The D7, the Golden Visa, or the D2: Which Is Right For You?

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Published: March 2021 & Last Updated: August 2022

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

Portugal offers a number of different residency visas which allows those from outside of the EU to move to Portugal. These visas are aimed at different types of people, including those that have money to invest in something like a property and those that may not have a sum of cash to invest but have a regular income from a pension or other source of funding. Then there are the visas aimed at entrepreneurs or small business owners who want to open up shop in Portugal.

Understanding which visa is best for you can be confusing, but this article will explain the best visa from you, depending on your finances and plans for living in Portugal. For most people, this will either be the D7 or the golden visa so let’s start with those.

The Golden Visa

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

If any of those sound like you, read on.

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, but it’s often as simple as buying an eligible property in Portugal.

The main benefit of the golden visa is that it only requires you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal. It’s perfect for those that want to move to Portugal, but still want to be able to travel (other visas require you to spend 8+ months of the year in Portugal). It’s also ideal for those that aren’t quite ready to move to Portugal just yet, but want to start working towards that Portuguese passport. Because it only requires you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal, you can still continue living elsewhere.

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

  • Property Purchase – Purchase a property worth €500k or more (reduced to €350k or €280k in some cases) [Read more here]
  • Hotel redevelopment schemes – Invest in a hotel or commercial property that’s being redeveloped (prices are typically between €280k and €350k). Most schemes offer a buyback option once you are able to apply for citizenship after five or six years and some will pay the rental income upfront. [Read more here]
  • Investment – Invest at least €500k in a qualifying private equity or venture capital fund
  • Capital transfer – Transfer €1,500,000 to a Portuguese bank account
  • 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

Cons

The downsides of the golden visa are the visa fees, which are typically €10,000-€15,000 per person, and so may be out of the budget of many people. For those thinking of purchasing a residential property, the 2022 rule changes now mean that properties in many appealing parts of Portugal no longer qualify (including Lisbon, Porto, and most of coastal Portugal).

Read more about the Golden Visa here.

The D7

The D7 is ideal for the following types of people:

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

If that sounds like you, read on.

The D7 is aimed at those that have their own income. It’s often called the passive income visa, but has also been referred to as the retirement visa and freelancer visa as well. It’s aimed at those that have a regular form of income, such as a pension or a salary from a remote job. Some people with savings have successfully obtained the D7, but those with regular income are more successful than those with a lump sum of cash.

How much income do you need? Officially, you only need to have more than the Portuguese minimum wage (around €700 per month) but 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.

The following are some of the most commonly accepted income types:

  • Pension
  • Annuity
  • Stock dividends
  • Income from a rental property
  • Remote job salary
  • Freelance income

This visa typically works out cheaper than the golden visa, especially if you’re bringing other family members.

Cons

There are a few downsides to the D7. The main one is the time you need to spend each year in Portugal (around 8 months), which isn’t ideal for those that want to travel or split their time between two countries equally. Another challenge is the income requirement as some people have cash, but don’t have a regular income. In this instance, the golden visa may be the better option.

Obtaining the D7 can be a lot of work. One of the biggest challenges is that many applicants are being asked to have an address in Portugal at the application stage. Typically, this means they have to come to Portugal and find a property to rent in advance or even rent a property sight unseen. Of course, you also have the option of buying a property either.

Read more about the D7 here.

The D2

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

  • People that want to start a business in Portugal
  • Freelancers that don’t qualify for the D7

If that sounds like you, read on.

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. It’s also common among freelancers or independent service providers, although many are able to apply for the D7 instead and lawyers often recommend that they apply for the D7 rather than the D2.

Ultimately, this visa isn’t for everyone. However, if you don’t qualify for the D7 or you’re a keen entrepreneur who’s spotted an opportunity in Portugal, this could be your ticket to moving there. The visa doesn’t have a minimum investment amount, unlike entrepreneurial visas from other countries, so if you can prove (through a business plan) that you can make your business a success with minimal capital, it could be a cheap way to start a business in an EU country.

Cons

The main downside to this business is that it requires you to start a business in Portugal or transfer one here. This is no small undertaking and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Read more about the D2 here.

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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
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  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
    • Lots of people apply for citizenship after five years of living in Portugal. It's not considered an unusual request (it sounds like the Malta one-year option is for special circumstances).

      Reply
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  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
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  12. 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. 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
  13. 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
  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
    • 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
  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
    • 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
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  17. 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
  18. 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
    • 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