Get to know all about the Golden Visa to Portugal. See how the procedure is done, what types of investments you need, and how to obtain it.

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Maryam Siddiqui

If you’re an investor looking for a simple way to obtain citizenship by investment in Portugal, look no further. With a Golden Visa, you’ll be able to move to this beautiful and safe country in southern Europe with little effort.

Complete Guide to Golden Visa in Portugal

But what do you have to do to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa Program, and what benefits does it give you? How long is the Golden Visa valid? There have been many changes in recent years; here’s an updated guide on the Portugal Golden Visa in 2024 and how it compares to other Golden Visa Programs!

We’ve come up with this complete article to answer common questions about the Golden Visa Program. Note that each country’s golden visa program has unique requirements and benefits, so it’s essential to carefully research each program and consult a professional before making any investment decisions. Get to know all about the most famous way into Portugal and tips to ensure you get it. Follow up!

What is the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa is one of the regimes that can grant foreign investors a Residence Permit in Portugal, allowing them to reside in this country.

Officially known as a Residence Permit for Investment Activity, the Golden Visa must be applied through the Agency for Migration and Asylum Integration (AIMA) and is regulated by the Foreigners Law, No. 23/2007.

It was created in 2012 as an instrument aimed at attracting foreign citizens to invest in Portugal in different ways: real estate, capital, and so on.

Ever since then, it has been the subject of much praise and criticism. The Golden Visa Program has also undergone many changes, the latest in 2023, making it a slightly less embracing regime than the one initially in force.

Even so, the golden visa is still a process that stands out, as it guarantees the expatriate more benefits and permissions than other types of visa, such as the Passive Income or Work Visa.

What are the Golden Visa benefits?

Due to the required amount to invest in a Golden Visa, the Residence Permit will provide the investor with many benefits that may even result in the acquisition of Portuguese nationality.

Therefore, we can highlight the following immediate benefits for golden visa applicants who qualify:

  • Entry into Portugal with the exemption of a visa;
  • Possibility of living and working in Portugal;
  • Access to Portugal’s high quality of life and safety;
  • Free movement through the Schengen area countries without the need for a visa;
  • Possibility of extending benefits to family members through the Family Reunification procedure;
  • The possibility to apply for a Permanent Residence authorization after 5 years of investment;
  • Possibility to apply for Portuguese nationality after 5 years in a regular situation in Portugal.

Therefore, the Golden Visa Program is a great option for people who intend to take advantage of investment opportunities in Portugal and want to enjoy the benefits of living in this country.

As long as you reside in Portugal, you can still develop a professional activity and visit the Schengen area without needing a visa.

Finally, after 5 regular years in Portugal, you can apply for a Permanent Residence Permit or Portuguese nationality.

Who can apply for a Golden Visa?

The Residence Permit for Investment Activity, or Golden Visa, is aimed at investors from outside the European Union or European Economic Area states (EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). In other words, you can apply for a Golden Visa if you are an investor without European citizenship.

To obtain a residence permit for investment activity, you may conduct your investment as an individual businessperson or through a company set up in an EU Member State.

However, there are other requirements you need to meet to obtain a Golden Visa.

Golden Visa 2024 Updates

On October 6th, 2023, the Portuguese Government published the “Mais Habitação Law”. This law stated changes in the Golden Visa.

As per this law, any investments in the real estate sector do not qualify for the Golden Visa. Previously, investors could buy property in Madeira and the Azores Islands. However, it is no longer possible to do so.

But there’s still good news! All non-EU/EFTA investors still have options to choose from. The most popular one is investment funds! We’ll dive deeper into how it works and the steps you have to follow to qualify. And don’t worry, Viv Europe is always here to help you out.

Golden Visa Investment Options

Despite being formerly known as a form of investment in Portugal through the acquisition of a property or the transfer of capital, the Golden Visa can also be obtained through other types of investment.

You must make one of the following types of investments to be eligible:

  • Investment to investment funds;
  • Job creation in a company in Portugal;
  • Investment in scientific research or in the artistic community;
  • Capital transfers (No Longer Valid);
  • Purchase and or rehabilitation of real estate property in certain areas (No Longer Valid).

