Portugal Citizenship by Investment: A Guide for Expats

A Quick Glance at Portugal

Portugal stands strong as one of the most advanced European countries in the world. Lisbon, specifically, has been home to countless expats to work, study, or retire there.

Moreover, Portugal has a low cost of living when compared to other European countries. Even if you want to buy a house, the prices are comparatively low. Also, life there is slower and more peaceful than most urban life. According to the Portuguese American Journal, Portugueses citizenship requests is at an all-time high. That isn’t surprising, as everyone wants a slice of heaven.

Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa Program has been in effect since 2012. The ultimate aim of the program is to encourage foreign investors to invest in the country. In exchange for their investments, the government rewards the investors with residency in Portugal. This comes with the following benefits:

  • Visa-free travel to Schengen countries
  • Benefits from tax regulations
  • Potential citizenship and visa-free travel to 186 countries

Investors can make their investments in different forms, which we will explain later in this article. When they make their investments, they obtain a residence permit in Portugal. After this, they have the right to live, work, and study in Portugal.

Furthermore, after five years of successful residency, they become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. This gives them the right to live, work, and study in all European Union countries.

Qualification Process for Citizenship by Investment in Portugal

The very first thing you should do is invest in the country. You can make your investment in different ways, such as:

  • Buying a real estate property with a minimum value of €500,000
    • In low-density areas, the minimum amount is €400,000
  • Buying a real estate property with a minimum value of €350,000, which is older than 30 years and needs renovation
    • The minimum investment amount is €280,000 in the low-density areas
  • Investing €500,000 in Portuguese investment funds or venture capital
  • Owning a company which creates a minimum of ten jobs for citizens of Portugal
  • Investing €350,000 in a Portuguese risk fund
  • A capital transfer of €1 million to the country
  • Investing a minimum amount of €250,000 in the arts or the reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage projects

It will take you between one and three months to complete the purchase process. Later on, you prepare the necessary documentation and submit them. It is important to note that you should first invest, and then you can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa. Following this, you should go to Portugal for your biometrics appointment with SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Border Service) office. 

When you complete the other necessary payments, you obtain your Golden Visa residence card, which is usually valid for one year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now valid for two years.

What Are the Benefits of Portugal’s Citizenship by Investment?

Family Reunification

The good news is that you will not be alone in the country. Portugal Golden Visa covers the family members of the investor as well.

The family members include the investor’s spouse and children under 18 years of age. If the children are over 18 years of age, but they are full-time students and depend on the applicant, then the Golden Visa covers them as well. 

Immediate Visa-Free Travel to Schengen Countries and Eventually 188 Countries

After you get your Golden Visa residence permit, you have the right to visa-free travel to Schengen countries.

Furthermore, after five years, you will gain the right to visa-free travel to 188 countries when you obtain your citizenship and Portuguese passport. 

Live, Work, and Study in EA/EEA Countries

As a Golden Visa holder, you have the right to live, conduct business, and study in Portugal for the first five years.

When you get citizenship in Portugal, then these rights will be valid across all the EU countries.

Beneficial Tax Regimes for Investors

Portugal is very generous in its tax regimes. It has Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with many countries. DTA aims to prevent people from paying taxes on the same income in two countries.

The income you earn outside of Portugal will not be subject to taxation in Portugal. Additionally, if the foreign income is from a country Portugal has a DTA with, it won’t be subject to taxation. If your income is from Portugal, you will be subject to lower tax rates as an expat.

In addition to DTA, you can enjoy the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime. Most of your foreign source income will be exempt from taxation for ten consecutive years under this program. If your job is a “high-added-value” profession, then you will get generous tax exemptions. The Portuguese government determines the types of these professions.

Benefit from Healthcare and Education Services

Golden Visa holders have free access to public schools and public healthcare in Portugal. These are incredibly well-developed in Portugal, and education specifically can open doors to many profitable professional avenues.


Portugal is a strong competitor globally when it comes to the economy and quality of life. It’s also the fourth safest country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index 2021.

An investment in Portugal well probably has a decent return fiscal and otherwise. Additionally, you’ll qualify for citizenship and enjoy all the benefits Portugal offers to its citizens.

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