What Are The Requirements for Portugal’s Golden Visa?

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Last updated on February 29, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are a number of different European golden visas, but Portugal’s golden visa is particularly popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, the cost of entry is quite low: investments start from as little as €250,000, although the most attractive investment option for most people (investing in funds) starts at €500,000.

Secondly, the requirements are very reasonable and if you meet the requirements, you will be able to apply for both permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship after 5 years.

Make a qualifying investment

The first and most obvious requirement is that you must make a qualifying investment. There are a number of different investment types, for example: investing in a fund. However, each investment type has its own criteria.

For example, if you want to invest in a fund (or funds) to qualify for Portugal’s golden visa, that fund has to meet certain requirements. The fund has to have a minimum maturity period of 5 years and 60% of the value of the investment must be made in companies based in Portugal.

It’s absolutely recommended that you make sure your investment is going to qualify before investing in it.

Have the right documentation

A lawyer will confirm, but the following is an example of the documents you’ll likely be asked for:

  • Valid Passport
  • Schengen Visa (if required)
  • Criminal record check for each country each applicant has resided in for more than 1 year
  • Proof of residence (e.g. driving licence, mortgage statement, bank statement, or utility bill)
  • Documents to show relation to other applicants e.g. marriage certificate for a spouse, birth certificates for children

As well as the following documents that need to be obtained within Portugal:

  • NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal)
  • Portuguese bank account
  • Permission to run a criminal records check in Portugal
  • Certificate to show no debts with the Portuguese tax or social security offices
  • Signed statement
  • Evidence that the minimum investment has been made
  • Receipt of application fee payment

Most lawyers will be able to obtain a NIF and bank account for you. However, they don’t specialise in it, meaning it can take longer with them, and they’re often more expensive: many lawyers charge in excess of €500 for a NIF, for example, when online companies in our comparison table charge a fraction of this. If money is a concern, you can cut down on some of the golden visa costs by doing some bits yourself.

Spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal

While most Portuguese residency visas require you to spend the majority of the year in Portugal, the Portuguese golden visa only requires you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal (14 days within the first 2 years, for example).

Hold your investment for at least 5 years

Very simply, you need to hold onto your investment (e.g. a house purchase) until you’re able to apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship.

Some investments require you to hold the investment for longer. For example, many funds require you to hold onto the fund for at least 7 years, if not longer. This isn’t the case with all funds and is simply the stipulations of the fund provider rather than the golden visa rules.

Be from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland

Portugal’s golden visa is only open to those from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. That means it’s open to people from countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, and South Africa, but not France, Germany, or Ireland.

Of course, people from a country like Germany or Ireland could easily move to Portugal if they wanted without ever having to apply for a residency visa like the golden visa or D7.

Have a clean criminal record

Another part of the criteria is to have a clean criminal record, although there does seem to be some allowances for small misdemeanours. Specifically, the crime has to be punishable with at least one year of jail time in Portugal for it to be sufficient.

While it’s obvious that major crimes would naturally carry a prison sentence of at least one year in Portugal as well as anywhere else, it can be difficult to know how smaller crimes, such as a DUI or drug possession for example, would be treated. Only a Portuguese lawyer can give you a definitive answer here.

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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.