You’ll find more details about the main types of investment below.

1. Investment Funds worth €500,000

The most popular way to obtain the Golden Visa since 2023 is to invest in venture capital funds or investment funds! This option was introduced on August 28, 2017, through the amendment of Law No. 102/2017. To qualify for this, the investor must make a minimum investment of €500,000 to an investment fund.

You can choose from various fully Golden Visa-compliant funds, i.e., private equity, public equity, venture capital funds, and debt/hybrid funds. Through Viv Europe, you can book a consultation with financial experts who can guide you through the process.

Investment funds are currently the most appealing type of Golden Visa investments, bringing in profitable returns with a low-risk profile.

2. Creation of at least 10 jobs

This is the investment modality aimed at entrepreneurial investors. The Golden Visa can also be obtained by establishing a business in Portugal that creates at least 10 jobs.

The applicant must demonstrate this fact and the registration of workers at Social Security.

The procedure to create the 10 jobs is not simple. Let’s look at some of the demanded activities:

  • Obtain the tax number (NIF);
  • Obtain the Social Security registration;
  • Incorporation of the company in Portugal;
  • Contract of the accountant;
  • Obtain the certificates to start the activity;
  • Manage the process for selecting and hiring employees;
  • Manage contracts and the development of activities by employees.

If the undertaking is carried out in low-density territory, this number can be reduced by 20% (create 8 jobs).

This Golden Visa type is similar to the Business Visa (D2) concerning the requirements for obtaining a visa, but it also has many differences, as will be discussed later on.

3. Capital transfer of at least 1 million euros (No Longer Valid)

This is the second most common procedure for obtaining a Golden Visa was through the following methods:

  • By transferring capital to a Portuguese bank account for the acquisition of public debt securities of the Portuguese State;
  • Through the acquisition of securities in a Portuguese banking institution.

The investment was made through a company, provided that the investor owns a shareholding in the amount of the investment required for the purpose.

4. Acquisition of properties worth more than €500,000 (No longer Valid)

Purchasing a property with a value equal to or greater than €500,000 was the most common procedure for obtaining a Golden Visa. This corresponded to more than 90% of the total number of Golden Visas granted in Portugal.

Acquiring one or more properties was possible, provided the sum of the amounts was equal to or greater than €500,000.

The activity to be carried out on the property did not influence the purposes of the Golden Visa. Therefore, people used the property for rental purposes, for example.

Invest in real estate in Madeira for Portugal

For this type of investment, proof of purchase of the property (or, being unable to do so, present a Purchase Promise, with a payment signal equal to or greater than €500,000).

For the acquisition process, investors were able to:

  • Acquire the property on a joint ownership basis, provided that each individual investment value was equal to or greater than €500,000;
  • Acquire the property through a sole proprietorship company in which the investor was the partner;
  • Finance the property acquisition, but only the amount that exceeds the minimum investment of €500,000;
  • Rent or explore the property for commercial, industrial, agricultural, or tourist purposes.

Regions where you could invest in real estate

After the Portuguese Budget Law of 2021 was approved, the rules for the acquisition of properties for the Golden Visa changed in 2022. Between 2022 and 2023, the following regions are no longer eligible for Golden Visa for property acquisition:

On the other hand, real estate investments in the following Portuguese regions were still valid for Golden Visa before changes in 2023 took place:

The Portuguese government took these measures considering the need to favor the promotion of foreign investment in low-density regions.

As of January 2024, no commercial or residential property purchases qualify for the Golden Visa Program.

2. Acquisition of old properties in areas of urban rehabilitation, worth more than €350,000 (No Longer Valid)

If the property was (or properties are) old, that is, if it was built more than 30 years ago, or located in an urban rehabilitation area, the minimum investment amount would decrease to €350,000.

Urban rehabilitation areas (as defined in Decree-Law no. 307/2009) are less developed regions in Portugal.

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”.

Also, this amount may also be reduced by 20% (to €280,000) if the property is located in low-density territories, as defined above.

For Golden Visa applicants interested in this category, you must also carry out rehabilitation activities at the acquired property.

