GOLDEN RESIDENCE PERMIT
A new law in 2012 created the "Golden Visa", a resident's visa granted to a non-EU/EEA citizens (and their immediate family members) who make an investment in Portugal for a minimum period of five years. The investment options include the acquisition of real estate, the transfer of capital or the creation of employment.
After five years, a permanent resident's visa may be obtained and, at the end of the 6th year, Portuguese citizenship may be applied for in accordance with the current legal provisions.
GOLDEN VISA REQUIREMENTS
- Investment choices
The qualifying investment must be for a minimum period of five years, attested by a bona fide declaration signed by the applicant. Third country citizens involved in an investment activity, either individually or through a company, must have one at least of the following investments in Portugal for a minimum period of five years:
i. Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or above 500,000 euros
It should be noted that the property purchased may also be leased or used for commercial use, thereby providing an immediate return on the investment.
ii. Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1 million euros
The investment may be made privately, whether singly or jointly, or through an EU company. If the investment is made through a company, the respective value is determined by reference to the proportion of the investment in the respective share capital, as long as the company has its registered office in Portugal or another European Union Member State, but with a permanent establishment in Portugal. The relevant amount will be that of the paid-in shares in a Portuguese company or else the pro rata of the capital allocated to the Portuguese branch of an EU company.
iii. Creation of, at least, 10 full-time job positions
Under this investment option, the investor is required to show that 10 full time job positions have effectively been created and are continuously maintained over the 5 year investment period. The evidence required to show that this condition has been fulfilled are the respective social security registrations of the employees in the legal entity.
Only the main applicant needs to make the investment; however, other members of the family may be included under the same investment where they meet with the family reunification conditions.
- Fees and costs
Before making such an investment, it is important to understand the fees and costs involved. There are three categories that the investor needs to be aware of:
1. Government fees
The programme involves payment of the following fees (payable directly to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (“SEF”). These fees are updated annually:
a) Processing fee - €514.80, (plus €80.20 per family member);
b) Initial Golden Residence Permit - €5,147.80;
c) Initial Golden Residence Permit for Family members - €5,147.80.
On-going costs – Renewals of Golden Residence Permit
Year 1 renewal: €3,087.80
Year 3 renewal: €3,087.80
2.Professional services charges
⇢ Legal fees
No matter what the investment choice is, Silva Dias Legal provides a full service of the highest quality, while charging highly competitive fees in the market. Our assistance encompasses any administrative, legal and practical aspects of the investments and of the Programme application and renewals, plus, if required, assistance with any needs that the client may have as a Portugal resident visa holder.
For an individual assessment of our professional fees, please email Silva Dias Legal, being as specific as possible, in the case of family applications, in relation to the legal relationship/dependence to the main applicant.
Almost invariably, although not obligatory, it has to be an Accountant involved, principally for tax representation and advice. Silva Dias Legal can advise on suitable alternatives for local accountants.
⇢ Real estate brokers
In the event of opting to make the investment in property, there will almost inevitably be a real estate broker as intermediary. Silva Dias Legal will work with the investor for the analysis of the purchase agreement and to carry out the transaction.
3. Concierge services
Many investors have only a limited amount of time to visit Portugal. During the visit, it may be necessary to visit properties or fulfil certain administrative processes. Silva Dias Legal can arrange for a complete or partial package to ensure that your visit is as efficient as possible, including arrangements for an hotel, a car and driver, appropriate organisation of your schedule, liaison with real estate brokers for any visits you wish to undertake and advice on a “social programme” (restaurants, places to visit, etc.).
- Documentation required
Silva Dias Legal assists clients with submitting the request to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF). The documents required include:
a) Passport or other valid travelling document
b) Proof of legal entry and stay in Portugal (normally a Schengen visa)
c) Health insurance valid in Portugal
d) Criminal Record Certificate from the relevant authority of the applicant’s home country or from any other country where he / she resided for over a year
e) Proof of investment activity
f) Affidavit on compliance with the minimum stay and investment requirements.
- Eligible Family Members
Members of the applicant’s family may be associated with the main applicant’s process (i.e. the investment requirement only applies to the main applicant). The holder of a Golden Residence Permit (GRP) has the right to family regrouping; in simple terms, this means that the family and dependents of the holder of the GRP may also qualify for residence in Portugal. “Family and dependents” include spouse or partner, minor children, adult children who are still dependent, the parents (where dependent), as well as minor siblings in the custody of permit holder. There are also provisions allowing certain non-marital partnerships and their adopted children.
- Validity and Mandatory staying periods
Once the Golden Residence Permit is issued, it is valid for a one year period followed by two year periods. As may be expected, to qualify for residency, there are minimum length of stay requirements in Portugal of seven days during the first year and fourteen days, consecutive or not, in the subsequent two-year periods (i.e. an average of one week per year).
- Other requirements
There are a number of conditions that applicants must fulfil concerning either their criminal record or their status in relation to a ban entering national territory or expulsion from the country; whether they have had an alert in their name issued in SIS (listed persons) or in Border Services’ (SEF) Integrated System.
- Where the application may be carried out
There must be an initial online registration (by the applicant or by their legal representative). The applicant’s presence will be required to collect the biometric data at the SEF’s offices, located in Lisbon. The relevant documentation will be filed with the same office.
Once these initial steps have been completed, the accompaniment of the remaining application process documentation may be handled by the legal representative.
- Length of time the process takes
Where an application process contains all of the required documents in the required formats, at the moment SEF takes about eight weeks to approve the application. The temporary residency card, enabling the holder to move freely within the Schengen area, normally takes a further two weeks to issue.
- Permanent residency
GRP applicants frequently are interested in obtaining permanent residency. This may be applied for where the GRP applicant had held the temporary residence permit for at least 5 years, is able to sustain him/herself, has guaranteed accommodation, has a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language and has not been convicted for a serious crime.
- Portuguese citizenship
Some GRP applicants seek to go the whole way and apply for Portuguese nationality. For this, there are additional conditions, including the requirements that the applicant is an adult, i.e. 18 years old, has been resident in Portugal for at least 6 years and a higher level of sufficiency in the Portuguese language. Portugal allows dual citizenship.