Kindly bear in mind that following section is a generic summary. The information hereafter provided should not be considered as legal advice. Pombaline recommends that you seek professional legal and tax advice. Kindly contact us for suggestions of reputable firms operating in Portugal.
The Golden Residence Permit Programme (Autorização de Residência para Atividade de Investimento), launched by Portuguese authorities in October 2012, is a fast-track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residence permit in Portugal (otherwise known as a Golden Visa).
Under the Golden Residence Permit Programme, non-EU citizens must carry out one of the investments set out in the law to qualify for a residency permit in Portugal. This permit allows the investor to enter and/or live in Portugal and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen Area).
Aimed at attracting foreign investment in Portugal, the Golden Visa is a straightforward, flexible programme with transparent legal requirements. By reducing the country’s minimum stay requirements, the Portuguese government has made the Golden Visa one of the most attractive residency programmes in the world.
At the end of January 2019, 7.107 global investors had participated in the Golden Visa Program and 12.056 family members have been approved. In Europe, only the UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa program has raised more capital than Portugal’s Golden Visa Program.
Every year more and more people are taking advantage of the Portuguese government’s residency-by-investment programme showcasing trust in the economy and quality of life provided by this Iberian country.
Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of one year and can be renewed for subsequent periods of two years.
It is important that the investor seeks a legal representative. The investors are making a sizable investment. As such its crucial that no chances are taken during the preparation, submission and renewal of the residency application. Pombaline has triaged, vetted and selected a select number of independent and reputable law firms that have the necessary expertise in working with the investors. Thus ensuring that the investment is safe, and the residency obtained whilst paying least possible legal fees.
Investors may expect that the law firm performs at least the following tasks:
Following services can be acquired at cost:
CAN YOU PLEASE INSERT HOW YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS – INITIAL MEETING WITH LEGAL REP, ONLINE APPLICATION, ETC – USE INFO BELOW HOW YOU SEE FIT
This involves the principal applicant being required to travel to Portugal once before issuance of the first residence visa. The visit can take as little as 3 to 4 days during which focus is placed on opening a local bank account, having an independent tax planning session if required, discussing real estate investment opportunities and visiting the same if applicable. The Power of Attorney will also be signed during this visit to enable legal representatives to work on the applicant’s behalf with the Immigration and Border Service (SEF) as well as the fiscal and social security authorities.
The Golden Visa is a temporary residence permit valid for a period of one year from the date of issue and may be renewed for successive periods of two years, provided that the necessary requirements for its granting are maintained. After five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit or, optionally, after six years you can apply for Portuguese nationality, assuming you meet the requirements.
In general, all investors have to meet the following requirements:
|Nr.||Cost Type||Main Applicant||Spouse||Dependent #1*||Dependent #2*|
|1||Application Analyzes Fee||€ 532.70||€ 83.10||€ 83.10||€ 83.10|
|2||Final Approval Fee||€ 5324.60||€ 5324.60||€ 5324.60||€ 5324.60|
|3||Fee for sending card to the designated address||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60|
|4||Renewal Application Analyzes Fee End Year 1||€ 532.70||€ 83.10||€ 83.10||€ 83.10|
|5||Renewal Final Approval Fee End Year 1||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30|
|6||Fee for sending card to the designated address||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60|
|7||Renewal Application Analyzes Fee End Year 3||€ 532.70||€ 83.10||€ 83.10||€ 83.10|
|8||Renewal Final Approval Fee End Year 3||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30||€ 2666.30|
|9||Fee for sending card to the designated address||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60||€ 8.60|
|10||Permanent Residency Fee||€ 221.20||€ 221.20||€ 221.20||€ 221.20|
|11||Citizenship Fee||€ 250.00||€ 250.00||€ 200.00||€ 200.00|
|Total||€ 12,752.30||€ 11,403.50||€ 11,353.50||€ 11,353.50||€ 46,862.80|
All the abovementioned administrative fees and registration costs, can be modified each year by the Portuguese Government.
*The abovementioned amount for the citizenship fee is for minor dependents (if he’s/she’s of age the fee will be € 250,00).
Investors shall expect additional incremental fees at cost. That said these fees are far less significant in comparison to those related to residence card fees. Expected costs are as follows:
The Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Once the application is submitted at SEF, it can take between three to six months for the application to be processed. Please note that this is an estimate based on past experience. Time taken by SEF to approve the residency may be shorter or longer.
