Are you interested in acquiring a permanent residence and/or citizenship in a foreign country? If you are, then there must be a few countries in your mind where your goals can be met. Citizenship/Residency by Investment programs have been around since the 1980s but in the past decade, they have become significantly popular. Today, many countries especially those in the European Union (EU) want investors to come to them, and they know offering residence or citizenship is an option not easy to refuse.
One such European country that has been very actively pursuing investors through such investment programs is Portugal. Portugal’s Golden Visa program is quite an option for those who wish to acquire additional citizenship/residence, visa-free travel access, and whatnot. However, before any of that happens you should know how to get one.
In today’s article, I intend to offer you some insight into Portugal’s Golden Visa program.
- Why Portugal in the first place
You might ask why choose Portugal in the first place. While there will be individual opinions regarding the country, the general opinion is that it is a well-developed European country that can offer you access to the European Union and the Schengen Area. Also, equally important is the fact that it is abundant with historic, cultural, and linguistic influences. Ranking quite high in terms of democratic freedoms, freedom of press, living standards, and economic health, Portugal remains a place where you can settle down without too many worries. From the point of view of an investor as well, you will be able to reap benefits in the due course of time.
- Golden Visa Program
With the aim of attracting investors, Portugal launched its Golden Visa Program in the year 2012. Floated by the government, potential investors can apply for the program wherein permanent residency and ultimately citizenship can be acquired upon the fulfilment of certain conditions; the basic requirements are an investment of €500,000 (there is also an option to invest €350,000 in certain cases) in real estate, clean background and legal income, and stay in the country for at least 2 weeks biennially among many others. The visa is renewable in nature, but only after every two years.
- What entails permanent residence and citizenship under the program
Broadly speaking, investors aim for permanent residency or citizenship under the program. Once you make the necessary investments, you can apply for permanent residency. However, you will be eligible for citizenship only after 5 years. One good thing about the program is that residence is not mandated. That being said, you and your family are required to spend at least 2 weeks biennially to have your visa eligible for renewal. Also, you will have to show that you have ties with the country. Under the program, all the applicants are required to qualify for an elementary-level language test so ensure that you know basic Portuguese before you apply.
- When do you get the option of reduced investment?
In the second point, I had mentioned a reduced alternative of €350,000. It is settled that you will have to make an investment in real estate in Portugal. However, if you apply for this reduced alternative, you will have to make investments in properties requiring repairs and renovation. The Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) gives approval to such projects, and it is incumbent on the investors to choose the right project to invest in. It should be noted that an even more reduced investment option for similar projects is available at €280,000.
- Benefits accrued under the program
Investors wouldn’t want to become permanent residents or citizens of a country unless there is something to gain. Of course, investors would want to gain monetary benefits from their investments made. At the same time, however, they also look for other benefits that contribute to overall living. Under the program, successful applicants are granted access to the entire EU and the Schengen Zone, educational and healthcare facilities, and full family residency. You should note that citizenship would accord greater benefits such as the right to vote and access to government jobs which, for the most obvious reasons, would not be extended to those under permanent residency.