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European Golden Visas have seen a recent increase in popularity and are an exciting and straightforward way to gain the right to live, study, work and retire in the European Union (EU). With the help of recognized and knowledgeable experts, the application can be a smooth and painless experience.

The following guide aims to give potential and future applicants a comprehensive overview of what is required for a successful application. This guide also provides a realistic account of timelines, fees and documents required.

Your Guide: The Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund

Portugal’s Golden Visa is an investment program similar to many other European and global options, which enables eligible investors to gain residency in their selected country. These investment programs are not the same as citizenship-by-investment programs, although citizenship may be an option for investors to pursue further down the line. 

The benefits of a Golden Visa in Portugal are plentiful. After a financial investment and a detailed application process, successful Golden Visa applicants can then enjoy all the benefits of living and working in an EU country.

Overview of the Portugal Golden Visa Program

The Portugal Golden Visa Program is a five-year residency by investment scheme for non-EU residents.  By making a financial investment in either property, rehabilitation projects, or economic investment funds, venture capital funds, as well as investments that create jobs or help with research and science, or through a donation route, as a result, Golden Visa investors will then have the ability to reside in Europe’s most western country for up to five years.

Permanent residency applications can be made after a five-year period to continue benefiting from everything Portugal has to offer: 

What is the Portugal Golden Visa investment fund?

Portugal’s Golden Visa investment fund is one of the investment options to gain residency in one of Europe’s most charming and sunny countries. Although investing in property has been the most popular option since Portugal’s Golden Visa program started in 2012, some restrictions on property investment have boosted the visibility of other investment options.

To qualify for the investment fund route, a substantial financial investment or capital transfer must be made in order to gain permission to reside in Portugal. A minimum of €500,000 is required, which will be used to boost various economic ventures within Portugal and companies registered under Portuguese law.

Golden Visa investors must keep the fund investment within those commercial ventures for at least five years. After this time, an application for permanent residency and citizenship, if you meet all the criteria, can be processed.

Despite the increase in investment value necessary to qualify for the Golden Visa Investment Funds – the minimum investment increased from €350,000 to €500,000 on 1 January 2022 – Portugal has seen an increase in applications this year.

Who can invest in the Golden Visa Portugal investment fund?

Whether you are an aspiring international citizen, love traveling, or simply want to combine foreign investment with additional residency perks, Portugal’s Golden Visa investment fund may just be the ideal option for you. Of course, there are some things to consider before you apply and whether you meet the required criteria.

Anyone who is not a citizen of the EU or EEA (which includes Swiss citizens) is eligible to apply. In addition to this, applicants must be aged 18 and over, have no criminal record, and there must be proof of sufficient funds for investment. 

Investment funds are subject to a lot of regulations, checks and legal fees to ensure there are minimal risks for investors. Fund managers are regularly audited by third-party investigators, and the investment mandate, leverage, and liquidity must undergo checks to ensure that they are in line with the rules of the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM).  

To make an informed decision on whether you have everything you need to proceed, we have made a list of documents and requirements later in this guide.

Advantages of the Portuguese Golden Visa Investment Fund

There are a lot of advantages to committing to the Portuguese investment fund. In this next section, we want to explore the perks of being a Portuguese citizen, and, therefore, also an EU citizen, as well as the financial benefits that come with paying into an investment fund.

Non-financial advantages

Financial advantages

 

Disadvantages of the Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund

As with everything, some aspects may not be ideal for some investors, depending on your short-term plans. The following list gives an insight into some of the disadvantages of the Portuguese Golden Visa funds option.

Portugal Golden Visa investment fund: Fees and Costs

In the following section, we will give you an overview of the fees and costs involved with the Portuguese Golden Visa funds. Although the investment is larger than the minimum amount for real estate investments, which starts at €350,000 (the real estate rehabilitation route, which can even be reduced to €280,000 if the property is located in a low-density area), there are no additional upfront costs, such as solicitor fees, stamp duties or commissions to pay.

Whilst some of the above fees can add a total of around €20,000 on top of the property price (or more, depending on the real estate value), this is not the case if you invest in an investment fund or venture capital fund.

The following fees apply and can vary, depending on the fund, the legal team, and how many people are included in the application:

For a more detailed overview and comparison, please read this article by our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions: Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund.

Schedule an Online Advisory Call

Taking the first steps toward a better future and investing money in a different country may raise many questions. 

We’d recommend a free online advisory call with our expert team at Goldcrest so that they can answer any questions and talk about the best options for you going forward. Our team of experts is here to help you and ensure you are confident about the next steps. You can contact us here to get started!

The Exit

To ensure you understand every step of your investment, we offer information on what will happen when the investment period is over, typically after five years. The next section will give you a general overview of exiting the investment fund, as well as options to extend the time on it.

Minimum lock-up period

Generally, the minimum lock-up period of your funds dedicated to investment is between five to ten years. Some investment portfolios allow you to exit early, but in order to ensure maximum gains and returns, as well as to make sure you can apply for citizenship later, you should expect to see maximum gains after a longer period of time.

