Portugal Golden Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide to Residency and Citizenship



The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
May 2, 2023

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Portugal Golden Visa: A Step-by-Step Guide to Residency and Citizenship

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While Portugal is renowned globally for its Port wine and iconic footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, it holds a special place in the hearts of Nomad Capitalists for offering one of the finest EU Golden Visa programs available today.

Being a member of the European Union (EU), Portugal boasts an exceptional standard of living in various areas such as healthcare, work, education, climate, infrastructure, stability, and safety. This high quality of life attracts individuals who desire to reside or gain citizenship in a European country. For the financially privileged, the Golden Visa Portugal program presents a golden opportunity to accomplish this aspiration effortlessly.

Before we delve into the application process details, let us take a moment to understand what the Portugal Golden Visa entails.

Table of Contents

What is Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program, officially known as the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI), is designed to offer residency through investment to non-European Union (EU) citizens. The program was launched in October 2012 to attract international capital to the country primarily. The program has been highly successful. It has raised over €6 billion since its inception. 

Portugal has beautiful landscapes, a vast coastline, a sunny climate, friendly locals, and delectable cuisine. It offers a high quality of life at a relatively affordable cost of living. It is an attractive destination for international investors wishing to reside, work, and study there. Golden Visa Portugal program allows investors to obtain permanent residency or citizenship within five years.

Benefits of Getting a Portugal Golden Visa

The following are some benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa:

  • Portugal Golden Visa program offers stable and secure investment opportunities in real estate.
  • The program provides a clear path to Portuguese citizenship in just five years, one of the shortest timelines in Europe.
  • A Portuguese passport allows visa-free travel to 186 countries, making it the sixth most powerful passport on the Nomad Passport Index.
  • The residency visa permit grants visa-free travel within the Schengen Area and other countries, making it a convenient option for those with limited travel privileges.
  • The program allows you to establish non-habitual residences and access incredible tax savings.
  • There are other ways to become a resident of Portugal, but the Golden Visa program allows you to bypass normal requirements.
  • With the program's stability and government support, you can invest confidently and without worrying about sudden changes.
  • Portugal's real estate market is secure and attractive, with authentic properties still available for purchase, although the program's popularity has made good deals more difficult to come by. Nonetheless, Portugal is still an affordable European property investment destination.
  • The program is considered stable and has support from most political parties in Portugal, so you can invest without worrying about sudden changes that might negatively impact investors.
  • The program also offers the possibility of establishing non-habitual residences and accessing incredible tax savings, especially by Western European standards.
  • Trading or transacting cryptocurrencies in Portugal is tax-free.
  • The Golden Visa program allows you to bypass the standard requirements for residence, making it an easier path toward citizenship.
  • While the Golden Visa removes the language requirement for residency, you must know some Portuguese to become a citizen.

Who Qualifies for the Portugal Golden Visa?


If you're not an EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen, you can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa.


To qualify for the Golden Visa Portugal, you must be 18 and have a clean criminal record in your home country and Portugal. Additionally, the funds for your investment must come from outside Portugal.

Golden Visa Minimum Investment

You must make a qualifying investment to be eligible for Portugal’s Golden Visa. There are several categories to choose from, including real estate, venture capital funds, capital transfer, company formation, and donation. Check out the list of qualifying investments later in this guide.

Family Members

You can also extend the Golden Visa to your family members under family reunification. A comprehensive list of eligible dependents is available in the previous section.

American Applicants to the Portugal Golden Visa

US citizens are also eligible to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa. The real estate investment option of the program is desirable for tax residents of the United States due to its many advantages.

American business owners can also expand their businesses to Portugal and use the Golden Visa program. Portugal's tax incentives make it an attractive destination to relocate to.

UK Citizens

British investors worldwide are planning for the repercussions of Brexit in terms of their travel abilities. In 2021, UK passports lost their freedom of movement in the Schengen Area. Three reasons UK citizens choose Portugal are the right to travel across Europe, a desirable lifestyle, and ultimately European citizenship by investment. As of January 1st, 2021, UK citizens can apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa program, providing them the right to travel within the Schengen Area.

Investment Options for the Portugal Golden Visa

Several investment options are available if you're interested in applying for the Golden Visa Portugal. The investment must be made before you can apply for the residence permit. Here are the investment options to choose from:

Residential Real Estate

Purchase residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the residential property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies.

Commercial Real Estate

Purchase commercial real estate anywhere in the country worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the commercial property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20% discount applies.

Real Estate on Madeira or Azores

Purchase residential and commercial real estate anywhere on Portugal’s autonomous islands of Madeira and Azores, worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project.

Fund Subscription 

Contribute to a qualified investment fund worth at least €500,000.

Capital Transfer 

Make a capital transfer of at least €1.5 million.

Scientific Research

Contribute at least €500,000 towards science or technology research.

Job Creation

Incorporate a company and create ten jobs worth a minimum of €500,000.

Art or Reconstruction 

Investment into the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with a donation of at least €250,000.

Application Process of Golden Visa

If you're considering applying for a Golden Visa Portugal, you'll be happy to know that the application process is relatively straightforward. Here's a breakdown of the process:

Choose Your Investment Type with Get Golden Visa Team

Decide which investment type you want to move forward with. While more than 90% of Portugal Golden Visa applicants choose real estate investments, the fund option is gaining popularity. Speak with the Get Golden Visa team to decide which investment type is best for you.

Collect Your Documents

Gather all necessary documents for yourself and any dependents. This process may involve translations, notarizing, apostilles, and certifications. Consider hiring a professional advisor to assist with this step.

Obtain a NIF and Open a Bank Account

Obtain a NIF (tax identification number) and open a bank account in Portugal, which can typically be done in a day. Your lawyers can handle this process for you.

Finalize Your Investment

Now that you have decided on the investment type, it's time to finalize the investment and pay to secure it in Portugal.

Submit Your Pre-Application

Submit your pre-application online to SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) with your qualifying investment made and your paperwork ready. Your law firm can handle this step and notify you of missing documents.

Attend Your SEF Appointment

Attend your SEF biometrics appointment on the scheduled date. You and any dependents must attend the corresponding SEF office to submit your fingerprints and make your application official.

Receive Your Golden Visa and Renew

Receive your Golden Visa residence cards for yourself and any dependents. Your law firm or professional advisor will collect the cards and send them to you. Each card is valid for two years, and you'll need to renew your Golden Visa card before it expires to receive a new one.

Apply for Portuguese Citizenship

After renewing your initial Golden Visa card twice and completing five years, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal. The citizenship application can take six months to a year. Once you receive permanent residency or citizenship, you no longer need to maintain your investment in Portugal.


The Golden Visa Portugal offers non-European Union citizens a unique opportunity to obtain permanent residency or citizenship in one of Europe's most desirable countries. The program is open to individuals 18 years old and above with a clean criminal record and funds for investment from outside Portugal. The Portugal Golden Visa program is an excellent opportunity for individuals seeking European residency or citizenship in a country that offers a high quality of life, stability, and safety.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team provides up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals to help navigate the world of short lets. If you're interested in publishing your content, please get in touch with us at expert@houst.com.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team provides up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals to help navigate the world of short lets. If you're interested in publishing your content, please get in touch with us at expert@houst.com.

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