Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program

With the changes in the legal provisions of Portuguese Immigration Act, as of October 2012, a special legal resident status, called “Golden Residence Permit”, will be granted to foreign nationals for the purpose of conducting investment activities in Portugal. The holders of Golden Residence Permit for investment activity may apply for family reunification under the provisions of the general law.

There are 3 investment options that foreign nationals, either individually or through a company, can consider to fulfill Golden Residence Permit requirements for a minimum period of five years. These options are:

  • Acquisition of real estate in Portugal with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros
  • Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1 million Euro
  • Creation of, at least, 10 job positions

Option 1: Ownership of real estate property

  • Public deed or promissory share-purchase agreement of the property, with a declaration of an authorized financial institution to exercise its activity in Portugal stating the effective transfer of capital to its acquisition or to execute as a down payment of the promise to purchase in equal or superior value of 500 thousand Euros

Option 2: Capital Transfer

  • Performing an investment activity for a minimum period of five years must be attested by a bona fide declaration signed by the applicant
  • Applicants should provide evidence of having invested the minimum amount required, including stocks or shares of companies
  • Declaration of a financial institution authorized to exercise its activity in Portugal certifying: the effective transfer of capital in the amount of no less than € 1 million, to an account demonstrating the investor is the sole or first holder of capital; or, the acquisition of stocks or shares of companies
  • An up-to-date certificate issued by the commercial register, certifying that the applicant holds a share in the capital of a company

Option 3: Created 10 job positions

  • An up-to-date certificate issued by the social security

With the amendments of laws and regulations in 2015, additional investment criteria has been established by Portuguese authorities to grant residency rights in Portugal under the Golden Visa Program. These are:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros for purchasing shares in investment funds or in venture capital geared to capitalize small and medium companies that, in turn, must present a feasible capitalization plan.

In order to maintain residency rights under Golden Visa, investors must spend 7 days in Portugal in their first year, 14 days total in their 2nd and 3rd year and another 14 days in year 4 and 5.

Who are eligible to apply for Golden Residence Permit?

Residence permit shall be granted to foreign nationals who, cumulatively:

  1. Fulfill the investment requirements
  2. Hold a valid Schengen visa
  3. Legalize their permanence in Portugal within 90 days of their first entry into national territory
  4. Meet other following requirements under general law
  5. Applicants must not have been convicted of a crime punishable with deprivation of liberty exceeding one year
  6. Applicants must not be the subject of an entry ban in a national territory following a removal order from the country

Applicants must not be the subjects of alerts in the Schengen Information System. Applicants must not be the subjects of alerts in SEF’s Information Integrated System issued for purposes of non-admission.

Residence permit shall be renewed for a period of two years pursuant, provided the requirements remain valid.

What are the documents required for application?

  • Passport or another valid travelling document
  • Proof of legal entry and permanence in national territory
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Signed application enabling consultation of the Portuguese Criminal Record by SEF
  • Criminal Record Certificate from the relevant authority of the applicant’s home country or from any other country where he / she resided for over a year
  • As means of evidence of compliance with tax obligations, the applicant shall deliver a declaration proving the absence of debts issued by the Inland Revenue and Customs Authority and by the Social Security

Acquiring Portuguese Citizenship by Naturalization

Citizenship law in Portugal is regulated by Decree-Law n.237 – A/2006 of 14 December. Where citizenship is by means of naturalization, a foreign citizen can be granted Portuguese nationality if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The applicant is legally considered to be an adult, i.e. 18 years old
  2. The applicant is a resident in Portugal for at least 6 years
  3. The applicant has sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language
  4. The applicant has not been convicted of a crime, which corresponds to a penalty equal to or more than 3 years, according to Portuguese law.

The application shall be made by the applicant or by his legal representative in the Portuguese language to the competent departments of the Ministry of Justice.

Once the application is received, it will be sent to the “Conservatória dos Registos Centrais” department within the Ministry of Justice for evaluation. If the application has not been properly completed or fails to comply with any of the other Ministry of Justice requirements at the time of application, the process will be rejected within 30 days, and the applicant will be given 20 days to respond / clarify. If the application is accepted, the competent services will make internal enquiries, and consult with other entities (which may take up to 120 days) and a decision will be made within a maximum of 45 days, which will then be submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

The final decision will be communicated to the “Conservatória dos Registos Centrais” for registration. The applicant will be able to request a Portuguese citizenship card as well as a Portuguese passport.