Choosing Between the Portuguese Golden Visa vs the Spanish Golden Visa

Choosing Between the Portuguese Golden Visa vs the Spanish Golden Visa

There has been more and more demand for non-EU nationals to gain residency in European countries through investing in real estate in those countries. The European nations have responded to this by introducing several “Golden Visa” programs, which quite literally offer residency in exchange for investment in the country.

The specific rules of the programs are different from country to country, but the general aim of the visas is the same: to draw foreign investment and to stimulate the property markets and economies of those countries. The Golden Visas have been deemed an overall success for most European countries.

Golden Visas are primarily aimed at Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern investors, but have drawn interest from American, Latin American and Indian investors as well. Applicants for Golden Visas are also allowed to bring their spouses and dependent children with them, and some programs even allow for parents and grandchildren to automatically qualify for residency. 

Two of the most popular countries to invest in a Golden Visa are Portugal and Spain. Here is a comparison of what the two schemes offer to help investors decide between the two.

Portuguese Golden Visa

The Portuguese Golden Visa was the first ever Golden Visa in Europe as it was introduced in 2012. It also offers a relatively low minimum investment. Investors will need to invest at least €500,000 in properties. The investment is lowered when someone invests in properties that are older than 30 years or that are part of an “urban regeneration zone,” coming down to just €350,000.
Investors in Portuguese properties will be given an initial temporary residency visa good for one year. This visa can be renewed for an additional 2-year period. The minimum stay required is 7 days in the first year, 14 days during the next two years and other 14 days in the fourth and fifth years. After this period, Golden Visa holders can get a Permanent Residency Authorization. The requirements include a basic Portuguese knowledge; have stayed in the country for 5 years (The Golden Visa Program allows you to qualify) and having a connection to the country. On the 6th year, investors are eligible to apply for full Portuguese Citizenship. 

Property investors can request a family regrouping. This includes a spouse, children aged under 18 and any adult dependent relatives that are carrying out studies.
There are some other ways to qualify as well. People that invest over €1 million in Portuguese companies or establish their own business and create ten jobs are also eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa.

The rules of the Golden Visa were changed to allow that those investing at least €350,000 into scientific and technological research activities, €250,000 into artistic production and maintaining of national cultural heritage or investing €500,000 into small/medium sized local businesses can also apply.

The Advantages of the Portuguese Golden Visa: 

  • Affordable cost of living;  
  • Top sporting conditions;
  • Portuguese investment offers excellent returns;
  • Lisbon – the capital city – is awarded as being one of the best places to invest in the world;
  • 278 daily flights from Portugal to the rest of the world;
  • Strategic position for worldwide markets;
  • A modern, cosmopolitan country;
  • Great climate and weather – 17th on the OECD Index;
  • Algarve was Forbes 2014 Best Place in the World to Retire;
  • Portugal came 28th on the Better Life and Safety OECD Index.  

See how our CEO, Bobby O’Reilly, can help you with the information needed for the Portuguese Golden Visa Program:

Spanish Golden Visa

The Spanish Golden Visa was launched back in September of 2013 and was later updated in 2015. The Spanish and Portuguese Golden Visas are relatively similar in some regards, as the Spanish visa also comes with a €500,000 minimum property investment, without finance.
Successful applicants will be given a 1-year Golden Visa that can then be converted into a residence permit that lasts for two years. This license can be renewed for up to five years as long as the applicant maintains its property investment. Applicants can later apply for permanent residency after five years. Being granted permanent residency means having to live in Spain for at least half of the year, or 183 days. Applicants that live in Spain for ten years in a row as residents can then apply for full citizenship.

The requirements of the visa are simple enough to understand. Applicants will need to have the ability to invest €500,000 or more, without finance, in Spanish property or land. The Golden Visa itself doesn’t have any minimum stay requirements for renewal, meaning that staying in Spain is optional to maintain the visa. 

Spanish Golden Visa holders are allowed to request family regrouping for their spouse, children aged under 18 and adult dependent relatives that are carrying out studies, just like the Portugal Golden Visa.
The only other way to qualify for the Spanish Golden Visa is to invest €2 million in Spanish government bonds.

The benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa:

  • The Spanish property market is recovering well and continues to improve each day;
  • High rental yields in city centers offer the potential for regular income from investments;
  • The Spanish economy is performing well;
  • A Residency Permit allows applicants to work in Spain;
  • Investors are able to purchase Spanish property either directly or indirectly;
  • Married couples can invest the minimum together thanks to the changes in 2015;
  • Unmarried cohabiting couples and same-sex couples can also apply together under the Spanish “domestic partnership” Civil Registry;
  • Spain has excellent schools;
  • Excellent health service;
  • Great climate and environment.

What Makes Portugal the Best Choice? 

While Spain is an excellent country to live in, Portugal is still the better choice for a Golden Visa investment. The requirements on the visa are more relaxed in Portugal than in Spain. Even though both countries have the same €500,000 condition, investors in Portugal have more options in where to invest and can invest less by placing their money in something other than property.

The laws on residency and citizenship in Portugal are also more untroubled as well. Spanish investors are expected to live in Spain for half the year, while investors in Portugal are only expected to stay for a few weeks. Finally, Portugal is an excellent investment from a business standpoint. The country is well connected and investors are able to set up a Portuguese business while still living in their current home country.

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