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How to Obtain a Portugal Golden Visa

Posted on 29th March 2015 by Camille Silla Paldi, camille@faaif.com




Portugal Golden Visa

Camille Silla Paldi

camille@faaif.com

 

 

The Golden Visa. What is it?

 

The Golden Visa Programme launched by the Portuguese Authorities in October 2012 is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal (“Golden Visa”).

 

Under the Golden Visa programme, non-EU citizens simply need to carry out one of the investments set out in the law to qualify to obtain a residency permit in Portugal. This residency permit will allow the investor to enter and/or live in Portugal and to travel freely within the vast majority of European countries (Schengen space).

 

Aimed at attracting foreign investment to Portugal, the Golden Visa is a very straightforward and flexible programme, with simple and clear legal requirements.  With extremely reduced minimum stay requirements, the Golden Visa is clearly one of the most attractive residency programs for investors in the world.

 

2 - What types of investments are allowed under the Golden Visa rules?

 

The following types of investment qualify for the Golden Visa programme:


a)  Acquisition of property in the amount of or greater than € 500,000

b)  Transfer of funds above € 1,000,000 or more

c)  Creation of at least 10 (ten) jobs in Portugal

 

It should be noted that only investments effectively made after 8th October 2012 are eligible for the Golden Visa programme.

 

3 - For how long is the Golden Visa valid?

 

Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for an initial period of 1 (one) year and then will be renewed for subsequent periods of 2 years.

 

4 - What are the general requirements that the investor has to comply with?

 

The simplicity of the Golden Visa Programme implies an extremely reduced amount of requirements being asked from the investor. The Golden Visa Programme sets out that the investor must comply with general requirements applicable to all types of qualifying investments and also with the specific requirements of each type of qualifying investment.

 

In general, all investors have to comply with the following requirements:

 

a)  Keep the investment for a minimum period of 5 years

b)  Funds for investment should come from abroad

c)   Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa

d)   Absence of references in the Portuguese Immigration and the Schengen services

e)   Absence of conviction of relevant crime

f)  Minimum stay in Portugal: 7 (seven) days during the first year and 14 (fourteen) days during each subsequent period of two years

 

5 - What are the specific characteristics for each type of qualifying investment? 

 

Each type of qualifying investment has specific characteristics, as follows:

 

(a)  Property Acquisitions

 

-     Minimum investment of € 500,000

-     Purchase of one or multiple properties

-     All property types qualify

-     Possibility of co-ownership;

-     Freedom to use, rent or lease

 

(b)  Transfer of Funds

 

-     Minimum investment of € 1 million

-     Funds transferred from abroad to a bank in Portugal

-     Total freedom to invest the funds

-     Possibility of using the funds to invest in shares of companies

 

(c)  Job Creation

 

-     Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs

-     No minimum investment value

-     No limitation on areas/activities

-     Compliance with Social Security obligations

-     Possibility of grants/incentives/benefits



6 - What are the main advantages of the GOLDEN VISA Programme? 

 
The Golden Visa Programme will provide investors with the following advantages:   

-     No need to obtain a visa to enter Portugal

-     No need to obtain a visa to travel in Europe (Schengen area)  

-     Living and working in Portugal, even with residency in a different country

-     Residency extended to family members

-     Extremely low minimum stay periods  

-     Permanent Residency after 5 years

-     Citizenship after 6 years

 

7 - What is the Schengen Area and what are the countries included?

 
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. With a resident permit from Portugal, the investor is entitled to enter and travel freely throughout all the countries of the Schengen area.

 

The Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

 

8 - Is it possible to extend the Golden Visa to family members?

 
Yes.  Under the Golden Visa Programme, the investor’s family members may also apply and obtain a resident permit from Portugal by applying for “family reunion”.  The Golden visa will be extended to family members, namely children, spouse and dependent family members.

The family members will also be eligible for Permanent Residency after 5 years Portuguese Citizenship after 6 years.

 

 

 9 - How can the investor and family obtain Permanent Residency after 5 years?

Under Portuguese Law any person that has held a valid Portuguese temporary residency title (e.g. the Golden Visa) for a period of at least 5 years, he will be entitled to obtain Permanent Residency in Portugal.

The investor and family members will have to meet the following criteria in order to be able to apply for Permanent Residency in Portugal:

-     Absence of conviction of relevant crime during the last 5 (five years)

-     Proof of income / financial independence

-     Proof of accommodation in Portugal

-     Basic knowledge of Portuguese



10 - How can the investor and family obtain Portuguese Citizenship? 

 
The Portuguese legislation also sets out that any person who has been validly resident in Portugal for at least 6 years (either under a temporary or permanent residency title), is eligible for obtaining Portuguese Citizenship.

