private foundations of public interest, networked local authorities, local corporate sector organizations, local associations and public cultural associations, pursuing activities of artistic output, and reconstruction or maintenance of the national heritage;
g) Capital transfer of the amount of 350 thousand Euros, or higher, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund of funds dedicated to the capitalisation of companies, capital injected under the Portuguese legislation, whose maturity, at the moment of the investment, is, at least, of five years and, at least, 60% of the investments is realized in commercial companies with head office in national territory;
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, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial society with head office in national territory, already existing, with the creation or keeping of working jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years. Portuguese, EU and EEE nationals are not eligible for the ARI / Golden Visa scheme.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Fund Investment in Portugal
There are a number of benefits to investing in private equity funds to be elegible for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
The Portuguese Golden Visa Fund Investment is professionally managed by experts on each specific sector;
You can obtain Portuguese residency from a minimum investment of 350 thousand Euros into a offically 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 1,5% 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 (Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento);
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 oblied 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 acquistion 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 Portuguese Golden Visa Real Estate Investment in Portugal
We have helped many institutional and private clients to invest in real estate in Portugal.
When acquiring a property in Portugal you need to pay two taxes:
1. Stampt 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 varie 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%.
The Portuguese "Green Visa" Investment in Portugal
The Green Visa that is recently introduced by Portugal is a new investment category for Portugal Golden Visa. Green Visa requires an investment of €500,000 in environmental projects. These projects can range from non-intensive organic agriculture and ecotourism schemes, to renewable energies and other environmental initiatives. Specific areas of investment include:
a) Organic Farming: Promotion and development of investments in organic farming not intensive;
b) Carbon Neutral: Reinforcement and active contribution to the implementation of the Roadmap to Neutrality Carbónica;
c) Renewable Energy: Creation of investments that focus on self-consumption with energies derived from renewable sources;
d) Energy and Renewable projects: Development of projects with manifest and high standards of energy efficiency with the mandatory consumption of more than 75% of energy from 100% renewable sources;
e) Ecotourism: Promotion and development of projects and investments in ecotourism.
The PAN party affirmed: “The Green Visa will serve to reinforce Portugal’s role in attracting international ecological investment, while simultaneously ensuring the transition to a circular and carbon-free economy”.
Portuguese Citizenship after 5 years of Golden Visa (legal residence)
In Portugal we have two diferent laws which regulate the Portuguese citizenship applications.
One is the portuguese citizenship law and the portuguese citizenship regulation.
According to tportuguese citizenship law (article 6.º http://www.pgdlisboa.pt/leis/lei_mostra_articulado.php?nid=614&tabela=leis) you need to fulfill the following :
a. Be older than 18 years;
b. Be a legal resident of Portugal for at least 5 years ( Which you proof through the addition of your Golden Visa residence permits validity.);
c. Know the portuguese language;
d. Not have been sentenced for a crime with a punishment of 3 years or more.
Besides those, there is a subjective requirement previewed in the portuguese citizenship regulation (http://www.pgdlisboa.pt/leis/lei_mostra_articulado.php?nid=895&tabela=leis&so_miolo=).
This regulation was not yet updated with the legal time frame of 5 years. It still states 6 years (article 19.º 2 b).
Article 56.º 2 a) states that the responsable entity (Instituto dos Registos e Notariado) may oppose itself to your citizenship application if there is a absence of an effective connection to the national community.
e. Connection to the national community; (This is a very subjective requirement in which all connections with Portugal count (ex: flights to Portugal, the prove you used to renew your Golden Visa residence permits, portuguese tax identification numbers, public health insurance (SNS), portuguese bank account, the Golden Visa residence permit itself, etc…). There is no magic formula to comply with this requirement. It is subjectively decided by the competent entity (IRN).
Owning property for some time would count as additional connection with the country ( Owner of property, utility bills, tax return in Portugal over income generated by that property, etc…).
According to law there is no need for a permanente residency to be able to apply for the Portuguese Citizenship. But as the portuguese citizenship regulation was not yet updated, the request for citizenship is usually still made after 6 years, instead of 5 years how they preview to regulate in the next months/years when updating the portuguese citizenship regulation. Even though some applications have been done for the 5 years of legal residence using the Form which still forsees the 6 years of legal residence as a requirement.
Tax regime for non-habitual residents in Portugal
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. However, if during this 10 year period, the taxpayer did not choose to file as a non-habitual resident (or was not considered to be a resident for fiscal purposes) for one or more of the consecutive years, they may resume this status for the remainder of the established period.
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 (to do so you must have remained in Portugal for more than 183 consecutive or non-consecutive days, or having remained for less time, having, at 31st December of that year, a home in such conditions that would lead to the assumption that it is intended to be kept and occupied as your habitual residence);
The request for enrolment as a non-habitual resident must be made, electronically, on the Treasury Portal, after registering as a resident in Portuguese territory and until the 31st of March of the year following the year you became a resident in this territory.