4 Alternatives to Portugal’s Golden Visa

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Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

While the golden visa is unique in many ways – especially as it only required you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal to meet the residency requirements – it isn’t Portugal’s only route to residency.

Portugal offers a number of different residence permits, and the following are those that are most similar to the golden visa. 

The HQA Visa

The HQA visa offers a route for investors to gain residency in Portugal in return for investing €175,000 in a their newly-formed company in Portugal. The company must take part in a government-approved incubator program for the first 3 years, but there are no hiring or performance requirements. The applicant is free to hire a manager to handle the day-to-day running of the business.

The benefit of this visa is that, like the golden visa, you’re only required to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal. This means you can continue living elsewhere, can maintain tax residency elsewhere, and hold off moving to Portugal fully until you’re ready – or never at all, if you wish. Most other visas, like the d7 and digital nomad visa, require you to spend at least 6 months of the year in Portugal.

Another benefit is that applications are approved within 30 days, whereas applications for other visas, such as the D7, take much longer. This means a faster path to residency and, ultimately, to citizenship. 

At €175,000, the investment criteria is lower than the cheapest golden visa options, which start from €250,000. However, the golden visa offers a number of investment routes, which may be less risky than sinking your money into a big idea.

Investing in funds, for example, comes with an element of risk but your investment is much more diversified than investing in a startup. It also has a higher price tag, requiring you to invest a minimum of €500,000.

The D7

The D7 is aimed at those with a regular, and ideally passive, income such as income from a pension, social security, a rental property, dividends, royalties, or other investments. Essentially, it’s aimed at those that can support themselves financially in Portugal without relying on a job or finding clients. 

The D7 only requires you to show a monthly income that’s equal to the Portuguese minimum wage which, as of 2024, is €820 per month. In practice, however, you are likely to need more than this to cover your cost of living and are more likely to be approved if you can show a higher income. 

The Digital Nomad Visa

While the D7 focuses on passive income such as a pension or rental income, the D8 or digital nomad visa is aimed at those with active income e.g. income from a salary or from freelancing for clients. Again, this is a visa that’s aimed at those that can support themselves in Portugal. However, the typical income requirement is higher, possibly because a salary is viewed as riskier than a pension. 

To qualify for this visa, you’ll need to show an average monthly income that’s equivalent to four times the Portuguese minimum wage. As of 2024, this equated to €3,280, which is €820*4. 

The D2

The D2 is aimed at those that want to start a business, transfer an existing business, or invest in a business in Portugal. It is generally considered harder to apply for than other visas like the D7 because the application is judged on the business plan, and whether or not this will benefit the Portuguese economy. However, one of the main benefits is that there isn’t a minimum capital investment amount, although it should obviously be sufficient for the type of business you’re planning on creating or investing in. 

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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.

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