Options and Steps for the Portuguese Golden Visa Residence by Investment Programme

The Golden Visa Residence by Investment Programme was introduced in 2012 in Portugal, and is a five-year Residence Permit Programme, after the first residency card has been issued, for non-EU nationals. Portugal is a full member of the EU, and therefore successful applicants of the Golden Visa Residence by Investment Programme benefit from visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area.

The permit requires a low physical presence requirement with an average stay of just seven days a year, or fourteen days in a period of two years in Portugal, over the five-year period. Benefit of the programme include the right to live, work and study in Portugal, with the key benefit of obtaining citizenship at the end of the program and the entitlement to European citizenship.

Portugal has, in recent years, extended its excellent reputation, with many discovering this beautiful Mediterranean region in Europe.

It is considered one of the world’s most globalised and peaceful nations, with a high quality of life. It has been ranked highly on several index rankings (including that of education and living), and offers a warm climate, superb cuisine, and a relatively low cost of living.

Portugal is a place that families want to move to and where businesses can expand and grow, with the forecast Portuguese growth rate expected to exceed the European average.

Step 1: Hire a Legal Advisor

The Golden Visa programme is a relatively complex visa that requires an expert with sufficient experience and knowledge of the programme. Things to consider when selecting a legal advisor are experience in the market specifically in the Golden Visa programme, and the track history of the firm.

Once a legal advisor is appointed, they will assist you in hiring a tax representative, the opening of a Portuguese bank account, and will explore the different investment programs options available in Portugal with you.

Step 2: Choose an Investment Programme

The investment options available under the Golden Visa programme are a capital transfer, a property acquisition, or investment into a business.

  • Capital Transfer

The options available in relation to a capital transfer are:

  1. A capital transfer of €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account or an approved investment
  2. €500,000 for the acquisition of investment or venture capital fund units committed to the capitalisation of companies incorporated under Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years and with at least 60% of the investment portfolio in companies with a registered office in the national territory of Portugal
  3. €500,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system (€400,000 in a low population density area*)
  4. €250,000 in support of artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage (€200,000 in a low population density area*)

Property Acquisition

The two options in terms of property acquisition are:

  1. 350,000 minimum real estate purchase for the refurbishment of residential properties older than 30 years or in an area of urban regeneration, including the cost of renovations (residential property is limited to designated interior areas), (€280,000 in a low population density area*)

*A low population density area is defined as less than 100 inhabitants per km², or with a GDP per capita lower than 75% of the national average.


The options for the establishment of a business are:

  1. Creation of a minimum of ten new jobs (eight new jobs in a low population density area*)
  2. €500,000 for the incorporation or increase of the share capital of a company that is registered in Portugal, creating, or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for a period of three years

Step 3: Legal Formalities

The next step is preparing all of the necessary information to be submitted to SEF (Portuguese Border and Immigration Service). Some specific documents will be requested by your legal advisor, depending on the type of investment that is chosen, together with other documents, including criminal record details and tax number of the country of origin.

Step 4: Final Steps

Once all of the documents have been provided to your legal advisor, these are submitted to SEF for acceptance. Once accepted, you will be notified to schedule a biometric appointment at SEF, and after this procedure has been completed, will be followed by a residence card which represents the golden visa.

Renewals need to take place every two years, with documentation being updated and biometric appointments to take place in Portugal.


The following criteria are applicable for the golden visa programme:

  • Minimum average seven day spend in Portugal per year, over the five year period, after the concession and until the first renewal
  • Minimum fourteen day spend in Portugal for the period of two years between renewals
  • Maintain the investment for a five year period, after receipt of the residency card


After the five year residency programme is completed, the investor can keep renewing the temporary residency card as long as wanted while keeping the investment, apply for permanent residency in Portugal where a five year residency card will be issued, or apply for Portuguese citizenship and get a Portuguese passport.

For the second two options, it is mandatory to pass a A.2 level Portuguese exam. 

Tax Consequences

The tax consequences for each investment option vary depending on the investment programme selected. Please refer to the following articles which include more details regarding the tax consequences that need to be considered:

Additional Information

If you require additional information regarding the Golden Visa Programme, including the investment options available and the next steps to take, please contact Lionel de Freitas at the Dixcart office in Portugaladvice.portugal@dixcart.com 

Why the Portuguese D2 Visa, known as the Entrepreneur or Business Visa, is the “New Golden Visa”

Why Portugal?

Portugal is currently a topic of conversation, across the world, for several reasons. It is more than just the sunny weather, low cost of living, great food, variety of world winning wines and charming people, that everyone is speaking about.

The reason is simple: Portugal is a place people actually want to live and can see the possibility of raising a family and doing business in. A combination of factors now encourages leading entrepreneurs to establish and grow their companies in Portugal.

Portugal- A Few Facts and Figures

Portugal is projected to exceed the European economic growth forecasts, at least until 2024. It has been ranked as one of the best places to live according to the Global Peace Index (currently ranking 6th on the 2022 Global Peace Index), offers very good healthcare according to the Health Care Index (with an average life expectancy of 82.47 years in 2022), and is ranked highly from an education point of view.

