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Migration By Investment - Portugal Ultimate Guide

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Migration By Investment - Portugal Ultimate Guide

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Portugal is a popular destination for expats and investors due to its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and rich history. In recent years, Portugal has also become a top choice for foreign investors looking to obtain residency in the country through the Portugal Golden Visa program. This program allows investors to obtain a residency permit in Portugal by investing in the country’s real estate market, among other investment options. In this guide, we will provide a detailed overview of the Portugal Golden Visa program, including its benefits, eligibility requirements, investment options, application process, fees and costs, and statistics on its success.

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About Portugal and Why It’s the Perfect Fit for You!

Portugal is a beautiful country located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is bordered by Spain to the east and north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. Portugal is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes. The country is home to a wide range of attractions, from mediaeval castles and historic towns to beautiful beaches and scenic countryside.


One of the main reasons to live in Portugal is its quality of life. Portugal is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, thanks to its pleasant climate, affordable cost of living, excellent healthcare system, and welcoming culture. The country has a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, which is perfect for those who want to enjoy a slower pace of life. Additionally, Portugal is a safe country with a low crime rate, making it an ideal place for families and retirees.


Another reason to live in Portugal is its beauty. The country is home to a diverse range of landscapes, including mountains, forests, rivers, and beaches. The Algarve region is particularly famous for its beautiful coastline and sunny weather, making it a popular destination for tourists and expats alike. The capital city of Lisbon is another must-visit destination, with its charming historic neighbourhoods, world-class museums, and vibrant nightlife.


With its beautiful beaches, scenic countryside, and historic towns, Portugal is a wonderful place to call home.

What is Portugal's Golden Visa?

The Portugal Golden Visa program was launched in 2012 as a way to attract foreign investment to the country. The program allows non-EU citizens to obtain residency in Portugal by making an investment in the country’s economy, including real estate, capital transfer, job creation, research and development, and cultural activities. The program has been highly successful, with over 9,000 Golden Visas issued to date and billions of euros invested in the country’s economy.

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Benefits of Portugal Golden Visa

There are several benefits to obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa, including:


Residency in Portugal: The Portugal Golden Visa allows investors and their families to live and work in Portugal, as well as travel freely throughout the Schengen area.


Visa-free Travel: With a Portuguese passport, you can travel the world visa-free to over 180 countries including to the EU and the United Kingdom. Take a last-minute business trip or a spontaneous vacation with your family in Europe.


Fast-track to Citizenship: After five years of residency, investors can apply for Portuguese citizenship, which allows them to live and work anywhere in the European Union.


Family Benefits: The Portugal Golden Visa allows investors to include their spouse and children under 18 in the application, and the permit is renewable for two-year periods.


Favourable Tax Regime: Beneficial taxation system for non-habitual residents (NHR) through the Portugal Golden Visa.


Real Estate Investment: The Portugal Golden Visa program allows investors to make a real estate investment in Portugal, which can generate a return on investment through rental income or appreciation.


Low Minimum Stay Conditions: 7 days in the first year and 14 days in each of the next two years.


Excellent Standard Of Education: Through the Portugal Golden Visa, get access to a large number of prominent universities for cheaper eu tuition rates.


High Quality Of Life: Get access to a luxurious lifestyle with health care facility through the Portugal Golden Visa

How Much Time Does It Take To Obtain A Portugal Residency By Investment?

The time it takes to obtain Portugal residency by investment can vary depending on a number of factors, including the chosen investment option, the completeness of the application, and the processing time of the Portuguese authorities.


In general, it can take anywhere from nine to Twelve months to obtain Portuguese residency by investment. However, this timeline can vary depending on the individual circumstances of each applicant.

Who is eligible to apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal?



The Portugal Golden Visa may be requested by any non-EU/EEA/Swiss national.




You must be at least 18 years old and possess a clean criminal record in both your native country and Portugal. The investment funds must originate from outside Portugal.


