Residence Permits for Investors in Portugal
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How to Get the Golden Visa?
In Portugal, since October 2012, according to legislation approved by the Portuguese Government, any individual investing in Portuguese national territory that meets certain specific requirements has the chance to acquire a Portuguese permanent residence visa.
These requirements in general can be achieved by a transfer of capital to a Portuguese bank, creation of 10 jobs or acquisition of real estate in the national territory.
This special residence authorization is known by all as "Golden Visa". So hereby foreign citizens (non-EU or non-EEA citizens) with this permission have the possibility to move freely within the "Schengen" Area.
The investment, which we refer to and which can provide the "Golden Visa" to these foreigners who reside in countries outside the EU or the EEA, must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years and shall be complementary to one of the following three situations:
Transfer of capital, where the minimum amount required is € 1,000,000 (one million euro). To do so, one must exhibit the declaration of the Portuguese financial institution proving that the capitals where duly transferred and that the person concerned is the sole proprietor or the first owner of the bank stock. The investment can be done in financial projects, e. g. the investor through a Portuguese company holds a shareholding with the minimum amount required, aforementioned;
Creation of at least 10 jobs. The applicant will only have to prove that the investment made, has created at least 10 jobs, proceeding with the registration of the workers in the social security, only having to present a certificate issued by the social security and duly updated;
The applicant acquires one or more real estate with the global amount equal or superior than € 500,000 (five hundred thousand euro);
In the 30th of June of 2015, the Law nr 63/2015 was published in the official gazette of Portugal; such Law has been enacted with the goal of bringing some changes to the earlier Law nr 23/2007 of June the 4th as amended by Decree-Law nr 305-A/2012 of October the 4th, regarding the Portuguese legal regime of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory.
The changes of great relevance are those related to the types of activities that allow the investor to apply for the so-called Golden Visa. Before there were only 3 types of investment foreseen and now there are 5 more, making it 8 ways of getting the resident permit for foreign investors off the Schengen area. The new ones are:
Urban rehabilitation – the acquisition of a real estate with 30 years’ minimum age of construction or the real estate must be located in an urban rehabilitation area and that the applicant performs construction works, with a minimum global investment of € 350,000;
Supporting, public or private, entities that operate within the scientific ambit – for this purpose the funding has to be invested in a public or private scientific research institution involved in the Portuguese scientific or technological system and the amount of the effective transfer must be equal or higher than € 350,000;
Promotion and funding of entities, activities or organizations, public or private, and that carry out artistic or cultural activities – for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage, through the local and central authorities, public institutions, public corporate sector, public foundations, private foundations of public interest, networked local authorities, local corporate sector organizations, local associations and public cultural associations, pursuing activities of artistic output, and reconstruction or maintenance of the national heritage. The applicant must perform an effective capital transfer of an amount equal or higher than € 250,000;
Capitalization of SMEs – for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund, dedicated to the capitalization of companies, capital injected under the Portuguese legislation, whose maturity, at the moment of the investment, is, at least, of five years and, at least, 60% of the investments is realized in commercial companies with head office in national territory. The amount of such capital transfer as to be a minimum of € 350,000 intended for those participation units.
Participation in the share capital of Start-ups or existing companies – Capital transfer for incorporation of a commercial company with head office in the Portuguese territory, combined with the creation of five permanent working jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial company with head office in Portuguese territory, already existing, with the creation or keeping of working jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years. The amount of such capital transfer as to be a minimum of € 350,000.
In order to promote the decentralization of the investments’ location, this Law grants additional benefits for those who invest in Portuguese territories with low population density, applying reductions of 20% on the aforementioned investment’s amounts.
Legal firms with whom we have established our partnerships are specialized in this type of services, since they feature extensive experience in all legal proceedings in what regards to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality and the rights of the foreigners (non-Members of the EU or the EEA). They have also in its scope a wide range of different products where the costumer can invest such as properties, real estate and even in some cases financial products.
 The holder of a residence permit "Gold" can move freely within the Schengen Area (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland).
Formal procedures in getting the Portuguese "Golden Visa"
Initially it is necessary to forward an application to the Regulator of emigration services, the "SEF" (Serviços de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras), the first formality to obtain the residence permit. This request implies a prior appointment, in which the applicant must fill in a form provided for this purpose and also by the following documentation:
• Passport or any other valid travel document (documents must be valid for at least 3 months);
• Valid Schengen visa or a short-term visa. For the residence permit to be issued, the citizens from countries outside the EU should rectify their situation in Portugal, as such, a period of 90 days is granted starting on the first entry in national territory. The short-stay visa and the Schengen visa can be purchased in the Portuguese Consulate in the country of origin;
• Evidence of legal entry and stay in the national territory;
• Evidence of health insurance;
• Requirement to consult the Portuguese Criminal Record by SEF (At the time of the request of the "Golden Visa");
• Certificate of criminal record in the country of origin, where resides for at least a year, duly authenticated by the Portuguese authorities (Portuguese Consulate or Apostille of the Hague Convention);
• Declaration of a pledge of honour by the foreign citizen, stating that he undertakes to meet the requirements that put him in accordance in getting the "Golden Visa";
• Document issued by the Tax & Customs Administration and the Portuguese Social Security, certifying that the individual has no debt;
• Evidence showing that one of the three types of the possible investments was undertaken by the claimant and in national territory;
Note: It's important to make clear that all the referred documents, coming from outside Portugal, have to be duly translated to Portuguese language and legalised with Apostille of the Hague Convention, otherwise they must be certified by the Portuguese Consulate in the origin country of the respective documents.
Once you have performed and submitted the application for the residence permit before the SEF, with the documentation duly presented the decision is made within the statutory period of 60 days.
The process of the "Golden Visa", in addition to the well-known investment requirements, triggers other conditions such as, obligatory maintenance schedules and stay periods of the investor (individual) in Portugal:
Whatever the investment activity carried-out, it is necessary that it lasts for at least 5 years starting from the date the residence permit is granted. Investors should remain in Portugal a minimum period and this can be successive or interpolated. On the 1st year 7 days, on the 2nd and 3rd years 14 days and on the 4th and 5th years also 14 days. These minimum staying periods will be conferred upon the issue of residence permits, since the first has a shelf life of 1 year, the second and third of 2 years.
It is possible for the applicant of the residence permit to extend the request for his immediate relatives, i.e. spouse and minor children, which is named as family reunification. As soon as the family member holding the residence permit claims the family reunification, it is granted for those the same period as the license holder.
When completed the entire period of the residence permit "Golden Visa", 5 years, the investor may obtain a permanent residence permit, and after 1 year only he may acquire Portuguese citizenship if he meets certain requirements 
 Requirements to obtain the Portuguese citizenship - 1 - Have been holder of a temporary residence permit for a period of five (5) years; 2 - Owning livelihoods; 3 - Tue guaranteed accommodation; 4 - Having sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.
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