Yes. You may work during the period of your Golden Visa, as well as after you get the permanent residency permit.
Yes. Under the Golden Residence Permit Programme, the investor’s family members can obtain a Portuguese resident permit by applying for a “family reunion”. The Golden Visa can then be extended to dependent family members (children, spouse and dependent family members).
Like the primary investor, these family members may then be eligible for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.
The following dependents may apply for the Golden Visa at the same time as the main applicant:
Permanent residency may be granted to those who have successfully renewed their residence permit for a full five-year period. Permanent residency shall be granted to someone that can provide:
The permanent residence permit is granted for life. Notwithstanding, the card has to be renewed every 5 years or whenever there is a change of particulars, namely the holder’s address in Portugal or his/her marital status.
A permanent residence permit is not subject to minimum stay requirements. But, except in the case of the Golden Visa Permanent Residency, a permanent residence permit may be cancelled if the holder, without an acceptable justification, is away from Portugal for a period of 24 consecutive months, or for a period of non-consecutive 30 months over 3 years. However, it is explicitly deemed acceptable to be away for any period of time in one’s country of origin in order to carry out a professional, entrepreneurial, cultural or social activity. In practice, SEF will only demand to see proof of the holder having actually lived in the country or of a justification of absence from the country in the event the renewal of the card is requested after its expiry date. As such, provided the renewal of the permanent resident’s id card is applied for before the expiry date, Portugal’s minimum stay requirements should not be a major concern.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF A RESIDENCE PERMIT HOLDER
Without prejudice to any special provisions, a residence permit holder is implicitly entitled to:
The legal provisions securing equal treatment to foreign citizens, specifically in connection to social security, fiscal benefits, participation in unions, recognition of diplomas, certificates and other Professional qualifications, as well as the right of access to goods and services available to the public and the application of provisions granting them special rights, are secured
DUTY TO COMMUNICATE
DUTY OF REGULAR ENTRY AND LEGAL PERMANENCE
DUTY TO RESPECT PUBLIC ORDER, PUBLIC SECURITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH
Foreigners must abstain from engaging in activities that lead to convictions that, separately or cumulatively, exceed one year imprisonment, independently from the suspension of sentences delivered on grounds of deliberate crime as contained in the provisions of this Law, or on grounds of terrorism, violent crime or organized crime.
Proving basic knowledge of the Portuguese language is required from every applicant for either permanent residency or citizenship, regardless in general of the grounds on which the application is submitted. The language knowledge requirements for obtaining citizenship are exactly the same as those for obtaining permanent residency, and in the event one already has permanent residency there is no need to take the language test again when applying for citizenship. Under the Foreigners’ Law, the applicant for a permanent residence permit must prove having knowledge of “basic Portuguese”. According to SEF (Portugal’s border agency), in case such knowledge cannot be proved, the temporary residence permit will be renewed until this requirement is met. In case the temporary residence permit is a Golden Visa, this may be renewed every two years as long as the required investment is kept in place. The proof consists of a certificate of A2 level proficiency (in accordance with CEFR, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) issued by one of the following institutions:
The test has a written and an oral component, but the written component may be waived for over-60 year-old people who are illiterate and for seriously ill or handicapped people. In addition, under 10-year old children and people having special needs may request that the test be adapted to their particular circumstances. Under 18-year old children may not take the test at some of the centres for evaluating the knowledge of Portuguese as a foreign language, but the certificate may be replaced by a declaration issued by a school that the minor has attended. Otherwise, a declaration by a witness other than the parents may also be acceptable.
Unlike residency, the application for citizenship is to be submitted to a civil registry office and not to SEF. However, once citizenship is acquired, passport applications are handled by SEF. Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation may be applied to someone that:
The applicants for citizenship must submit documentary evidence of the existence of effective ties to Portugal and/or the Portuguese community, and the State Attorney may oppose the granting of citizenship if such ties are either too few or too weak. Examples of acceptable ties include:
A fiscal number is an identification number for the Portuguese Tax Authority (also known as the tax number). This number is required to carry out the investments. Unless you are a fiscal resident in the country you will need a fiscal representative in the country over the course of the residency permit duration.
The following documents must be submitted by Golden Visa applicants for the initial application and then for applying for each renewal:
N.B.: To be accepted, the criminal record certificate (or Police clearance letter) must have been issued no more than 90 days before the date of its submission and, in the case of other certificates, 180 days.
