Comparing the D7, the Golden Visa, the D8, and the D2

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Written by: | Last updated on February 9, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 8 minutes

You might have heard of the golden visa, the D7, the D8, and the D2. But what’s the difference between them? Are they the same as the retirement visa, the entrepreneur visa, and the passive income visa? And most importantly, which one is right for you?

All of these visas, aimed at those from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, offer residency in Portugal, which is the right to live here. Residency comes with numerous benefits such as access to Portuguese healthcare and education institutions and the right to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of residency.

While there is a lot of crossover between the visas, they are aimed at different types of people:

Physical StayIncome Type
Golden Visa7 days p/yearInvestment
D76-8 months p/yearPassive Income
D8 (digital nomad visa)6-8 months p/yearRemote Work/Freelancing
D26-8 months p/yearIncome from Business/Freelancing
  • Golden Visa: Aimed at those with cash to invest or donate, with the typical investment amount at €500,000. Currently, the most common option is to invest in funds. As this visa only requires you to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal, it is aimed at those that want residency in Portugal but don’t necessarily want to move here yet. However, it is used by some people who want to move to Portugal and have cash to invest but don’t have a passive income to qualify for the D7 or an active income, such as a salary from a remote job or income from freelancing.
  • D7: Aimed at those with a passive income, typically those with social security or a pension. This visa requires you to spend 6-8 months of the year in Portugal so is best suited to those that want to move to Portugal.
  • D8: The D8, or digital nomad visa, is aimed at those that have income from outside Portugal but can work remotely in Portugal. This commonly means having a remote job or clients that you freelance for.
  • D2: The D2 is aimed at entrepreneurs that want to establish a business in Portugal. It is also aimed at independent service providers or freelancers.

The Golden Visa

The golden visa (or ARI) offers residency in Portugal in terms for making an investment here. Currently, the most common form of investment is investing in a fund, such as a venture capital fund. However, investments can take other forms, such as investing in a Portuguese business, creating jobs, or donating to an institution in the Portuguese arts and culture sector.

The golden visa is ideal for the following types of people:

  • People that want to move to Portugal, but don’t want to have to spend 8 months per year physically in Portugal (the golden visa only requires you to spend 7 days per year here).
  • People that don’t have the regular income typically needed for the D7 visa (e.g. a pension or remote job).
  • People that aren’t ready to move to Portugal yet, but want to earn years that will count towards obtaining a Portuguese passport (e.g. people still working in another country).
  • People that don’t want to move to Portugal at all, but still want to be able to get a Portuguese passport.
  • People that want the benefits of being resident in Portugal but not necessarily being tax resident here.

The golden visa attracts higher fees than the other residency visas but, despite this, there are two main reasons to consider this option:

  1. You don’t want to commit to spending 6-8 months per year in Portugal.
  2. You have cash to invest, but don’t have income that would qualify for one of the other visas.

There are a number of ways that you can invest in the golden visa. Some of the most common are:

  • Funds – Invest at least €500k in a qualifying private equity or venture capital fund.
  • Scientific Research – Invest in public or private scientific research amounting to at least €500k (€400k if in a low density area).
  • Job creation – Create at least 10 jobs (8 jobs if in a low density area).
  • Company incorporation – Transfer €500k and incorporate a company within Portugal.
  • Cultural Investment – Invest at least €250,000 in a qualifying arts, culture, or national heritage project.

Previously it was possible to purchase real estate and qualify but as of 2023, this option is no longer available.

Cons

  • Costs: The golden visa attracts higher fees than any of the other visas. This comes in the form of legal fees, government fees, and any missed opportunities from any investment being tied up for 5+ years.

The D7

The D7 (sometimes known as the passive income or retirement visa) is aimed at those with a passive income. This typically means a pension, social security, or income from a rental property, but it could refer to other types of income you don’t actively work for e.g. dividends or royalties.

The D7 is ideal for the following types of people:

  • People that want to spend the majority of the year (8+ months) in Portugal.
  • People that don’t have €250k or more to invest in the golden visa.
  • People that have a regular form of income (e.g. a pension, income from a rental property, or income from a remote job).

Some people have successfully obtained the D7 with savings, but those with regular income are more successful than those with a lump sum of cash. In the past, some people were accepted with actively-earned income (e.g. income from a remote job or business) but that is less of an option since the introduction of the digital nomad visa.

How much income do you need? Officially, you only need to have more than the Portuguese minimum wage, which, as of 2024, is around €820 per month. In reality, you want to be able to show that you can support yourself and any dependents. The amount needed will vary depending on where you live in Portugal with large cities like Lisbon more expensive than rural parts of Portugal.

