Home Business Insights & Advice Portugal’s golden visa: The key to European citizenship and beyond

Portugal’s golden visa: The key to European citizenship and beyond

by Sarah Dunsby
6th Feb 24 6:41 pm

Visa-free travel to several countries worldwide. The right to live and work in any EU nation. Access to quality healthcare and education systems. These are some of the benefits Portuguese citizenship offers you.

If you aim to become a European citizen and make the most of the economic opportunities offered by the largest trade bloc in the world, Portugal’s golden visa would be the way to go. This is because you can apply for citizenship after legally residing in the country for five years.

The citizenship by investment program has been overhauled due to Portugal’s rising housing price crises. You can no longer purchase property for a golden visa. Currently, investment funds are one of the prominent modes you can apply through.

The article will look at Portugal’s golden visa program, recent changes, investment options, and how it offers a path to European citizenship.

Overview of Portugal’s golden visa program

Portugal launched the golden visa program back in 2012 to strengthen its economy. Since then, the country has attracted EUR 7.3 billion in funds. It is one of the sought-after investment programs as one can become a European citizen with a short stay requirement.

Until now, around 90% of these investments have been made in real estate. However, new construction across the country has not been able to keep up with the demand, and thus, house prices have driven up.

Considering these concerns, real estate is no longer an investment option under the program. But you can still invest in fund units or contribute to research and artistic activities.

If you wish to know more about the citizenship program and the eligibility criteria, you can contact the experts at Global Residence Index.

Benefits of applying for a Portugal golden visa

Here are some benefits you can enjoy after acquiring a golden visa in Portugal.

Visa-free travel

With the golden visa, you can travel and explore the Schengen area without needing a separate visa. These include countries like Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Spain.

Include family members

Your golden visa application can include your spouse or legal partner and children under 18 years old. Children above 18 years must be single, financially dependent on you, and be full-time students.

You can also include your and your spouse/partner’s parents over the age of 65 years. If they are under 65 years, they must be financially dependent on you.

Right to live, work, and study

You and your dependent family members can live in Portugal and enjoy a better standard of living. You can send your children to public schools or enroll them in private schools.

If you decide only to meet the minimum stay requirement in Portugal, you will need private healthcare insurance. If you stay in the country for more than half a year, you may apply for public healthcare.

Tax benefits

You do not have to pay tax on your global income. If you choose to stay in Portugal and become a tax resident, you can apply for the country’s non-habitual tax (NHR) program. Specific categories will be exempt from tax in the first ten years.

The income you earn in Portugal would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% for the first ten years. Also, you do not have to pay inheritance or gift tax when transferring your wealth to any of your dependents.

Minimum stay requirement

You must stay for a minimum of seven days annually in Portugal after receiving your golden visa. If you want to travel worldwide for business or leisure, you can continue to do so.

The stay requirement is one of the lowest compared to the golden visa programs offered by European countries.

Investment options available under the revamped golden visa program

We have mentioned several times that real estate is no longer an investment option. So here we are explaining the other investment avenues offered under the golden visa program.

  • You can invest EUR 500,000 in investment funds or venture capital fund units. When selecting funds, ensure they are registered with the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM). 60% of these funds must be invested in Portuguese companies. Also, the funds cannot be invested in real estate entities.
  • You can contribute EUR 500,000 towards research activities carried out in the interest of national scientific and technological development. Public or private institutions could conduct these activities. The contribution amount is EUR 400,000 in low-population density areas.
  • You can donate EUR 250,000, which will be used for artistic production in the country or to recover and preserve national heritage. The donation amount is EUR 200,000 for low-population density areas.
  • You can start a business that creates ten new jobs or eight in low-population-density areas.
  • You can invest a minimum of EUR 500,000 in a commercial Portuguese company that creates five full-time jobs.

Eligibility criteria for Portugal’s residency by investment program

Here are the general requirements one must fulfill when applying for Portugal’s golden visa.

  • You must be 18 years old or above.
  • You must be a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national.
  • You must have a clean criminal record.
  • You must have health insurance for yourself and dependents.
  • The investment amount must come from sources outside of Portugal.
  • You must maintain the investment over the required period.

Portugal’s golden visa – A pathway to European citizenship

After residing for five years in Portugal, you can apply for citizenship.

You must have an A2 level expertise in the Portuguese language. This means you must understand simple terms and sentences and be able to communicate in everyday situations.

You must not be convicted of any crime. It helps if you have formed genuine and tangible connections within the Portuguese community during your residency.

Once granted citizenship, you can travel visa-free or get visa-on-arrival to over 180 countries. You also gain the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU.


If you aim to secure European citizenship in the long term, consider applying for Portugal’s golden visa program. The program has a minimum contribution amount of EUR 250,000.

The golden visa offers benefits like visa-free travel in the Schengen area, the inclusion of family members, the right to live and work in the country, and the opportunity to apply for citizenship after five years.

If you wish to know more about Portugal’s golden visa residency options at Global Residence Index, you can schedule a free consultation with one of their investment migration experts.

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