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 firms, 9 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.