In addition to proving to be the property owner, you had to present:

  • Request for information or of the license for rehabilitation, or
  • Contract for the execution of the rehabilitation activities at the property.

You must also need to be authorized to carry out rehabilitation activities and the property purchase contract. Needless to say, investors were required to provide the receipts for the payment of the rehabilitation contract.

5. Investment in small and medium-sized enterprises

It is possible to obtain a Golden Visa through direct investment in Portuguese companies that have already been created, either through investment funds or venture capital intended for the capitalization of companies.

Despite the risk inherent in this type of investment, the investor may benefit from the increase in the value of the company invested in the stock market.

The minimum investment for this is now €500,000.

6. Other investments

Based on the amendments to the law published in 2015, two forms of investment were introduced to obtain the Golden Visa, namely:

  • Investment in scientific research;
  • Investment in artistic production, preservation, or conservation of cultural heritage.

These are investment modalities whose object is the development of activities related to strategic public sectors for the government.

Therefore, these investments are incorporated into the governmental structure and redirected to the activities covered by the application.

Despite good intentions, these types of investments don’t have much visibility.

Golden Visa process: how to apply and obtain it

Contrary to what the popular name implies, the Golden Visa is technically not a visa for Portugal, but a Residence Permit for Investment Activity, also referred to as ARI. This means it is not issued by the Portuguese consular authorities but by AIMA.

Therefore, obtaining a Golden Visa differs from the more known visas, such as Passive Income and Work.

Once you fulfill all the requirements, the first step is to fill out the mandatory online pre-registration available at the official Golden Visa website, Portal ARI.

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Documents to present

Depending on the type of investment you intend to make in Portugal, you will need to present different documents that prove your activity and compliance with the requirements. But, in all cases, these are the mandatory documents for Golden Visa applicants:

  • Valid passport;
  • Evidence of entry and legal stay in Portugal;
  • International health or travel insurance;
  • Criminal record certificate (duly certified by Portuguese diplomatic or consular representation) 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.

AIMA will analyze your Golden Visa application and can agree or not to grant you a Golden Visa. If not accepted, you will not be refunded the analysis fee.


The fees related to the Golden Visa Program are (as of January 2024):

Golden Visa ProcessFee
Analysis of the application for the grant or renewal of a Golden Visa€581
Issuance of Residence Permit for Investment Activity (for you and each family member)€5,817
Renewal of Residence Permit for Investment Activity (for you and each family member)€2,935

Let us emphasize that, unlike the procedures for other types of visas, the initial stage for obtaining Golden Vista takes place in Portugal and not at the Consulate of Portugal, located in the applicant’s country of origin.

This is, therefore, a somewhat complicated procedure that often requires professional legal advice. If you need help applying for a Golden Visa, do not hesitate to contact our team.

Golden Visa information

The Golden Visa has always been highly successful in Portugal, surpassing thousands of concessions for consecutive 5 years.

In the year 2014, Portugal granted an incredible 1,526 authorizations, according to data provided by SEF.

The Golden Visa provided more than 5 billion euros for Portugal as revenues, becoming one of the most important Portuguese investment programs.

Just like the Non-Habitual Resident regime, the Golden Visa attracts not only capital, but also indirect investments due to the increase of money circulation, goods availability, and services provided, in addition, of course, to tax revenues.

Among the countries that most invested in the Portugal Golden Visa Program, we have:

  • China: 4,728 concessions;
  • Brazil: 977 concessions;
  • Turkey: 466 concessions;
  • South Africa: 386 concessions;
  • Russia: 352 concessions.

It is important to highlight that people frequently use their properties as an investment. Either to generate income from rent or for further resale.

At the European level, as published by Portal Idealista, we have the following data on countries that have granted Golden Visas to foreign investors:

  • Spain: 24,755;
  • Portugal: 17,521;
  • Latvia: 17,342;
  • United Kingdom: 10,445;
  • Greece: 7,565;
  • Cyprus: 3,336.

Despite its smaller territorial expression, Portugal is one of the European countries that most granted Golden Visas.

What makes the Golden Visa special? Comparison with other visas

The main difference between the Golden Visa and the other visas is centered on the required investment to obtain the first one.

