The D7 VS the Golden Visa VS the D2 – Which Portuguese Residency Visa is Right For You?

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Portugal’s Golden Visa is probably its most famous visa, but it’s definitely not the only residency visa that the country offers. Two other popular visas include the D7 and the D2.

All 3 allow you to live in Portugal, apply for NHR (Portugal’s popular tax regime), travel within the Schengen Area, and not only obtain permanent residency but Portuguese citizenship after 5 years. But they’re also all quite different and all aimed at different people.

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So, what’s the difference between the D7, the Golden Visa, and the D2 and, more importantly, which one is right for you?

The Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a visa and residency permit given to those that invest in Portugal. There are lots of different ways that you can invest in Portugal, from investing in the Portuguese arts and culture sector to buying into a venture capital fund, but the most common option is to buy a property here. An eligible property needs to cost €500,000 or more, but in some cases that’s reduced to €350,000 or even €280,000.

The biggest difference between the Golden Visa and the D7 (or most other residency visas such as the D2) is this: the Golden Visa only requires you to spend 14 days in Portugal every two years whereas the D7 and D2 require you to permanently move to Portugal (in practice spend a minimum of 6-8 months here). Another big difference between standard residency visas like the D7 and the Golden Visa is cost: because you get all of the normal residency benefits but only need to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal, the Golden Visa is much, much more expensive than the other visas.

Pros

  • Only required to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal (although you can spend more if you want to).
  • 7-day residency requirement make it easy to maintain tax residency somewhere else.

Cons

  • High fees (€10k-15k per person).
  • High investment costs (€250k – €1,000,000).
  • Requires you to come to Portugal for biometrics & interview with SEF before your residency card is granted.

Essentially, the Golden Visa is aimed at those that want a pathway to permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship but don’t want to spend the majority of their time in Portugal. If you’re still working in another country, or plan to travel a lot, but want an “EU passport,” this could be the right visa for you.

Read more about the Golden Visa here.

The D7

The D7 is aimed at those that have their own income, particularly passive. It’s often called the passive income visa, but has also been referred to as the retirement visa and freelancer visa as well). For a person to be eligible, your income needs to be equal of greater than the Portuguese monthly minimum wage, which is around €700 per month.

Retirees are particularly successful in applying for this visa as a pension is seen as a stable, regular source of income. If your pension equates to more than €700 per month, you could be eligible for the D7.

Other sources of income that are accepted include income from rental properties, dividends, and a salary from a remote job (a job you can do online). Freelancers are often accepted on the visa as well although, because freelance work is less regular and reliable than say a pension, they don’t always get approved as easily.

Even though you are allowed to apply for jobs in Portugal while on the D7, the aim of this visa is to attract people that have their own income. Essentially, SEF is looking for people who are self-sufficient and who won’t become a burden on the state. For this reason, the higher your income is above the minimum threshold and the more reliable it is, the better chance you have of getting accepted.

Pros

  • No need to spend 500k on a property.
  • Much lower fees.
  • Not having to purchase a property (the most popular investment option) means you can rent and experience Portugal before making any big financial commitments.
  • Cheaper to bring spouse/partner and children than Golden Visa.

Cons

  • Not everyone can meet the own income requirements.
  • Requires you to live in Portugal for the majority of the year.
  • Requires to to be tax resident in Portugal.

The D7 is a type-1 visa aimed at those that have their own income and want to spend the majority of the year in Portugal. It doesn’t have the same flexibility as the Golden Visa, but it makes up for that with significantly cheaper fees.

Read more about the D7 here.

The D2

The D2 (sometimes called the entrepreneur or freelancer visa) is aimed at those who want to start a business in Portugal or relocate an existing business here. Entrepreneur visas are common in Europe, but the D2 is becoming popular because it has no minimum investment requirement (although around €5k of startup cash is recommended).

Although the D7 and the D2 both require you to meet certain income requirements, the D2 is often seen as harder as you have to submit a business plan for your proposed business. Whether or not it’s seen as good is somewhat subjective, but it is assessed based on its economic, social, scientific, technological, and cultural relevance.

Pros

  • An option for those that don’t have a source of stable passive income or a remote job.
  • Investment amount is minimal compared to Golden Visa and other European entrepreneur visas.
  • Cheaper to bring spouse/partner and children than Golden Visa.

