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Golden Visa Portugal: an investment in Portuguese real estate gives you access to the whole of Europe

Living in Portugal and traveling freely throughout much of Europe. This is what the Golden Visa program in Portugal - also known as the Golden Resident Permit Program (GRPP) - makes possible for investors from outside the European Union and their families. This article covers everything you need to know about the Golden Visa program in combination with investing in Portuguese real estate.


Since the Portuguese Golden Visa program was launched in 2012, over 7,738 investors from outside the European Union have obtained a Golden Visa (reference date: July 2019). This shows that the program is popular. It has therefore become known as the most successful residency-by-investment program in Europe.


Portugal's Golden Visa program was created in 2012 to attract more foreign investment. With more than 4,8 trillion euros in direct investments resulting from the Golden Visa program (reference date: January 2020), this is a goal which can be said to have been met successfully. The top 5 countries of origin for investors using the program are currently China, South Africa, Brazil, Russia and Lebanon.


Your investment provides access to Portugal and the whole of Europe

As an investor from outside the European Union, what you get back is therefore very attractive. With the Golden Visa program you will receive a Portuguese visa for yourself and your entire family. This residence permit is valid for five years and not only gives you access to Portugal, but offers you the possibility to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. This consists of 26 countries in Europe, including Spain, France, Germany and Italy.


After five years, you have the opportunity as an investor to apply for a Portuguese permanent residence permit. A year later, once you have been registered as a resident of Portugal for six years, you are eligible for Portuguese citizenship. Your Portuguese passport then offers you the opportunity to travel freely throughout no fewer than 182 countries.


Although other countries in Europe also have their own investment program to obtain a visa and ultimately European citizenship, Portugal's Golden Visa program stands out. It distinguishes itself by being easy, fast, and cheaper than other Golden Visa programs in Europe.


The Portuguese Golden Visa program and investing in real estate

Purchasing real estate is one of the options to obtain a Golden Visa as an investor from outside the European Union. It is also the category that is most popular when examining the different types of investment that can be made in order to qualify for a Golden Visa. More than 90 percent of investors opt to purchase in Portugal.


When do you qualify for a Golden Visa as an investor in Portuguese real estate? The basic rule is that you obtain a residence permit for yourself and your entire family if you make a minimum of 500,000 euros investment in real estate in Portugal. It is also possible to divide this investment between various assets that have a total value of 500,000 euros or more.


There are a few exceptions where the minimum investment amount is lower than 500,000 euros:

1) If you make a real estate investment in a part of Portugal that is classified as a low-density area, the minimum amount is 400,000 euros. Areas that are classified as low-density areas are for example the Algarve, the Alentejo and the province of Douro. 

2)  If the property is at least thirty years old and in need of renovation or if it is located in an area where urban redevelopment is taking place, the minimum amount is 350,000 euros. 

3) If the property is at least thirty years old, in need of renovation or located in a an area where urban redevelopment is taking place and it is located in a low-density area,  the minimum is only 280,000 euros!


The benefits of a real estate investment in Portugal

In addition to investment in Portuguese real estate, there are also other categories that qualify you for a Golden Visa. These include the creation of at least ten new, full-time jobs in a Portuguese company, investment in national heritage, and investment in research. However, these categories lack various benefits that an investment in real estate entails. For example:

- The opportunity to have your own family vacation spot in Portugal, where you are guaranteed a sunny climate and safe living environment (Portugal is among the top 3 safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index 2020 Portugal is classified 3rd safest country in the world.
- The possibility of renting out your property as a holiday home in Portugal for an attractive return on investment, thus generating additional income. 
- The possibility to increase the value of the real estate and therefore your investment, simply by keeping it in your possession (which you are obliged to do for five years in order to keep your Golden Visa, see below).


Golden Visa Portugal: rules and conditions

As an investor in Portuguese real estate, what should you take into account if you want to be eligible for a Golden Visa? It is important that you keep the property in your possession for at least five years. During the first year, you are only required to spend seven days in Portugal in order to keep your visa. Over the following four years, there is a minimum of fourteen days stay per year in order to extend your visa by two years. You can spend a continuous period of fourteen days in Portugal, or divide it into several shorter periods. Finally, you must not have a criminal record if you want to obtain a Golden Visa.


Golden Visa Portugal: costs to be aware of

The costs that the Portuguese government charges for obtaining a Golden Visa are relatively low:

- To apply for a visa, the amount due is slightly above 500 euros (plus around 80 euros for every family member who also wishes to apply for a visa).
- If the application for the Golden Visa is granted, a fee of approximately 5,200 euros per visa holder will be added.
- The visa must be renewed at the end of the first and third year. This entails a cost of around 2,600 euros per visa holder.
- In subsequent years, the renewal fee is around 500 euros per person.


Golden Visa Portugal: the benefits at a glance

What exactly are you entitled to when, as an investor from outside the European Union, you purchase property in Portugal or make another investment that qualifies you for a Golden Visa? We have put together a clear overview for you:

- You can travel freely throughout the entire Schengen Area, which consists of 26 European countries.
- You have the option to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years.
- The same applies to your spouse and your children - provided that they are younger than 18, or younger than 26 if they are single and are studying full-time.
- The same applies to your parents and those of your spouse if they are over 66, or over 55 if they depend on you for care.
- Finally, these benefits also apply to your, or your spouse’s, siblings if they are under the age of 18.
- You have the option to use the Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Regime (see below), and pay relatively little to no tax for ten years.
- Unlike many other Golden Visa programs in Europe, Portugal is not blacklisted by the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. You are therefore using a reliable visa program.


Golden Visa Portugal and the attractive tax regime

As a Golden Visa holder you automatically qualify for the Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Regime. This attractive tax regime can exempt you from paying taxes on various sources of income locally or abroad, such as on income from real estate, shares, and from the sale of real estate abroad.

If you receive additional income in Portugal, you can be eligible to pay only the flat rate of 20 percent tax during the first ten years if your profession is on the list of specific professions. You don't pay any additional tax in Portugal on income that you collect outside of Portugal. Finally, you can also give a part of your money to your spouse or a dependent family member tax-free.


The step-by-step plan for a real estate investment in order to obtain a Golden Visa for Portugal

If you choose to go down the route of investing in real estate in order to obtain your Golden Visa, we recommend that you first gather reliable information about the Portuguese real estate market. What are the most attractive regions of Portugal for making an investment that meets your wishes? In which regions is it easy to rent out your newly purchased property? On which real estate investments can you make a good return? Which regions in Portugal are appealing to you if you plan to regularly spend time in your holiday home?


Divine Home can of course assist you in all these matters. Because we know Portugal so well, we give you the best advice regarding the most attractive regions for making a real estate investment. Naturally, we also help you with the purchase of your property and with the legal proceedings that you must go through when purchasing a property in Portugal.


Do you meet the necessary conditions to start the Golden Visa application? You can expect the procedure to take approximately three to six months.


Are you planning to make a real estate investment in Portugal in order to be eligible for a Golden Visa? Contact us for expert advice that matches your situation and wishes.

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