Portugal Citizenship by Investment: A Comprehensive Guide

Portugal, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, has long been a sought-after destination for travelers and expatriates alike. But in recent years, the nation has also emerged as a beacon for global investors, thanks to its Golden Visa program.

Introduced in 2012, the program was designed to attract foreign investment and boost the Portuguese economy.

Over the years, this Portugal investment citizenship program has garnered immense popularity, becoming one of the most successful residency-by-investment programs in Europe.

The allure of the Golden Visa investment program lies not just in the potential for a return on investment but also in the myriad of benefits it offers.

From visa free travel across the EU Schengen zone to the possibility of obtaining Portuguese citizenship, the Portugal investment citizenship program presents a golden opportunity, quite literally, for investors.

However, like all things, the program has evolved. With the October 2023 Portugal Golden Visa Law change, known as the “More Housing” bill, there has been a significant shift in the investment landscape.

While the real estate option was the favoured route for many investors, the new reforms have paved the way for diverse investment avenues, aligning with Portugal’s broader economic goals.

In this guide, we will delve deep into the nuances of the Portugal Golden Visa program as it stands in 2024, exploring its history, the recent changes and what potential investors need to know.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just exploring your options, this comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Can i still get Citizenship by Investment in Portugal?

Yes, you can still invest in several different programs in Portugal that will lead to citizenship in the same or similar ways to the Golden Visa Portugal, which many know well.

The fastest and cheapest way to obtain residency by investment in Portugal is the D2 Visa; once you have completed the 5 years of residency in Portugal, you can apply for Citizenship in Portugal in year 6. The D2 Entrepreneur Visa is a business visa, as you must set up and run a company in Portugal. But don’t worry!

Our expert team of Lawyers and business consultants in Portugal have a D2 Investor package that takes away all the principal stresses of the application and paperwork around running the company.

A €280,000 investment will assure you an investment in a business in Portugal that pays your company 4% annual return, this money is used to pay for all the costs.

You can also benefit from a buyback at the end of the 5 years and see your capital returned once you apply for the Portuguese Passport.

A Program in Evolution

Today, as we stand in 2024, the Portugal Golden Visa program is a testament to the country’s adaptability and forward-thinking approach.

While its core objective remains the same – to attract foreign investment – the means to achieve this have evolved, reflecting Portugal’s changing economic and social landscape.

October 2023 Changes and Implications

The Portugal Golden Visa program, having enjoyed almost a decade of success, faced a pivotal moment in October 2023 with the introduction of the “More Housing” bill.

This legislation, while preserving the core essence of the program, brought about significant changes that reshaped the investment landscape in Portugal.

The End of Real Estate Dominance

The most notable change was the phasing out of real estate as a primary route to the Golden Visa. This decision was driven by multiple factors:

  • Housing Affordability: The influx of foreign investment has led to skyrocketing property prices in major cities, making housing unaffordable for many locals.
  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage: There were growing concerns about the impact of unchecked real estate development, especially in historic and culturally significant areas.
  • Economic Diversification: The government aimed to channel foreign investment into sectors that would drive sustainable economic growth.

Key Changes Introduced

  • End of Real Estate Investments: The new law means no investment in Real Estate or linked Funds is eligible.
  • Promotion of Fund Investments: The law emphasizes investment in qualified Portuguese funds as a viable alternative to real estate. This change aims to diversify the types of investments under the program.
  • D2 Business Visa: This Visa also leads to Residency and citizenship by opening a business in Portugal. We can help with this.

Shift Towards Productive Investments

With the new reforms, the focus shifted towards more ‘productive’ sectors of the economy. The government introduced and emphasized routes Portugal citizenship through investment that would directly contribute to new business creation via the D2, job creation, scientific research, cultural preservation and economic diversification.

Benefits for Low-Density Territories

Another significant aspect of the 2023 changes was the encouragement of investments in low-density territories.

By offering incentives such as reduced minimum investment amounts, the government aimed to promote balanced regional development and prevent the over-concentration of investments in urban centers.

The October 2023 reforms showcased Portugal’s commitment to balancing economic growth with social responsibility for example an Investment fund that invests in Green energy..

