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Immigration series | All about Portugal’s residence by investment program

The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is a five-year residence-by-investment program for non-European Union (EU) nationals.

August 31, 2021 / 06:37 PM IST
Representational image, shot in Porto. Portugal has approved 20% more applications since the beginning of 2021 than it did in 2020.

Representational image, shot in Porto. Portugal has approved 20% more applications since the beginning of 2021 than it did in 2020.


Portugal’s Residence by Investment program has become one of the most popular this year. According to the Migration Service of Portugal (quoted in immigrantinvest.com), 770 people received Golden Visas in the first four months of 2021. In March and April 2021, Portugal issued 8% more Golden Visas than January-February this year. Portugal has approved 20% more applications since the beginning of 2021 than it did in 2020.

For Indian nationals, as well as nationals of the US, the UK and Canada, Portugal is the one of the top enquired and top applied residence programs.

Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program

The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is a five-year residence-by-investment program for non-European Union (EU) nationals. The residence permit gives the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and allows freedom of travel in Europe’s Schengen Area.

Furthermore, the program requires an average stay of just seven days a year in Portugal, which can also count towards citizenship eligibility after five years.

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Key benefits

  • Visa-free travel in Europe’s Schengen Area and the right to live, work, and study in Portugal

  • Low physical presence requirement (seven days during the first year of residence and 14 days for the two subsequent years)

  • Attractive taxation system

  • Eligibility to apply for citizenship after five years as a legal resident while keeping other citizenship(s)

  • High quality of life, local cuisine and wines, rich culture, mild climate, and a high level of security

  • Family reunification


Investment requirements

Applicants can choose any one of the qualifying options in any of the below categories:

Capital transfer

  • EUR 1 million minimum capital transfer into a Portuguese bank account or approved investments or approved investment options

  • EUR 350,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system*

  • EUR 250,000 in support of artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage*

  • EUR 350,000 for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds committed to the capitalisation of companies incorporated under the Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years and with at least 60% of the investment portfolio in companies that have a head office in the national territory


Property acquisition

  • EUR 500,000 minimum real estate purchase*

  • EUR 350,000 minimum real estate purchase for the refurbishment of properties older than 30 years or in an area of urban regeneration, including the cost of renovations*

  • An investment of €500,000 (or €350,000 reduced option) in real estate in Portugal will gain a residency permit for a family including dependent children.


Business

  • Creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs*

  • EUR 350,000 for the incorporation or increase of the share capital of a company that is registered in Portugal, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for a period of three years.


*For all the above options, the threshold will be reduced by 20% should the funds be committed to a low population density area, defined as less than 100 inhabitants per km² or with a GDP per capita below 75% of the national average.

About the Portuguese Republic

  • Total area: 92,212 square km

  • Population: 10.3 million

  • Capital: Lisbon

  • Official language: Portuguese, with English widely spoken

  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)

  • Passport Power: 6th in the world (188 visa-free destinations)

  • Safety Index: 29th safest country in the world (Global Finance Safety Index, by the Global Finance magazine)

  • Peace Index: 4th most peaceful country in the world (Global Peace Index, done by the Institute for Economics & Peace)

  • Cost of Living: Average monthly cost for a couple (including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation and entertainment): EUR 1,882


Top 5 Cities

  • Lisbon (capital of Portugal)

  • Porto (314 kms from Lisbon)

  • Cascais (31 kms from Lisbon)

  • Coimbra (205 kms from Lisbon)

  • The Algarve (280 kms from Lisbon)


Tax benefits

  • Residents in Portugal are generally taxed on their worldwide income, but in 2009 the government introduced the non-habitual resident (NHR) taxation regime to attract high-net worth residents and investors. It offers Portuguese tax residents exceptions and reduced rates on foreign income for a period of 10 years. For those registered for NHR, foreign pension income is taxed at 10%.

  • To become a tax resident, you either have to have lived in Portugal for more than 183 days in the past 12 months, or you must be able to prove you have a home in Portugal that is considered your habitual abode.

  • Portugal also has no property inheritance tax to direct family members (spouses, descendants and ascendants) and has a flat 10% stamp duty to other beneficiaries.

  • Unlike some other European retirement destinations, Portugal has no wealth tax.

Real estate options

If you want to take the real estate investment path into Portugal, Henley & Partners (www.henleyglobal.com) can help you find one. The real estate arm of Henley &Partners only deals with property acquisition in relation to Citizen by Investment or Residence by Investment. For this, Indian nationals wanting to opt for one of these programs would have to apply through the India offices of H& P but the property aspect will be managed by the company’s real estate arm.

As an example of real estate prices in Portugal, here are two Lisbon property details offered by Henley &Partners:

Tróia Resort (30-minute drive from Lisbon airport)

Unit: Two-bedroom townhouse. Size: 160 square metres + 30 square metres decks Cost: EUR 479,000

355 Outubro (location: Heart of Lisbon)

Unit: Two-bedroom apartment. Size: 75 square metres. Cost: EUR 570,000
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
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