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Buying property in Portugal has become one of the most popular options in Europe for both investment purposes and those who want to relocate permanently. For those wishing to gain residency in Europe, buying a property in Portugal has become somewhat of a golden ticket. While not directly, there is the potential to buy property in Portugal and obtain citizenship, should you complete five years of residency in Portugal and apply for a Portuguese passport through naturalization. 

There are various investment programs in Europe that entitle non-EU citizens to residency and ultimately European citizenship. Most of these programs involve investment in the country whether that may be in property, enterprise, or in government bonds. In Portugal, the Golden Visa program is a residency by investment scheme in which most people choose to purchase property to fulfill the minimum investment requirements. 

The Portugal Golden Visa program has gained immense popularity and attention partly due to the attractiveness of Portugal’s real estate market and in part because of the flexible stay requirements during the residency period. Since the program began back in 2012, over €6 459 984 421,99  in funds was invested for the Portugal Golden Visa (as of July 2022).

How To Buy Property in Portugal and Get Residency

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To buy property in Portugal and obtain residency, and ultimately potential citizenship, there is more than one route to the desired outcome. Whichever pathway is chosen, however, there is a certain order that the steps must be carried out in, and a certain protocol that must be rigidly adhered to. We would suggest using a buyer’s agent to assist you in purchasing property and getting citizenship.

Buy property and get a D7

If you are looking to buy a property in Portugal to permanently relocate and eventually get Portugal citizenship, then it’s probably best to opt for a D7 Visa. With this option, after five years of residence, Portuguese citizenship can be applied for, providing that you have lived in Portugal for the majority of this time.

These types of visas must be applied for in your home country at the Portuguese consulate, where you will get a temporary visa. Following this, you will then have an appointment with SEF in Portugal (the Portuguese Immigration Foreigners and Border Service) to get the D7 Visa. Buying real estate will give you a registered address, which is required under these visas. However, you can also rent a property and supply this address as your registered address for this visa type. After five years, you can gain permanent residency and apply for Portuguese citizenship. 

Buy property and get a Golden Visa

If you are looking to purchase property but are not ready to commit to five years living in Portugal, then the flexibility of the Golden Visa might be the best option for you. Portuguese citizenship can be attained after five years if the investment made to qualify is still held. Do note that certain property investment restrictions apply. Namely from January 2022, investors are no longer be able to buy a property in populated urban centers of Portugal like Lisbon, Porto, or the coastal strip of towns in the Algarve. Instead, investors must buy property in Portugal’s interior areas. If you’re wondering about whether your real estate purchase applies for the Portugal Golden Visa, it’s best to consult with a specialist first.

You don’t need to live in Portugal during the five-year period before you can apply for citizenship, you need only to spend an average of 14 days every two years in Portugal.

There are also certain steps that need to be followed to get a golden visa including transferring funds to a bank account in your name in Portugal to make the qualifying property purchase. Make sure to seek the help of trusted professionals before making any investments that you want to be counted towards a Golden Visa since this will minimize the risk of your application getting rejected.

The HQA Visa

The Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa was launched in 2019 and is essentially a hybrid visa that requires two core components: Portuguese business formation and an investment in high-value research and development activities. This visa type is ideal for entrepreneurs and startup founders who are looking to start seeding a future business in Europe, in addition to existing business owners who are looking to expand their operations or are targeting the European market. 

While targeting qualified professionals, the HQA Visa is not only for entrepreneurs as the program can also be used for prospective Golden Visa property buyers who would rather not use up so much capital for five years and would rather invest in a research-driven business idea that they are passionate about. The cost and low presence requirements are very attractive, whereby the total cost with the HQA Visa is around  €175,000. 

The Portugal Golden Visa

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The Portugal Golden Visa Program is a five-year residency by investment scheme for non-EU nationals. The visa allows its holder and their families to live, work, and study in Portugal and have complete freedom of movement in the Schengen zone. After a five-year period has elapsed, the opportunity to get Portuguese citizenship is open if the given investment is still held by the golden visa holder.

There are certain minimum investment conditions that must be met in order to qualify for the Golden Visa. As mentioned above, certain property investment restrictions apply.

To get a golden visa, various investments can be made. Most people opt for real estate investments as they are comfortable with brick and mortar investments, but the option to invest in funds has become increasingly popular over the last few years.

Below is a brief summary of the different qualifying investments related to the real estate pathway following the Golden Visa changes that came into play on January 1, 2022.

