This is specifically aimed at non-European passport holders as the qualifying individual is granted a Residence Card (the so-called Golden Visa) which allows free travel throughout all European countries that are party to the Schengen Agreement. It should be noted here that the UK is not a signatory to the Schengen Agreement.
Any Golden Visa applicant must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- A transfer of capital funds of at least one million Euros to a Portuguese bank account;
- The purchase of some kind of real estate in Portugal with a minimum value of €500,000;
- An investment project that will create at least ten new jobs within Portugal;
- An investment in scientific research and development to be carried out by public or private institutions in Portugal with a minimum value of €350,000;
- A minimum investment of €350,000 in lesser developed inland regions of Portugal;
- A minimum investment of €350,000 made into cultural or artistic performances in Portugal.
The individual may deal in his / her own name or through a company whose registered head office is in Portugal.
The first Residence Card is valid for one year, and the applicant must apply for this within the first 90 days of arriving in Portugal. The card may be renewed on a rolling two-year basis all the while the financial conditions are met.
Once a Residence Card has been issued, the holder is required to spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year and then at least 14 days in the following years.
When an individual is in possession of a Golden Visa, his / her family members are also allowed to enter and take up residence in Portugal, provided that a Family Reunion Application has been made and approved.
Holders of a Golden Visa are then free to travel throughout the Schengen countries without having to apply for a separate entry visa for each country. The rules allow for a Golden Visa holder to spend 90 days in each period of 180 days within the territory of Schengen Agreement countries.
In February 2015, Paulo Portas, leading of the Popular Party, said that some €1.27 billion had been brought into the country because of the Golden Visa scheme, along with more than €100 million in tax revenue.
The last three items on the list are new, having been added only in February 2015, and they significantly broaden the scope of the scheme. To date the most popular way of applications meeting the conditions is through the purchase of a property, either around the Lisbon area, Cascais and Estoril, or in the Algarve where, for instance, luxury golf development Monte Rei has some very attractive packages for such investors.The new criteria are clearly aimed at the arts and the sciences, and this could well attract a wider field of investment.
If you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us. Whether you decide on a residential property or an investment project, we can help you every step of the way and are happy to recommend a choice of lawyers and accountants who can give impartial advice should you so wish.