In order to be able to obtain Portuguese Citizenship, the investor and family members will also have to comply with the following requirements: 

-     Be at least 18 years old (or at least 16 but married or legally responsible)

-     Absence of conviction of any relevant crime

-     Pass a simple Portuguese language test, which will serve to show sufficient knowledge of the language.

 

 

 
11 - Which documents does the investor need to provide to apply for the Golden Visa?

 
The application for the Golden Visa implies that the investor will have to submit the following documentation:

-    Proof of Investment

-     Passport & Valid Schengen Visa

-     Portuguese Fiscal number

-     Criminal Record from country of residency

-     Portuguese Criminal Record

-     Declaration from the Tax Department proving the absence of debts  to the Tax Authorities

-     Declaration from Social Security proving the absence of debts to Social Security Authorities

-     Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements

-     Health Insurance valid in Portugal

-     2 passport-type pictures

 

 

 
12 - The documents are not in the Portuguese Language. What does the investor need to do?

 
Any document that is not in the Portuguese or English languages needs to be translated to Portuguese.  The translation needs to be certified.

 

 

13 - Are there any specific requirements for documents issued by foreign authorities?

 
Document issued by foreign authorities need to be legalized before being submitted in Portugal.  This legalization means obtaining the Appostille of the Hague Convention (when applicable) or legalization by the Portuguese Consular services.

 

 

14 - What is a Fiscal Number? why does the investor need one and how does he get one?

 
A fiscal number is an identification number before the Portuguese Tax Authorities also known as the tax number).  This number is required to carry out the investments.

 

 

15 - Where may the investor apply for a Golden Visa? 

 
Any investor interested in applying for a Golden Visa, can submit the application, either personally or via a legal representative appointed by him, in one of the following manners:  

 

 a)   Online Registration

 

By registering online at the Services of Foreigners and Borders’ (“SEF”) website. After the registration is complete the investor will receive a password and will be able to access online in order to submit the necessary forms and documents.

 

b)  In Person

 

In person, at the Services of Foreigners and Borders in Portugal.

It should be noted that the investor and family members will always have to be present at the Service of Foreigners and Boarders of Portugal for fingerprinting, signature and other formalities.



We strongly recommend obtaining legal advice from an experienced law firm before taking any of the steps of the Golden Visa, namely before making any kind of investment or submitting any applications or documents.


 

16 - What are the costs involved in obtaining a Golden Visa?

 
The Golden Visa involves payment of the following fees (payable directly to the Services of Foreigners and Borders (“SEF”)):

a)    Processing fee (application and renewal) - € 513,75 (plus € 80.04 per family member)

b)    Initial Golden Visa - € 5,137.50

c)    Initial Golden Visa for Family members - € 5,137.50

d)    Renewal of Golden Visa - € 2,568.75



17 - How long will the application take to be processed and does the investor have to pick up the Golden Visa in person?

 

Once the application is submitted at the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF), it will take around 1-2 weeks for the application to be processed (please note that this is just an estimate based on our recent experience).

 

Once the application is processed, the Services of Foreigners and Borders (SEF) will contact the investor or the investor’s legal representatives in Portugal and set up an appointment with the investor (and family members) to collect  signature and fingerprints.

 

It should be noted that in some cases, it is possible for the investor to go to the immigration services to leave the fingerprints and signature shortly before the investment and/or submission of the required documents.

 

18 - Are there any grounds for refusing the issuing of a Golden Visa or its renewal?

 
The investor (or any family member) will only be refused the Golden Visa (or its renewal) if:

a)   He/she has not maintained the investment for the minimum period of 5 (years)

b)   He/she has not complied with the minimum periods of stay in Portugal

c)  He/she has been convicted of a crime punishable with a prison sentence of more than one year

d)  The investor is in a period where he/she has been banned entry into Portuguese territory following a removal measure of the country

e) On the grounds of public health (this may only be based on diseases that have been defined by the World Health Organization or other infectious or parasitic contagious diseases which are the object of protection measures in Portuguese territory)

f)     A Golden Visa may be refused on the grounds of public order, public security or public health

 


19 - What happens to the investment after 5 years – can the investor sell the property / transfer the money to another country/extinguish the job positions?

 
Yes, the investor only needs to hold the investment during the Golden Visa’s validity period – 5 years.

 

 


20 - Can the investor sell the investment at any time if he no longer needs the Golden Visa?

 
Yes, but without proof that the investment has been kept, the investor will not be able to renew the Golden Visa Permit.

 

 

21 - Does the investor need to live in/use the property he is purchasing or can it be rented out?

 

No. The investor does not need to occupy the property and it can be rented out to obtain income.

