Buying property in Portugal has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe for both investment purposes and those who want to relocate permanently. For those wishing to gain citizenship in Europe, buying a property in Portugal has become somewhat of a golden ticket.

There are various 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 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, more than 20,000 golden visas have been granted.

How to buy property in Portugal and get citizenship

To buy property in Portugal and gain citizenship there is more than one route to the desired outcome. Whichever route is chosen, however, there is a certain order that the steps must be carried out in, and 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.

  1. Buy property and get a D7 or D2 visa

If you are looking to buy a property in Portugal to permanently relocate and eventually get citizenship, then it’s probably best to opt for a D7 or D2 visa. With both options, 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 home countries at the Portuguese consulate. Buying property 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 these visa types.

  1. 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 real estate investment restrictions apply. Namely from July 2021, investors will 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 ‘low-density areas’. If you’re wondering about whether your property purchase applies for the 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.

Buy property in Portugal and get citizenship: the Portugal Golden Visa

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 requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the Golden Visa. As mentioned above, certain real estate investment restrictions apply.

To get a golden visa, various investments can be made. Most people opt for real estate investment 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 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 real estate 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 here.

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.

Who can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?


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

  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 are here to support you in finding the right investment option for yourself and your family.

  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 residence cards on your behalf and send them to you.

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


Get in touch

Goldcrest are property and funds experts and can assist you and your family in finding the best way to invest in Portugal and gain citizenship. 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.

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.

Which nationalities can get a golden visa?

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

How long does it take to get a golden visa?

To get a golden visa, the entire process from begin to end can take up to a year.

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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