Portugal Golden Visa: full guide (2022)

Gabriela Peratello

The Portugal Golden Visa is most commonly obtained by investing in a company, property or fund in Portugal. Visas are issued for an initial period of 2 years, but can be renewed and may even lead to citizenship for those who choose to apply.

This guide to the Golden Visa (Portugal) covers the Golden Visa Portugal requirements, the benefits of holding a Golden Visa, and how much it’ll cost you.

We’ll also touch on how Wise can help you save money on currency exchange and cross-border payments when you live, work and invest internationally.

Learn more about Wise

📑Table of Contents

What is the Portugal Golden Visa program?

The Portugal Golden Visa program — also called the Residence Permit for Investment Purposes — allows eligible investors to get a Portuguese residency permit¹. This Golden Visa entitles holders and their immediate family to live, study and work in Portugal without restrictions. After around 5 years, providing all requirements have been met, holders can apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Portugal is an attractive expat destination, with friendly people, great cuisine, and an enviable climate. It’s also got good infrastructure and a relatively low cost of living, which can mean your money goes further compared to other European countries.

Investors can choose to live in Portugal — but it’s only mandatory to spend around 7 days a year in the country. This also makes the Golden Visa an attractive option for people who prefer to split their time between Europe and the US.


Initial investment
    250,000 EUR +
    Most investment routes require 500,000 EUR +
Processing time
    Around 6 months
Time to citizenship
    5 years
    Visas issued for 2 years initially, renewable

Benefits of getting a Golden Visa

Getting a Golden Visa will mean going through an administrative process, paying fees, and locking up a good chunk of money in a Portuguese investment. However, in return Golden Visa holders are entitled to some pretty big benefits:

  • Live and work in Portugal — residency is also extended to immediate family members
  • Favorable tax regime if you stay in Portugal and become a tax resident
  • Stay in Portugal for a minimum of 7 days/year to maintain visa status
  • Apply for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years — dual citizenship is recognized

The most notable factor is perhaps that Golden Visa holders are able to apply for Portuguese citizenship after a wait of only 5 years.

Getting Portuguese citizenship means you can hold a Portuguese passport and enjoy visa free travel to many countries around the world.


Who’s eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

The good news is that any non-EU citizen over the age of 18 may be able to apply for the Golden Visa Portugal program as long as they can make a qualifying investment.

We’ll cover investment requirements in just a moment — first let’s look at the general Golden Visa eligibility criteria.

Golden Visa Portugal requirements

To apply for a Portugal Golden Visa you must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be from outside the EU
  • Fulfil the residency requirements
  • Make a qualifying investment
  • Have a clean criminal record check in Portugal and your home country

Residency requirements for the Portugal Golden Visa

While there is a residency requirement for Golden Visa Portugal applicants, it’s a pretty low threshold which effectively means you’d only need to spend an average of a week a year in the country.

That means that you could apply for a Golden Visa and then split your time between the US and Portugal if you choose to do so.

Gaining legal residency in Portugal doesn’t automatically mean you become a tax resident for Portugal. To be a tax resident you’ll usually need to be in Portugal for more than half the year.

If you’re spending your time between countries you’ll need to check how the rules around tax impact you based on the specifics of your situation — taking professional advice is usually a smart move.

Which investment types qualify for the Golden Visa?


The Golden Visa program was launched in 2012, and had a specific aim of pulling foreign investment into the country following the economic crisis.

As a result, the program is built on foreigners bringing investments into Portugal in one form or another — although there are a range of different investments options:

  • Buy real estate — usually this must be worth 500,000 EUR or more
  • Invest 500,000 EUR or more on a fund or company
  • Make a charitable donation of 250,000 EUR - 500,000 EUR
  • Transfer capital of at least 1.5 million EUR to Portugal

The required investment amounts are reassessed from time to time. It’s good to know that some other important conditions also apply — for example, if you’re investing in a company it must create jobs in the local economy, and the required donation amounts can vary based on the type of organization you give to.

The most common investment type is real estate acquisition. For this program, you’ll normally need to be buying property in an underpopulated area. That means that buying a place in Lisbon, Porto or on the coast won’t count unfortunately.

