Country Spotlight: PORTUGAL “Golden Visa” 🇵🇹

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Full name: Portuguese Republic
Capital city: Lisbon
Population: 10,276,617 (2018)
GDP in current prices: USD $238.5 billion (2018)
GDP real growth: 2.1% (2018)
Area: 92,212 km²
Government: Unitary Semi-presidential constitutional republic
President: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Prime Minister: Antonio Costa
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
HDI: 42nd (2018)
Ease of doing business index: 34th (2018/19)
Time zone: GMT + 0
Dialling code: 351

Portugal is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, located on the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. It is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe with mountain ranges, valleys, national parks, beautiful beaches and abundant wine regions.

Portugal’s climate is described as a Mediterranean climate and is one of the warmest countries in Europe with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. The annual average temperature varies from 12°C in the mountainous northern highlands to 22°C in the southern coastal areas, with average high temperatures in the popular Algarve region ranging from 16°C in January to 29°C in July.

Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. It overtook Austria to rank as the 3rd most peaceful country in the world behind Iceland and New Zealand on the 2019 Global Peace Index rankings, and for the past ten years it has consistently been listed as one of the 30 most prosperous nations of the world (24th in 2018) on the Legatum Prosperity Index.

Living in Portugal

A large majority of Portugal’s citizens are Roman Catholic but it is home to a large number of small communities representing different faiths and so it gives off a welcoming impression to all who grace its borders. The official language is, of course, Portuguese derived from early Latin. Although if Portuguese is not your first language, you should not fear as according to the latest EF English Proficiency Index, Portugal has a high proficiency level in English, higher than in countries like Italy, France or Greece.

Many people, after spending time in Portugal, come to the conclusion that they would like to live there permanently. To these people, there is some good news as citizenship by investment is entirely possible in Portugal, but you will need to invest a minimum of €280,000 in order to qualify for a “golden visa”.

Once you have acquired a golden visa, it is then possible to apply to become a citizen of Portugal after five years. In comparison to some other EU countries, the minimum cost of investment is a little higher, but there are many benefits to Portuguese citizenship, including low tax rates, low minimum stay periods and, of course, the benefits of a climate and culture that are in-line with each other – easy going, with hot periods. While being a more expensive option than some of its neighbours, Portugal offers investors a warm and friendly climate, gorgeous coastlines and vibrant cities in which to seek residence. Diverse, beautiful and culturally arresting, Portugal, in many ways, offers bits of the best of all of Europe.

Why invest in Portugal? 


Portugal currently ranks as the 88th most populous country in the world, but its GDP of $237 billion (2019) is the 48th highest and ranks 42th highest by GDP per capita ($34,797 nominal). 

There is now more focus on exports, private investment and developing a high technology sector. The World Economic Forum places Portugal 34th on its 2018 Global Competitiveness Index, a significant rise from 51st in 2013. Portugal is a notable producer of minerals particularly copper, tin, tungsten and uranium. Lithium is also mined from their subsoil. Portugal is among the top ten producers of lithium, which is increasingly sought after by manufacturers of electric cars and mobile phones who use the element in their batteries. There is great interest in exploring lithium deposits further in the areas from Alto Minho to Beira Baixa, passing through Trás-os-Montes, where Dakota Minerals already is mining the ‘white oil’ in a €370m investment.

One of the country’s main exports is wine and it is the 11th largest exporter in the world by volume. The industy dates back to the Roman Empire. Its wine-producing regions, the Douro valley and Pico Island, are protected by UNESCO and offer a large selection of different wines from a vast array of grapes, all distinctive due to variations in soil and climate.

Portugal’s industry is diversified, ranging from textiles and food to automotive and aerospace, with investment growing strongly in the biotechnology and IT sectors. Research grants are prolific, particularly for neuroscience and oncology. The country has a strong infrastructure with widespread broadband connectivity and it is also a leader in electronic payments. There is an open door to a market of 500 million and the country is ranked joint-highest in the World Bank’s Trading Across Borders Rank.

