Portugal Golden Visa Program 2023:
The Ultimate Guide

PLEASE NOTE: The Portuguese authorities announced serious changes to their Golden Visa program on February 16, 2023. Here’s the details on the latest program changes.

The Portuguese Golden Visa has been a class-leading program for the past decade. But given the latest announcement and present uncertainties around how and when the program will end, caution is advisable.

Looking to obtain Portuguese residency by investment in 2023? Established in 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the world’s flagship investment residency programs.

With eligible investment options priced from only €200,000, it is also one of the most affordable EU Golden Visas on the market.

Find out more about the program’s benefits below, or complete the enquiry form to request a consultation with a Portuguese immigration specialist.

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It could potentially help you save tens — or even hundreds of thousands — of Dollars by picking the best passport for your personal situation at the lowest price.

Inside, you’ll find…

The Portuguese Golden Visa at a glance

Legal basis: Ordinance No. 305-A / 2012 of October 4, 2012, and the updated Act 63/2015, in particular. 

Known in Portuguese as the “Autorização de Residência para atividade de Investimento” (ARI), the Golden Visa program enables foreign nationals to obtain Portuguese residency by investing in property or creating jobs. 

Launched in 2012, the program has become one of the most popular investor residency programs of its kind in the world. As of late November 2022, the program had processed over 11,300 primary applicants and around 18,000 dependents on the basis of investments worth just under €6.5 billion.

The Golden Visa offers a clear path to citizenship, subject to meeting the program requirements and being able to pass a basic Portuguese language proficiency test. You don’t need to be fluent, the requirement is only A2 level. You can also meet this requirement by submitting an appropriate diploma from a language school or college, etc. 

The first Golden Residency holders were naturalized during 2019. That means it only took them a maximum of seven years, soup-to-nuts, to gain citizenship. Contrast that with neighboring Spain, which normally requires a decade or more to become a citizen.

To date, around 50% of total applicants were Chinese, however the program has also proven popular among Turkish, Russian, South African and Brazilian nationals. The pandemic negatively impacted the Portuguese program, however to a lesser degree than reported by other European countries offering Golden Visas.

The Portuguese Golden Visa recently received a welcome boost from the announcement that Portuguese citizens would soon be able to apply for E-1 Trade Visas and E-2 Treaty Visas for the USA.

This treaty agreement will permit Portuguese citizens to invest in or start a business in the US, and live there on a long-term, non-settlement basis.

While the Golden Visa program has been of immense value to Portugal, it has also received local criticism as one of the key factors contributing to rocketing property prices in Lisbon and Porto.

Consequently, residential properties located in Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve are no longer eligible for the Golden Visa program.

A number of press outlets in late 2022 reported that the government was considering scrapping the Golden Visa program altogether, however the Portuguese government opted to renew the program during a subsequent parliamentary budget vote.

A word of caution…

Investment residency and citizenship programs are constantly going through changes. Sometimes they become more expensive (USA EB-5 and Malta Residency Visa Program)…

Sometimes they become more difficult to qualify for… And sometimes, they can get terminated at short notice (Cyprus and Moldova).

Applicants who are already in the process of applying are typically approved and grandfathered in, provided that they meet all relevant program criteria… while those who didn’t apply in time lose out. 

So if you’re considering applying for any investment residency or citizenship program, it is advisable to act immediately so as to avoid missing the boat…

While the “standard” Golden Visa property investment requirement is €500,000, a number of more affordable investment options exist. In fact, the lowest price point for a GV eligible investment is just €200,000, in the form of the so-called Artistic Production Golden Visa.

We’ll discuss all of the investment options available in more detail below…

Interested in learning more?

Sovereign Confidential offers step-by-step guidance on gaining second residency or citizenship by investment – in many instances, without the need for significant investments. 

Find out more about the many benefits of Sovereign Confidential membership here.

Key program benefits

While it is not the cheapest investment residency program in Europe, the Portuguese Golden Visa program has increasingly been leaving competing EU programs in the dust – and with good reason. 

Consider the following advantages of choosing Portugal as your own back-up plan…

1. The perfect Plan B destination:

Portugal is one of the best travel and second home locations in the world. Offering visa-free travel to 26 EU countries, security, stability and a low cost of living, Portuguese residency ticks most of the boxes for a lot of people.

2. Low minimum stay requirements:

With a minimum stay requirement of only 1 week per year (on average), the Golden Visa program is the ultimate back-up plan in case things go seriously wrong in your home country.

3. Bring your family:

Include your spouse, children under 18, and even your financially dependent parents over the age of 66 under your Golden Visa application.

4. Attractive taxation regime:

Benefit from Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime – enjoy preferential low tax rates for the first 10 years. Portugal also has no wealth taxes.

5. Proven road to citizenship:

After having maintained your Golden Visa residency for a period of five years, you’ll become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship and a passport (subject to passing the basic Portuguese language test).

6. Work in Portugal (if you want to):

Unlike as is the case in Greece, both you and your spouse are allowed to work in Portugal under the Golden Visa program — should you choose to.

7. No educational requirements:

Unlike with many other residency by investment programs, having a tertiary qualification is not a prerequisite to apply for a Golden Visa in Portugal.

8. Peace of mind:

The Portuguese Golden Visa program is one of the most established and respected investment residency programs in the world. Working with a reputable investment immigration firm, you can obtain Portuguese residency safely and with ease.

Golden Visa investment options 2023

As of January 1, 2023, investors have the following investment options for obtaining the Portugal Golden Visa. Applicants need only choose one:

Property Investment
  • €500,000+ in property, OR;
  • €400,000+ in property (situated in a low-density area), OR;
  • €350,000+ in property (30 years old and requiring upgrades, OR situated in Urban Regeneration Zone), or;
  • €280,000+ in property (a 20% discount on the €350,000+ option, provided the property is situated in a sparsely populated area (less than 100 inhabitants per sq. km., or where the GDP per capita is below 75% of the national average).
Job CreationCreate at least 10 full time, sustainable jobs for Portuguese citizens.
Fund InvestmentsInvest €500,000+ in investment funds or venture capital fund of funds, in line with the program’s regulations.
Capital Transfers:Transfer at least €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account; invest in other qualifying securities as outlined here.
Research InvestmentsInvest a minimum of €500,000 in research activities conducted by either public or private institutions to create scientific or technological advances that benefit Portugal.
Green InvestmentsInvest €500,000+ in green technologies,  renewable energy, carbon offsetting or low-density agriculture.
Cultural Heritage Preservation / Artistic Production InvestmentsInvest €250,000+ in a cultural heritage preservation project or artistic production project situated in a high-density location such as Porto or Lisbon, or invest just €200,000+ in a project situated in a low-density area.

Additional program requirements

In addition to making the requisite investment, you also have to meet the following requirements to obtain Portuguese residency under the program.

To be eligible to apply, you have to:

The application process at a glance

Given that a large percentage of applicants opt to buy a residential property on the open market when applying for the Portuguese Golden Visa, the entire process typically takes at least 12 months to complete.

The application process typically looks like this:

Ready? Start your Portugal Golden Visa application today.

Investments from only €200,000. Fees from around €20,000.
Contact us now for more information.