WHAT IS THE GOLDEN VISA?
The Golden Visa is an Investment-Based Residence Permit with the multiple right of entry and stay in Portugal, granted to citizens of Third States (to the space Schengen) who meet certain conditions of eligibility and investment in Portugal.
The Portuguese nationality, which can be obtained after 6 years (upon compliance of other legal requirements), is especially popular around the globe. The ARI regime is not applicable to citizens who are Portuguese nationals and to nationals of the U.E. (European Union) and the EEA (European Economic Area).
IN ADDITION TO OTHER REQUIREMENTS, CANDIDATES SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY CRIMINAL RECORD OR NEGATIVE INDICATION WITHIN THE SCHENGEN SECURITY SYSTEMS.
The Golden ARI visa (residence permit based on investment) can be granted provided that the candidate fulfills any of the 3 investment situations in Portugal:
- Acquisition of real estate with a minimum value of 500 000 euros (five hundred thousand euros);
- Transfer of capital amounting to 1 million euros or more;
- Creation of a minimum of 10 new job positions.
WHO MAY REQUIRE/BENEFIT AND IN WHICH CASES?
Third-country nationals (to the Schengen space) may apply for the Golden Visa (Portuguese residence permit). The countries that are part of the Schengen Treaty (and therefore are NOT able to apply) are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
WHAT IS THE GOLDEN VISA (RESIDENCE AUTHORIZATION BASED ON INVESTMENT)?
The Golden Visa is a residence permit represented by a title of entry and stay in the Portuguese national territory, which also allows free transit in the entire Schengen area.
THE GOLDEN VISA IS GRANTED IN PORTUGAL THROUGH A RESIDENTIAL AUTHORIZATION.
The residence permit (Golden Visa) is initially valid for one year, and renewable for subsequent periods of 2 years, up to a limit of 5 years.
WHAT SHOULD THE INTERESTED DO TO GET THE GOLDEN VISA?
To obtain the Golden Visa, the interested party must choose one of the aforementioned investment options. Before starting your investment it is advisable that you get an opinion from qualified professionals about your investment.
After completion of the investment, you must gather the required documentation and proof of investment.
You should prepare a set of documentation including:
- Criminal record in the country of origin OR where you have been living for more than one year; this document must be duly officially translated into Portuguese and apostilled;
- Full copy of passport;
- Declarations under an honor of commitment relative to the maintenance of the investment for the duration of the ARI and a written consent for the consultation of the Portuguese criminal record;
- Declarations relating to the Portuguese tax and social security obligations;
- Proof of adequate health insurance in the Portuguese territory.
The applicant must have a valid passport and still be a Schengen visa holder, if applicable. All documents that are not written in Portuguese or English must be translated by a recognized translator in a Portuguese diplomatic or consular position in the country of origin or residence of the investor, and must be legalized and authenticated (except on certain very limited types of documents, such as the proof of health insurance).
CAN THE INVESTMENT BE PERFORMED BY MORE THAN ONE PERSON OR BY A COMPANY?
It can. But in any case, only the individual participation of each of the people involved is relevant. For example, if two people buy a property, it should have a minimum value of 1 000 000 euros (EUR 1 million) and the share of each can not be less than half that amount.
In relation to investment by association (a company) it is necessary that the holder of the social participation proves this quality and also that their share in the company fulfills the same minimum requirements mentioned above.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE GOLDEN VISA OWNERSHIP?
The holder has a set of benefits namely:
- Freedom to enter Portugal, with no limitations on the number of times of entry or exit with a residence visa exemption;
- Possibility to reside and work freely in Portugal, being also able to maintain another residence in another country;
- Freedom to travel within the Schengen area, with no visa requirements;
- Possibility of benefiting from family reunification, in particular, spouse and minor or other dependent children;
- Possibility of access to permanent residence (after 5 years and in legal terms);
- Access to the Portuguese nationality (after 6 years), provided that the other requirements for access are fulfilled.
AND FAMILY REUNIFICATION? WHICH RELATIVES OF THE HOLDER MAY BE INCLUDED?
THE FOLLOWING FAMILY OF THE HOLDER MAY BE INCLUDED (UNDER THE AGREEMENT REGIME):
- Minor or incapable children at the responsability of the couple or one of the spouses;
- Minors adopted by the applicant or spouse by decision of the competent authority of the country of origin, provided that the law of that country recognizes, to the adopted child, rights and duties identical to those of natural filiation and that the decision is recognized by the Portuguese authorities;
- Adult children, at the responsability of the couple or one of the spouses, who are single and studying in an educational establishment in Portugal;
- First degree ascendants as far as they are at the responsability of the applicant;
- Minors who are under the custody of the resident, in accordance with a decision handed down by the competent authority in the country of origin and provided that it is recognized by the Portuguese authorities.
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY BY ‘DE FACTO’ UNION ARE CONSIDERED:
- A partner who maintains, in national territory or abroad, a de facto union, duly proven in accordance with the law;
- Minor or disabled unmarried children, including adopted children of the de facto partner, provided they are legally entrusted.
The request for family reunification may be made at the time of the request for ARI grant or at a later stage, depending on the convenience of the investor.
HOW LONG HAS THE ARI HOLDER TO KEEP THE INVESTMENT IN WHICH THEY BASED THEIR APPLICATION?
The investment in any modality must be maintained for five (5) years, from the date of granting the Residence Authorization.
WHAT IS THE COMPETENT ENTITY FOR THE GOLDEN VISA ALLOCATION?
The process must be investigated with the Immigration and Borders Service. It is done by completing a specific form and with the delivery of all the documents that demonstrate the investment and other documents mentioned above. The interested party may be represented by an attorney with special powers to that effect.
IMPORTANT: the physical presence of the interested party is required at least once in Portugal during the process. This can be done at the beginning or at the end of the procedure (with the collection of the authorization) or even at an intermediate stage. This need arises from the obligation of the Portuguese authorities to collect biometric data (fingerprints, official photographs, etc).
HOW MUCH DOES THE GOLDEN VISA COST?
Those interested should pay an initial fee of € 513.75 (paid with the the application). With the collection of the authorization (at the end of the process) they must pay the final fee in the amount of € 5,137.50.
In addition to these amounts, fees for the renewal of the visa and for family reunification are still applicable.
WHAT SHOULD THE HOLDER, ONCE OBTAINED THE GOLDEN VISA, DO TO MAINTAIN OWNERSHIP?
The holder shall be bound by at least the following:
- Maintaining the absence of indications in criminal record;
- Visiting Portugal for at least a period of 7 days in the first year of duration and 14 days in each period of 2 years thereafter;
- Proceeding with the renewal of the ARI and payment of the respective fees;
- Maintaining the investment activity on which the allocation was based.
CAN AN INVESTMENT HAVE BEEN MADE BEFORE THE APPLICATION OR AT ANY OTHER MOMENT?
It can, only if the investment was made after the Golden Visa scheme came into force (October 8, 2012).
ARE THERE TAX BENEFITS FOR THE GOLDEN VISA HOLDER?
There may be tax benefits for the Golden Visa holder but the fiscal situation must be analyzed on a case by case basis, given the particular investment and the residence conditions, domicile, owner’s income, among others.
Applicable legislation (among others):
Law 29/2012, of August 9;
Dispatch MNE / MAI no. 11820-A / 2012, of September 4 Regime Golden Visa (residence authorization based on investment in Portugal);
Dispatch MNE / MAI no. 1661-A / 2013, of January 28 Regime Golden Visa (residence authorization based on investment in Portugal);
Ordinance no. 305 A / 2012, of October 4 Golden Visa fees (residence permit based on investment in Portugal)