GOLDEN VISA: RESIDENTIAL AUTHORIZATION WITH INVESTMENT
The ARI (Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento), more popularly known as the Golden Visa, gives foreign investors the possibility to gain residential status in order that they may make a property investment, after meeting certain requirements. For example, this can be via a transfer of capital, creation of employment or through buying property, the last option being the most popular since its launch in 2012.
The Golden Visa is available to all foreign citizens who make one of the following investments in Portugal: an acquisition of property with value equal or above 500.000€ Euros; a transfer of capital equal or above 1.000.000€ euros; creation of employment for at least 10 persons. It is also available for citizens of non-EU states who want to acquire shares in a company established in Portugal, or other member state nationals from the EU who have a permanent establishment in Portugal which comply with the previous requirements.
At the same time, those interested in obtaining this visa are not allowed to have had any conviction for crime, punishable in Portugal by a jail sentence equal to 1 year or more and may not be barred from entering Portuguese territories. Besides this, they should not have any indication of this within the Schengen Information system or the Portuguese foreign immigration & border system (SEF). Finally, the minimum investment period is 5 years.
The Golden Visa allows in a simple way, for interested parties to enter and remain in Portugal, to have a permanent residence, access to a growing economies, with good relations with Portugal, to access other European countries, to have access to permanent residency and consequently Portuguese nationality, basically to become a European citizen.
It is important to note that the authorization for residency, received via a Golden Visa, initially has a validity of 1 year, which must then be renewed every 2 years while fulfilling all the requirements. In order to renew the Golden Visa, the interested parties must remain in Portuguese territory for 7 days in the first year and 14 days of subsequent periods of 2 years.
In addition to ensuring compliance with all the above regulations, to apply for the Visa you must provide a valid passport or other travel document; proof of legal entry to the country, proof of health insurance, as well as, the request for consultation of Portuguese criminal records by SEF, a certificate of criminal record from the country or origin, or the one in which you reside and assurance that your tax status is regulated.
NOTE: In June of 2017 the Portuguese government launched a proposal to change the legal requirements to obtain a Golden Visa, with a view to attracting more investment from small and medium-sized companies. By doing so, the government would like to reduce the value of investment to a figure below 500.000€ euros on real estate. The government intends for these visas to be granted to foreign nationals who will invest 350.000€ euros for the creation of a Portuguese company or to increase the capital of any current Portuguese companies, provided that they create and maintain at least 5 jobs. Furthermore, investment of 200.000€ euros in a Portuguese company that is under a Recovery or Revitalization Plan; or 350.000€ euros destined for capital investment in a Portuguese company will also be eligible.
What is the Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa or Authorization of Residency for Investment Activities is an authorization for permanent residency in the country for an initial period of 1 year, which can be extended for another 2 years.
What is required in order to obtain a Golden Visa?
You must make one of the following investments:
- Purchase real estate equal to or above 500.000€;
- Transfer capital to the sum of equal or above 1.000.000€;
- Create at least 10 employment positions;
- Be a citizen of a 3rd member state for a social capital society established in Portugal, or a citizen from another EU country, with an establishment based in Portugal.
How long is it valid for?
It is valid for 1 year. It can be renewed for another subsequent 2 years.
What is required in order to renew the Golden Visa for another 2 years?
- You must have a valid passport or other travel document;
- Proof of legal right to visit and remain in the country;
- Proof of health insurance;
- Provide an application letter for registration with the Portuguese criminal register of SEF;
- Provide a certificate of criminal registration from your country of origin or the country in which you have resided the last year;
- Provide proof of compliance with tax returns.
Will the Golden Visa automatically give me access to Portuguese nationality?
No. Portuguese nationality must be requested afterwards.
Why would I want a Golden Visa?
- You can remain in Portugal with residency status;
- You can access other rising economies, that have good relationships with Portugal;
- You can gain access to other European countries;
- Gain authorization for permanent residency.
- Have access to become a Portuguese national, in other words, a European citizen.