Portugal Golden Visa Minimum Investment


To qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa, a qualifying investment must be made. Real estate, venture capital funds, transfers of capital, company formation, and donations are examples of investment categories. The remainder of this guide contains a list of eligible investments.


Members of the family


Under family reunification, the Portugal Golden Visa may be extended to additional family members.  In the preceding section, a comprehensive inventory of eligible dependents has been provided.


United States applicants for a Portugal Golden Visa


Citizens of the United States are eligible to register for Portugal Golden Visa. Foreign-owned real estate offers numerous tax advantages to U.S. residents, making the program’s real estate investment option particularly intriguing.


Taking advantage of the Portugal Golden Visa programme, American business proprietors may also decide to expand their operations into Portugal. Portugal’s tax incentives make it an attractive location for relocation.


UK Citizens


British investors in the United Kingdom and abroad are preparing for the travel-related consequences of Brexit. In 2021, British passports lost their Schengen Area travel freedom.  British citizens are interested in Portugal for three reasons: European travel privileges, a desirable lifestyle, and ultimately European citizenship through investment.


British citizens are now eligible to register for the Portugal Golden Visa programme as of January 1, 2021. This grants them permission to travel throughout the Schengen Area. 

Eligibility for Portugal Golden Visa

To be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa program, investors must meet the following requirements:


Non-EU citizen: The program is open to non-EU citizens who are not already resident in Portugal.


Investment requirement: Investors must make an investment in one of the eligible investment options, including real estate, capital transfer, job creation, research and development, or cultural activities.


Clean criminal record: Investors must have a clean criminal record in their home country and in Portugal.

Residency requirement: Investors must spend a minimum of seven days per year in Portugal to maintain their residency permit.

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Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers several investment options, including:


Real estate: The most popular investment option for the Portugal Golden Visa is real estate, where investors can purchase property in Portugal with a minimum investment of €280,000. The property can be rented out for income or used as a vacation home.


Capital transfer: Investors can transfer a minimum of €1 million into a Portuguese bank account or invest €350,000 in a Portuguese venture capital fund.


Job creation: Investors can create a minimum of ten jobs in Portugal.


Research and development: Investors can invest a minimum of €350,000 in a Portuguese research institution.

Cultural activities: Investors can invest a minimum of €250,000 in a Portuguese cultural institution.

Requirements for Portugal Golden Visa

To obtain a Portugal Golden Visa, investors must fulfil the following requirements:


Investment: Investors must make the required investment in one of the eligible investment options for the Portugal Golden Visa.


Residence Permit: Investors must obtain a temporary residence permit, which is valid for one year and renewable for two-year periods.


Criminal Record: Portugal Golden Visa investors must provide a clean criminal record from their home country and Portugal.


Biometrics: Portugal Golden Visa investors must provide biometric data, including fingerprints and a photograph.


Tax Identification Number: Portugal Golden Visa investors must obtain a Portuguese tax identification number.


Bank Account: Investors must open a Portuguese bank account.

Application Procedure to Obtain a Portugal Golden Visa

The application for a Portugal Golden Visa is simple to comprehend. If you take the necessary steps, including investment, legal steps, and the proper documentation, your application for a Portugal Golden Visa will be successful. Check the following procedures for clarification:


Step One: Consult with the Star Sterling Team and Choose Your Investment Type


Initially, the most important matters must be addressed. You must evaluate the list of available investment categories and determine which investment you will pursue.  More than ninety percent of all applicants for the Portugal Golden Visa have chosen to invest in real estate.  In recent years, the fund option has also begun to acquire traction.


Step Two: Collect All Required Documents


You must assemble all required documentation for yourself, the primary applicant, and, if applicable, your dependents. With all the translations, notarizations, apostilles, and certifications, this step can be quite time-consuming.  A professional advisor, however, will mitigate the boredom.


Step Three: Obtain an NIF and a Bank Account


Obtaining an NIF and establishing a bank account in Portugal can be accomplished within a single day. You can delegate this task to your solicitors without being physically present in the country.