Portugal has a highly developed motorway network and a port system among the best in the world. (Sines was recently the fastest growing container port in the world). Porto Airport was named as the 3rd best European airport in 2013 while the Atlantic Corridor is a rail freight line across Europe which is among the best in the world.


Tourism remains extremely important to the country and it is one of the top 30 most visited countries in the world. The number of foreign arrivals has been growing steadily since 2009, attracted by breathtaking landscape, glorious beaches, fine cuisine and even finer wines! 2017 brought in a record number of 12.7 million foreign tourists, an increase of nearly 12% over 2016 and almost twice the 2009 figure of 6.4 million.

Tourism and travel revenues now account for 10% of Portugal’s GDP and this is forecast to continue growing with more hotels and more daily direct flights from the US being added. Portugal has also been declared Europe’s leading destination for golf.

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Changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme – February 2021

The long-anticipated amendments to Portugal’s Golden Visa programme were confirmed in December and published in February, approving changes that will see residence investment channelled away from metropolitan and coastal property hotspots such as Lisbon and Porto. Instead, investment will now be directed to the less-densely populated interior, the Azores and Madeira. The objective is to target investment into low density regions, urban rehabilitation, cultural heritage, activities of high environmental or social value, productive and sustainable development, and job creation – bridging regional differences and promoting quality of life in rural regions of Portugal.

Minister of State, Mariana Vieira da Silva, explained that the changes were now warranted because “the context in which that [original ARI] legislation was approved was different” from the current situation.

The approval of Golden Visa Decree Law No. 14/2021 means that the changes will come into effect from 1st January 2022, so investment under the current rules will be allowed in Lisbon/Porto/Algarve and other coastal areas until 31st December 2021, giving breathing window for prospective investors to take advantage of the 20% discount on €280,000 properties until the end of the year.

Summary of the changes

The new decree-law increases the amounts for real estate and capital transfer investments.

Real Estate: The acquisition of properties with a value equal to or over €500,000 is only allowed when they are located in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira or in inland territories. This is increased from a €280,000/€350,000 minimum.

Bank deposit/Government bonds: Capital transfer investments will also increase for Bank deposits or Government bonds) increases to €1.5m (from €1m).

Research activities: Capital transfer in the amount equal to or higher than €500,000 (increased from €350,000), which is applied in research activities developed by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated in the national scientific and technological system.

Investment funds: Capital transfers equal to or greater than €500,000 (increased from €350,000), for the acquisition of investment units in investment funds.

Commercial Companies: Capital transfers in the amount equal to or higher than €500,000 (also increased from €350,000), for the incorporation of a commercial company with registered office in national territory.

The new law does not prohibit commercial investments, which will continue to be allowed in the Lisbon/Porto and Algarve regions.

“Golden Visa” and Visa Routes to Residency and Citizenship in Portugal


• Property Investments:

Acquisition of property above €500,000

Acquisition of property above €350,000 – for properties more than 30 years old or located in areas of urban renovation

Acquisition of property above €280,000 – for properties in Low-Density Area

• Capital Investments:

Transfer of funds above €1,000,000.Transfer of funds above €350,000 for research activities.

Transfer of funds above €250,000 for artistic or cultural activities.

Transfer of funds above €500,000 for capitalisation of small and medium-sized companies.

• Job creation:

Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs.

Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of one year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of two years. The simplicity of the Golden Visa Programme implies an extremely reduced amount of requirements being asked from the investor. The Golden Visa Programme sets out that the investor must comply with general requirements applicable to all types of qualifying investments and also with the specific requirements of each type of qualifying investment.

In general, all investors have to comply with the following requirements:

– Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs.

– Keep the investment for a minimum period of five years

– Funds for investment should come from abroad

– Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa

– Absence of references in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services

– Absence of conviction of a relevant crime

– Minimum stay in Portugal: seven days during the first year and 14 days during each subsequent period of two years.

Alternatively should you be seeking to set up a company, retire or live on your income in Portugal you have options on a D2 / D7 Visa for Foreign Citizens.

Portugal no mundo global. Um país para visitar, viver e investir.
Portugal in the global world. A country to visit, live and invest in.

For more details about investing in Portugal click here for a free consultation.

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