Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) in Portugal

Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) in Portugal

What is the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) is, as it is named, a residence permit, which confers the bearer a right to enter and stay in Portugal. It may be granted to citizens of territories outside Schengen agreement, and who fulfil certain conditions, including investment in Portugal.

This regime was initially created in 2012 and complemented in early 2013.
There are other territories, namely Spain, which tried to copy the success of the Portuguese experience. These territories, however, present different conditions and experiences.
Currently a permit to reside in Portugal is a particularly good investment, not only because it presents a safe and experienced territory and institutions, but also because there are a number of great investments, namely on real estate, now possible.

Other than this, Portuguese citizenship ? which can be obtained after 6 years as a resident, and given some other criteria ? is especially popular in all continents and all over the world.
In Portugal, the use of foreign languages is a common practice. Institutions and professionals of all areas of expertise (including, but not only, real estate, banking, insurance, and services in general) are well familiarized with foreign investment, its documents and vehicles.

As above, Portuguese citizenship is very well tolerated everywhere in the world, and Portuguese citizens are generally welcome, even in territories known to be hostile to so many other countries? citizens. This is yet another reason why residence and ultimately Portuguese citizenship is so popular and sought.

Portugal, on another hand, despite being a small country, successfully welcomes foreign communities for generations, including a growing number of investors and residents, namely British, French, Dutch, German, Americans (such as North-Americans and Canadians, but also from Latin America), Chinese (considering the very strong presence that Portugal holds in this Country through Macao), and many other territories of Eastern Europe. Mainly African Countries, including many who have Portuguese as their official language, such as Angola). . The country is hence very well accustomed to deal with many different cultures and languages, which live well and peacefully within its boundaries.

Who can apply to the regime and in what cases?

The ARI regime is NOT applicable to those who possess Portuguese or E.U. citizenship.

Despite some other requisites and official searches by the competent entities in Portugal, the applicant must not have any criminal record in its own country of residence, nor any criminal or security indication against him/her in the Schengen security systems.

The Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) may be granted as long as the candidate fulfils any of the following investments in Portugal:

  1. Purchase of real estate properties in an amount equal or above 500.000? (five hundred thousand euro)
  2. Transfer of funds in a minimum of 1 million euro
  3. Creating and maintaining a minimum of 10 working posts in Portugal

Citizens may apply the Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI) citizens of third States to the Schengen area. Countries that are part of the Schengen agreement are:

Austria, Belgium, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Map of countries of the European Union and Schengen

Schengen countries, Golden Visa

Countries included in the Schengen area in the European Union -    DARK BLUE  

Countries included in the Schengen area NOT in the European Union -    BLUE  

Candidate countries to the Schengen Area -   YELLOW  

Countries outside the Schengen area belonging to the European Union -    GREEN  

What does it consist of the Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) ?

the Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI) is a title (permit) to enter and reside in Portugal, with no limitation in entry/ leaves and days of stay. It also allows the bearer to freely travel within the territories of the Schengen agreement.

The Golden Visa is granted in Portugal thru a residence permit

The permit is initially valid for a one year period, renewable for another 2 periods of 2 years each. The total time of the permit is 5 years including renewals.

What should an interested person do to obtain Golden Visa - residence permit based on investment (ARI)?

Before anything, to decide on which investment suits his/her best interests. It is highly recommendable to collect advice from experienced professionals, duly authorized, on the selected type of investment.
After the investment is carried out, the applicant should collect all the necessary documents to instruct the file, including:

  1. Official Criminal record from the country of origin OR from the country where he/she lives for more than a year. Must be duly translated into Portuguese and bear the ?appostile?
  2. Full copy of Passport
  3. Statement under oath to comply with investment rules, and maintain the investment for the period of the ARI, and declaration to consent consultations within the Portuguese criminal record information.
  4. Statements of absence of debt before the social security and tax authorities
  5. e) Proof of ownership of health insurance, including coverage in Portugal

The applicant must own a valid Passport and a Schengen visa, if applicable.

All documents written in foreign language (except English) must be translated and certified in the country of origin, ideally before the Portugal diplomatic representations, and bear ?apostile?. This formality can be exempted for some documents.

Can the investment be completed by more than one person or through a company?

Yes. Though it is mandatory that each person or stock holder has a position (share) equal or above the minimum requirements for each given type of investment. For example, if two unrelated persons buy a property, the minimum amount should be of one million euro, where each has a share of 50% co-ownership.

If the investment if made through a company, it is necessary that the applicant proves his/her quality of stock holder and also that the amount of his shares in the company are equal or above the minimum amounts for the investment.

