Legislation about the Portuguese Golden Visa
The Residence permit for investment activity (ARI – Autorização de Residência para Atividade de Investimento, in Portuguese), widely known as Golden Visa, is a fast-track residency program created in Portugal in October 2012, and, since then, it has granted visas to more than 8288 investors, being Chinese citizens the ones that have submitted more Golden Visa applications in Portugal.
According to the official data presented by the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service, from October 2012 to March 2020, they were granted 8413 Golden Visas, representing a total investment of 4 613 767 267,62€.
About 4503 Chinese citizens benefited from this program, followed by 886 Brazilian, 399 Turkish, 331 South African and 309 Russian.
The biggest slice of investments is made through the acquisition of real estate assets (7925). Of the total, only 408 were granted trough capital transfers to the country and only 15 via the creation of at least 10 jobs in Portugal.
The ARI regime allows national citizens from countries extra-EU to obtain a fully valid residence permit for investment activities in Portugal, exempt from a residency visa to enter the national territory.
An ARI beneficiary can:
- Enter Portugal exempt from a residency visa (with only a consular short-term visa, when not exempted from visa necessity);
- Reside and work in Portugal, with a mandatory minimum stay in the country of at least 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years;
- Circulate through the Schengen Area without needing a visa, as stipulated by the Schengen Agreement in 1985;
- Benefit from family reunification as foreseen in the law;
- Apply for a permanent residency authorization;
- Request acquisition of Portuguese nationality by naturalization, when fulfilling the requirements present on the Portuguese Nationality Law.
The Residence Permit for investment activity can be requested by any foreign citizen that exercises an investment activity, individually or through a society constituted in Portugal or another country from the European Union, and is established in the country, gathering one of the qualifying requirements and the temporal requirement, being able to request the right to reside when making one of these qualifying investments in Portugal:
- Transferring funds in the total amount of a million euros or more.
- The creation of, at least, 10 jobs.
- The acquisition of a property of 500 thousand euros or more.
- The acquisition of a property with at least 30 years or located in an area of urban rehabilitation, and the renovation of the property with construction works that make the total amount of 350 thousand euros or more.
- Transfer funds above €250,000 in investment or support to artistic production.
- Transfer funds above €350,000 in research activities of public or private institutions.
- Transfer funds above €500,000 as an investment in small and medium-sized companies.
The application should be done online on the Foreigners and Borders Service’s (SEF) website.
The request should be formalized by the applicant, upon the presentation, under a sworn statement, that guarantees the fulfillment of all necessary requirements for the investment activity in the national territory. Other documentation should be presented personally at the competent regional SEF’s department.
Scheduling a time and date for the presentation of the Golden Visa application should be made in SEF’s portal, upon a pre-registration on the platform.
The decision for the concession of residence permits is a competence of the National SEF Director, upon advised by the Regional Director.
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