  • Buy residential real estate in a designated interior area of Portugal that is worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). If the residential property is located in a designated “low density” area, then a 20% discount will apply.
  • Buy commercial property anywhere in the country that is worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). If the commercial property is located in a designated “low density” area, then a 20% discount will apply.
  • Buy residential and commercial real estate anywhere in the autonomous islands of Madeira and the Azores, that is worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). The entire islands of Madeira and the Azores are classified as high density, so a discount is not applicable when investing in the islands.

To understand the differences in interior and low-density areas, you can see our article Why Invest in Portugal Low-Density Areas?

Portugal Golden Visa Residential Real Estate Investment Options

Investment requirements

  • Invest in a newly built property in interior areas- €500K

Investments in new properties start from €500,000 in interior areas.

  • Invest in property rehabilitation in interior areas- €350k

Invest in used property starting from €350,000. The respective property must have been built more than 30 years ago and be located in an interior area. 

Benefits of property investment for the Portugal Golden Visa

The benefits of investing in property for the Golden Visa are mainly in the safety of a brick and mortar investment and having a home, that one day you and your family might like to live in. Property in Portugal is known worldwide for being a great investment to make considering the value per square meter and the rental yields that homeowners can make.

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa include visa free travel to 172 countries, increased personal and financial freedoms, and the ability to live in one of the safest countries in the world. You will also have the possibility to secure Portugal citizenship after five years of residency, provided you meet all the requirements. After this, you obtain EU citizenship and secure your Portuguese passport, whereby you can live, work, and study in any of the European Union (EU) member countries. 

Our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions have recently launched its pioneering Quality of Life Index, part of thier innovative Global Passport Index, to uncover the true value of a passport that goes beyond simple visa free travel. This Quality of Living Index factors in the cost of living, alongside the Sustainable Development Goals, levels of freedom, happiness levels, migrant acceptance, and environmental performance, and highlights that Portugal is a very desirable country in which to live, ranking in 12th position

Who Can Apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Nationalities

Any non-EU nationalities are eligible to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa. US citizens are eligible to apply to the Portuguese Golden Visa and it is a popular program amongst Americans. There are a number of tax benefits for residents of the US in foreign-owned real estate too.

Family eligibility

Under the repatriation scheme, families are also eligible to be included in the Golden Visa scheme as dependents. This includes a spouse, children under 18, children up to 26 if dependent or in full-time education, and parents of the applicant if older than 65.

Timeline of Getting Citizenship

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Here is the timeline for the Portuguese Golden Visa

  1. Paperwork Organisation

First, collect the paperwork for yourself and any dependents you’ll be including in the application. We can ensure the correct paperwork is in order, and we’ll submit it for review.

  1. NIF and Portuguese bank account.

In order to obtain the tax identification number (NIF) in Portugal, we will appoint a fiscal representative for you. After obtaining your NIF, we can help you open a bank account in Portugal. This can be done by us remotely.

  1. Choose your investment

Our team of specialists is here to support you in finding the right investment option for yourself and your family members.

  1. Make the investment

We can begin securing your investment and will guide you through the necessary paperwork required to ensure a successful investment.

  1. Biometrics visit

From the time you book your interview, it takes around 2 months until you can attend a biometrics collection session in person.

  1. Golden Visa issuance

After your biometrics, it takes around 4 months for your Golden Visa to be approved. Pay the government permit issue fee. We’ll then collect the Portuguese residence permit card or cards on your behalf and send them to you.

This process can take up to a year for all approvals to be met.

Where To Find Property in Portugal

Always seek the help of an expert real estate agent when purchasing a home in Portugal. The real estate agents in Portugal are known as imobiliaria. Check if it is a licensed real estate agency with a license number issued by the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Agents (Associacao de Mediadores Imobiliarios). You can use this website to check if the agent is registered.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy Property in Portugal?

If you’re looking for cheap houses for sale in Portugal, your choice of location will have a big impact on the amount you spend. The most well-known locations for foreigners wishing to settle in Portugal are Lisbon and the Algarve coastal regions. Young professionals prefer cities like Lisbon or Porto, while retirees frequently look for cheap coastal property for sale in Portugal near beach areas like Cascais or the Algarve. We have provided you with a general overview of Portuguese real estate prices in the table below. Let’s examine the costs per m² for purchasing an apartment in some of the well-known areas in Portugal:

LocationApartment price per m² in the city centreApartment price per m² outside the city centre
Lisbon€5,333€2,918
Cascais€5,655€3,250
Porto€3,413€1,902
Braga€1,816€950
Coimbra€2,224€1,462

The Steps to Buying a Property in Portugal as a Foreigner

How to buy property in Portugal as a foreigner? Buying a home in Portugal is not all that different from purchasing property in other parts of Europe or North America. You will have to:

What Kind of Taxes and Fees Will I Need To Pay?