Cons

  • Physical Stay: Unlike the golden visa, this visa requires you to spend the majority of your time in Portugal. While most people who apply for the D7 want to move to Portugal, most would welcome a little more flexibility on how much time they have to spend here.
  • Address Requirement: Applicants are typically requested to show that they have an address in Portugal before they apply for the visa. In practice, this usually means renting an apartment for a year and can mean that it will be left empty for a few months while you make the move to Portugal.

The D8

The D8, or digital nomad visa, is aimed at those who can work from Portugal but have income from abroad. In practice, this usually means having a salary from a remote job or clients that you freelance for.

It is aimed at two different types of applicants:

  1. Those that want to live in Portugal for up to one year.
  2. Those that want to live in Portugal long-term.

The majority of people that move to Portugal on the D8 do so because they plan to live in Portugal long-term, and so go for the second option.

Cons

  • Income Requirement: Most visas, including the D7, require you to match the Portuguese minimum wage. The D8 requires you to have the equivalent of four times the Portuguese minimum wage.
  • Physical Stay Requirements: Like most visas (excluding the golden visa), the D8 requires you to spend around 6-8 months per year in Portugal. This works for those that want to move to Portugal but digital nomads by nature enjoy having a bit more freedom to jet off whenever they like.

The D2

The D2, or entrepreneur visa, is aimed at those that want to start a business in Portugal or transfer an existing business here.

It is seen as a very flexible visa as there’s no projected earnings requirement, no job creation requirement, and no minimum startup capital requirement. However, although these things aren’t defined, your business plan will be analysed to make sure that it has potential to meet all of these requirements.

For example, if your goal is to open a restaurant in Portugal, you should have sufficient funds to do so—even if it’s not officially asked for.

You will need to submit a business plan that’ll be analysed on multiple levels, but especially its economic potential and beyond that, how it contributes to Portuguese society as a whole.

Cons

  • Business plan: The D2 requires you to submit a business plan and that business plan is then assessed. This makes the application much more subjective than other residency visas, where the requirements are more of a straightforward monthly income amount.
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.

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There are 26 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.

Comments

  1. If you have the money, the golden visa is definitely the best option. It gives you so much more freedom than the D7 and only requires you to spend 14 days every 2 years.

    Next best is the D7. It’s good if you have a passive income but don’t have enough money for the golden visa.

    The only appealing thing about the D2 for me is that you do get some flexibility on leaving the country if it’s business related. This doesn’t seem to be the case with the D7. It seems to have a more complicated application process if you want. I guess if you want to start a business it’s an option but if you’re just looking for an easy residency path it’s not as good as the other two.

    Reply
  2. Hi James,

    I am a fellow mediaviner, too! Can the mediavine earnings count as a passive income for d7 visa? Will above 2k USD suffice?

    Reply
    • Quite a few bloggers living in Portugal under the D7 and with an income that’s not completely passive. The minimum amount is more a question for a lawyer – I can put you in touch.

      Reply
  3. Hi,

    I’m actually living in America and I’m working remotely for almost a year for a company in Europe, with an indefinetly contract agreement, wich visa should I apply and what option should I choose in their application form https://pedidodevistos.mne.pt/VistosOnline/ , my current income exceeds the 1500 USD per month, I’m single with no kids.

    Reply
  4. Hi James,

    It says that with D7 Visa you are “eligible” to apply for a citizenship after 5 years, however I believe this is still at the discretion of the minister!
    What are the chances that I get my Portugal citizenship after continuous 5 years living with D7 visa?
    I am asking, because in Malta, you also have the right to apply for a citizenship after one year that you have acquired the Long Term Residence Permit, but hardly ever someone has become a citizen of Malta in 6 years, it takes 18years?

    Reply
  5. I have been looking over your web pages regarding visa options for gaining Portuguese residency. My wife and I are US citizens (age 60s) and we meet the income requirements for the D7 visa. I know that the residency requirement (once approved) is six months continuous or eight months non-continuous.

    My question is: If we lived in Portugal and travelled to Spain (for a day) would that invalidate the six months continuous residency? I want to know how strict this requirement is for physically always being in Portugal? If we are tourists (short trips) to other Schengen countries – does this require us to spend eight months, rather than the six months to meet the residency requirements?

    Thank you in advance. I haven’t been clear on this issue.

    Reply
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.

      Reply
  9. 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
  10. Hi Simon,

    I would say sort out the freelancing first and then look into visas. Becoming a freelancer can be stressful and a lot of work. I know it took me a few years before I felt confident I could pay my bills…and even then.

    Reply
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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

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