Portugal Golden Visa Fund Option 2021: A Must-Read Guide

Originally published at: Portugal Golden Visa Fund Option 2021: A Must-Read Guide

Last updated on June 7th, 2021

Portugal Golden Visa Fund Option 2021: A Must-Read Guide

February 2021 Update: The current minimum investment amount for the Portugal Golden Visa Fund option is €350,000. This will increase to €500,000 as of January 1st, 2022.

Portugal allows you to participate in a Portuguese investment fund and get a Golden Visa. As of 2018, the minimum investment has dropped to €350,000.

That’s why I think it’s possibly the best way to obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal.

Check out how the Golden Visa by investment fund option works, its advantages and disadvantages, compared to other available investment methods.

Here’s what you’ll find in this article:

    1. Advantages of Funds compared to Real Estate
    2. Disadvantage of Funds
    3. How to Choose the right Fund with 3 Simple Tips
    4. Available Portuguese Funds in the Market
    5. The Portuguese Golden Visa Fund Investment Process
    6. 2022 Changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Fund Option

Table of Contents

Advantages of Funds compared to Real Estate

  • Lower investment size of €350,000 compared to €500,000 real estate
  • Diversified investment as opposed to purchasing one or two properties
  • Possible tax advantages
    • You may not need to pay any taxes on your fund earnings in Portugal
    • There are no withholding taxes
    • Whereas real estate rental income is taxed at a flat rate of 28%
  • Low acquisition fees; there are just transaction fees
    • Whereas real estate acquisition comes with a hefty IMT tax and stamp duty
  • The investment is managed by professional managers
    • Whereas with real estate, you are on your own for property management unless you find a third party property manager, which will come at a cost

Disadvantages of Funds compared to Real Estate

  • The Portuguese funds that qualify are classified as fundo de capital de risco, meaning ‘risk funds’, so there is a certain risk associated with this type of investment
  • The funds cannot guarantee the invested capital, nor any stable yield
  • An illiquid investment until maturity; although you can technically sell your participation unit, it is unrealistic that you will find a buyer in the middle of the

How to Choose Which Fund to Invest In

If you’re not a professional investor or someone who works in finances, you may find yourself lost when it comes to investing in a fund. Let’s go step by step as to how you can go about choosing the right fund for your Portugal Golden Visa application.

Here are the 5 essential steps.

  • Decide on your Risk Appetite

Risk funds do not guarantee the preservation of the vested capital. With that, there are some risk funds that are “less risky” and some that are “high-risk”.

So, first things first; depending on your appetite as an investor, you may prefer different types of funds.

High-Risk Loving Cowboys

If you are the kind of investor that likes risk, there are funds that focus on startups or companies in certain fields. If things go well, the portfolio companies these funds invest in may skyrocket in value. However, there is also the very viable risk that they may find the investment to bust and lose the invested capital completely

Low-Risk Loving Conservative Investors

A good number of the funds are asset-backed, meaning, although they are not officially Real Estate Funds, they are Funds that mainly invest in real estate properties, although indirectly. At the end of the day, you know that a real estate property will preserve a certain value, no matter what happens to the market.

That’s why, I find these to be more suitable for conservative investors that want to hold the value of their investment, and not in the game to make a high risk, high return.

  • Analyze the Funds & Ask Questions

Like I stated above, different funds have different strategies in deploying their cash and creating an investment portfolio.

Some will focus on real estate, others will go for startups, commodities, etc.

Make sure to meet up with the fund managers and ask all the questions you may have. You can technically reach out to the funds and set these up on your own. However, I strongly suggest you use a professional advisor. This is a significant investment and the right professional will make a difference in guiding you, saving you time, money, and headache. You can find some suggestions later on in the article.

Essential questions to ask the fund managers are:

  • What will the fund specialize in?
    • If real estate: what geography or asset class?
    • If companies: what industry or investment stage?
  • How will the fund assure diversification?
  • What is the target return?
    • Will the fund distribute dividends? How often and based on what?
    • What is the expected rate of return at maturity?
  • How much is the fund trying to raise?
    • How much of it is already committed?
    • Where are the existing investors from and what profile are they?
  • What fees will the fund investment involve?
    • What are the one-time subscription fees?
    • What is the annual management fee?
    • What performance fee will the fund manager get at maturity? Is there a hurdle?
  • Who is the fund auditor?

