The Golden Visa

The Golden Visa was first implemented in 2012. Prior to this, the world was facing the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) that hit us all hard and, particularly, Portugal. The country was already in the grip of a recession that began in 2003 and the impact of the GFC only made this worse. As a response, alongside monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB), the government took measures to encourage foreign investment into the country to stimulate the economy.

One of the most successful methods implemented has been without a doubt, the “Golden Visa”, which offers residence in Portugal through investment. The scheme has been responsible for collecting almost 6 billion Euros since its inception.

Who Qualifies?

Anybody who lives outside of the EU/EEA/Switzerland can apply, provided they have no criminal record. They will be required to invest in one of the following: real estate or a venture capital fund, transfer a large amount of capital, form a company and create at least 5 new jobs or donate money to the state for research or national heritage.

Of all the qualification methods, investment in real estate has been by far the most popular.

The New Rules

Of the changes that have occurred since January 1st, the most significant one is precisely related to the real estate market in Portugal. Up until the end of 2021 this required applicants to buy property anywhere in Portugal for €500,000.

Even though the minimum investment amount of €500,000 remains unaltered, applicants can no longer purchase properties located in Lisbon, Porto or across large parts of the Algarve, with most of the coastline becoming non-qualifying. The islands of Madeira or Azores are still fully eligible for this, as well as most of the interior of Portugal.

Aside from this, other requirements also came into effect, such as:

- the minimum acquisition of units in certain compliant investment funds rose from €350,000 to €500,000;

- the minimum capital transfer of €1,000,000 is now €1,500,000;

- the minimum investment in activities of R&D (Research & Development) is also now €500,000 from the previous €350,000,

- a lower limit that is also applicable in case you want to open a company in Portugal and create a minimum of 5 jobs.

The Benefits

The Golden Visa scheme is formally known as the residence permit for investment activity (ARI). This gives individuals outside of the EU the ability to apply for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of their investment without having had to reside in Portugal permanently. During the intervening years, their residence permit will allow them visa-free access to other Schengen states and the right to live and work in Portugal, although there is no obligation to do so. Applicants are also eligible to include members of their immediate family on the same visa application, which makes it a great opportunity for giving the whole family a new start in such a beautiful part of the world.

There are no tax implications for applicants to the scheme, unless you chose to spend more than 183 days of the year in the country, in which case you would then be classed as a tax resident. If that is the case there are benefits to be had through the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) programme, which can offer tax exemption for your first 10 years of residence.

Blacktower Financial Management has been providing expert, localised, wealth management advice in Portugal for the last 20 years. We can help with specialist, financial advice on securing your financial future. Get in touch with us on +351 289 355 685 or email us at

This communication is for informational purposes only based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which is subject to change and is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice form a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.