FAQ: Portugal Golden Visa (property acquisition)

Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by Lea Melo

It’s no secret that there is a lot of content related to the Portuguese Golden Visa on the internet.

Even us! We have already made an article about this subject :), you can take a look by clicking here.

But why so many content? Obviously, this topic attract so many people.

Portugal Golden Visa is undoubtedly one of the best in terms of returns for investors, since these investor:

  • will be able to live in Portugal
  • won’t  need to carry a visa to travel to other countries from Schengen area
  • have almost no obligation to be in Portugal
  • will be able to obtain Portuguese nationality after 5 years

Now you can see why so many content.

Also, the investment required to apply for Golden Visa is not that much when comparing to other country’s Golden Visa programs.

How do we know that? We also have an article comparing some Golden Visa’s programs. You can see it here.

But maybe this article will be just another one, right?

No. In this Q&A type of article, we will address some questions that are not being answered on other blogs. Mainly because those who are selling the service (the Golden Visa assistance) don’t want the reader to know the specifics about this procedure.

At Viv Europe, we believe that providing information is not dangerous for selling services, but a helper.

By knowing the process, the reader will be more secure about applying for the Golden Visa and, because the procedure can be complex, requires a lot of workload and the drafting of legal documents, the applicant will undoubtedly need the guidance of lawyers.

Without further ado, let’s jump to the questions.

How much money will I have to spend on the property to be able to apply for the Golden Visa?

That’s one of the most popular questions when it comes to any Golden Visa process. How much will I have to spend?

As previously mentioned, in Portugal there are several ways to apply for the Golden Visa.

As we are focusing on the Golden Visa by property investment, you’ll be able to apply for it by purchasing a property worth, at least:

  • 500,000€, no matter where the property is located in Portugal.
  • 400,000€ if the above-mentioned property is located in a low-density area.
  • 350,000€ for old properties (more than 30 years) or located in urban regeneration  area, considering the need to contract repair works.
  • 280,000€ if the above-mentioned property is located in a low-density area.

What is repair work for Golden Visa?

Considering that the property is older than 30 years or located inside an urban rehabilitation area, this property will probably need some repairs in order to be valued.

Therefore, to apply for this type of Golden Visa the value of the purchase of the property plus the value of the repair must exceed 350,000€.

These property repair works must be proved by a contract, request for prior information or the licensing document and all these documents will be included at the Golden Visa application.

In this sense, it’s possible to acquire a property for 250,000€ and spend 100,000€ in repair work to apply for this Golden Visa.

What are urban rehabilitation areas?

According to Portal da Habitação, Urban Rehabilitation Areas are:

“delimited areas that, due to the insufficiency, degradation or obsolescence of buildings, of its infrastructure, collective use equipment and urban and green spaces for collective use, namely as regards its conditions of use, solidity, safety, aesthetics or wholesomeness, justifies an integrated intervention, through an urban rehabilitation operation, approved in a detailed urban rehabilitation plan”

These urban rehabilitation areas can be found at the Portal da Habitação website, by clicking here.

What is a low-density area?

Low-density area are exactly what it looks like: places that need to be populated, as there are not enough people living in the region.

These areas are located mainly in the east of the country and are addressed through the Deliberation of the Interministerial Coordination Commission. You can have access by clicking here.

I’ve heard that these rules has changed, is it true?

Well, yes and no.

These rules are still in force, but not for too long.

According to the Portuguese Budget Law of 2021, after July 1st, some regions will not be eligible for Golden Visa for property acquisition, and here they are:

  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Coast area (including Algarve)

These measures were taken considering the need to favor the promotion of foreign investment in low density regions.

It is true that these restrictions should already have been put in place, but the Covid crisis has postponed the government’s plans.

From July 2021 onwards, the intention to restrict the Golden Visa to geographical areas of interior or low density real estate investments won’t start immediately.

The plan is that the measures mentioned in the legislative authorization will be introduced gradually until the end of 2022.

According to the Idealista Portal: “What will happen is that, during this period, the amounts required from investors for access to golden visas will be progressively higher, as it was told by  officials, without explaining what those amounts.”

It seems that we will have to wait to understand how will Portugal manage this provisional period.

Until now over 9,340 golden visas were granted, being 8,782 visas (and 5,071 million) related to the real estate.

How does the Golden Visa process work?

  • First Step: Search and select the property according to the Golden Visa requirements.
  • Second Step: Acquisition of the property and collection of all the documents related to the acquisition.
  • Third Step: Application for the Golden Visa procedure at the ARI platform.
  • Forth Step: After the process is approved, scheduling an appointment at SEF.
  • Fifth Step: When at SEF, the applicant will follow the procedures for completing the application, such as fingerprint scanning, taking photos, paying fees, etc.
  • Sixth Step: Wait for the issue and delivery of the Residence Permit in Portugal.

How long does the Golden Visa process can last?

The first stage of the process, that is, the search and acquisition of the property can take days, months or years.

For the completion of the stage the applicant must:

  • Search and select the property (according to the Golden Visa requirements).
  • Come to an agreement with the seller in relation to price and acquisition conditions.
  • Proceed with the paperwork to register the property on behalf of the buyer.
  • Collect all the documents that are required for the Golden Visa application.

As for the second stage (the Golden Visa procedure itself), as for our experience, it usually takes from 6 months to a year (if all documents are delivered correctly) for the process to be completed.