We can also highlight that the entity that processes the Golden Visa is AIMA (in Portugal). So there’s no need for a previous process at the Consulate of Portugal of your country of residence.

For this reason, the Golden Visa doesn’t correspond to a visa itself. So you won’t receive the visa stamped in your passport, which usually happens at the Consulate. But rather the document (title) granting the Residence Permit.

Living in Portugal is one of the many Golden Visa benefits

Regarding the rights and duties arising from the Golden Visa, when compared to other visas (e.g. Work Visa, Study Visa, Business Visa, Income Visa), we can draw the following parallel:

  • Golden Visa: Need to remain in Portugal for a period of not less than 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent years.
  • Other Visas: Can’t be absent from Portugal for more than 6 continuous months or 8 non-continuous months during the residence permit period of validation.

We have verified, therefore, that the Golden Visa owner does not need to reside in Portugal, unlike other visas. But only to be in this country for the aforementioned period.

  • Golden Visa: It is possible to carry out professional activity without restrictions.
  • Other Visas: It is only possible to carry out professional activity if applied for some types of visa (e.g., Work and Business Visa). However, as for the other types of visas, it may be possible to exercise professional activity only after being authorized by AIMA.

Latest updates and trends for the future

In recent years, the Golden Visa has been the subject of many debates in the Assembly of the Republic. Notably, although it is undoubtedly an instrument of State capitalization, some deputies think that this visa can also cause losses.

In this sense, we can highlight the main arguments that were defended in Parliament:

In favor of the Golden Visa

  • Attract revenues to Portugal.
  • Develop of commerce due to an increase in consumption.
  • Receipt of indirect revenue through fees and taxes.
  • Incentive for the modernization of the invested regions.
  • Immediate investment (very short term).

Against the Golden Visa

  • Encourage Real Estate speculation.
  • Increase in the value of the properties due to the reduction in the offer.
  • Inflationary effect.

Changes in 2022 

After years of popularity and criticism, the Golden Visa underwent some changes in 2022. Although the modifications resulted in slightly limited choices for investments, people are still interested. 

The main changes were: 

  • Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and the Silver Coast are no longer eligible for real estate investment to apply for the visa;
  • Capital investments went from €350,000 to €500,000;
  • Capital transfer went from €1,000,000 to €1,500,000.

The following was done to redirect investments to regions that haven’t been in the limelight as much. Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve get massive tourist traffic yearly; hence, infrastructural developments continue to take place. 

Why Portugal?

Portugal is not the only European country that has a Golden Visa Program as an instrument to attract foreign capital.

Countries like Spain, Greece, and Latvia are also looking for investment through this procedure, with the last two countries offering the Golden Visa under more attractive conditions (smaller investments).

However, Portugal remains one of the European countries that grant Golden Visas to expats. And this is likely to stay the same for a bit longer. Let’s list some benefits for a Golden Visa holder:

Finally, Portugal managed to manage the COVID-19 crisis very well. For this reason, this country has once again gained the spotlight on the world stage.

Therefore, as expected, the number of Golden Visa applications has already increased significantly and keeps rising.

As Portal Idealista reported:

“The investment amount raised in May is, in fact, the highest monthly amount since March 2017, when 192.4 million euros were raised. In monthly terms, that is, compared to April, the investment raised more than quintupled (421%)”.


The Golden Visa remains one of the main ways for foreign investment in Portugal, considering the many benefits granted to the citizen who intends to invest in this country.

The fact that Golden Visa applicants don’t need to reside in Portugal during the Golden Visa period is also a distinctive point when choosing the type of visa to request.

Finally, the information presented in this guide is for information purposes only and should not in any way be the main reason for the investor’s decision-making. Before taking the plunge, thoroughly research the golden visa program you are considering to obtain residency by investment.

If you need any assistance with Portugal’s Golden Visa program procedure, book a consultation with professionals from Viv Europe. One of our experienced client advisors will carefully assess your personal requirements and guide you through the process of selecting the most suitable golden visa program to meet your individual needs and preferences.

Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats, to ask other investors and expats how their journey is going. Clarify your queries and get advice from real-life stories. 



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