Guide to Golden Visas in Portugal

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Henry Kent, an International Financial Adviser at Holborn Assets explains the Portuguese Golden Visa.

Created with the purpose of attracting foreign citizens to invest in Portugal, the Golden Visa has already been granted to over 10,748 main applicants since its launch in October 2012.

If you’re thinking of investing in Portugal and enjoying the advantages of EU citizenship, this Visa is a fantastic option.

But how do you obtain it and what are its real benefits?

What is the Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program (aka, the Portugal Golden Visa Program) is a five-year residence by investment program for non-EU nationals.

The residence permit gives the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and allows free circulation in Europe’s Schengen Area.


  • Right to live, work, and study in Portugal as if you were an EU citizen, besides travel in Europe’s Schengen Area (27 EU countries).
  • A favourable tax regime that allows foreign investors to become non-habitual tax residents in their first ten years of residence in Portugal. For non-habitual residents, the flat rate of 20% is applied to income received, regardless of the level of income. Aside from the flat rate 20% income tax, there is a reduced or deferred tax rate on dividends or other income from investments – and in some cases the income may be exempt from tax.
  • Low Stay Requirement: The Portuguese Golden Visa has one of the lowest stay requirements in Europe. It requires you to only spend an average of seven days annually in Portugal.
  • High quality of life and level of security, local cuisine and wines, rich culture, warm climate.
  • Family members can gain Portuguese residency through the Family Reunification procedure. That will allow them access to excellent international and Portuguese schools and universities.
  • Citizenship can be obtained within six years while keeping other citizenships.
  • Investment options start at €285,000, making the Golden Visa one of the more affordable programs in Europe offering a stable ROI.
  • Access to international quality healthcare clinics and hospitals.

Who is it for?

The Portugal Golden Visa is open to all non-EU citizens, over the age of 18, who have a clean criminal record, both in Portugal and in their countries of origin.

In the case of British nationals, the Golden Visa is particularly attractive as it restores the freedom of movement, taken away by Brexit, within the EU and Schengen Area.

There is no language requirement for the Golden Visa program, though it is necessary to obtain citizenship. However, it’s a basic A2-level exam.

As the main applicant, you can extend your Portuguese Golden Visa to eligible family members:

  • Spouse
  • Children under 18
  • Parents of the main applicant aged 65 or over
  • Dependent children under 26 who are full-time students and unmarried

To get the Golden Visa in Portugal, you have to make a qualifying investment (see below, under “Portuguese Golden Visa investment options”).

Please remember that you’ll need proof that the investment has been made and you must own the money you intend to invest. Once the investment is made, you must commit to maintaining it for a minimum period of five years.

To qualify, you must spend seven days in Portugal during the first 12 months. Then, a minimum of 14 days for each successive two-year period. This fulfils your temporary residence permit requirements before establishing permanent residency.

Application Timeline

Although there are quite a few steps to obtaining this Visa, the process itself is relatively straightforward.

You can complete most of it remotely and Holborn Assets will gladly do the work for you. However, you (and your family, if included on your application) must be physically present for the biometrics appointment.

Onboarding process

Choose an investment option that works for you. The real estate option makes up a significant portion of applications, often providing a stable ROI.

NIF and open a Portuguese bank account

You need to obtain a Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF), ie, a tax identification number. Then, you must open a bank account in Portugal.

Make your investment

Finalise your investment and pay the required sum.

Complete your online application

Once your investment is finalised and the paperwork is ready, your pre-application is submitted online.

Get your pre-approval

Your paperwork is then reviewed, and your application is pre-approved (as long as it meets the requirements).

Biometrics appointment

Pick a date, from the ones available, for your appointment.

Get your Portugal Golden Visa

You and your dependents will receive your Portuguese residence cards within three to six months.

This is a temporary residence card lasting two years. After that time, you will need to go through a process to renew the card for another two years.

After completing a total of five years, you will become eligible to apply for either permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship and get your EU valid passport.

The Portuguese citizenship application often takes around one year. At this point, you are no longer obligated to maintain your original investment.

Portuguese Golden Visa investment options

Property Investment

The most popular way to invest in the Golden Visa is by purchasing an eligible property.

This usually means a property worth €500,000 or more, but in some cases it could be as low as €350,000 or even €280,000.

The property could be somewhere that you live in year-round, somewhere you visit for a few weeks of the year, or somewhere that you use as a rental.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in Portugal and/or don’t want the hassle of owning a house in another country, one viable option is investing in a hotel or resort.

There are several developments that allow you to purchase an apartment in a hotel or resort. Many of these programs work out cheaper than investing in a house or apartment directly.

All of the developments also let you to use the apartment or hotel for a few weeks of the year.

There’s typically also a buy-back option after five or six years, should you wish to sell. Holborn Assets has several projects (mentioned in the webinar) that allow for these arrangements.

Do you prefer the classic Algarve (Lagos Marina and Alvor), the urban style of Lisbon (Passos Manuel and Lisbon Airport) or the luxury of a 5 star resort in Óbidos, in Central Portugal?

Investment Fund

You can choose to spend a minimum of €500,000 subscription in a qualifying Portuguese investment fund, supporting Portuguese businesses.

Capital Transfer

The most expensive option is making a capital transfer of a minimum of €1.5 million to Portugal.

You must have proof of bank transfer deposits to Portugal from an international account that adds up to at least this amount.

Job Creation

You can also obtain a Portugal Golden Visa through job creation of a minimum of 10 new job places. This requirement may be reduced to 8 job positions, provided the investment is made in sparsely populated territories.


There are two donation options available: €250,000 to approved art or national heritage project; €500,000 to scientific research institutions.

Holborn Assets is an established firm with multiple international offices spanning the globe, we provide a professional advisory and implementation services to a select group of private clients. Our specialists work with some of the world’s most established and popular visa programs, law firms, developers, and financial institutions. This allows us to provide clients with a complete end-to-end service.

To speak with one of our consultants, follow the link below to arrange a free consultation



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