For those who will make the transition to Portugal and intend to have an European permanent residency, the Golden Visa option is one of the best programs. Here are some questions and answers concerning the Golden Visa program that will help you decide if it is right for you.
What are some advantages of a Golden Visa?
There are several advantages of the golden visa program that are worth mentioning. For example, holders of the golden visa will not need any other type of special visa to enter the country of Portugal. Those who hold the golden visa can live and work in the country with no additional requirements. It is also possible to be accompanied by your family in the country.
Another advantage of the golden visa program is the ability to apply for permanent residency status in the country after five years. Golden visa holders are also able to have access to the same medical and educational system as the citizens of Portugal. While holding the golden visa, traveling to the entire Schengen Area is free and does not require more visas to enter those countries.
The Schengen countries are made up of a number of EU countries. The current Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
A number of new EU countries are expected to join the list soon. These countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania. However, Portuguese residents are already able to travel to these countries without acquiring additional visas.
How much is the Golden Visa?
The initial cost of the golden visa is €5,324.60 per person. There is an additional cost of €532.70 for processing when the application is submitted. An additional cost of €83.10 will also be required for additional family members that will follow you into the country. There will be a renewal cost that is charged at the end of the first year and again at the end of the third year of €2,666.30 per person. Because of inflation, the amounts of these fees may increase slightly over time, it would be sensible to check on the costs prior to sending the fees.
Of course, with important decisions and documents such as for immigration applications, it is a good idea to hire the assistance of professionals to help the process move smoother. It will also be required that documents be translated. Additional cost for attorneys and translation services must be paid by the applicant.
And, of course, there is the amount related to the investment itself, chosen by the applicant, which may vary depending on the option. Generally, real estate investments are in the 500k range.
Is hiring a lawyer required for obtaining the Portuguese Golden Visa?
While hiring a lawyer is not a requirement, it is a good decision. There are so many areas that an applicant can take the wrong turn and end up confused about where to begin next. The amount of money that is being spent on the process is no small amount. It is a good business decision to acquire the assistance of a specialist when it comes to immigration issues to Portugal. While the costs of attorneys are not small either, the cost of making a mistake on the immigration application or other problems in the process could potentially cost you much more. This is true in the case if an error in the documentation causes you to receive a denial.
A number of law firms will charge between €5,000-€10,000 for a single applicant but will offer discounts for dependents. Applicants can receive additional discounts when it comes time to begin the renewal documentation for the Golden Visa at the end of the first and third year. Of course, it makes sense to shop around and find the right deal for you. It is also important to seek the assistance of an attorney that has experience in the immigration process and understands the process.
Should certain firms that offer the Golden Visa be avoided?
Unfortunately, there are a number of firms that are presenting offers, usually in real estate, for the golden visa program that are not what they seem. Commonly, the land that is offered is priced far beyond what it is worth. T
he market value of the property is usually much lower than the actual amount that it should be offered at. The price is usually inflated to match the minimum investment amount and can take an inexperienced investor by surprise. A common price that has been seen for golden visa investment properties has been upwards of €500,000. When in reality the actual worth of the property is roughly €400,000-€450,000.
One way to tell that the deal may be too good to be true is when firms offer extremely good prices on their legal fees. However, if an investor seeks to source the investment alone, may find the fees are quite expensive. To avoid this kind of issue, it is important to seek the counsel of your own attorney, who is not tied to a firm that may have ulterior motives to help you with the process. Investors should employ the services of independent professionals such as lawyers and brokers to find the right location to place your investment.
Are dependents allowed to enter the country under the Golden Visa program?
Dependents are allowed to enter the country under the program, for example, spouse and children under 24 years old during the time of the application process. It is also allowed to bring other family members, such as parents or your spouse’s parents. However, this can only be extended to those family members that the applicant can prove that they are supporting as dependents.
Do documents need to be translated into Portuguese?
Each document that will be submitted to the Portuguese government will not only need to be translated but must be translated by a certified translator. Documents that are presented in English will not be acceptable for the application process. It would be a good idea to seek a certified Portuguese translator in your home country. However, it is still acceptable to have the documents translated in Portugal. It is important to stress, however, that all documentation needs to be translated in order for it to be accepted.
How do I pay Portugal taxes?
Tax residency and legal residency are not the same concept. Those who are taking part in the golden visa program do not automatically qualify as tax residence. However, those who are not tax residents may still have to pay taxes when it comes to the investment that is used as part of the program. If the opportunity to become a tax resident is open to the investor, it is a quite lucrative endeavor in the first ten years. The Non-Habitual Resident tax program can offer people with a rewarding experience. In order to become a tax resident, there are a number of things you will need to do to qualify for the program. The following provides a comprehensive list of what needs to be met in order to qualify for the Non-Habitual Resident tax program.
- You will need to spend at least 183 days inside the country. This does not have to be consecutive days. However, it must take place within a 12-month period of time. In other words, in one fiscal year, 183 days must be spent in the country.
- Whether or not 183 days can be spent in the country for a one-year period, a legal residence must be kept in the country during the same fiscal year. If investors must leave the country during that period, the residence must be kept up while they are not in the country.
How are Social Security contributions paid in Portugal?
Paying into Social Security in Portugal is not a requirement for residence. However, it is important to note that if you do not pay into the program, you will be ineligible to withdraw benefits to cover healthcare or other costs when entering retirement. Regardless, it could be a good decision to gain independent healthcare coverage to help with the cost that may be incurred.
What is the average processing time for the Golden Visa?
The processing time may vary with each individual case, depending on a number of factors. If everything is in order, the average time may take up around 6 months to complete. There are a number of ways that even this amount of time can be shortened. Currently, there is an online booking option for those to secure interviews at offices just outside Lisbon. This could save the investor a substantial amount of time.
How long before I can gain the Portuguese citizenship and passport?
The required wait time for citizenship in Portugal was changed in 2018 by the Portuguese Nationality law. Prior to the passing of the law, immigrants must have six years in the country before being able to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
However, under the new law, the time to wait before applying is reduced to only a five year wait period. The good news is that once the application has been submitted and accepted, it normally takes only six working days to present the new citizen with their Portuguese passport. The cost of the passport as of 2020 is around €65 and has a valid time period of five years before needing to be renewed.
Should I learn Portuguese prior to applying for citizenship?
Although there is much discussion on removing it, the current requirement is that anyone applying for citizenship must be able to pass a Portuguese language exam. However, passing the test with a A2 (second lowest) level is sufficient to apply for citizenship for the country. It is also advisable to take the test in another country besides Portugal. These tests are usually not as strict when it comes to grading and proficiency expectations. There is also no requirement as to when to take the exam, as long as the applicant passes the exam before applying for citizenship.
Are investments through limited companies allowed?
Besides investing as an individual, there is the option of investing through a limited company to obtain Portuguese citizenship. A number of investors choose to obtain their residency by investing through a holding or an investment company. However, it is a requirement that there is only one owner of the company, that would be the investor themselves. It is also a requirement that the company is based in the EU, Portugal or another member state.