Portugal’s Golden Visa: Costs to Consider

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

Portugal’s golden visa comes with a number of benefits, including the fact that you’re only required to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal and the possibility of applying for Portuguese after 5 years of living here. But all of those benefits come at a cost. The question is: how much?

The following is a list of some of the costs to consider. It is by no means exhaustive, but covers many of the costs to consider.

Actual Investment Cost

The first cost to consider is the cost of the actual investment. This could be the cost of the investment for example, the €500,000 you need to invest into a fund.

In most cases, you’ll be expecting to recoup your initial investment cost as well as any growth, so it’s not a cost in the same way as translating documents is a cost, but it is money you will expect to spend.

Here’s a sample of the minimum amount for each of the others:

  • Funds (such as a venture capital fund): €500,000
  • Donation to Portugal’s Arts & Culture sector: €250,000
  • Creation of 10 jobs: No minimum amount
  • Company Incorporation & Creation of 5 jobs: €500,000
  • Investment in research (such as scientific research): €500,000

These are the minimum costs. You may end up investing in a fund for more than €500,000, for example.

Ongoing Costs

Does your investment have ongoing costs? If it’s a fund, are there setup fees or annual management charges? Will you have to be taxes on any growth or dividends? Is there an exit fee?

Cost of obtaining documents

You’ll need to gather a number of documents before you can submit your golden visa application, which your lawyer can advise on. Some documents you may not have (birth certificates often get lost, for example) and you may need to re-order and some documents may need translating or notarising. A criminal records check usually carries a small cost as well, and then there are other costs like health insurance.

Perhaps the biggest cost when gathering the documents, however, is the cost of obtaining a NIF number and opening a Portuguese bank account. Because both of these are typically done by a lawyer or outside company, you can typically expect to pay a few hundred euros.

It may be cheaper to organise these things yourself. A NIF through an online specialist costs around €80-€100, but many lawyers charge €500 or more. Sometimes this is justified (e.g. if you need fiscal representation in a number of areas) but often it’s simply a flat fee. Be sure to weigh up the costs, both in terms of money saved and additional work on your behalf.

Cost of travel to Portugal

As part of the golden visa process, you will typically need to travel to Portugal for biometrics. If you’re travelling from the UK, the cost might be insignificant. However, if you’re travelling from somewhere like the US, China, or Australia, the cost will be significantly more. As well as the cost of flights, you will need to factor in hotel or Airbnb costs and any other spending while you’re here.

You’ll also need to travel to Portugal to meet the residency requirements (14 days in every 2 years). Having to spend a week or 2 in Portugal isn’t a major inconvenience, but it is still a cost to factor in.

Government Fees

The golden visa comes with government fees, both during the application stage and then later at the renewal stage (after 2 years).

  • Processing fee for the main applicant: €533
  • Processing fee per family member: €83.30
  • Residency permit fees for the main applicant or family member: €5,325 per person
  • Renewal fees for the main applicant or family member: € 2,663

Lawyer Fees

While the fees vary, most lawyers charge an additional fee of around €5,000 to handle the application and renewals for you. For a single applicant and no family members, all of this could mean more than €10,000 on top of the cost of investing €500,000 in a fund, for example.

Citizenship application costs

After 5 years, you may decide to use a lawyer for your citizenship application. You will also need to obtain some documents, some of which you will already have from the golden visa application, but some which will have expired (e.g. a criminal records check).

An A2-level of Portuguese or above is required in order to obtain Portuguese citizenship this way. This isn’t a hugely difficult level of Portuguese, and the pass mark is only 55% or above, but it will still require at least a few months of work. You’ll most likely want to purchase a European Portuguese language course that’ll get you up to the A2-level, and ideally one with a strong focus on what’s needed to pass the exam.

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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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