Even though you must pay fees as a buyer, they will differ depending on the circumstances. The primary expense is IMT transfer tax, which is scaled based on the property’s purchase price. The first €92,407, however, is exempt from IMT provided the house serves as your primary residence. Consult your attorney about the fees that will likely be assessed given your situation.

Taxes and fees also include:

Get in touch

Goldcrest are property and funds experts and can assist you and your family members in finding the best way to invest in Portugal, and secure residency, with the option to gain citizenship a viable possibility after five years. We have deep expertise in the Portuguese real estate and venture capital funds markets and will always act diligently on your behalf to negotiate the best possible deal for you.

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Frequently asked questions about how to buy property in Portugal and get citizenship:

If I buy property in Portugal can I get citizenship?

If the correct protocol is followed, and the minimum investment requirements are met then you may be eligible for a golden visa if you purchase property in Portugal. After five years of Portuguese residency, you can apply for a permanent residence permit and ultimately Portugal citizenship and a Portuguese passport. With increased visa free travel, better financial and personal freedoms, and the ability to live, work, and study anywhere in the European Union (EU), there are many benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa. 

Other Portugal Golden Visa investment options include investment funds, capital transfer, and job creation. However, while the investment fund route is increasing in popularity, the real estate pathway is still providing to be the most popular, above capital funds, job creation, and the other options on the table for investors.

Which nationalities can get a golden visa?

All non-EU nationalities can apply for a golden visa. The program is increasingly popular with Americans.

How long does it take to get a golden visa?

To get a golden visa, the entire process from beginning to end can take up to a year. After five years with the Portugal Golden and holding your investment in the country, you can apply for permanent residence and ultimately citizenship, provided you meet all the requirements under Portuguese Nationality Law.

Does Portugal give citizenship by investment?

Portugal Golden Visa Program Information:  The government of Portugal is offering Portuguese residence to foreign investors who contribute to the country’s economic development, with the potential for Portugal citizenship (European citizenship) after five years. Note that in order to obtain Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport, this can only be granted to individuals that have lived in the country for five years and then apply for permanent residence and then citizenship through naturalization.

Can I get Portuguese citizenship if I buy a house?

If you have money to invest in a property or business, the Portugal Golden Visa Program, or ARI visa, is one of the easiest routes to acquiring Portuguese residency. It can be as simple as purchasing a house in Portugal and spending an average of seven days per year each year for five years here (14 days every two years). After five years, you can then apply for permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship, provided you meet all the requirements 

How long can I stay in Portugal if I own property?

You will still be permitted to spend up to six months of the year in your home on the continent, as long as you abide by the 90/180 rule. If individuals are looking to stay for a period longer than 90 days without becoming tax residents, you can then apply for an extended authorization in your chosen country. If you are staying more than 90 days you will need a Portuguese residency permit. 

Is buying real estate in Portugal a good investment?

Is Portugal a good place to invest in Property? The real estate market in Portugal is inexpensive compared to other western European capitals. In recent years, it has seen a period of steady growth, which makes it an excellent place to invest. The Golden Visa Program in Portugal allows investors to gain residency in Portugal by making a qualifying investment in the country. 

Is any property in Portugal eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa?

It is possible to invest in any property of choice in Portugal, as long as it meets the government’s minimum investment conditions and is located within the outlined areas for investment. As of 1 January, under the Portuguese Golden Visa Program changes, it is only possible to invest in the interior areas of Portugal. Goldcrest handpicks bespoke projects to meet client’s expectations and offer a seamless and optimal experience, providing a tailored service for your needs, including whether you are looking into the Portugal Golden Visa Programme. 

Can a foreigner buy property in Portugal?

Yes. Foreigners have no limitations to buy property in Portugal. The Golden Visa program is one of the ways in which the Portuguese government encourages foreigners to invest in Portuguese real estate.

Can I get residency in Portugal if I buy a house?

To be eligible for a Portugal Golden Visa residency program, you must spend at least a total of fourteen days in Portugal in the first two years, and make a minimum investment starting from €250,000. Therefore, you are able to purchase real estate in Portugal and obtain residency. Moreover, five years after obtaining residency, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship and therefore get an EU passport.

Is Portugal cheaper than Spain to buy a property?

Portugal is a popular destination for investors since real estate is less expensive than in Spain and offers appealing rental yields in Lisbon and the Algarve.

What is the average house price in Portugal?

In Portugal, the average sale price for a family home was €1,346 per m² in the first quarter of 2022. The data is taken from the National Statistics Institute in Portugal (INE).

You can discover more in this exclusive chapter of our new e-book Your Expert Guide to Buying Property in Portugal that you can download for free right now.
Download here
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