Traditional Portuguese Universities have become “Top Ranking” International Universities, the  “Universidade Católica Portuguesa” and “Nova SBE” were included as two of the best universities in the world by the British newspaper, The Financial Times, in 2018.

It is without a doubt a place that ticks the boxes when choosing a place to live.

Portugal’s Golden Visa – Evolution

The Golden Visa program became increasingly popular after its introduction, and attracted world attention to Portugal. The world came to learn about Portugal and having the Golden Visa, as essentially a plan B; not having to move to Portugal to be eligible, but keeping it as a potential second option for the future if things do not work out where individuals currently live, people have now shifted their attention to plan A; making a permanent move to work and live in Portugal.

Of course, moving to Portugal requires more than just a visa and there needs to be economic reasons  to do so. It is becoming rapidly apparent that the economic potential is vast and powerful in Portugal, especially when taking into account that it is a small European country on the tip of the western continent.

The D2 Visa – Becoming ‘Golden’

The D2 visa is the real Golden Visa, as it not only allows you to benefit from living in Portugal, with unlimited access to the Schengen area, but provides the opportunity to benefit from access to one of Europe’s best places to establish a business, by living there.

Portugal has become known as the California or Silicon Valley of Europe. Successful global tech events such as the Web Summit have now taken place in Lisbon for several years running – testament to the fact that it is a place that is finding the right people with the right mindset.

The D2 visa is essentially an entrepreneurial visa.

D2 Visa: The Criteria

Requirements include the following:

  • Be a non-EU national
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Portugal
  • Incorporate a Portuguese (or Madeiran) company
  • Prepare a business plan
  • Hold a clean criminal record
  • Be willing to reside for more than 183 consecutive days in Portugal (or not be absent from Portugal for more than 8 non-consecutive months in any single calendar year)
  • Show proof of a place to live in Portugal
  • Be willing to become a fiscal resident in Portugal

Why Should You Reach out To Dixcart?

We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, with Dixcart having had a presence in the Portuguese market, for over 30 years. We have thus dealt with many structures and arrangements from start to finish, working with international investors and families from many corners of the earth. As a trusted service provider, we look forward to welcoming you as a client.

In addition to assisting entrepreneurs to select the most appropriate legal route to structure their activities in Portugal, Dixcart also provides:

  • A complete range of services relating to the incorporation of a company and its day-to-day obligations; from bookkeeping through to tax compliance.
  • Assistance to entrepreneurs and their families in relocating to Portugal and in obtaining the necessary residence permits.

Additional Information

If you require additional information regarding the D2 visa and the types of company and tax frameworks available in Portugal and/or the types of visa and residence options, please contact Lionel de Freitas at the Dixcart office in Portugal at: advice.portugal@dixcart.com 

What are the Advantages of Portugal’s Non-habitual Residents Regime?


Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident Regime (NHR) attracts thousands of new residents to Portugal, by offering competitive tax rates, and in the right circumstances, full tax exemptions on certain foreign income, for ten years.

Visa Opportunities in Portugal

Portugal is an attractive and popular location. Not only is it undoubtedly a beautiful country, offering an attractive lifestyle and way of life, it also offers a temporary residence visa for digital nomads, which freelancers and entrepreneurs often take advantage of, and the popular Golden Visa and the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) programme, which when combined together, offer an interesting route for individuals to move to Portugal and enjoy very agreeable tax advantages once they relocate.

Relevance of Golden Visa and the Non-habitual Residents Regime

Portugal’s Golden Visa is less important for EU citizens, as they already have the right to live in Portugal without formal immigration or investment requirements needing to be met, but the buzz and energy in Portugal has sparked interest amongst many.

Portugal is currently attracting the affluent, as well as a wide range of other individuals, through the favourable tax regime: the NHR, which is a major motivator for both EU and non-EU citizens. 

The Non-Habitual Resident Regime Explained

NHR lasts for 10 years and is available to EU and non-EU citizens who become tax resident in Portugal, provided they have not been resident in Portugal for the previous 5 years.

Individuals can enjoy non-habitual status, whereby income derived from employment or independent individual services, from a domestic (Portuguese) source, is taxed at a special flat rate of 20%, provided the income is from high value-added activities or are of a scientific, artistic, or technical nature.

A tax exemption may apply to income derived from a foreign source.

Criteria to Meet NHR Status

The following criteria must be met:

  • The right to reside in Portugal, either by being an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, or through schemes such as the Golden Visa programme.
  • Must not have been resident in Portugal within the last five Portuguese tax years.
  • Must not have been a Portuguese tax resident in the five years prior to taking up residence in Portugal.
  • The individual must have a place to live in Portugal, this could be the rental of a modest apartment.
  • To apply for NHR, a fiscal representative, such as Dixcart, needs to be appointed in Portugal.

Additional Information

If you would like more information, and/or would like to instruct Dixcart to act as your fiscal representative, please get in touch today: advice.portugal@dixcart.com.