Golden Visa Portugal - Everything you need to know

The golden visa has become of the most important source of foreign direct investment in Portugal. Launched in 2012 the investor visa program has been actively promoted internationally by the Portuguese government. With your Golden Visa permit, you will be registered with the Schengen Area central system which will enable you to enter all European countries without the need for an additional visa.

Investors  first receive a one-year residence permit, which can then be extended every two years. You do not have to spend a long time in Portugal. Seven days a year are enough which can be easily integrated in a holiday or business trip.


Since the launch of the golden visa programme’s in 2012, more than 6,200 Portuguese golden visas have been given out, representing more than EUR 3.5 billion investment in the country. 

After five years, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship. The Portuguese passport is a top-notch travel document allowing visa-free travel to 182 countries.


We summarized everthing you need to know about the golden visa program in Portugal. If you have questions or remarks just let us know!

What are the benefits of getting a golden visa in Portugal?

There are many benefits for the Golden Visa program’s. The main benefits are listed below:


  • You will be registered with the Schengen Area central system which will enable you to enter all European countries without the need for an additional visa  (26 European countries)
  • The program is not blacklisted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Many European countries have golden visa programs even Germany
  • After five years, you can apply for the Portuguese citizenship
  • Family reunion is possible which means that certain depdendent family members can also get Portuguese residency
  • Access Portuguese healthcare and European education system.
  • You have the security of a second residence in a safe and stable country
  • You only need to spend seven days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years in Portugal (consecutively or non-consecutively
  • You have the option to become a non-habitual resident of Portugal and pay little or no tax for 10 years


The Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Regime grants qualifying individuals the possibility of becoming tax residents of a white-listed jurisdiction whilst legally minimizing income tax on certain categories of non-Portugal income for a period of 10 years. Golden Visa holders automatically qualify for the Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Regime (NHR).


The Golden Visa Portugal extendable to family members like: 

  • Spouse or legal partner;
  • Children under 18 years of age;
  • Dependent children under 26 as long as they are unmarried and enrolled as full-time students;
  • Parents of either spouse if over the age of 66 years old (or 55 and dependent); and/or
  • Siblings under the age of 18 years from either spouse or partner if legally responsible

What are the requirements for the golden visa in Portugal?

The requirements for the investor visa are:

  • An investment in Portugal
  • Clean criminal record in Portugal
  • No previous refusal of entry or visa to the EU
  • Sufficient medical insurance if you decide to stay in Portugal

The following investments meet the criteria for the golden visa:

  • Capital transfer of at least  1 million EUR  into Portugal
  • The creation of at least 10 job positions in Portugal
  • The purchase of real estate property in Portugal worth at least EUR 500.000 EUR  (reduced to 400.000 EUR if it is located in a low-density area). You can chieve this option also with more than one property which is from an investment point of view even better because rental returns do not grow proportionally with the property value
  • The purchase of real estate property in Portuguese urban regeneration areas or that is at least 30 years old to the value of at least 350.000 EUR (reduced to 280.000 EUR if located in a low-density area). In this option you have to invest some part of the money into renovations. Such projects need to be approved by SEF as qualifying for the reduced investment amount and it is critical to ensure the right project and legal advice is obtained before embarking on such investment
  • Investment of at least 350.000 EUR in scientific research in Portugal
  • Investment of at least 250.000 EUR in Portuguese arts, culture and heritage
  • Investment of at least 500.000 EUR in small and medium businesses in Portugal

A lower density area which gives you a 20% reduced investment complies to the NUT3  level with fewer than 100 inhabitants per kilometre squared or GDP per capita less than 75% of the national average.


Note that you can not get a bank loan or mortgage in Portugal to buy a property. You have to prove that you bring the capital 100% to Portugal. Of course you can apply for a mortgage in your own country.

How to find the best investment strategy for a golden visa property

There are four different investment alternatives for getting a golden visa through the purchase of properties. We analysed all four and described their pros and cons form an investment point of view. 

What is the process and costs of getting the golden visa?

First you have to realized the investment in Portugal. After the investement you can start to apply for the golden visa. The application is made by your lawyer and it takes up to 6 months for approval. If you also want to apply for your family members, it will be done at the same time. The first applicant pays 532,70 EUR processing fee, each additional family member pays 83,10 EUR.


You can find a cost simulation for the 350k and the 500k solution for a family of four here.