The exact investment amount may vary based on the age and location of the property and to take into account required renovations. There’s no need for the investment amount to be spent on only one home, you can buy as many properties as you like as long as you meet the minimum investment requirement.

Learn more about buying property in Portugal

Costs and fees of Portuguese residency by investment

The costs involved with applying for a Portuguese Golden Visa can be split into several different categories:

  • Government fees
  • Required investment
  • Legal fees

Golden Visa: government fees

The government fees payable for applying for a Golden Visa are as follows:

Government feeCost
Processing charge533 EUR
Application fee (1st application)5,325 EUR
Renewal fee (subsequent renewals)2,663 EUR
Total fee8,521 EUR

How much will this cost you in USD? Check out the conversion below:

Golden Visa: required investment

You’ll then need to invest through your chosen investment route, as detailed above. This is the most costly element of the process, although you’re no longer required to maintain the investment once you either become a Portuguese citizen or give up your Golden Visa status. That means you’d be able to sell the property you’ve bought in Portugal to get your money back.

You may also be able to withdraw your investment or capital if you’ve chosen to place money in a Portuguese fund or transfer your assets to Portugal under one of the other investment routes.

Golden Visa: legal fees

Legal fees are more variable as the costs you pay will depend on the level of service you need. It’s possible to apply for a Golden Visa without any specialist legal support, but most people choose to have a lawyer or agent help them put together their application pack.

One reason for employing an agent or lawyer to support your application is that all documents which are not issued in Portugal are likely to need to be legalized and in some cases apostilled.

Any documents which are not in English or Portuguese will need to be translated too — this can push up costs further, and naturally may take some time to arrange. Having a helpful agent or legal adviser on hand can take some of the pressure off and make the entire application process run more smoothly.

Make a quick, cheap and secure Wise transfer to pay for your property overseas

Buying a new home in Portugal? Cut the costs of currency exchange with Wise.

Use Wise for low cost international payments which use the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Transfers are fast and secure, and arranged online or in the Wise app for convenience.

Whether you’re paying your closing costs on a new home overseas, scheduling a regular transfer to cover a mortgage or simply sending money for day to day living costs, Wise can help!

🌐Get a Wise account

Getting a Golden Visa in Portugal: step by step

Here’s what you’ll need to do to apply for your Portugal Golden Visa.

Step 1. Collect all the required paperwork

Unsurprisingly, applying for a Golden Visa will mean collecting a broad range of supporting documents. It’s common for applicants to have an agent or lawyer support their application to help with this process and ensure all the paperwork is in place prior to making an application.

📃 Documents needed include
  • Your valid passport
  • Proof you’ve made an eligible investment in Portugal
  • Evidence of healthcare coverage
  • Clean criminal records check
  • Evidence you do not owe any taxes in Portugal
  • Sworn statement confirming you’ll maintain your investment for 5 years
  • Proof you’ve paid your application fees

Documents may need to be legalized and translated depending on the issuing country.

Step 2. Get a NIF and open a bank account

If you don’t already have a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal)

You’ll also want to open a local bank account — this is needed prior to making your eligible investment for the Golden Visa program. Transfer funds to your Portuguese account and then make the investment from that account in order to show the authorities proof of the payment.

Opening a bank account in Portugal should be fairly straightforward, especially if you’re in the country already and intend to stay there for most of your time.

If you’re non-resident, or don’t intend on staying in Portugal beyond the mandatory 7 days a year required by your visa, you might need to shop around a little more to find the best bank account for your needs. If you’re employing an agent or lawyer they may have suggestions about which banks serve customers with your needs best.

Step 3. Make your investment

You’re ready to make your eligible investment. The steps to take here will vary based on the type of investment you choose — if you’re buying a property or investing in a company for example.

Real estate acquisition is the most common route to gaining a Golden Visa for Portugal, and can be an attractive option for applicants looking to put down roots in the country, as well as those who want to diversify their investment portfolio.

    Cut the costs of currency exchange when you invest in Portugal — meet Wise.
    Wise international payments use the mid-market exchange rate with no markups, no margin and no hidden costs. There’s just a low, transparent fee which can mean you save 6x compared to your normal bank.

