The "Golden Visa" of Portugal


There is a program that allows foreign investors to acquire access to Portuguese residency and free Schengen area circulation, plus, later, nationality by investment in the country of Portugal - it is called ARI (Authorization of Residency for Investment Activity).


It was nicknamed “Golden Visa” as in short you pay for the access that would be otherwise much harder to obtain.


This article sums up all you need to know about it!


It is a pretty straightforward program.


To qualify you have to either:

  • Transfer 1.5M to a Portuguese Bank account or investment funds

  • Invest 500k or more & create 5 full time jobs through a Portugal “Ltd” company (mantaining them for at least 3 years)

  • Invest 500K in real estate (only low density areas are eligible, see map below)

  • Invest 350K in total (purchase + renovating) in rehabilitating a property with more than 30 years or in a designated ARU area (city sponsored rehabilitation area)

  • Invest 500k in national heritage (can be arts, culture or estate)

  • Invest 500k in research (nationally)

  • Invest 500k in an existing business and with at least 5 full time jobs, mantaining them for at least 3 years

  • Transferring at least 500k to investment funds and applying at least 60% of those to Portuguese based companies (headquarters in national territory)


On the 1st of January 2022 the new program norms apply, in which personal use real estate investment is limited by population density, the map belows illustrates the eligible areas.

However real estate investments in business, tourism or services are not limited by location (stores, warehouses, ofices, hotels, AL).


it is possible to invest in multiple units, as far as their total value equals to or exceeds €500,000. Additionally, the investment for Golden Visa in Portugal can be made individually or jointly (example: 1M property, 2 individual Golden Visas)


It is a very popular option as the investors are only required to spend 7 days a year in the country to maintain it (15 days from the second year on) and it gives free access to the whole Schengen treaty area – 26 EU Countries as soon as you finish the process.


However if you wish to take advantage of the NHR (non habitual resident) tax regime you need to be in the country 6 months per year or spend no more then 8 intercaleted months outside the country.


Direct family is also able to join in the program:

  • Legal Spouse

  • Children with less than 18 years of age

  • Or under 26, single with no income and undergoing higher education.

  • Parents of either spouse over 66 years of age

  • Siblings of either spouse if under 18 and you our your spouse are the legal guardians

  • After 5 years with ARI you are entitled to request Portuguese nationality

Keep in mind that:


  • Applicants have to be pre-approved by the emigration services and come into Portugal with a valid VISA to apply.

  • To be approved they can not have any criminal record or be flagged by any of the databases in the Schengen area.

  • Applicants are then required to get a residency address, social security number and finances number, only after that they get the ID and documents to circulate.

  • VISA will only be emitted AFTER you made the purchase/investment

  • If an applicant commits a crime in the country he/she will undergo a legal process that will likely result in losing access to the program.


A lot of ARI processes are pending due to incorrect submission or lack of follow up on the documentation, it is simple, but not that simple, and Portuguese bureaucracies are not to be trifled with (they do the trifling), so choose your consultant wisely!

Overall the program has brought 5.611.245.577,06€ to Portugal until 2019. The most common home countries of investors are: China, Brazil, Turkey, US and South Africa.



Application process:

1.Acquire the Portuguese NIF and open an account at a local bank; 2.Transfer the investment amount to the new account. 3. Make the investment - Authenticate the documentation according to SEF guidelines before the Golden Visa application is filed. 4.Apply for the Golden Visa in SEF - Pay the application fee and provide a copy of all requested documents. 5. Schedule your interview 6. Presencial Biometrics Interview - After approval, pay the issuance fee 7. The certificate of Residency will be issued and valid for a year It can be renewed at the end of the first and third year You will acquire your permanent residency after 5 years.

The following fees are charged by the government during the process: 1) Initial application fee of €533.00 (plus €82.30 for each member of the investor's family); 2) Golden Visa approval fee of €5,325.00 per visa holder; 3) A visa renewal fee at the end of years two and four of €2,663.00 per visa holder;


Legal representation fees are separate and independent of these values and usually around 5k+ . We have an agreement with a lawyer's firm to get a lower fee for our clients.

Documents required

  • Copy of a valid passport and travel documents;

  • Deed or contract of the purchased property or signed promissory contract with proof of the down payment;

  • Bank statement in Portugal confirming the transfer of funds

  • Health Insurance Certificate in Portugal

  • Certified copy of the criminal record or similar document issued by the responsible authority in the country of origin;

  • Completed form giving SEF authorization to obtain a copy of the Portuguese criminal record

  • Personal statement confirming compliance with the investment requirements

  • Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security documents; may be issued up to 45 days prior to online enrollment;

  • Receipt showing payment of the registration fee;

  • The documents must be legalized and translated into Portuguese (if in another language) by a certified translator.

  • Documents may be legalized in one of the following ways i.By the Portuguese Consulate ii.By The Hague Convention Apostille.


Tax Benefits


With The ARI program, you are entitled to benefit from Portugal’s RNH program for non-habitual residents too, which key advantages are:


· Benefit from a special personal income tax treatment over a 10-year period

· Enjoy tax exemption on almost all foreign sources of income

· 20% flat rate for certain Portuguese source incomes (from specific professions and from self-employment), as opposed to normal Portuguese income tax rates of up to 48%

· No minimum stay requirement

· Become part of a white-listed tax environment within the EU

· A tax exemption for gifts or inheritance to direct family members

· No wealth tax

· Free remittance of funds to Portugal


A key feature of Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax regime lies in its relationship with Double-Taxation Agreements (DTAs). DTAs allow for most categories of income to be taxed in the country of source of that income. Most countries, however, choose not to tax income earned by non-residents as they want to be seen as jurisdictions open for foreign investment.


In turn, under the RNH tax regime, Portugal will not tax most foreign sources of income earned by RNH individuals because the income may be taxed abroad. This allows for RNH residents to receive foreign income completely free of tax.

Portugal currently has signed DTA’s with 79 countries.


As of 2020, pensioners registering for the NHR tax scheme are now taxed at a rate of 10%.


We can help you through the whole process, feel free to contact us if you are in need, using the form on the home page or sending an email to contact@savvycatrealty.com .

684 views