Your capital gains and risks involved will depend on the kind of fund you invest in. A variety of funds are available, from capital growth funds, funds with real estate exposure, dividends and growth funds, as well as finance and real estate. 

Resale or transfer of participation units

While it is possible to resell your part of the investment in a fund to another investor, the reality is often a little more complicated. During the lock-in period of the funds, it’s often not easy to find out if other investors may be interested to buy your share of the investment. The best time to make such inquiries is before the fund is set up or when it is dissolved.

In some cases, you may be able to sell your share whilst the funds are tied in, but be prepared to do this at a discount or at some loss of your initial investment.

Extension periods

Most investment funds are locked in for a minimum of five years, but it’s not uncommon that this period is extended as part of the investment strategy. It’s important to understand that a decision over an extended period is not made by you as the investor but rather by the fund manager.

Although this does not have an impact on your ability to apply for citizenship after five years, we would recommend that you inquire about possible extension periods before committing to a fund.

Exit market

As with most investment funds upon their exit, selling for a profit is the ultimate aim. As fund managers benefit from selling the funds for a decent profit, investors can rest assured that their best interests are also covered.

However, it’s important to understand that distribution only refers to the fund’s profits. Should the fund have made losses, those are not shared between the fund managers. Unfortunately, losses are the sole responsibility of the investors. 

To ensure your best interests are always catered for, we would advise enlisting the help of an independent advisor as part of your Golden Visa application, who looks out only for your interest.

Golden Visa Investment Fund Portugal: Documents and Requirements

The Golden Visa application and investment preparation entail a plethora of documents that can seem daunting at first. Below you’ll find a list of general documents and those you’ll need for your investment option.

Documents and general requirements for Portugal investment funds

Please note that all the above documents must not be older than 180 days at the date of your application submission. The criminal record documents, however, must be no older than 90 days.

The following documents must only be submitted if you are residing in Portugal:

Investment-related documents

Documents solely related to your investment are as follows:

A final disclaimer: The list of official documents needed to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa may vary depending on your time of application. It’s best to check before you apply to ensure that you are aware of the most up-to-date requirements.

Timeline

Generally speaking, it should take a minimum of six months to complete your application. Each case is unique, so exact time frames cannot be given. Here we provide a guide on the steps involved and a rough timeline:

  1. Although you have to decide on your investment and collect the relevant paperwork involved, we will help you to ensure the paperwork is accurate and send it off for review. 
  2. You will need a bank account and a national identification number (NIF) for tax purposes. With your new NIF, our citizenship and residency division, Global Citizen Solutions, can open a Portuguese bank account for you.
  3. After you have a Portuguese bank account, your investment needs to be made. Global Citizen Solutions can help you with the paperwork to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  4. You can then register your online application. It will be pre-approved if you fulfill all the required criteria.
  5. Next, you need to book an appointment to get your biometric credentials collected. The time taken from booking the appointment to the actual date usually takes around two months.
  6. After around four months, you will receive your residence cards, which Global Citizen Solutions can collect for you. In the meantime, you will need to pay the government permit issue fee.

Conclusion: Is the Portugal investment fund Golden Visa right for you?

There are a variety of investment options available for potential applicants in order to get a Golden Visa. Which option is right for you will depend on the amount you are willing to invest and which investment route is right for you, be it in a private equity fund, a capital transfer or investment in commercial companies. The above guide aims to give you a comprehensive overview of the Golden Visa investment strategy, but other investment options have also been introduced briefly.

Buying residential real estate in Portugal has long been a preferred option, and it allows investors to gain access to the Golden Visa from €350,000 (or €280,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project in a designated low-density area). Another bonus is that investors remain in control at all times over their investments. The downsides are higher fees and taxes, and property rental or renovation can be time-consuming and costly.

While the Golden Visa investment fund requires a minimum investment of €500,000, there are fewer fees and little to no taxes. It’s relatively stress-free, and fund managers are looking after your investment. Depending on your choice of investment, it’s low-risk and you are guaranteed a return. However, until the funds are dissolved, you have little control over it.

If you’re looking for a more affordable Golden Visa route, check out our article on Portugal’s Cultural Production Golden Visa.

Goldcrest: Who we are and how we can help you

To ensure you make the right decision for you, your family, and your future, it’s wise to ask for the help and involvement of seasoned experts. 

Goldcrest, a Lisbon real estate buying agency, has been helping expats from all over the world find their ideal property for many years. 

Global Citizen Solutions, Goldcrest’s sister company, is a specialist in residency and citizenship provision through a variety of visa options. 

You alone are the priority, and it’s your interest we have at heart. We are not working for realtors or investment fund managers, so you can rest assured that we will always strive to give you, as our client, the best deal. 

We’ll ensure you have all the correct paperwork and lend you our help and advice through what may, at times, seem a long and confusing process. To get you started, schedule a non-binding call with us to explore your next steps.

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