Start saving with Wise 🚀

Step 4. Apply for the Golden Visa Portugal program

Once your investment is completed, it’s time to formally apply for your visa. Applications are submitted to the Portuguese immigration authorities — Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF).

You can apply at any local SEF office — choosing one in a rural area is likely to result in a shorter wait time than applying through a busier office in a busy metropolitan area.

If you’re working through an agent or lawyer, they’ll support this stage and ensure you have everything required for your application to be processed. It’s common to wait a couple of months before you hear back from SEF about the next steps.

Step 5. Attend your face to face SEF meeting

Once your application has been received and checked over, you and any dependents listed on the application will need to attend a face to face SEF meeting. Here you’ll give biometric information to support your visa application.

Step 6. Receive your Golden Visa

Golden Visas for you and any family members named on your application will be released once they have been processed. This can take around 4 months — you’ll be able to collect them or have them delivered to your home address once they’re ready.

Timeline for the Golden Visa in Portugal

Here’s how the Golden Visa application and renewal timeline typically works.

Years 1 and 2

Golden Visas are initially issued for 2 years. During this time you’ll need to continue to meet all the eligibility requirements, maintain your investment, and stay in the country for a minimum of a week every year.

Around 3 months before your visa runs out you’ll need to submit a renewal application. This involves paying another fee, and submitting some supporting information and biometrics.

Years 3 and 4

Renewed Golden Visas are usually issued for 3 years. Standard requirements including residency criteria continue to apply during this renewal phase.

Year 5

Your renewed Golden Visa will expire at the end of year 5 — at this stage you and your family have a few different options:

  • Apply for Portuguese citizenship
  • Apply for Portuguese permanent resident status
  • Renew Golden Visa again Leave Portugal

If you choose to apply for citizenship or permanent resident status in Portugal you’ll no longer need to maintain the investment required under the Golden Visa program.

Dual nationality is recognized in Portugal so you wouldn’t need to surrender your original citizenship to gain your Portuguese passport. Some other criteria also apply — including the need to speak basic Portuguese and pass a language test.

If you don't want to take up permanent residency or citizenship you can apply once more to renew your Golden Visa.

Portugal residency by investment FAQ

Still got questions about the Portuguese Residence Permit by Investment — the Golden Visa? Here are some common questions and answers to help.

Are there any changes on the Portuguese Golden Visa in 2022?

Terms and conditions of the Golden Visa do change regularly — in January 2022 a few changes came in including:

  • Increases to the investment thresholds in some investment types
  • Real Estate acquisition now only covers the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira and the interior territories — not Lisbon and Porto

The information in this guide reflects the 2022 rules and requirements. As the details do change from time to time you’re advised to double check again prior to making your application, to make sure you have all the most up to date information to hand.

Was the Golden Visa suspended in Portugal?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is still up and running. The program is reviewed regularly and changes do take place, such as the increases to required investment amounts and changes to the real estate acquisition route which are set out above.

Will your family also get residency in Portugal?

If you apply as the principal applicant on the Portugal Golden Visa program you can also add your immediate family to your application.

For this visa type, dependents who are entitled to apply with you include:

  • Your spouse
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Unmarried dependents still in education between the ages of 18 and 26
  • Your parents if they are both over 65

Does Portugal extend its Golden Visa?

Portugal Golden Visas are issued initially for a 2 year period, After this they may be renewed for 3 years at a time. After 5 years, Golden Visa holders may apply for citizenship in Portugal if they choose to.

Portugal is an attractive place to live, study or work — and its Golden Visa is rightly regarded as one of the best available options for people looking to move to Europe through investing there. This guide covers all the basics about how Golden Visas work, the application process and costs — perfect if you’re just starting your research into how best to make your dream of a new life in Portugal come true.

Take all the professional advice you need to make sure the process of applying for a Golden Visa is smooth — and don’t forget to use Wise to cut the costs of currency exchange when you’re sending money internationally.


  1. Imigrante - Art 90-A

Source checked on 01.18.2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more
Travel Tips

Money and banks in Portugal

Portugal saw an increase in tourism of 10% in 2015, with 10.18 million foreign visitors. In fact last year was the best ever year for tourism in Portugal with...

21.06.17 4 minute read

Tips, news and updates for your location