By redirecting foreign capital towards sectors that would benefit the broader population, the government demonstrated a forward-thinking approach, ensuring the Golden Visa program’s sustainability and relevance in the years to come.

New Citizenship laws in Portugal for 2024

Understanding the Fund Investment Route

With the phasing out of real estate as the primary avenue for the Golden Visa, the fund investment route has come to the forefront.

This shift represents a strategic move by the Portuguese government to channel foreign capital into sectors that promise sustainable growth and broader economic benefits.

Here’s a deep dive into the fund investment option and why it’s becoming the preferred choice for many investors.

What is the Fund Investment Route?

Fund investment involves placing capital into specific investment funds that have been approved by the Portuguese authorities.

These funds are designed to support various sectors, from technology startups to cultural projects, ensuring that foreign investments contribute directly to the nation’s economic development.

Why Choose Fund Investment?

  • Diversified Risk: Unlike real estate, where the investment is tied to a single property, fund investments are typically diversified across multiple assets or projects, spreading the risk.
  • Potential for Higher Returns: Many of the approved funds target sectors with high growth potential, offering investors the possibility of significant returns.
  • Contribution to Sustainable Growth: By investing in funds, investors are directly supporting projects that drive innovation, job creation and sustainable economic growth in Portugal.
  • Ease of Management: Fund investments are managed by professionals, relieving investors of the day-to-day management responsibilities associated with assets like real estate.

Types of Funds Available

There are various funds available to investors, each targeting different sectors and offering unique benefits:

  • Technology and Innovation Funds: Supporting startups and tech companies with the potential to revolutionize industries.
  • Cultural and Heritage Funds: Aiding projects that preserve Portugal’s rich cultural heritage or promote the arts.
  • Environmental and Sustainability Funds: Investing in green initiatives and projects that aim to combat climate change and promote sustainability.

Special Considerations for Low-Density Territories

Investors should note that certain funds focus on projects in low-density territories, aligning with the government’s objective to promote balanced regional development. These funds may offer additional benefits, such as reduced minimum investment thresholds.

The fund investment route, with its potential for high returns and broader economic impact, represents a win-win for both investors and Portugal. As the Golden Visa program evolves, this route is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of foreign investment in the country.

Guide to obtaining citizenship investment in portugal

Steps to Apply for Portugal Citizenship by Investment

Navigating the application process for your Portugal citizenship through investment can seem daunting, especially with the recent changes. However, with the right guidance and understanding, it can be a smooth journey. Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for Portugal citizenship by investment:

Research and Choose an Approved Fund

Begin by researching the various approved Portugal investment citizenship funds available.

Consider factors such as the fund’s focus, past performance, management team, and alignment with your investment goals.

Consult with a Legal Advisor

Before making any investment, consult with a legal advisor familiar with the Golden Visa program.

They can provide insights into the nuances of the program, ensuring you make informed decisions.

Make the Investment

Once you’ve chosen a fund, proceed with the investment.

Ensure you obtain all necessary documentation that verifies your investment.

Gather Required Documentation

  • Passport and valid travel ID.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage in Portugal.
  • Criminal record certificate from your country of residence.
  • Proof of fund investment.
  • Declaration confirming compliance with the investment requirements.

Submit the Application

The application can be submitted online through the SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service) portal.

Ensure all documents are translated into Portuguese and appropriately certified.

Attend the Biometric Data Collection

After submitting your application, you’ll be scheduled for an appointment to provide biometric data.

This usually takes place at a SEF office in Portugal.

Await Approval

The SEF will review your application, which can take several months.

Once approved, you’ll receive your Golden Visa residence card, valid for an initial period of two years.

Maintain the Investment

To retain your Golden Visa status, you must maintain your fund investment for a minimum of five years.

You’re also required to spend at least seven days in Portugal during the first year and 14 days in the subsequent two-year periods.

Renewal of the Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is initially valid for two years and can be renewed for subsequent two-year periods.

Ensure you meet the minimum stay requirements and maintain your investment to be eligible for renewal.

Path to Permanent Residency and Citizenship

After five years of holding the Golden Visa, you can apply for permanent residency.

After six years, you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided you meet all other requirements.

Benefits of the Portugal Citizenship by Investment Program

The Portugal citizenship by investmentGolden Visa program, beyond the immediate investment opportunities, offers a plethora of benefits that make it one of the most attractive residency-by-investment programs in the world.