Cons

  • Requires you to start a new business, which could be a big undertaking.
  • Suggested investment of around €5k essential.
  • Requires you to be tax resident in Portugal.
  • Requires you to live in Portugal for the majority of the year (unless your business requires you to travel).

This visa is really aimed at those that want to start a business in Portugal, and so isn’t ideal for investors or those with a pension.

Read more about the D2 here.

Written by

Hi, I'm James. I'm the main writer at Portugalist and the author of the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple. I started Portugalist because I felt there was a real lack of good quality information about Portugal and I wanted to change that.

This article was originally published in March 2021.

25 thoughts on “The D7 VS the Golden Visa VS the D2 – Which Portuguese Residency Visa is Right For You?”

  1. Hi James,

    First of all thank you for all the questions you had answered for others which gives more clarity for people who are reading this and are interested to come to Portugal.

    Q1. I would like to clarify if I have a property (with a mortgage) in one country and have a rental income coming from it, and have a bank's fixed deposit income in another country where I live. Are both these income from 2 different sources and countries eligible to obtain the D2 or D7 Visa and can it be combined to show the total income?

    Q2. Can parents be combined in one application and if yes will they need to be 50% each as the main applicant monthly income threshold ( (2 adults and 2 seniors) = €800 (main applicant)+ €400+€400+€400 = €2000 total )?

    Q3. Can the D2 or D7 visa forms be downloaded and submitted directly? Do you know any person who could help if we later on decide to apply through an agent?

    Q4. If we migrate to Portugal do we really need to learn Portuguese to survive there and get by and will English be not enough?

    Reply
    • Hi MD,

      Here are some answers to your questions.

      Q1. You would need to speak to an agent to confirm, but no other Portugalist readers have mentioned having problems if the income comes from different countries or sources.

      Q2. If the visa allows parents as dependents, they'll be considered adults, yes, so would be 50% of the main applicant each.

      Q3. You don't need to use an agent, no, and you can apply for both the D7 and D2 yourself. Obviously, using an agent means your application has a much higher chance of success as they are submitting applications every day and know what is and isn't being accepted. Yes, I can put you in touch with someone if needed.

      Q4. Plenty of people live in Portuguese without ever learning Portuguese. It's easier to do this in the Algarve than in say a more remote part of the country. Personally, I would say you're going to have a more limited experience of Portugal as you'll always be in an expat bubble, but it's definitely doable. In fact, I would say most English speakers that move to Portugal rarely get beyond an upper-beginner or lower-intermediate level of Portuguese.

      Reply
  2. Hi, I’m from Philippines, We’re planning to move in Portugal. The D7 Visa is applicable for us? What are the requirements for me to prepare?, I mean, me and my sister is a Freelancer. Do We need to have letter from our Client Offices or just the Invoice of our Income? Please guide us. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Cee Dee,

      Yes, it's open to third country nationals (people from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland) and that would include the Philippines. You may find this specific article on the D7 useful: https://www.portugalist.com/d7-visa-residency/

      Reply
  3. Hi James,
    Thank you for this great article. I'm single, no kids, and I've got the equivalent of about 1200 euros per month in passive income from a revenue-generating website (sometimes up to €3000 depending on different factors), as well as about $200K USD in savings and investments. I've had the passive income every month since 2019 (just over two years). I am also 100% fluent in Portuguese, but not sure that matters. With that as a backdrop, would I be likely to get approved for the D7 visa? Also, just curious if the D7 visa is a path to citizenship and a Portuguese passport?

    Thanks in advance for any input or wisdom. Most appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi William,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I need to do an article about minimum amounts to see what the average needed is to be accepted. It's sometimes a little all over the scale as it can vary from consulate to consulate and factors like accessible savings and investments can be considered.

      Yes, the D7 would be a path to citizenship. You'd be eligible to apply after five years.

      Reply
  4. Great write-up! Question for you... The Golden Visa will introduce limitations on where people can purchase property if they apply after January 1, 2022. Does the D7 have any restrictions on where a property is purchased or for how much?

    Reply
    • Although you may be asked about where you'll be living (e.g. with friends, renting, purchased property) there's no requirement to purchase property for the D7 - so nothing will change. You will still be able to purchase a property in Lisbon, for example, and live there on the D7.

      Reply
    • Hi!

      Hope you don't mind if I answer 🙂

      Next year you won't be able to invest in your own residency for the golden visa in the large cities, like Lisbon, Porto and Algarve.