Besides these, your consultant will also help ask follow-up questions and steer the call to get all the answers necessary to your specific case.

  • Beware of…

Funds with insufficient …. funds:

Funds that have not raised a minimum amount of committed capital to move ahead with investments

Real estate developers dressed in Funds clothing:

Fund managers will “manage” the fund. But, that’s the technical management. In many cases, you will find that there is another company or a team behind the fund.

In these cases, make sure to vet the team or the company behind the team. Watch out for any conflict of interest that may be present.

A common red flag is if the company is a real estate development company that will sell its own developments to the fund. This means that they are possibly making their earnings when they sell their own developments into the pool of funds raised by subscribers like yourself. Any additional potential profit at fund maturity would be a plus for them, though don’t expect them to be motivated to make an extra effort.

There are exceptions to this, but just be very careful.

Real estate developers or Funds dressed in RCBI Consultant clothing:

It is not uncommon to find residency and citizenship by investment “advisory firms,” who are actually vehicles created by real estate developers or funds to move their product in the market. It is rather easy to spot these, but nevertheless, beware of pushy salespeople that will particularly push you “a specific product.”

Learn more about how to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa Fund option.

LEARN MORE

List of Funds that qualify for Portuguese Golden Visa:

The available funds in the Portuguese market, which would qualify you for a Golden Visa are listed below, in alphabetical order.

  • Aston Gold Fund

    Investment Strategy: Real estate development and residential and commercial property rentals

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 7 years

    Subscription Deadline: December 2021

    [get more information]

  • BlueCrow Fund

    Investment Strategy: Diversified yielding real estate: retail, agricultural, industrial, hospitality

    Minimum Investment Amount: €52,500

    Fund Maturity: 7 years

    Subscription Deadline: December 2022

    [get more information]

  • CGA Fund

    Investment Strategy: Diversified real estate in Portugal and the US: hospitality, residential, retail, retirement

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 6 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: December 2022

    [get more information]

  • EQTY Fund

    Investment Strategy: Residential real estate in Portugal and major funds in Europe

    Minimum Investment Amount: €100,000

    Fund Maturity: 7 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: May 2022

    [get more information]

  • Golden Bridge Fund

    Investment Strategy: Residential real estate development in Portugal

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 6 years

    Subscription Deadline: June 2021

    [get more information]

  • Greytech II Fund

    Investment Strategy: Opportunistic acquisitions of large companies in Portugal

    Minimum Investment Amount: €250,000

    Fund Maturity: 8 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: December 2021

    [get more information]

  • Inception Fund

    Investment Strategy: Healthcare companies across Portugal and the rest of Europe

    Minimum Investment Amount: €250,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: December 2021

    [get more information]

  • MedCapital Fund

    Investment Strategy: Private healthcare companies: clinics and hospitals

    Minimum Investment Amount: €150,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years

    Subscription Deadline: December 2021

    [get more information]

  • Monarque Portugal L1 Fund

    Investment Strategy: Yielding commercial real estate, bonds, and equities

    Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years

    Subscription Deadline: November 2021

    [get more information]

  • New Edge Fund

    Investment Strategy: Real estate and bonds

    Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ possibility to exit after 6 years)

    Subscription Deadline: March 2022

    [get more information]

  • NEXT Fund

    Investment Strategy: Luxury real estate in Portugal and Mediterranean countries

    Minimum Investment Amount: €200,000

    Fund Maturity: 6 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: February 2022

    [get more information]

  • PelaTerra Fund

    Investment Strategy: Yielding agricultural real estate

    Minimum Investment Amount: €100,000

    Fund Maturity: 7 years

    Subscription Deadline: March 2022

    [get more information]

  • Planeur Portugal Fund

    Investment Strategy: Real estate, Eco-Tourism, Eco-Agriculture, Technology, and Manufacturing

    Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years

    Subscription Deadline: October 2022

    [get more information]

  • Portugal Gateway Fund

    Investment Strategy: Opportunistic acquisitions of companies with growth potential

    Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ option to exit after 5 years)

    Subscription Deadline: July 2021

    [get more information]

  • Portugal Opportunities Fund

    Investment Strategy: Diversified real estate: student housing, nursing homes, hospitality

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ exit option at 6 years)

    Subscription Deadline: December 2021

    [get more information]

  • Portugal Yield Fund

    Investment Strategy: Diversified yielding real estate

    Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ possibility to exit before)