Here’s a comprehensive look at the advantages it brings to the table:

Benefits for the family investing in citizenship in portugal

Freedom to Travel in the Schengen Zone

Golden Visa holders can travel freely within the 26 countries of the Schengen Zone without the need for additional visas or permits.

Right to Live and Work in Portugal

Enjoy the privilege of living in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries with a high quality of life.

Take advantage of employment opportunities in Portugal’s growing economy.

Pathway to Portuguese Citizenship

After six years of legal residency, Golden Visa holders can apply for Portuguese citizenship, granting them all the rights of a European Union citizen.

Family Reunification

The program extends its benefits to the immediate family of the investor. This includes spouses, dependent children and dependent parents.

Access to Portuguese Healthcare and Education

Benefit from Portugal’s world-class healthcare system and educational institutions.

Children of Golden Visa holders can attend Portuguese schools and universities.

No Requirement for Continuous Stay

While there are minimum stay requirements to renew the visa, there’s no obligation for continuous residency. This flexibility allows investors to maintain businesses or other commitments in their home countries.

Potential for Investment Returns

Especially with the fund investment route, there’s potential for significant returns on investment, depending on the performance of the chosen fund.

Diverse Investment Opportunities

The program offers a range of investment options, from funds supporting tech startups to those aiding cultural preservation, catering to varied investor interests.

Secure Legal Status

The Golden Visa program is backed by Portuguese law, ensuring a secure and stable legal status for investors and their families.

Cultural Integration

Residing in Portugal offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich Portuguese culture, learn the language, and integrate into the local community.

Tax Benefits

Portugal offers a favorable tax regime for non-habitual residents, potentially leading to significant tax savings on certain income types.
Obtain residency or citizenship in portugal by investment

Permanent Residency and Citizenship in Portugal

Navigating the path from a Golden Visa to permanent residency and eventually citizenship in Portugal is a journey filled with opportunities and rewards.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process, requirements and timeline:

From Golden Visa to Permanent Residency

  • Duration: Golden Visa holders can apply for permanent residency after five years of legal residence in Portugal.
  • Stay Requirement: Over the five-year period, you must spend at least seven days in Portugal during the first year and 14 days in the subsequent two-year periods.
  • Investment Maintenance: Ensure that your qualifying investment (e.g., fund investment) is maintained throughout the five-year period.
  • Documentation: You’ll need to provide proof of investment, evidence of meeting the minimum stay requirements and other standard documents like a clean criminal record.

Acquiring Portuguese Citizenship

  • Duration: After six years of legal residency, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship.
  • Language Proficiency: Applicants must demonstrate basic proficiency in the Portuguese language, typically at the A2 level.
  • Ties to Portugal: It’s beneficial to show ties to the country, such as involvement in community activities, to strengthen your application.
  • Criminal Record: A clean criminal record from both Portugal and your country of origin is essential.

Benefits of Portugal Citizenship by Investment

  • European Union Perks: As a citizen of Portugal, you become a citizen of the European Union, granting you the right to live, work, and travel freely within the EU.
  • Voting Rights: Participate in local and national elections in Portugal and have a say in the country’s future.
  • Passport Power: The Portuguese passport is one of the most powerful globally, offering visa-free access to numerous countries.

Dual Citizenship

Portugal allows dual citizenship, meaning you can retain your original nationality while enjoying all the benefits of Portuguese citizenship.

The Role of Legal Counsel

Navigating the path to permanent residency and citizenship can be complex. It’s advisable to engage with legal professionals familiar with the process to ensure a smooth transition.
compare golden visa programs

Comparison with Other European Golden Visa Programs

The Golden Visa program, while popular in Portugal, is not unique to the country. Several European nations offer similar residency-by-investment programs, each with its own set of benefits and requirements.

Here’s a comparative analysis of Portugal’s Golden Visa program with its counterparts in other European countries:

Portugal

Portugal offers a leading citizenship by investment program
  • Investment Options: D2 Or Fund
  • Minimum Investment: €280-500,000
  • Residency Requirement: Minimum of 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent two-year periods.
  • Path to Citizenship: After 5 years of holding the Golden Visa

Greece

Greece has many stunning hilltop villages to explore with the Golden Visa
  • Investment Options: Real estate and strategic investments.
  • Minimum Investment: €250,000 in real estate.
  • Residency Requirement: No minimum stay requirement.
  • Path to Citizenship: After seven years of legal residency.