What are the benefits for the bearer of Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI)?

The bearer has a number of benefits namely:

  • Freedom to enter or leave Portugal without limitations, any number of times
  • Freedom to reside and work in Portugal, still being able to maintain residence in any other country (such as tax residence)
  • Freedom to travel through Schengen space without the need of any visa;
  • Possibility of ?family reunion?, namely having other members of the family to share the same benefits, such as for example husband/wife or children (mainly underage but also of age in certain conditions) ? please note that other costs apply in case of family reunion;
  • Possibility to obtain a permanent authorization to live in Portugal (after 5 years as a resident)
  • Possibility to access Portuguese citizenship (after 6 years of residence), given the fulfilment of other requisites.

How about family reunion? What other relatives can be covered?

Under family reunion the following relatives can be included:

  • Husband / Wife
  • Under aged children or disabled, in charge of one member of the couple, or both
  • - under aged children who have been adopted by the applicant, if the latter is NOT married; OR by the applicant or husband/wife, consequently to legal decision emanating from the competent authority in the country of origin, as long as such jurisdiction recognizes the adopted children the same rights as a natural child AND if such decision has been formally recognized in Portugal
  • children of age, in charge of the couple or one of its members, as long as child are single and studying in an institution in Portugal (in some cases foreign institutions will be authorized)
  • Parents or grandparents of the applicant or husband/wife, as long as they are in charge of said relatives.
  • Under aged brothers/sisters, who are under tutelage of the applicant, according to legal decision from a competent decision in the country of origin, duly recognized in Portugal.

Non married people who live together will be considered as long as:

  • The other person has a relationship with the applicant, in Portugal, for enough time and given the proper requisites, under the Portuguese Law;
  • under aged or disabled single children, including adopted children, of the person living together with the applicant, as long as the children have been entrusted legally.

The family reunion request can be made at the same time of the application or later, as is more convenient to the applicant.

For how long must the bearer maintain the investment in which the permit was based?

Any choice of investment must be maintained for 5 (five) years, since the date the permit was delivered.

What is the competent entity in Portugal to confer Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI)?

The file is to be instructed was conducted by SEF (foreign services). It is initiated by means of a proper request, with all documents demonstrating the investment and other conditions referred.

The interested person can be represented by proxy or lawyer duly empowered by power of attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: the physical presence of the applicant will be required at least once during the procedures. This can take place at the beginning of the file, or at its end, to collect the permit. This need is due to the necessary recollection of the applicant?s biometric data, such as fingerprints.

How much does the Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI) cost?

The applicants should pay the Portuguese entities an initial fee of 513,75? - paid upon submission of initial request.
Upon delivery of the permit (and completing the file) a final amount of 5.137,50? is due.
Other than said amounts, legal fees, renewal fees or family reunion fees will apply. Please consult for further details.

Once obtained the Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI) what must the bearer do to maintain ownership of permit?

The bearer is obliged to, as least:

  1. Keep his/her criminal record clean
  2. Visit Portugal for a minimum of 7 days within the first year, and 14 days in each subsequent 2 year period.
  3. Request and pay the Golden Visa - Residence Permit based on investment (ARI) renewal fees applicable in time.
  4. Maintain the investment for 5 years

Can a previous investments be used?

Yes. But only if the investment was performed after the legislation entered in force (8th October 2012)

Any tax benefits apply?

In some cases, there may be tax benefits, tough this must be carefully verified in each particular case, given the investment conditions, country of origin, tax domicile, applicant?s income and source of income, among other variables.

Legislação aplicável (entre outra)
Lei 29/2012, de 9 de agosto
Despacho MNE/MAI n.º 11820-A/2012, de 4 de setembro ? Regime Visto Gold (autorização de residência fundada em investimento em Portugal)
Despacho MNE/MAI n.º 1661-A/2013, de 28 de janeiro ? Regime Visto Gold (autorização de residência fundada em investimento em Portugal)
Portaria n.º 305 A/2012, de 4 de outubro ? Taxas Visto Gold (autorização de residência fundada em investimento em Portugal)


Residence permit and investments referred herewith should not, in any circumstances, be carried out without proper advice from experienced professionals, and study of each applicant?s particular conditions.

The content herein is of general nature and is intended for information purpose alone. It should NOT replace proper advice from qualified professionals. It is NOT recommended that any decision or of investment, or not to invest, is taken solely on the base of the information herein.

This document has been created by Dr. Pedro Ataíde Hilário, Lawyer in Portugal

Dr. Pedro Ataide Hilario speaks perfectly English, French, Spanish and Portuguese