Portugal

The Portuguese residency programme, more commonly referred to as the Portuguese “Golden Visa”, has proven to be the most popular scheme in Europe with investors attracted to its many benefits and flexibility. Launched in 2012, it requires an investment of €500,000 in real estate in Portugal to gain a residency permit for the main applicant and their immediate family including dependent children and parents. The golden visa is initially issued for 1 year and can then be renewed every 2 years providing all applicants spend an average of seven days in Portugal every year. The property can be rented during this time and our management team can take care of all formalities.

With over 2,000 successful family applications each year, it is the most popular programme of its kind in Europe.

The Portuguese residency permit is valid for visa-free travel throughout the EU and Schengen zone countries and allows the holder the same benefits for living and working in Portugal. All residents are allowed to spend ninety days in any Schengen country twice per year.

Acquiring Portuguese Permanent Residency and Citizenship:

Applicants can apply for permanent residency after 5 years and Portuguese citizenship after 6 years without the need to reside in Portugal. There are some ties which must be shown to the country and also a basic multiple-choice language test upon applying for citizenship.

 

THE COUNTRY

Located in the southern most westerly part of Europe, Portugal enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate almost all year round. Its rich heritage and culture allows it to keep attracting visitors from all over the world. The capital Lisbon is the nation’s largest city boasting a population of over half-a-million. It’s importance lies in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and most predominantly tourism. It is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, OECD, NATO, WTO, UN and Schengen Area. The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. 90% of Portuguese are bi-lingual, with many speaking fluent English. Portugal has extremely affordable living costs when compared to its neighbours, and in a recent survey carried out by the World Economic Forum (WEF), is the seventh friendliest country in the world.


RESIDENCY PROGRAM

Programme requirements:

1) Invest a minimum of €500,000 into real estate in Portugal.

  • The investment can be made into either residential or commercial property or a combination of both.
  • The properties can be rented to yield an income.
  • Any number of properties can combine to make up the €500,000 minimum investment.
  • Joint applicants can pool investments into one property.
  • The property can be mortgaged for any investment exceeding the minimum amount of €500K.
  • The resident permit is renewed after 1 year and thereafter every 2 years.
  • Applicants and their family do not have to live or stay in Portugal all the time. However, they are required to visit for at least 7 days in the first year and 14 days over the subsequent 2-year periods. These need not be consecutive days.

2) Since 2015 a new option for Property Acquisition has been available:

The purchase of a property for the minimum amount of €350,000 for the purpose of renovation, for properties that were constructed more than 30 years ago or are located in areas of urban regeneration.

The €350,000 threshold includes not only the property’s purchase price but also the investment into the renovation works.

Applicants can apply for permanent residency after 5 years and Portuguese citizenship after 6 years. Upon each renewal, the applicant must be able to prove that they still have the minimum amount invested into real estate.

Once applicants have obtained their permanent residency or citizenship then they are free to sell their property asset(s).

BENEFITS

  • Residency permit holders are able to travel freely within the Schengen Area for up to 3 months in every 6-month period with the right of multiple entries.
  • No need to reside in Portugal all the time but have the right to do so if they so wish.
  • Fast track process available in certain cases, 2-3 months. The majority of residency permits are issued within 6 months.
  • Access to quality healthcare and education in Portugal.
  • The Portuguese residency programme is open to all nationalities.
  • The residency scheme leads to Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport in just 6 years.
  • Citizens of Portugal can travel visa-free to around 170 countries, including Canada, the United States, the European Union (EU), and the Schengen region.
  • One of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide; high demand for rental properties
  • Portugal enjoys a high quality of life, political stability, a beautiful natural environment and a sunny Mediterranean climate.
  • Easy business set-up and bank account opening.

Who can be included?

Qualifying family members include spouse and all children under 18. Children aged over 18 can also qualify if dependent or in some form of full-time education but must be unmarried. Dependent parents may also qualify and parents over the age of 66 can be included without the need to prove dependency.

TAXATION

Portugal has a very favorable tax regime for anyone who considers living in the country for at least 183 days per year called the Non Habitual Tax Regime (NHTR). No taxes are charged on overseas income for the first 10 years. For those non-resident individuals tax is charged at 28% on all income derived in the country. This can be reduced with expenses for rental income. Capital gains tax is also 28% and there are allowances for costs and depreciation. There is no inheritance tax in Portugal. Annual property taxes (IMI) can vary between 0.3% and 0.8% of the property valuation, but there are a range of exemptions.

The standard rate of corporate tax is levied at 25% and the standard rate of VAT currently being applied is 23%.

Other requirements:
Applicants deciding to live full time in Portugal will require Medical insurance but those that are not residents no longer need to hold any such medical insurance. As residents of Portugal, all family members will have access to all public services including state medical care and schooling.

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • The applicant needs to have made the investment prior to applying for the visa. The appointed lawyer will make sure that all applicants are able to meet the government requirements before any investment is made.
  • Completing the property purchase takes around 1-3 months after which time the residency application is lodged with the Portuguese Immigration department (SEF).
  • The lawyer will handle the entire process, including the conveyancing and legal work for the property as well as the “Golden Visa” application.
  • A typical application involves initial discussion with our consultants followed by a 3-7 day visit to view properties, meet with lawyers, open a bank account and visit the immigration department for submission of biometrics. The application after this point can be processed within Portugal by the clients’ lawyers.
  • Resident’s permits are couriered to the clients.
  • The process can be completed over 1 or 2 trips but all family members must be present in Portugal at least once to submit their biometric data.

FEES

  • Government fees per family member for application of the Portuguese golden visa are €5,147.80.
  • Renewal fees every two years apply at 50% of these rates. In addition, there is a processing fee on application and renewal of €514.80 for the main applicant plus €80.20 per family member.
  • Lawyers’ fees are typically €4,000 per family per renewal.
  • Buying real estate in Portugal attracts certain taxes, stamp duty and fees in the range of 9%-10% in total, the main element being Property Transfer Tax (IMT) which is around 6.5%.

Our experienced consultants and immigration lawyers will manage the entire application process with document preparation and validation and all government formalities. We partner with the best real estate developers and agents and will arrange for the client to view the properties and get the best possible investment opportunities. Please contact us and our team will be delighted to assist you.

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