Spain

Spain has many towns on the beach to explore with the Spanish golden visa
  • Investment Options: Real estate, business projects, bank deposits, and public debt.
  • Minimum Investment: Typically starts from €500,000 for real estate.
  • Residency Requirement: No minimum stay, but must visit Spain
  • Path to Citizenship: 10 Years

Malta

Enjoy malta with the residency by investment program
  • Investment Options: Donation to the national development fund, real estate and stocks/bonds.
  • Minimum Investment: Combined investment exceeds €750,000
  • Residency Requirement: 12 months of physical presence before citizenship.
  • Path to Citizenship: Possible after 12 months, but with a significant financial outlay.

Cyprus

Cyprus has many places to enjoy when your a resident
  • Investment Options: Real estate, infrastructure projects, and businesses.
  • Minimum Investment: Starts from €300,000 depending on the investment type.
  • Residency Requirement: No continuous residency is required.
  • Path to Citizenship: In November 2020 this was suspended.

Caribbean

St Lucia Citizenship by investment program
  • Investment Options: Real estate, bank deposits, and government bonds.
  • Minimum Investment: As low as ¢200,000 for specific investments.
  • Residency Requirement: No minimum stay requirement.
  • Path to Citizenship: Your family has the right to Live, Work and Study.

Key Takeaways:

  • Flexibility: Portugal’s Golden Visa program offers a range of investment funds which you can spread your investment over.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to countries like Malta and Cyprus, Portugal offers a more cost-effective route to European residency.
  • Residency Requirements: Portugal’s minimal stay requirements make it convenient for investors who cannot or do not wish to relocate permanently.
  • Citizenship Path: Portugal offers one of the quicker paths to citizenship among European Golden Visa programs.

Success Stories of Golden Visa Investors

The Portuguese Golden Visa program has transformed the lives of many investors, offering them not only financial returns but also a gateway to a new life in Europe. Here are a few success stories that showcase the diverse benefits of the program:
once approved you can enjoy all the benefits of the portugal golden visa

Key Takeaways:

  • Diverse Opportunities: The Golden Visa program caters to a wide range of investors, from entrepreneurs to retirees.
  • Beyond Financial Returns: While the program offers financial benefits, many investors find value in the lifestyle, educational and cultural opportunities it presents.
  • Tailored to Individual Needs: The program’s flexibility allows investors to choose routes that align with their personal and financial goals.

FAQs

The Portuguese Golden Visa program, especially with its recent changes, has raised numerous questions among potential investors. Here, we address some of the most common queries and concerns:
Yes. While the investment routes have evolved, you can still obtain Portuguese citizenship via our investment funds. This pathway not only offers a return on your investment but also provides a route to European residency and eventual citizenship.
The key changes include restrictions on real estate investments in urban areas like Lisbon and Porto, a push towards fund investments, and revised job creation requirements. The changes aim to promote balanced urban development and address housing shortages.
Permanent residency can be achieved after five years of maintaining the investment. Citizenship can be applied for after six years of legal residency in Portugal.
Yes, there’s a minimum stay requirement: 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent two-year periods.
Yes, but with a focus on interior regions and the islands of Azores and Madeira. While urban areas like Lisbon and Porto are no longer eligible, there are still opportunities in other regions that might offer potential growth.
Investment funds are collective investment entities where multiple investors pool their money. These funds are then used to invest in various sectors like technology, culture, or real estate. They offer a diversified investment strategy and are managed by professionals.
Yes, countries like Spain, Greece, Malta and Cyprus also offer residency-by-investment programs. Each has its own set of requirements and benefits.
The bill aims to stabilise property prices in urban areas by redirecting investments. While it’s too early to gauge the long-term impact, initial trends suggest a cooling down of property prices in cities and increased interest in interior regions.
Absolutely! The primary applicant can include their spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents in the application.
While the program has evolved, it remains one of the most attractive residency-by-investment schemes in Europe. The flexibility of investment options, coupled with the benefits of European residency, makes it a compelling choice for many.