 

 


22 - What are the taxes and costs for property acquisitions and ownership?

 
There are three taxes in Portugal related to property:

 a)    Payable with the property’s acquisition:

 

-     “IMT” or Property Transfer Tax”, which is the tax on transfer of ownership of property

-     Stamp Duty

 

Note: The exact amount of taxes to be paid varies according to the actual value of the acquisition.

 

b)   Payable on an annual basis:

“IMI” or Council Tax, which is the annual municipal property tax; it is levied between 0.3% and 0.5% on the property’s tax value.

 



23 - 
With the Golden Visa does the investor need to pay taxes in Portugal on his worldwide income?

No.  If the holder of the golden visa does not stay in Portugal form more than 183 consecutive days, he/she will not be required to pay taxes for income generated outside of Portugal.




24 - What income taxes apply to income generated in Portugal?

Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends, etc) will be taxed at a rate of 28%.

 

 

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

 

PROPERTY INVESTMENTS

Minimum investment of € 500,000

One or multiple properties

All property types qualify

Possibility of co-ownership

Freedom to use, rent or lease

 

CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

Minimum investment of € 1 million

Transfer of new funds to Portugal

Funds transfered to a bank in Portugal

Freedom to invest the funds

Investment in company share possible

 

JOB CREATION

Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs

No minimum investment value

No limitation on areas/activities

Compliance with Social Security obligations

Possibility of grants/incentives/benefits

       

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL INVESTMENTS

Investment maintained for a minimum period of 5 years

Funds for investment should come from abroad

Residency application only approved after investment

Entry in Portugal with a valid Schengen visa

Absence of flags in Portuguese Immigration and Schengen services

Absence of conviction of relevant crime

 

 

 

 

Who may apply?

Third State citizens involved in an investment activity, either individually or through a company conducting, at least, one of the following operations in national territory for a minimum period of five years:

I) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1 million Euros;

II) Creation of, at least, 10 job positions;

III) Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros.

It covers shareholders of companies already set up in Portugal, or in another EU State, with a stable residence in Portugal and with tax obligations fulfilled. 

 

Where do I apply?

Online at:

I. www.sef.pt

Provided all legal requirements are fulfilled, SEF will notify the applicant to grant a Golden Residence Permit.    

Or II. At the Portuguese Diplomatic or Consular Posts. 

Or III. At Regional Directorate and Regional Delegation of the Immigration and Borders Service [SEF] in Portugal.

 

Documents

• Passport or another valid travelling document;

• Proof of legal entry and permanence in national territory;

• Proof of health insurance;

• Signed application enabling consultation of the Portuguese Criminal Record by SEF;

• Criminal Record Certificate from the relevant authority of the applicant’s home country or from any other country where he / she resided for over a year;

• As means of evidence of compliance with tax obligations, the applicant shall deliver a declaration proving the absence of debts issued by the Inland Revenue and Customs Authority and by the Social Security. 

 

Requirements on the Investment Activity

• Performing an investment activity for a minimum period of five years attested by a bona fide declaration signed by the applicant. 

  • Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1 million Euros 

  • Provide evidence of having invested the minimum amount required, including stocks or shares of companies. 

• Declaration of a financial institution authorized to exercise its activity in Portugal certifying: the effective transfer of capital in the amount of not less than € 1 million, to an account demonstrating the investor is the sole or first holder of capital; or, the acquisition of stocks or shares of companies, and

• An up-to-date certificate issued by the Commercial Register, certifying that the applicant holds a share in the capital of a company.  

Creation of, at least, 10 job positions Provide evidence of having created 10 job positions and registered the employees in the Social Security.

• An up-to-date certificate issued by the Social Security. 

Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros Provide evidence of having the ownership of real estate property.

• Public deed or promissory share-purchase agreement of the property , with a declaration of an authorized financial institution to exercise its activity in Portugal stating the effective transfer of capital to its acquisition or to execute as a down payment of the promise to purchase in equal or superior value of 500 thousand Euros, and

• An up-to-date certificate issued by the Real Estate Registry, which must always be, in the case of contract-promise and where legally feasible, the respective register. Other requirements under General Law:

• Applicants must not have been convicted of a crime punishable with deprivation of liberty exceeding one year

• Applicants must not be subject of an entry ban in national territory following a removal order from the country

• Applicants must not be subject of alerts in the Schengen Information System

• Applicants must not be subject of alerts in SEF’s Information Integrated System issued for purposes of non-admission

 

 

 

Family Reunification

The holders of Golden Residence Permit for Investment Activity may apply for family reunification under the provisions of the law.

Posted on 29th March 2015 by Camille Silla Paldi


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