Of course, this is just a simple forecast, as many factors can impact this period, for example: The COVID crisis.ignoretable

There are many advantages related to Golden Visa. Here are some of them:

  • Legally reside in Portugal
  • Travel to the Schengen Visa countries without the need for a visa
  • Use the public health  system in Portugal
  • Be able to stay in Portugal for only 7 days of the first year and 14 days in the following 2 years
  • Request the Permanent Resident permit after 5 years
  • Request the Portuguese nationality after 5 years

Is Golden Visa the best option for those who want to live in Portugal?

It depends.

It is possible to live in Portugal by applying for another type of visa (regular visas), such as the D1 (Work), D2 (Business), D4 (Study), D7 (Income) Visa, for example.

The most important differences between applying for a regular visa or a Golden Visa is that:

  • To apply for a regular visa, the applicant must meet the visa criteria (which is not always easy), for example, being retired to apply for the D7 visa. As for the Golden Visa, anyone who has the required investment capital to invest can enroll in the program.
  • The holder of a regular visa must maintain the initial condition (that was necessary to apply for the visa) to renew the residence permit (eg, to continue studying at a University or to develop a business). The Golden Visa investor should only maintain the investment. For example: Continue to reside at the acquired property.
  • The holder of a regular visa must remain in Portugal for at least 6 consecutive months or 8 non-consecutive months during the residence permit, while the investor must only remain in Portugal during 7 days in the first years and 14 days in the subsequent 2 years.

It’s important to emphasize that both regular and Golden Visa can grant you the Permanent Resident Permit and also the Portuguese nationality after 5 years.

Will I pay more tax due to the value of the property?

No. In Portugal there is no wealth-related tax.

No matter the property value (or the total of your assets), you won’t have to pay more taxes for this reason.

Do I really need a lawyer for this process?

No, you do not need a lawyer for this process, but you should consider hiring one, as this is a complex procedure, with many steps and nuances.

Let’s say you forget to include a document in the process. In this case, your application may take additional months to be concluded (until the missing document is included) or even be denied.

Since the applicant has already invested so much money in this Golden Visa procedure, there is no point in trying to “save money” at this stage.

The ARI system (application website to apply for the Golden Visa) has even a field in which the investor should type his lawyer information.

How much time will I have to stay in Portugal during the permit?

You will need to stay in Portugal for at least 7 days during the first resident permit year.

For the following 2 years you’ll need to stay in Portugal for just 14 days.

Can I rent my property during my permit?

Yes, it’s possible to rent the property acquired for the Golden Visa application during the resident permit.

Can I buy more than one property to reach the eligible property value?

Yes, you can buy as many properties as you need to achieve the required real estate investment amount.

Will I be able to apply for the Non-Habitual Residence regime?

The NHR regime was created to concede a special tax condition for foreign people who decide to live in Portugal and also meet the requirements of the program.

Some of the requirements are being:

  • Retired people
  • Highly qualified workers

Among the benefits of this tax regime, we can highlight that income transfer from the country of origin to Portugal will be taxed at a lower rate of 10%.

Also, professionals classified as highly qualified workers (according to the law) who decide to move to Portugal and develop their jobs in this country will be able to pay less income tax, at the rate of 20%.

There is no provision to extend this tax benefit to Golden Visa investors.

If you want more information about the Non-Habitual Residence regime, we invite you to read our article by clicking here.

How much will I have to spend on the process?

Other than the payment of legal assistance for this procedure and also for the acquisition of the property (for information related to the costs of purchasing a property, click here), the applicant must make the following payments:

  • 533€ for the Golden Visa application
  • 5,325€ for the issuance of the Resident Permit
  • 2,663€ for the renew of the Resident Permit (after 2 years)
  • 5,325 for the family reunification (for each member)
  • 2,663 for the renew of the family Resident Permit (for each member)

This information was updated by SEF on August 24th, 2020 and is in effect.

There are several types of legal offices in Portugal and, therefore, the price range can be very wide.

Also, not all offices can assist the applicant from the acquisition of the property to the grant of the Residence Permit.

Therefore, this assistance fee can vary from, maybe, 2,000€ to almost 15,000€.

There are also some assistance firms that do not even have a lawyer to assist the applicant, as this service can be provided by a solicitor (with no graduation in Law).

Here at Viv Europe, we always consider the knowledge and experience of our lawyers to handle this type of procedure (which is not at all simple) to value our services.

Be aware, an incorrect document may be enough to cause your application to be denied, with the consequent loss of time and money.

How much work and money will I have to spend to buy a property to be eligible for Golden Visa?

This is a good question that deserves a good answer. That is why we have already made a complete FAQ about buying a property in Portugal. To check it out, just click here.

Is the COVID crisis influencing the Golden Visa procedure?

Not only the Golden Visa procedure, but all processes that require a person’s analysis.

For example, due to COVID it is increasingly difficult to schedule an appointment at SEF to complete the Golden Visa procedure.

Even though it is more difficult to complete the procedure, it is not impossible, as there are still public agents working for this purpose.

We hope you enjoyed this article as Viv Europe’s team tried to include the most popular questions related to this process.

If you have another question, please let us know at the comment field below.

Also, we have a Facebook discussion group where people address questions about every topic related to Portugal. Feel free to join us by clicking here.

We will update this article with your questions in order to leave no doubt about this whole process.

Thanks for reading and count on us to assist you on the Golden Visa procedure.

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