Latest Updates

The Portuguese Golden Visa program has seen a series of changes over the years, adapting to the evolving economic landscape and the needs of the country. As we step into 2024, there are some crucial updates that potential investors need to be aware of:
keep updated with changes to the golden visa portugal

The Rise of Fund Investment Route

Shift in Focus:
While real estate has traditionally been a popular choice for Golden Visa investors, there’s a clear shift towards fund investments. This change is driven by both regulatory adjustments and the potential returns these funds offer.

Why Funds?
Fund investments are collective pools where investors’ money is strategically placed across various sectors, managed by professionals. This diversification not only spreads risk but also aligns with Portugal’s broader economic vision.

The Portugal Citizenship by Investment Fund of 2024

A Unique Opportunity:
The Portuguese investment fund offered in 2024 is tailored for Golden Visa investors. It focuses on sectors that are primed for growth, including technology, sustainable energy, tourism and cultural preservation.

Benefits:

  • Returns: The fund aims to provide competitive returns, making it an attractive investment option.
  • Residency and Citizenship: Like other Golden Visa routes, investing in this fund provides a pathway to Portuguese residency and potential citizenship.
  • Contribution to Portugal: Investors can take pride in knowing their money is contributing to projects that have a positive impact on Portugal’s economy and society.

The Importance of Fund Investment in 2024

Regulatory Emphasis:
With the October 2023 law changes, there’s a clear regulatory push towards fund investments. The government sees these funds as a way to drive innovation, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth.

Financial Returns:
Given the curated nature of the 2024 Portuguese investment fund, there’s potential for significant financial returns. The fund’s focus on growth sectors positions it well for the future.

The Bigger Picture

Balanced Development:
By promoting fund investments, the government aims to ensure balanced economic development across the country, rather than concentrating wealth and growth in urban areas.

Sustainable Growth:
The sectors targeted by the 2024 fund, such as sustainable energy and cultural preservation, align with global trends and Portugal’s commitment to sustainable and responsible growth.

As we move forward in 2024, the Portuguese Golden Visa program continues to evolve, offering new opportunities for global investors.

The emphasis on fund investments, especially the Portuguese investment fund of 2024, highlights the program’s adaptability and its alignment with both investor interests and national priorities.

If you’re considering the Golden Visa program, now is an exciting time to explore these new avenues of investment.

Conclusion: Portugal Citizenship by Investment

The Portuguese Golden Visa program stands as a testament to Portugal’s forward-thinking approach to global investment and its commitment to fostering a diverse and sustainable economic landscape. As we’ve navigated through the intricacies of the program, several key takeaways emerge:

  • Evolving Landscape: The Golden Visa program has adapted over the years, reflecting Portugal’s economic needs and global investment trends. The October 2023 law changes, in particular, have set a new direction for the program.
  • Fund Investments Take Center Stage: With the increasing emphasis on fund investments, especially the Portuguese investment fund of 2024, there’s a clear signal that Portugal is looking beyond real estate and towards diversified, sustainable growth.
  • Opportunities Abound: Despite the changes, the Golden Visa program remains one of the most attractive residency-by-investment schemes globally. Whether it’s through real estate in interior regions or the promising fund investments, opportunities for lucrative returns and European residency are abundant.
  • Commitment to Sustainability: Portugal’s focus on sectors like sustainable energy, cultural preservation, and technology in its 2024 fund underscores its commitment to responsible and sustainable growth.
  • A Bright Future: For investors, the Golden Visa program not only offers financial returns but also a chance to be part of Portugal’s exciting future. The program provides a gateway to Europe, a chance to contribute to Portugal’s growth, and an opportunity to secure a better future for oneself and one’s family.

As we conclude, if you’re an investor seeking both returns and European residency, the Portuguese Golden Visa program, especially its fund investment route, is an avenue worth exploring.

We invite you to delve deeper, explore the investment funds on offer, and embark on this exciting journey with Portugal.

Thank you for joining us in this comprehensive exploration of the Portugal citizenship by investment program. We’re here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring you make informed decisions that align with your goals. Let’s embark on this journey together!

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