Portugal Golden Visa - How to get a residence permit by buying a property

«You can get a Portuguese residence permit for an investment of €280,000 or more, but what for?» An expert on all the nuances of the Golden Visa program

Obtaining a residence permit or citizenship of any EU country has become almost mandatory among most investors. Program Golden Visa Portugal is one of the most popular among the citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries. What is so special about it? CEO and co-founder of the real estate agency Amber Star Oleg Raylian told Realting.com about all the nuances of obtaining a residence permit in Portugal for investment and explained why participation in the program has become important now.

Director and co-founder of the Amber Star real estate agency Oleg Railyan

«There are no restrictions on participation in the program, but there are certain difficulties»

— Tell us more about the Portugal Golden Visa program.

— The Golden Visa Program in Portugal is the acquisition of a residence permit as a result of investment activity. At the end of 2021, we saw a literal boom in applications for the program, the highest demand at that time was among Chinese, Brazilian and Turkish citizens. However, fr om the beginning of 2022 until June, the Portuguese Immigration Service was not accepting new applications, which was a real problem for those who were just planning to participate in the program, but for some reason postponed the final decision. For the first 6 months, it was impossible for new candidates to apply, even though they had fulfilled all the conditions for investment activity. The problem was the incompatibility of the information system of the immigration service, due to the new GV law.

However, since 14 June, the Immigration Service has re-opened the Golden Visa application process in Portugal and our clients have started to receive notifications about the payment of state fees for the cards, invitations for biometrics and have been able to download new requests. Since then, work has been in full swing and demand has been off the charts. And not surprisingly, the geography of program participants has changed. There were mostly applicants from Russia, the USA, Ukraine and India.

Despite the fact that there are no restrictions to participate in the program, neither based on nationality, nor on any other reason, it is important to understand that there are slight difficulties in opening bank accounts for citizens of Russia and Belarus. But we can solve this issue, as we are privileged partners of some Portuguese banks that treat us with a lot of trust. Also, the process of obtaining a residence permit can take up to a year. This is due to the large number of applications to the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF). We are constantly monitoring the situation and keeping our clients informed of the latest news.

— What do you have to do to take part in the program?

— The main conditions for obtaining a residence permit for investment for the participant:

  • The investment must be made from the investor’s Portuguese account, or from a trust account of a legal entity in Portugal. 
  • Applicants must not have been convicted of any crime punishable by more than one year’s imprisonment;
  • Absence of a residence permit in Portugal;
  • Applicants must not have the nationality of any EU country;
  • Applicants must not be banned from entering the national territory and/or the Schengen Area, at the time the Golden Visa is issued.

Investments must be at least €280,000 to purchase residential property, but it should not be in Lisbon, Porto or most coastal areas. Such restrictions have been introduced by the government to encourage development in all regions of the country. Real estate with a non-residential licence has not been affected by the changes. Plus, capital investments or business investments should also not be forgotten.

— What are the advantages and obligations for the holder of a Golden visa in Portugal?

— In my opinion, the first and most important thing that gives a residence permit in Portugal is freedom. This includes the freedom to move around the European Union, the possibility to choose a university for your child anywhere in the world, and the broadest business prospects. In addition, 5 years after obtaining a residence permit you can apply for citizenship in Portugal or permanent residency. But to summarise the benefits point by point, these are:

  • free travel within the EU and beyond;
  • access to free health care and education in Portugal;
  • The possibility to work and run your business in Portugal. It is worth mentioning here the significant tax benefits that are in effect if the applicant spends more than 183 days a year in Portugal and requests Non-Habitual Resident status;
  • the possibility of renting out your property and earning a passive income;
  • relatives of the applicant can also apply for a Golden visa: spouse, parents over 65 years of age and underage children. If parents under 65 and children over the age of 18 are dependent, they may also apply for a Golden visa. In both cases, dependency is easy to prove.

However, there are obligations that the program participant must fulfil: you must be in the country for at least 14 days every 2 years and you must keep your investment for 5 years from the date of purchase. If there is an investment, the Golden visa is renewed every 2 years and it doesn’t take much time.

— Can a person apply for a Golden visa remotely?

— Yes, our lawyers can represent the client in the processing of the transaction and can also apply for the Golden Visa remotely. The applicant and his/her family members only need to travel to Portugal to submit biometric data.

«In order to make the right investment, you need to understand the market»

— How to choose a property to participate in the program? 

— Buying real estate has been the most popular investment option for many years, so let’s talk about that in detail. In order to choose the right property to invest in, you need to understand the country’s property market. Lately in Portugal, as in most countries there has been a significant increase in property prices. The high demand for flats and houses allows owners to literally dictate their terms and raise prices sometimes by 30-40%. 

That is why the primary market looks more or less affordable, wh ere for the same amount of investment you can get a larger property or a better location. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages in each of the options, but in the current situation, new buildings look more promising in our opinion.

The amount of investment is also an important aspect:

  • €500,000 in residential real estate in the Portuguese hinterland and Madeira.
  • 400,000 euros in low-density residential areas in Portugal and the Azores.
  • 350,000 euros in residential real estate in urban rehabilitation areas, or real estate over 30 years old in interior regions of Portugal and Madeira.
  • 280,000 euros in real estate located in urban rehabilitation areas or in properties over 30 years old in low-density areas in the interior of Portugal and the Azores.

A separate segment is always the commercial real estate market. Due to changes in the Golden Visa conditions, the demand for commercial real estate is now higher than for residential real estate. An important niche in the market is occupied by hotel projects with guaranteed profitability. We have quite a lot of such properties in our portfolio.

Investments in non-residential real estate (this is any property with a non-residential licence) must meet the following requirements:

  • 500,000 euros, in commercial real estate.
  • 400,000 euros in commercial real estate in areas with low population density.
  • 350,000 euros in commercial real estate located in urban rehabilitation areas or properties older than 30 years
  • 280,000 euros in commercial real estate located in urban rehabilitation areas or in properties older than 30 years in low-density residential areas.

Service Apartments are very popular. These are apartments with a special service licence that are not considered residential but can be lived in. Partly they fulfil the requirements of clients who want to buy something for themselves to live in, but on the other hand they are considered to be very liquid, as they can be rented out for tourism purposes.

Our property consultants will give you all the information you need regarding the property you are looking for and will answer all your questions. Remember that all consultations are FREE OF CHARGE. We have many residential and commercial properties in our database throughout Portugal.

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