Eager to explore the fast-track route to becoming a European citizen? Learn more about citizenship by investment in Portugal!

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Maryam Siddiqui

Portugal’s popularity doesn’t seem to end—all for the right reasons, of course. Citizenship by investment in Portugal is one of the most rewarding ways for you and your family to obtain permanent residency. It’s a scheme that keeps giving back and also puts your money to work while you enjoy the long list of benefits that come with living in Portugal! 

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So, what are the criteria for making this dream come true? Is there a minimum investment, and what’s the most financially feasible option? Are there any other ways for your family to receive Portuguese nationality? 

Learn about all this and more through our complete guide on obtaining Citizenship by investment in Portugal! Let’s explore why people make this investment for their family, a secure future, and a better quality of life! 

How To Obtain Portuguese Citizenship

There are a few ways to go about this, including through descent and without it. 

With the right help and resources, obtaining Portuguese Citizenship is a relatively easy process. If you desire to be a Portuguese national, you can consider Citizenship by investment, after which you’re eligible to request nationality after 5 years for you and your family.  

Like all other types of nationality, Portuguese nationality is either granted from birth if the individual has always been Portuguese (known as the attribution of nationality) or from the date they formally attain nationality (known as the acquisition of nationality).

Portugal Citizenship by Investment 

This is the next best alternative for those seeking European nationality without family lineage. Citizenship by investment is a popular option for anyone who has significant wealth available for investment. 

The question is: what kinds of investments can you make, and why are they forecasted to be fruitful? 

Over the next few years, experts foresee robust job growth and heightened economic activity in the Portuguese economy, with GDP expected to surge. This promising outlook signals an ideal time to consider investing in Portugal and pursuing Citizenship through investment. It’s a win-win scenario for most people: capitalize on a flourishing economy while securing Citizenship.

Under the Citizenship by investment scheme, applicants must invest in the country through one of the approved investment routes under the Golden Visa program, which includes areas like scientific research, investment funds, companies, or art and culture. Additionally, you must maintain the investment for a minimum of five years. 

Each route provides a pathway to Citizenship by investment in Portugal while contributing to the country’s economy and societal development. Additionally, the applicant is only required to stay in Portugal for at least 7 to 14 days within a two-year period.

This works out for individuals and families who are already well-settled in other countries and do not wish to relocate to Portugal. It’s especially favorable for affluent individuals with established businesses in a specific country. 

Most Golden Visa holders hail from China, Brazil, and the United States. As reported by Reuters, the program, which grants non-EU citizens the opportunity to obtain Portuguese Citizenship by investment, has garnered 7.3 billion euros ($8 billion) in funds since its inception in 2012. 

Family Lineage 

You’d be surprised to hear that at least six million people worldwide are eligible to obtain Portuguese Citizenship through their grandparents. You might be one of them, too. In most countries, you can claim Citizenship if your parents are citizens of that country. 

However, countries like Portugal extend this privilege to familial lineage that spans two or even three generations.

Portuguese Citizenship by descent offers a pathway to Citizenship for individuals whose parents or grandparents are Portuguese citizens. Instead of having to trace your ancestry directly to Portuguese roots, you can become a Portuguese national if you have a parent or grandparents who hold Portuguese Citizenship. 

However, this is only possible if your parents or grandparents still hold valid Citizenship. You don’t need both your parents and/or grandparents to be citizens; one is enough. A valid proof of easily traceable Portuguese lineage is important.

Marriage to a Portuguese National 

This is not as straightforward as you may think it would be. It is also not the easiest and most realistic to achieve. 

A marriage to a Portuguese citizen may help you qualify for Portuguese nationality as well. Given that the marriage was registered in Portugal and can be proven to be at least 3 years old. 

While this isn’t an unusual way to obtain nationality worldwide, it’s definitely not easy or simple. 

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program 

Coming onto the best part of this entire guide: The Portugal Golden Visa Program, as of 2024! 

Certain countries grant residency rights in return for a minimum investment. The exact investment threshold varies from one country to another.

Introduced in 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa, also known as ARI (Autorização de Residência para Investimento), has become synonymous with Portugal’s immigration landscape. 

The Portuguese Golden Visa program is widely recognized as one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe and globally. This five-year residence option for non-EU nationals grants the privilege to reside, work, and study in Portugal and unrestricted travel within Europe’s Schengen Area, contingent upon making a qualifying investment in Portugal. 

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Benefits for Portugal Golden Visa holders

The best aspect of a Portugal Golden Visa is that it enables you to maintain your residency or apply for Citizenship without necessarily relocating or becoming a tax resident; only seven to fourteen days spent in the country per year would suffice! 

This means you can become a resident without compromising your business, lifestyle, and personal commitments. To summarize, there is minimal administrative hassle and maximum flexibility.