    Subscription Deadline: April 2021

    [get more information]

  • Rock Capital Fund

    Investment Strategy: Residential real estate in Lisbon

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 7 years (w/ potential extensions)

    Subscription Deadline: October 2021

    [get more information]

  • SIF Investment Fund

    Investment Strategy: Residential real estate

    Minimum Investment Amount: €50,000

    Fund Maturity: 10 years (w/ exit option after 6 years)

    Subscription Deadline: June 2021

    [get more information]

  • Sustainable Innovation Fund

    Investment Strategy: Mid-size Portuguese companies focused on sustainability and social impact

    Minimum Investment Amount: €200,000

    Fund Maturity: 7 years

    Subscription Deadline: June 2022

    [get more information]

Already Closed Funds:

  • NEST Fund

Investment Strategy: Commercial real estate properties in Lisbon and Porto

Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

Fund Maturity: 6 years (w/ potential extensions)

Subscription Deadline: January 2021

  • Vintage Fund

Investment Strategy: Ties to a 5-star hotel in Lisbon

Minimum Investment Amount: €350,000

Fund Maturity: 6 years (w/ potential extensions)

Subscription Deadline: April 2021

Are funds safe?

Yes, they are safe. All funds in Portugal are regulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission called CMVM.

Each fund is also audited by an independent third party on a yearly basis.

Nevertheless, it’s best to be handheld by a professional consultancy firm, when analyzing the funds and going through your fund subscription to apply for a Portugal Golden Visa.

How do the fund managers make their money?

Fund managers typically get paid in two ways:

  1. Annual fund management fee:
    • This should be between 1% to 2%, anything below or above is a red flag
    • This will generally only cover the overhead for the team and their work
  2. Performance fee at the end:
    • This should be between 20% to 30% of the profits, anything above is a red flag
    • This is the actual incentive that your fund managers will have to build a well-performing portfolio

Should I use a professional?

Technically, you can go through the process all by yourself.

However, I strongly recommend you use a professional consultancy firm, as well as a legal professional.

I would advise you to steer clear of “one-stop-shop” consulting firms that claim to have a lawyer within the firm.

An investment professional should help you with your investment and possibly walk you through your application process.

A legal professional should perform all the due diligence and submit the actual applications.

Having these mixed up may leave you exposed to in the middle of a conflict of interest.

Participating in Portuguese Funds: How it Works

Step 1: Choose an investment advisory firm and a legal firm

Step 2: Get your NIF number and open a Portuguese Bank Account

Step 3: Meet with funds and choose the fund/s you will invest in

Step 4: Prepare the application and KYC documentation needed for fund subscription

Step 5: Transfer your funds to your bank account and then to the fund/s

Step 6: Complete fund subscription

Step 7: Submit your Golden Visa application to SEF and set your biometrics appointment

Step 8: Obtain your Portugal Golden Visa card & renew when the time comes

2022 Changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Portugal Rules

The Portuguese Golden Visa program will face two major changes at the end of 2021. As of January 1, 2022, the Portuguese government will:

  1. Increase the minimum requirements in the Golden Visa investment options, such as the minimum investment amount or the number of jobs required to grant Golden Visa. So, the minimum required subscription amount of €350,000 will increase to €500,000, in regards to the Portuguese fund option.
  1. Restriction of location in the real estate investment option pertaining to the Golden Visa program. In light of this restriction, urban areas such as Lisbon and Porto will be excluded. Only property investments in interior territories of Portugal will qualify for the Golden Visa program.

The changes will not affect the applications in 2021. So, you have until the end of 2021 to take advantage of the current €350,000 investment requirement for the Portugal Golden Visa fund option, before it increases.

One of our community members obtained a Portuguese Golden Visa through the fund option. She contributed a guest post to GoVisaFree in regards to the Portugal Golden Visa.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Portugal Golden Visa Fund option?

The legal definition of the option on the SEF Legislation is as follows:

“Capital transfer of the amount of 350 thousand Euros, or higher, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund of funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies, capital injected under the Portuguese legislation, whose maturity, at the moment of the investment, is, at least, of five years and, at least, 60% of the investments are realized in commercial companies with head office in national territory; ”

What are the types of Investment Funds in Portugal?

