What is the Cheapest Portuguese Golden Visa Option?

/ Last Updated: July 24, 2023 / 3 Comments

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [More Info]

Article summary:

  • The Portuguese golden visa starts from €250k
  • The most appealing of the cheap options is either to buy a fixer-upper property or to invest in a hotel redevelopment scheme
  • The very cheapest option is a charitable donation of €250k or more, which is a level of generosity that’s out of most people’s budgets

Portugal’s golden visa is popular and for good reason. It only requires you to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal and after five years of doing that, you’ll be eligible to apply for both permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship. This is much faster than many other European golden visas, some of which take as much as ten years before you’re able to apply for citizenship. 

The downside to any golden visa is the cost. For the Portuguese golden visa, the average cost is around €500,000 for the main applicant, excluding any additional fees, which is the typical price of a qualifying property or the amount you would need to invest in a qualifying fund. It can get more expensive than that, though: there is an option where you can simply transfer funds to a Portuguese bank account, but the required amount is €1.5 million. But those are the expensive options.

So what’s the minimum investment for Portugal’s golden visa? In this article, we’ll look at three options costs between €250k and €280k.

Commercial Property & Hotel Redevelopment Schemes: From €250,000

Now, not everyone wants to buy a property in another country, especially a property that’s likely run-down and in need of renovation. One of the benefits of the Portuguese golden visa is that you only need to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal, so a lot of people just want an easy investment that leads to citizenship. Examples include funds (€500k) or capital transfer (€1.5 million), but there’s also a much more affordable option: a hotel redevelopment scheme. 

These programs usually involve buying an apartment, hotel room, or share or a hotel that’s due to be renovated. Costs vary but are typically between €280,000 and €350,000 and the minimum amount is €280,000. However, some schemes get around this minimum pricing stipulation by offering you cashback (often paid instantly). One developer is known to offer €30,000 cashback, which reduces the cost to €250,000.

These schemes typically allow you to use the hotel for 1-2 weeks per year, ideal for fulfilling the golden visa minimum stay requirements, and then there’s usually a buyback at the end where you can get your investment back. It’s ideal for those that want residency and a path to Portuguese citizenship but don’t want the hassle of owning a property in another country. 

Read more about hotel redevelopment schemes under the golden visa

A Fixer-Upper: From €280,000

The cheapest option that will also appeal to most people is a variation of the real estate option, and this costs €280,000, excluding any additional fees such as lawyer or government fees. Properties in this category normally cost €500,000 (or more), but properties can qualify for the €280,000 requirement if they are at least thirty years old or in a designated urban rehabilitation area and in a low-density area. 

Read more about buying property for the golden visa

A Charitable Donation: €250,000

As mentioned, the €280k real estate option is the cheapest option that will appeal to most people. However, it’s not the cheapest option: that’s a €250,000 donation to a qualifying arts or charitable institution. Unsurprisingly, even though this is the cheapest option, it’s not the most popular option as you don’t get your money back at the end of the five years in the same way that you would if you sold your property or shares in a fund. 

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

Originally published: August 2022 & Last Updated: July 24, 2023.