Along with the Portuguese golden visa application, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Passport or valid travel ID
  • Proof of legal entry into Portugal (eg. Schengen short-stay visa)
  • Proof of health insurance (issued within the last three months)
  • Criminal record certificate from country of origin/residence (issued within the last three months)
  • Evidence of compliance with tax and Social Security obligations
  • Receipt of payment of the Portuguese golden visa fees.

The applicants need to show commitment to maintain their investment for a minimum of five years, plus evidence of their investment


The Portuguese golden visa application can be submitted online via the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service’s (SEF) website. The application takes up to 6 months for approval.


You need the following certified documents from a Portuguese consulate or the embassy of your country translated into Portuguese

  • Criminal certificate from country of origin 
  • marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate of children 

Once your application has been approved, you will pay an authorization fee of 5324,60 EUR per applicant. After 10 days you will receive your residence card, which is valid for 1 year.  


The residence card is renewable for two-year periods. In the second year you must submit your biometric data (fingerprints, etc.), present a current criminal record and pay a fee of 2662,30 EUR per applicant. In addition, the cost of the renewal process is 532.70 EUR for the main applicant and 83,10 EUR for each additional family member.


 For the final application for the 4th and 5th year, you must submit your biometric data, present a current criminal record and pay a fee of 266,30 EUR per applicant. In addition, the cost of the renewal process is  532, 70 EUR for the main applicant and 83,10 EUR for each additional family member. After the last renewal process, you can renew your golden visa or apply for a permanent residence permit.

How to find properties for the golden visa?

Buying property in Portugal is the most favorite option for most applicants to get the golden visa in Portugal. However, local real estate agents are quite aware of the budget requirements and often tend to sell foreign investors overpriced properties. 


Pearls of Portugal is  specialized in finding the best real estate for our clients and making the purchase as cheap and safe as possible. We work 100% for the buyer. We offer all services related to the purchase of real estate for our customers. We quarantee absolute confidentiality 

Portugal is also a very good location for investments. In addition to the returns from tourist rental, there are also excellent conditions for the classic rental of housing and commercial space.

Where to buy a golden visa property in Portugal

Portugal offers many interesting regions for investments. For short term renting Lisbon and Porto are the strongest alternatives in the market. Especially Lisbon has experienced a strong increase in property prices in the last couple of years. Therefore we also recommend other great touristic areas in Portugal like the Algarve, Alentejo, the Silver Coast and the North of Portugal as investment regions. We from Pearls of Portugal are pleased to help you finding the right region for your investment.

How to buy golden visa properties

The purchase process in Portugal has specific procedures and laws involved, Important is the purchase agreement which serves as the actual purchase contract and therefor needs special attention. We summarized all the important steps. When you work with Pearls of Portugal the entire process is taken care of by us including the legal work for the purchase agreement. 

How to do short term renting for golden visa properties

The number of tourists and overnight stays have increased by ten percent from January to November 2018 alone. Rental income grew even faster during this period - by 17 percent (Source: INE).  In the past renting to tourists was not always easy. This has changed a lot in the last  years. Platforms like airbnb charge the hosts only service fees of 5%. In most regions, whole industries have specialized in the private rental market "alojamento local", which greatly simplifies the renting of real estate from abroad. A completely foreign-managed and taxed property can still be about 65% of sales as a profit. Well positioned properties make between 30.000 -50.000 EUR in the cities Lisbon and Porto.

Why living in Portugal permanently during the golden visa application

Besides the advantage of getting a permanent visa in Portugal and Europe, Portugal offers also a lot of live quality. With an average daytime temperature of 14-21°C the weather is much milder than in UK or Germany  with 4-12°C. Even in the winter you can find place like Algarve where the temperature does not drop below 10°C. 


In addition, the living costs in Portugal are  about 25% lower than for example in UK or Germany, which is associated with a significant purchasing power of UK or German income in Portugal. This is particularly noticeable in labour costs and local food. 


Not to forget the traditional Portuguese cuisine, which is based on a great variety of fish and seafood, meat, vegetables, rice and of course high-quality wines.       


Portugal has invested heavily in the modernization of its infrastructure. The result is an extensive transportion network connecting the main cities. The main airports of Portugal - Porto, Lisbon and Faro - are well connected in Europe and are prime destinations of all low cost airlines such as Ryanair.


As a result  traveling to the easternmost country in Europe has become very cheap and time attractive. The road network in Portugal has been well developed. The main routes are covered by fee-based Autoestradas or toll-free Itinerários Principais (IP) or Itinerários Complementares (IC).