Original documents must be accompanied by a certified translation to Portuguese, which may be done in one of three ways:
The rules governing the granting of Residence Permit for Investment (ARI / Golden Visa), in force from 8 October 2012, enable third country nationals to obtain a temporary residence permit to conduct business activities with visa waiver to enter national territory. The beneficiaries of ARI / Golden Visa are entitled to:
Who may apply? All third country citizens who conduct an investment activity, provided these citizens fulfil the quantitative requirements and the time requirements set out by the relevant legislation, may apply for a Residence Permit for Investment, by one of the following routes:
Portuguese, EU and EEE nationals are not eligible for the ARI / Golden Visa scheme.
Yes, as the investor, you only need to hold the investment during the Golden Visa’s validity period of five years. After this, the investor can sell the property, transfer the money to another country or close the job positions. We recommend that you keep the investment until citizenship is granted.
No, the investor does not need to occupy the property; it can be rented out to obtain income.
Yes, the application can be made in your name or through an EU company fully owned by you.
The investor (or any family member) will only be refused the Golden Visa (or its renewal) if:
The non-habitual resident (NHR) regime is open to anyone who has the right to reside in Portugal (an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen or a holder of a residence permit) and has not been a tax resident of the country during the previous 5 years.
Foreign-source self-employment or sole trader income derived from an eligible occupation, royalties, capital gains and investment or rental income will be exempt from Portuguese tax as long as they may be taxed in the source country either under a double taxation agreement or under the OECD model tax convention. In addition, such income must not be deemed Portugal-sourced under applicable Portuguese law, and must not be sourced from a blacklisted tax haven.
Foreign-source employment income will be exempt from Portuguese tax as long as it is liable to tax (at whatever rate) in the source country either under a double taxation treaty or under the OECD model tax convention and is not deemed Portugal-sourced under applicable Portuguese law.
Occupational pension income will be exempt from Portuguese tax as long as it is liable to tax in the source country under a double taxation treaty or it is deemed as not being Portuguese-source income under applicable Portuguese law.
If your occupation is eligible (kindly request full list of eligible occupations), Portugal-source employment or self-employment / sole trader income will be taxed at a flat rate of 20%, while other Portugal-sourced types of income will be taxed at the normal rates applicable to resident taxpayers, the calculation of the applicable marginal tax rate taking into account all income, including exempt income.
Portugal does not tax wealth or capital duty, and an inheritance or a gift received by a spouse, descendant or ascendant is tax exempt. Inheritance or gifts received by other individuals will be either not taxable under territoriality rules, or else may be subject to a flat 10% stamp duty.
Although the individual must be deemed a resident of Portugal when he/she submits the application, there is no minimum stay requirement afterwards.
In order to qualify as a “non-habitual resident”, a Portuguese national or a foreign individual having the right to live in Portugal must register as a tax resident of Portugal as long as he or she has not been resident in Portugal during at least previous 5 years. It should be noted that under the law an unregistered individual will be deemed resident for tax purposes if he/she either spends more than 183 days in the country during a 12-month period, or has a place of abode in the country, “in a way that may lead to the supposition of an intention to keep and occupy it as a habitual home”. However, there is no minimum stay requirement for a Portugal-registered tax resident.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have an automatic right to live in Portugal, and individuals of other nationalities must obtain a residence permit.
Recognition of non-habitual resident status is not automatic and is granted for a period of 10 years upon successful application to the Portuguese tax authorities up until March 31st of the year following that in which Portuguese residence was granted.
In order to apply, one must fill out the request and provide a statement that the applicant was not resident for tax purposes in Portugal during the 5 years preceding the arrival in Portugal. In case of doubts tax authorities may request additional documentation such as tax residence certificate from the previous country and/or a document ensuring that the vital and economic interests of the applicant were in another country during the previous 5 years.
The following steps are a guideline and actual procedure may vary depending to the specific situation.
Once the terms of the promissory contract have been met then the buyer and seller (or their legal representatives) meet again either in front of a notary for Escritura Publica de Compra e Venda in order to sign the final dee. The buyer pays the remaining amount to the seller and the seller hands over the keys to the property. The property is then registered in the name of the new owner with the Land Registry and the process is complete.
For non-residents, tax on rental income is set at a flat 28%, although maintenance, repair expenses and IMI may be deducted.
No, if the holder of the Golden Visa is not staying in Portugal for more than 183 consecutive days, he/she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal.
Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends etc.) will be taxed at a rate of 28%.