There are a number of different investment fund types available, which qualify for the Golden Visa. These types include:

  • Real Estate Funds; mainly invest in real estate
  • Securities Funds; mainly invest in stocks
  • Venture Capital Funds; mainly focus on startups and other companies

The risk levels and strategies of each type of fund vary widely.

Why did Portugal come up with the fund option for Golden Visa?

The Portuguese government has two main objectives in enabling the investment fund method within the Golden Visa program. These are:

  • To attract international capital to tangible assets, companies, and the stock market through the various funds,
  • To encourage the formation of new funds, particularly in strategic sectors, stimulating the economy in Portugal.

How much do I need to invest in a Portuguese fund to be eligible for the Golden Visa?

Until December 31st, 2021, the minimum investment amount required for the investment fund option of Golden Visa is €350,000. As of January 1st, 2022, the minimum required investment amount will be €500,000.

In comparison to some of the other popular investment methods such as the €500,000 real estate investment or the €1,000,000 capital transfer, the minimum investment required for the investment fund is rather low.

Is there any management hassle with my fund investment?

The acquisition of subscription units in a Portuguese fund is simple and fast. Particularly when the process is compared to some of the other investment options like urban rehabilitation real estate investment, set up of Portuguese companies, or generation of jobs in Portugal.

It is sufficient to provide a document issued by the fund manager to the SEF and apply for the Golden Visa. In each available fund, there is an authorized fund management company, which implements the fund strategy in assessing, closing, and managing the investments made by the fund. In other words, you can enjoy the passenger seat, while the car is driven by a professional. No tenants, termites, or unpaid rents to deal with.

What additional costs will I be faced with when subscribing in a Portuguese fund?

Subscription in a Portuguese fund has little additional costs, compared to some other investment options.

Buying real estate in Portugal involves a number of costs. These include the Municipality Property Transfer Tax (IMT), stamp duty, notary fees, and legal fees. Additionally, there is a Municipal Property Tax (IMI), which needs to be paid on an annual basis.

As for the funds, there will be no IMT or IMI taxes, nor any stamp duty. You will also be looking at relatively lower notary fees and legal fees. Some funds have an upfront subscription fee. Almost all funds have a yearly management fee. The annual management fees typically range between 1%-2%. Overall, this means the initial subscription to a fund saves you %7-%8 on top of the investment amount.

What is typically the ROI and the Capital Gains on Portuguese private equity funds?

Depending on the risk appetite, the investment strategy, and the investment type, the funds may generate a handsome return. These returns may realize on an annual basis and/or at the maturity date of the fund.

The annual target return for investment funds differs between funds. However, it would not be unusual for the projected returns to range between 3% to 10% depending on the fund. Some funds choose to distribute annual dividends, while some choose to accumulate and distribute the earnings at the exit. Most funds, however, do both.

In most cases, if the fund manages to make a positive earning at maturity, the fund management will have a performance fee. This makes sure that the incentives of the fund management is aligned with that of the investors / subscribers.

Can I invest in more than one fund, as long as the total amount I invest is €350,000?

Yes. You may diversify your investments and invest in as many funds as you want. As long as the total amount you invest is at least €350,000, you qualify to apply for Golden Visa Portugal. The only thing you should watch out for are your legal fees, which will increase exponentially, the more funds you apply for.

When did the fund option become available for Portuguese residency?

The investment fund option was always in existence. However, the minimum investment amount was lowered from €500,000 to €350,000 in 2018. With that, more and more qualifying funds started appearing on the market, as of 2019.

What other Investment Methods qualify me for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is strongly associated with residency by property investment. However, there are other available types of investments that are just as attractive, if not more. These investment methods include:

  • Real Estate Investment of €500,000 or more in Portugal,
  • Real Estate Investment for Rehabilitation of €350,000 or more in Portugal, provided that the property is older than 30 years old or located in an urban rehabilitation area,
  • Capital Transfer of €1,000,000 (will increase to €1,500,000 at the end of 2021),
  • Creation of 10 jobs,
  • Participation of €350,000 or more in Portuguese Investment Funds or Venture Capital (will increase to €500,000 at the end of 2021),
  • €350,000 or more of an Investment in Scientific Research,
  • €250,000 or more of an Investment in Artistic Production and Conservation of Cultural Heritage.

If the investment is made in a low-density area in Portugal, some of the above requirements are lowered by 20%, including the minimum investment amounts in the real estate options.