Step Four: Completing the Investment


Now that you’ve decided on an investment form, it’s time to pay up and secure your Portugal investment.


Step five: Submit Application Form


After making a qualifying investment and gathering the necessary documentation, you will submit your SEF pre-application online.  In most instances, your law firm will handle this for you and notify you if anything is absent.


Typically, it takes approximately two months from the time you submit your documents until your scheduled appointment.


Step Six: Plan and Set Your SEF Appointment


After analysing your pre-application, SEF will provide you with a list of biometrics appointment dates.  On the scheduled appointment date, you and your dependents must physically appear at the appropriate SEF office to submit fingerprints and finalise your application.


Step Seven: Get Your Portugal Golden Visa and Renewal


Bingo! You and your dependents receive your Portugal Golden Visa residence certificates.  Your law firm or professional advisor will collect and deliver the documents to you.  Each card is valid for two years, after which you must renew your Golden Visa card in order to receive a new one.


It takes approximately four months from the time of your biometrics appointment until you receive your credentials, under normal circumstances.


Step 8: Obtain Portuguese citizenship


After five years and two renewals of your initial Golden Visa card, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.  The citizenship application typically takes between six and twelve months.  Once you obtain permanent residency or citizenship, you will no longer be required to maintain your Portugal investment.


Star Sterling is committed to assisting you throughout the Golden Visa application process.

Requirements: What Are the Portugal Golden Visa Requirements?

Minimum Residence Requirement


Portugal Golden Visa programme has a minimum stay requirement.  Portugal requires Golden Visa holders to spend a minimum of seven days per year in the country on average.


                                            Validity Period                   Stay Requirement

Initial GV Residence Permit           Two (2) years         Fourteen (14) days within 2 yrs

Subsequent GV Residence Permits Three (3) years Twenty-one days within 3 yrs


Important Notice: As of April 2020, the initial residence permits are valid for two years instead of one, and successive permits are valid for three years. This was the result of a modification to the Portuguese immigration law.  If the shift is permanent, the initial card that is valid for two years will likely require the cardholder to spend at least fourteen days physically in Portugal during that period. Then, the validity of the renewal cards will be extended to three years, and petitioners will be required to spend at least twenty-one days physically in Portugal during that period.


Maintain an eligible investment for five years.


You are required to provide proof that you have invested the minimum amount individually.  As the principal applicant, you are required to maintain the investment for as long as you and your dependents maintain Portugal Golden Visa residency status.


If and when you become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen, you are no longer required to maintain the investment. You may then liquidate any investment you have made.


Proper Documentation


You must submit the following materials to register for the Portugal Golden Visa Programme:


1) Copy of a passport or other travel document issued by the government;


2) Evidence of the eligible investment made by the principal applicant individually:


If the property is real estate, a deed or a sale agreement with evidence of deposit payment.


If an investment fund, a subscription receipt from the fund manager.


3) Confirmation of the transmission of funds from a Portuguese financial institution


4) Proof of health insurance:


If in Portugal, from the Portuguese National Health System


If outside Portugal, from a company with international coverage.


5) Criminal history of the present nation of residence


Must be issued within three (3) months of submitting the form.


6) A form granting SEF permission to access criminal records in Portugal,


7) A sworn declaration that the minimum investment requirements have been met for the required five-year period.


8) Documents demonstrating a positive standing with the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and the Social Security system,


Must be issued within 45 days of submitting the form.


9) Payment received for ARI application,


Unless otherwise specified, the documentation should be issued within three months of submitting your Golden Visa application.


Legalising Documents For Portugal Residency by Investment Program


All of the above documents issued by non-Portuguese entities must be authenticated.  The legalisation must be accompanied by an apostille if the country in question is a member of the Hague Convention.

Interpreting Documents


Any non-Portuguese original document must be translated and certified into Portuguese.  Typically, the certification is conducted by a notary.


