The Portuguese Golden Visa
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:
September 2020 Update
In August, the investment resulting from the granting of a Residence Permit for Investment (ARI) reached 57,694,424.11 euros, which represents a 30% decrease compared to the same month of 2019 (82.5 million euros).
Compared to July (56 million euros), investment raised through 'gold' visas rose 2.8%.
Last month, 107 'golden' visas were issued, of which 97 were due to the acquisition of real estate (25 when purchasing for urban rehabilitation) and 10 through the capital transfer criterion.
The purchase of real estate totaled an investment of 50.1 million euros in August, of which 9 million euros correspond to the acquisition for urban rehabilitation.
The total amount invested through capital transfer was 7.5 million euros.
Of the total 'gold' visa concessions in August, 36 came from China, 12 from Brazil, 10 from Russia, eight from South Africa and seven from the United States.
Compared to July (56 million euros), investment raised through 'gold' visas rose 2.8%.
The purchase of real estate totaled an investment of 50.1 million euros in August, of which 9 million euros corresponded to the acquisition for urban rehabilitation.
Until now in 2020, the amount raised by this instrument totaled 496 million euros, 10% less than the accumulated investment in the same period of 2019.
Between January and August, 915 'golden' visas were issued.
The Portuguese Venture Capital Fund
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.
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. 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%.
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 Carbonize.
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”.
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.