Moreover, as a Golden Visa holder in Portugal, you gain visa-free access to the Schengen area of the European Union, enhancing your travel freedom within Europe. 

Let’s list the benefits for your ease. Here are some of the most rewarding benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa Program: 

  • Portuguese Nationality and Portuguese Passport after only 5 years;
  • Access to European-standard healthcare and education; 
  • Portugal is the 7th safest country worldwide;
  • Visa-free travel to Schengen states and visa privileges for 150+ countries after nationality. 
  • All benefits are extendable to family members; 
  • No need to relocate if you don’t want to – only spend the minimum amount of days to maintain compliance; 
  • Right to live, study, work, and invest anywhere in Portugal.

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Investment Options 

In October 2023, Portugal’s Citizenship by investment program underwent significant revisions, impacting how applicants can obtain residency. While these changes do not affect existing applicants, they depart from the previous reliance on real estate investments for qualification. 

Yes, that’s right – as of 2024, investing in real estate, real estate-related funds, or making a capital transfer to a Portuguese bank account is no longer a viable route to residency. Instead, applicants can explore alternative investment avenues, with a minimum investment of €500,000.

Here are your current options, as of updated Golden Visa rules and requirements: 

  • Investment Funds; 
  • Business Creation (including 10 jobs); 
  • Donation to Scientific Research or Cultural Arts.

The most popular investment option is investing a minimum of €500,000 in Golden Visa-approved funds. These funds are usually linked to advancing Portuguese tech, scientific research, and development initiatives.

 The next option is dedicated to supporting business growth and development by starting a business and establishing 10 jobs. It’s an ideal option for overseas entrepreneurs who want to expand their business or start a new one. 

Lastly, the Portugal Golden Visa Program also offers an investment option for individuals interested in preserving Portugal’s rich art and cultural heritage by donating at least €250,000. 

These contributions directly contribute to the maintenance and restoration of the country’s cultural heritage sites. In low-density areas, the donation requirement has been lowered to €200,000.

How To Apply For The Portugal Golden Visa Program

If this topic has sparked your interest, you’re in the right place! Let’s help you explore how to apply for Portuguese Citizenship.

The first step is to research the best investment option you’d like to go ahead with. This depends entirely on your preferences and financial portfolio.

Once you’ve invested in a Golden Visa-compliant option, you will begin the process for the Golden Visa application. This means gathering your documents and submitting them to the Portuguese consulate!

The most important documents are:

  • Valid Passport;
  • Evidence of entry and legal stay in Portugal;
  • International travel insurance;
  • Criminal record certificate (duly certified) from the country of origin or from the country where you have lived for more than one year;
  • Authorization to search for your background by the Portuguese Criminal Registry;
  • Declaration of Commitment of Honor, through which you declare you will comply with the minimum investment time period (5 years) in Portugal;
  • Tax and Social Security clearance records;
  • Receipt of payment of the Golden Visa application fee.

The Golden Visa application process may take up to 4 months.

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Best Golden Visa Programs in Europe

Here’s a concise overview of some of the top Golden Visa programs in Europe and their most popular investment amounts.

  • Portugal: Minimum investment of €500,000 in investment funds.
  • Spain: Minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate.
  • Greece: Minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate.
  • Cyprus: Minimum investment of €300,000 in real estate.
  • Malta: Minimum investment of €888,000 in government bonds or real estate.
  • Hungary: Minimum investment of €300,000 in government bonds.
  • Latvia: Minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate or €50,000 in government bonds.
  • Ireland: Minimum investment of €1 million in an Irish enterprise for 3 years.

Please note that it’s imperative for you to do your own research, regardless of what you hear from other people. Big financial investments require careful consideration, an evaluation of pros and cons, and help from experienced professionals. 

If you’re looking for consultation on the best investment decision for your family, consider getting help from financial advisors and relocation professionals. 

Viv Europe has official partners, with award-winning achievements and decades of experience that can help you make a better decision. Feel free to get in touch for more info and connect with experts from the industry! 

Do you need help obtaining Citizenship by investment in Portugal? 

It’s a time-consuming and exhausting process, understandably. You’re putting a lot at risk, and that’s exactly why you must do it carefully! Having experienced professionals by your side takes away 90% of the hassle while you relax and focus on what actually matters: your post-investment lifestyle. 

Professionals at Viv Europe have been helping people get citizenship by investment in Portugal for years. With the right resources and experience, we make your investment goals and relocation process easier, faster, and more direct. 

Get in touch for a consultation with our team to understand the specifics of this scheme. It’s an important decision and requires no haste. Take your time, think about it, and remember, Viv Europe is at your service every step of the way. 

For more information about post-relocation life in Portugal, join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. Learn about the real experiences of expats who have gone through the process and those who have their dreams within reach. See you soon!

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