Portugal golden visa alternatives

Article Breakdown

Rounded Portugal Flag IconThe Portuguese golden visa program is one of the most popular European Golden Visa programs.

However, we’ve seen Portugal’s golden visa program changes over the years in terms of minimum investment amount, application process and timeline, that can make other investor visa options more attractive.

The TLDR for Portugal is: if you want to move to Portugal, the Portuguese D7 Visa is a better option in terms of minimum investment, and has an easier application process in terms of source of funds.

There are some other options for Portugal which we will also discuss.

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Option

First, let’s recap the Portugal Golden Visa program investment options, just so we can use it as a benchmark for other investment options in Portugal.

Golden visa Portugal requirements

Portugal Coat of ArmsFor the Golden Visa application, prospective Golden Visa applicants must make one of the following investments to be eligible:

  • A Portuguese real estate investment with a minimum value of €500,000. The property investment amount is €400,000 if you buy in a low-density region.
  • A real estate investment of €350,000 on a property in an urban renewal area in Portugal. The investment amount is €280,000 if you invest in a low-density area. The real estate investment should be eligible for funding from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service – SEF.
  • Make a fund investment for a minimum of €350,000 in a qualified Investment Fund. The Portuguese CMVM (Securities Market Commission) regulates investment alternatives, which typically involve venture capital investment in commercial real estate or start-up tech enterprises.
  • Make a minimum capital transfer of €1 million into a Portuguese bank account.
  • Purchase at least €1 million in company stock.
  • Invest a minimum of €1 million in a company.
  • Create at least 10 jobs available to Portuguese citizens.
  • Invest at least €350,000 in the formation of a commercial firm or in the expansion of a commercial company’s share capital, with the goal of creating at least five full-time jobs.
  • Make a capital transfer of at least €350,000 to either public or private scientific research institutions for research operations in science or technology.
  • Make a capital transfer of at least €250,000 to help the arts or national heritage reconstruction.

So realistically, the investment amount for your Portugal golden visa will range from €350,000 to €1 million.

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Obtain Portuguese Residency without the Golden Visa program

The benefit of Golden Visas is that you can obtain permanent residence in Portugal without having to visit the country more than 7 days per year, just by a minimum investment of €350,000. The downside is the Golden Visa process hurdles.

The Portugal Passive Income Visa, commonly known as a Portuguese D7 Visa, grants residency to non-EU / EEA / Swiss nationals, including pensioners, who plan to relocate to Portugal and have a fair and consistent passive income.

A yearly income of only €8,460 is required to be eligible for this visa, plus 50% of this amount for the spouse and 30% for each dependent child. This is true regardless of the individual’s country of origin.

Portugal D7 Visa Requirements

The minimum income criteria vary depending on how many dependents the petitioner seeks to include, as shown below:

  1. Principal Applicant – 100% of the minimum wage (currently €8,460 per year)
  2. Spouse or parents of the primary applicant – 50% of the minimum wage (now €3,810 per year)
  3. Dependent children – 30% of the minimum salary (currently €2,292 per year)
  4. It is recommended to keep a minimum of 12 months’ income in a bank account in Portugal.

Breakdown of the D7 visa versus the Portuguese golden visa program

Item Portugal D7 Visa Portugal Golden Visa
Minimum Investment Amount €8,460/year €350,000
Residency Requirments 183 days/year 7 days per year or
14 days every 2 years
Application Process 4 months 4 months
Application Fee €45 €5,325
Processing Fee €300 €533
Residency Permit? Yes Yes
Timeline Portuguese Citizenship 5 years of permanent residence 5 years of permanent residence

Which is better: the Portugal Golden Visa or the D7?

The Portugal D7 Visa is the best option for you if:

  • Your passive income is consistent.
  • You intend to spend the most of your time in Portugal.
  • You do not want to make large investments immediately.

The Portugal Golden Visa is the best option for you if:

  • You need a good Plan B for the future.
  • You must keep your principal residency in another location.
  • You are prepared to make a significant initial investment in Portugal.

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What other investment programs does Portugal offer?

There are multiple relatively affordable investment options in Portugal that offer the same benefits as the Portugal Golden Visa.

The Portugal digital nomad visa is another option that does not require a high investment amount, but it will not lead to a permanent residence permit.

Another great option is the Portuguese citizenship by descent route, however you will need Portuguese ancestry for that in order to be eligible.

What about Portuguese citizenship?

Portugal Passport CoverWith the Portuguese golden visa program, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years if you have a Golden Visa.

Unlike in other countries, you do not need to reside in Portugal during that time to obtain citizenship through the Golden Visa option. You simply need to visit the country seven to fourteen days every year.

However, you must demonstrate that you have a residence in Portugal, a consistent income, and at least rudimentary understanding of the Portuguese language.

Opening a Portuguese bank account without a residence permit

In order to open a bank account in Portugal, you do not need to have a residence permit. One option is to go through the Portuguese e-residence option, and another is to obtain a NIF, and set up a bank account right after that.

There are multiple services offering this option with all the benefits of opening a Portuguese bank account. Some of the most renowned are:

  • Bordr.io – total costs for opening bank account: €470-€600
  • Rebase.co – total costs €500-€650 (includes temporary residence permit)

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The benefits of a residency permit in Portugal

A Portuguese Golden Visa allows you to obtain permanent residency in Portugal, a member of the European Union.

This implies that you will soon be able to obtain a Portuguese passport and enjoy all of the benefits of EU nationality, such as no borders, access to the EU single market, and living in a stable, democratic, economic, and secure community.

Businesses in the EU benefit from free movement of labor, commodities, and services, as well as unfettered access to over 450 million consumers.

Healthcare and education in Portugal

As a resident or citizen of Portugal, you and your family will have access to all of the country’s state services, such as healthcare and education.

The Serviço Nacional de Sade is Portugal’s publicly funded healthcare system (SNS). Portugal was placed third for patient care and medical infrastructure in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation in 2021.

Portugal also has a generally high-quality public education system, from elementary school to university. Portugal has a literacy rate of 99.44 percent, and Portuguese pupils consistently outperform the national average on PISA examinations.

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