      However other types of investments will still work as they do now.

      If you invest in a property for business or even lodgings, like a hotel or vacation home to be rented out, that will still work even in the big cities 🙂

      Hope it helps!

      Reply
  5. Hi James,
    My partner and I are looking to begin freelancing and move to Portugal, a few months space between the two. Both the D7 and D2 visa seem like pretty good options, but because we're not sure if the bulk of the work would be from inside the country or outside is there something more short term allowing us to be in Portugal for say 6-9 months and apply for one or the other when we know a bit more?

    Reply
    • Hi Simon,

      I would say sort out the freelancing first and then look into visas. If you apply for a visa like the D7 or D2, you'll need to show that you have steady income coming in, and it sounds like you're not going to be in a steady position for a while. Your application is more likely to get rejected if your business doesn't look stable.

      As for the freelancing, most freelancers who move to Portugal try to work mainly with non-Portuguese clients as companies in the US, UK, etc. can normally afford to pay more than most Portuguese companies. You don't have to do this, and working with Portuguese clients may make sense as it's less saturated, but working with companies outside of Portugal is probably the easier option.

      Reply
      • Yeah, absolutely! Starting with the freelancing does make a lot of sense.

        But the tricky part of the question is at what point do you reach stable enough for a D7? €1500+ for 6 months, 1yr, 3yrs?

        Reply
        • On a personal level, I'd feel comfortable as I reached the year mark.

          From a visa-application level, it can help if you have a contract or commitment order from your clients (forget what the correct term is) that shows they're going to continue using you.

          Reply
  6. Hi, I am an online freelancer and earn around USD - $3k/mo or 2.5k Euro. I have a wife and 3 kids, which category is best and does D7 allow me to become PR eventually like in 5 or 7 years after paying those taxes, etc.? Can I still buy cheap property with my savings which goes in addition to the passive income?

    Reply
  7. What visa would be applicable for a family of four where the wife runs a successful online coaching business, and the husband is a stay at home dad that aides in his wife's business unofficially and doesn't earn any income outside of this arrangement.

    Reply
    • Hi AJ,

      Probably the D2, although I'll get a lawyer to confirm whether that's the better option than the D7 in this instance.

      On either the D2 or D7, you can add other family members to the application. The main applicant needs to meet the requirements (typically around €700 per month but more better) + 50% for a spouse or partner and 30% of that for each child.

      It might also be good to speak to an accountant once you get here to make sure the unofficial husband employee is still the best setup.

      Reply
  8. Hi there, is there any way of living in Portugal for 1 year + but not being a tax resident? I have a business in the UK and will be working remotely in Portugal, my primary residence will be in Portugal but I don't want to be double taxed in both the UK and Portugal. Is there a visa for this? Does it tie in with the NHR programme? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      I don't think so. If someone moved to the UK, they'd also have to pay taxes there.

      If you do become resident in Portugal, and aren't considered resident in the UK anymore (you need to check their residency test), you likely won't pay taxes in both countries. There are double taxation agreements to prevent that. NHR is a separate thing, but can also help.

      Reply
  9. I have a retirement salary of about 1200 Euro. Is It Ok to ask for a D7 visa for me and my wife? I have some investments in my country, is It neccesary to move these investments to Portugal?. Thanks a lot in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Edgard,

      The minimum amounts for the D7 is around €700-800 per month for the main applicant and another 50% of that for a spouse, so it would be cutting is a bit close but possible. Besides qualifying for the visa, I think you should also take into account the cost of living here. €1200 for two people would doable if you own a house but if you're renting as well, there won't be a lot of money leftover.

      As for the investments, it depends and it's really hard to say as just saying investments is a bit vague, but you probably won't have to move them here. It's possible that by moving to Portugal you would have to pay taxes on them here however rather than in that country.

      Reply
  10. When buying property for 500k euro for Golden Visa purposes, can that property be mortgaged or do you need to pay the full amount in cash?

    Reply
    • Not really.

      If the threshold is €500k, that has to be paid in cash. If the property costs €600k, you can take a mortgage for €100k on the difference.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Reply
      • Hi James, I only have savings (600k euro from a house sale in the UK) but no regular income could I qualify to get a D7 with just savings?

        Reply
        • Hi Dan,

          I would speak to a lawyer first as they can advise, but that's obviously a significant amount of money in Portugal that more than meets the requirements of €700+ per month.

          Reply

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