NIF Number and Bank Account


Portugal requires that the investment be made from the applicant’s Portuguese bank account. Consequently, you are required to have a bank account in a Portuguese institution.  To establish the account, you must also have an NIF number, which is Portugal’s tax identification number.


Obtaining an NIF number and establishing a bank account in Portugal are both relatively simple processes. Both can be completed in half a day.


Acquiring an NIF Number


Obtain an address verification from your country of residence.

Bring your government-issued identification and proof of domicile to a Portuguese Financas office.


Obtain your NIF number immediately and within an hour.

You may also provide your attorney with a power of attorney, allowing them to complete this step even if you are not in Portugal.

How to Get a Bank Account in Portugal

In contrast to many other nations, Portuguese banks make it relatively simple for non-residents and foreigners to establish a bank account. Additionally, the financing and maintenance fees are quite low in comparison to the rest of Europe.  Simply follow the instructions below:


What you require:


  • Passport or travel document issued by the government, 
  • NIF number
  • Portuguese telephone number
  • Address verification from your country of residence,
  • Income documentation/payslip,


What’s required from you do to:


Visit a bank branch to establish an account.


As easy as that. Typically, each law firm maintains intimate relationships with one or more banks and branches. To keep things moving swiftly, it is advisable to seek their guidance.

Fees and Costs of Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program has several fees and costs associated with it, including:


Government fee: 


Processing Fee: Once at the beginning and then at each renewal – €533 (+ €83 /dependent)

Initial Application Fee: Once at the beginning – €5,325 per person

Renewal Application Fee: At each renewal – €2,663 per person


Application fee: The application fee for the Portugal Golden Visa program is €5,000.


Investment costs: Investors must make the required investment in one of the eligible investment options, which can range from €280,000 to €1 million or more.


Legal fees: Portugal Golden Visa investors may need to hire a lawyer or legal representative to assist with the application process, which can cost several thousand euros.

Maintenance costs: Portugal Golden Visa investors who purchase real estate will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep costs.

Statistics on Portugal Golden Visa

Since the launch of the Portugal Golden Visa program in 2012, the program has been highly successful, with over 9,000 Golden Visas issued to date. The Portugal Golden Visa program has generated billions of euros in investment in the country’s economy, with the real estate sector being the most popular investment option. The top countries of origin for Golden Visa applicants are China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and Turkey. The program has been credited with helping to boost Portugal’s economy, create jobs, and increase demand for Portuguese real estate.

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The Portugal Golden Visa program is an attractive option for foreign investors looking to obtain residency in Portugal. The program offers several benefits, including residency in Portugal, fast-track to citizenship, low minimum investment, family benefits, and real estate investment opportunities. To be eligible for the program, investors must meet the investment requirement, have a clean criminal record, have health insurance coverage, and spend a minimum amount of time in Portugal. The application process for the Portugal Golden Visa is relatively straightforward, and the program has been highly successful, generating billions of euros in investment and boosting Portugal’s economy.

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Established in 2019, Star Sterling is a family-run business based in the UK. As a cutting-edge investment advisory firm, we aim to deliver top-of-the-line investment services to all our valued clients. Leveraging a dynamic combination of finance and real estate expertise, we specialize in B2SA, R2SA, and BTL property investments.
Our professionals work tirelessly to identify the best investment solutions for estate agents, landlords, and investors and cultivate long-term partnerships for future success. We partner with businesses to find suitable properties to provide premium accommodation on a short-term basis to business travelers and contractors. By creating customized strategies for our clients, our services extend beyond the traditional confines of real estate

Our Typical Investors are

✓ People with a minimum of £7,500 to invest into Rent To Serviced Accommodation and £50,000 into Below Market Value property deals
✓ Looking to build high cash-flowing Rent To Serviced Accommodation portfolio (either passively or self-managed)
✓ Looking to buy Below Market Value residential properties with 8% to 10% annual return on capital
✓ Looking to achieve financial freedom through property investment in the UK
✓ Looking for safe and secure investment opportunities with low risk
✓ Looking to build a legacy for their family’s future

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