Portugal Golden Visa 2022: My Complete Journey

Originally published at: Portugal Golden Visa 2021: My Case Study as an Applicant

GoVisaFree Note: We figured, instead of playing the “expert” at a process we have not experienced ourselves, why not ask someone who actually went through the Portugal Golden Visa application process to write up on it. Barbara T. from our community was kind enough to contribute and share her journey with us below. – Robin

The Portugal Golden Visa is a residency by investment program in Europe.  It is one of the most popular investment immigration programs in the world.  

That’s why I chose to go ahead with the Portuguese Golden Visa myself.  

My name is Barbara. Robin is a good friend and when he asked me to contribute with an article, explaining my journey in getting my Golden Visa in Portugal, I was eager to help.

As an American citizen, the last couple of years have been eye-opening for me. The social turmoil, the pandemic issues, and a chaotic election year.  It was all too much. I knew I wanted to retire in Europe ultimately. So I figured, why not plant the seeds now.

The main attractions of Portugal Golden Visa program for me were:

  • In 5 years, a Golden Visa can lead to Portuguese citizenship,
  • Stay requirement is very low; an average of 7 days per year,
  • Wide range of investment options that are relatively affordable,
  • Access to Schengen countries without the need for a visa,
  • Once you become a citizen in Portugal,
    • You can live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union,
    • Get a Portuguese passport (4th most powerful passport in the world),
  • Portugal is a safe country with great quality of life, strong healthcare and education systems, good infrastructure, wonderful climate, and hospitable people.

There are more than five different investment routes available to attain a Golden Visa in Portugal.  But two options really stand out in terms of their value proposition:

  • Real estate investment in Portugal
    • Minimum investment requirement starts at €280,000, but €350,000 and €500,000 programs are more popular
  • Private equity or venture capital fund investment of €350,000 in Portugal

Both of these options will go through changes as of January 1, 2022.  I’ll elaborate later on in the article.

I can be annoying when it comes to research

This was a significant investment for me that dug into my life savings.  So, I wanted to make sure that I gathered all the necessary information I could get my hands on and vet all the potential companies that offer services.

I corresponded with 11 investment advisory firms9 funds, and 6 law firms before finally making a decision.  

Too much? Maybe. Worth it? Totally.

Throughout my research, I was not surprised to see a lot of cacophony; biased reviews, out-of-date information, misleading pitches, and all that schmooze.  Well, the democratization of information has its cons as well as pros.

That’s why, I want to outlay the whole program, its process, timeline, advantages, disadvantages in an unbiased and transparent light in this article.

Having said that, I am neither an accountant, nor a lawyer, nor a financial advisor.  So, please don’t take anything in this article at face value, dig deeper, do your own research before taking any action.

With that, let’s get started!

Background of Golden Visa Portugal

The Portuguese Golden Visa Residence Permit (ARI) program was launched in 2012. It is a residency by investment program designed to encourage investment to Portugal from non-EU/EEA citizens. It provides a quick way to get a residence permit in Portugal.

What makes the program different from other European Golden Visa programs is it can lead to Portuguese citizenship in five (well, more realistically six) years without actually residing in Portugal.

As of March 2021, the program attracted roughly 9,550 investors.  This in turn brought almost €5.75 billion to the country. Not too bad…

Benefits of Golden Visa Portugal

All residency by investment programs offer various benefits to the investor. The advantages of the Portuguese Golden Visa that stood out for me were:

  • Right to Live & Work in Portugal: Your Golden Visa residence permit will give you the legal right to live and work in Portugal. This does not mean you need to settle to Portugal and live there. You only need to spend an average of seven days a year to maintain your residence permit.
  • Visa-Free Travel in the Schengen Area / EU Countries: Your Golden Visa residence permit card will allow you to travel freely within the Schengen Area without an additional visa. The card will funcion just like a Schengen visa. As a non-EU citizen and a frequent traveler (well, at least until the pandemic), this was a big plus for me.
  • Family Reunification: As a main applicant, you can include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents under the program. They get their Golden Visa cards at the same time you do. They benefit from all the advantages and qualify to apply for citizenship at the end of five years, just like you do.
  • Low Stay Requirement: The Portuguese Golden Visa has one of the lowest stay requirements in Europe. It requires you to only spend an average of seven days annually in Portugal.
1 Like

Great article! Very detailed and helpful. Congratulations on getting the visa. I tried clicking the email link to contact Robin so I can request for the company information who helped you with the process but unfortunately it keeps redirecting me to cloudfare protection as king me to enable my javascript which is already enabled. I’d really appreciate if you/Robin can send me a message with the details.

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Hello. I agree a great article but I’m not sure of the comment

“You can use your residence card to make use of all the benefits of Golden Visa. This includes traveling freely across the Schengen countries, without the need for any additional visas.”

Technically you can enter Portugal and then travel around Europe since the boarders are open. But it is not legitimate and residency in portugal doesn’t give you the freedom of Schengen or Europe.

Hi northcave! Would you mind expanding on your comment? I thought residency in any Schengen countries gives you access to all the other Schengen areas?

Hi all! Apologies if talking money is crass, but I too am a hyper-researcher and am wondering if you could share a ballpark range of what the agencies you interviewed charged to accompany you through the process. A lawyer I spoke with asked for 5K euros and an agency was priced closer to 7K… this is in addition to the funds paid upon approval to the govt of course. Any reaction to these numbers??


I have the same issue.

Really informative article BTW. How can I get in touch with Robin?

Thanks for the article! I am just starting to look into Portugal Golden visa and this is very helpful. I am also having the same problem of being redirected to the Cloudflare Email Protection page asking me to enable JavaScript when I try to email Robin. This is happening on several browsers, all of which do have JavaScript enabled. Could you please share how to get in touch with Robin, as I would like to contact a few professional firms?

Thank you for this article. My family and I are going to Portugal in August for our biometrics appointment after waiting for over a year. Do you have any specific pointers for the actual appointment? Thanks

A couple of things have changed. The permit validity is now 2 years, then 3 years, and the lowest cost option is actually the Cultural Production / Artistic Support Golden Visa - EUR250,000 in urban areas, and EUR200,000 in low-density areas as per the NUTS III definition.

Plus, there is actually a for-profit option for this stream, which involves a film investment, and has a capital guarantee.

I’d love to get the contact info for the professional firm/ advisory company mentioned in the article. Are they based in Portugal? I don’t (yet) speak Portuguese. I’d love some tips on how to find a reliable lawyer who could help with the Portuguese golden visa process when the client doesn’t speak Portuguese. I’d be most grateful if someone could share their experience about it.

That email link to robin doesn’t work. Can you give the name of agency? Or their contact number ?