SUMMARY: A New and Competitive Portuguese “Golden Visa” Regime. Allows Non-EU and non-Schengen Treaty Nationals Applying for a Residence Permit Offering the Right to Family Regrouping or Reunion. A Portuguese “Golden Visa” Opens the Path for a Swift Acquisition of Portuguese Citizenship For Individuals Engaged into Investment Activities Consisting in: (a) the Purchase of Houses or Properties Leased for Commercial, Farming or Tourist Purposes with a Purchase Value of € 500, 000 or more per “Golden Visa” Applicant; (b) the Transfer of Investment Capital in a Minimum Amount of € 1,000,000, including for the Purchase of Shares or of Companies; (c) Investments of Any Kind Creating At Least 10 New Job Positions.  Portugal is the Ideal Country for Research & Development Businesses, Real Estate Leisure and Tourism Activities, Health Care and Medical Sciences, IT and Telecom Industries or for a Relaxed and Tax-Free Retirement With Unbeatable Prices, Costs and Other Conditions.



I.    A New Portuguese Residence Permit to Carry Out Investment Activities in Portugal: Easy Access and a Quick Step Towards Portuguese Citizenship

Due to the urgent need of attracting inward foreign investments to Portugal, on August 9th, 2012, a new statutory scheme entered into force allowing nationals of non-European Union (“EU) and non-Schengen(1) countries to obtain a Portuguese residence permit on the condition that such persons carry out investment activities in Portugal.

This new type of residence permit is called “ARI – Autorização de Residência para Atividades de Investimento” (“Residence Permit for Investment Activity”) being frequently also referred to as “Golden Visa”.

These new legal provisions open the possibility of applying for a residence permit for pursuing investment activities to those who have entered into Portugal regularly (v.g.holders of valid Schengen Visas or beneficiaries of Visa exemption), by transferring capital, creating jobs or acquiring real estate.

The holders of such “Golden Visas” have the right to family regrouping and may gain access to a permanent residence permit.

Holders of Portuguese “Golden Visas” may become eligible for Portuguese citizenship which is far easier to acquire than in most if not all European countries.

II.  Who May Apply

Non-EU and non-Schengen Treaty country citizens involved in an investment activity conducted either directly or indirectly through a company, carried out in Portugal for at least a 5 (five) year period

  • Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 1,000,000.00, including investments in the share capital of companies; or
  • Creation of, at least 10 job positions, which is deemed fulfilled when there is proof of the register of all workers at the Portuguese Social Security system; or
  • Purchase of real estate property with a minimum value of € 500.000.00, in any of the following situations:
    • Purchase either individually or in co-ownership, provided in the latter case, that each co-owner has invested a minimum value of € 500,000.00 or has signed promissory purchase;
    • Properties which have encumbrances of more than € 500,000.00;
    • Properties which are leased for commercial, farming or touristic purposes.

III.   Minimum Presence in Portuguese Territory Required

The temporary residence permit is valid for the period of one year from the date of issue and may be renewed for successive periods of two years, showing his passport, as long as the conditions required for the issue of such “Golden Visa” remain in place.

For purposes of the periodic renewal of the “Golden Visas” applicants must demonstrate that they have stayed in Portugal for at least, the following periods of time:

  • 7 days in the first year of duration of the “Golden Visa”; and
  • 14 days in each subsequent two year periods.

IV.    How to Apply for a Golden Visa

  • The filling for the granting or renewal of the “golden visas” must be made in person at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (“Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” – SEF) of the applicant’s residence area.

V.    Advantages of the Portuguese “Golden Visa”

Portugal, due to the current economic and financial crisis, it is the best European country to interested people invest in real estate business of all kinds, including homes enjoy quality assets at great prices with a high potential to increase in value future.

The combination of Portugal’s economic openness, being a member of European Union, which gives access to all European countries and markets, and the strong ties with the Portuguese Speaking countries such as Brazil several African countries, East Timor and historical connections with India and China, notably in this last case via the Special Administrative Region of Macao, as well as the unique geo-strategic location of Portugal, make it a natural gateway between the EU and world markets.


Marco Freitas Carvalho
Paulino Brilhante Santos

(1)Schengen Treaty: a Treaty entered into and between several EU countries (with some notable exceptions such as the United Kingdom, for example) and a few non-EU countries of Continental Europe allowing freedom of circulation for persons holding a stay or residence Visa issued by any Treaty country in any of the other Treaty countries.