Investing in Portugal
Portugal boasts a rich and diverse culture, Mediterranean climate, and a safe and stable setting ideal for raising families, conducting business or travelling. Investors find many opportunities in Portugal’s secure and fast-developing market, including the following:
- Residence visa waiver for entering Portugal.
- Live and work in Portugal.
- Visa-free travel within the Schengen member states.
- Permanent residency or citizenship of Portugal after five years as a temporary resident.
- Inclusion of family members, such as spouse or partner, dependent children and dependent parents.
Golden Visas for Investors
Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Program is offered in accordance with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Department of Consular Affairs and the Portuguese Trade and Investment Agency (AICEP).
Aimed at attracting foreign direct investments to the country, the program yields a residency permit in Portugal to non-EU investors who fulfil one of the investment options below and meet the following requirements:
- Provide proof that investment funds originate from abroad.
- Hold no criminal record.
- The main applicant’s property is not frozen within the boundaries of the EU.
- Pay application and processing fees where applicable.
- Enter Portugal for the first time on a valid Schengen visa.
- Meet or exceed the minimum stay requirements. (Seven days for the first year, 14 days for subsequent two-year periods.)
1. Property Investment Options
In July 2015, through Act 63/2015 and Regulatory Decree 15-A/2015, the required investment options were revised and new ones added. Investors can now choose from the following:
- Applicants may acquire property valued at €500,000 or more, or
- Applicants may acquire property valued at €350,000 or more for properties more than 30 years old or located in urban regeneration areas designated for refurbishing, or
- Acquisition of property fitting any of the above requirements with 20% reduction on the minimum amount of investment, if purchased on a low density population area (€400,000.00 or €280,000.00)
Golden Visas For Investors in Portugal
Previously, a residence visa was granted where investments were made in Portugal via one of the following forms:
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 350,000 to be applied to research activities carried out by entities which are part of the national scientific and technological system
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 250,000 to be applied in investment or support for artistic production, or the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage
- The transfer of funds of at least EUR 500,000 for the acquisition of units in investment or venture capital funds for the capitalisation of small and medium-size companies
- An investment creating 10 new jobs in Portugal
- A passive investment of EUR 1 million
The new option for Property Acquisition is:
- The purchase of a property for the minimum amount of EUR 350,000 for the purpose of refurbishing it, for properties that were constructed more than 30 years ago or are located in areas of urban regeneration. The EUR 350,000 threshold includes not only the property’s price but also the investment in the refurbishment works
There are minimum residency requirements in order to qualify for the renewal of the Golden Residence Permit. However, these are very modest: seven days during the first year of residence in order to be entitled to the first renewal, and 14 days over the two subsequent year periods necessary for renewals.
Discover all your options
We work with leading investment firms in Portugal to ensure your investment is protected and compliant with Portuguese laws to ensure your residency visa application is a success. Complete our enquiry form to find out more.
Portugal Real Estate Investments
The property market in Portugal experienced a significant increase in demand between 2000 and 2008, which led to developers working hard to meet the demand. However, with the global financial downturn in 2008, demand for properties decreased, leaving many newly-built properties available. Therefore, prices decreased and a strong opportunity for value was created and still exists as the market corrects itself.
The market today
At the end of January 2018, 5.717 total global investors had participated in the Golden Visa Program and 9.559 family members have been approved.
The Portuguese Immigration Service recently released statistics based on the continued success of the Portuguese Golden Visa Program that calculated the complete total investment brought along by the Golden Visa Program has now reached over 3.51 billion Euros. For most global investors, they have selected properties as their qualifying investment with Portugal.
In addition to high-performance trends, the Institute for Economics and Peace has Portugal rated as the third of the World’s Safest and Most Peaceful Countries, following Iceland and New Zealand.
Our research indicates that the most desirable areas are:
- Lisbon – Portugal’s capital city
- Estoril Coast and Cascais region – offering a strong lifestyle focus
- Troia region – with a tropical atmosphere, only 40 km’s south of Lisbon
- Algarve region – Portugal’s main tourist region, thriving with high-quality beaches and integrated resort communities
These areas offer buyers various features and the highest value for money:
Prime developments close to the capital city of Lisbon
- Both Lisbon and the Estoril Coast/Cascais regions offer prime property developments, which to date have been the main focus for residence and citizenship investors in Portugal
- Despite the extensive coastline that the Algarve region offers, building restrictions and nature protection laws have prevented over-development, which generates higher value for the existing and approved projects due to a balance between supply and demand
- These usually have a golf course or community at their core offering properties that cater to all types of owners and include locals, new residents, second homeowners and vacationers. Both the Algarve and Troia region, alongside the Estoril Coast and Cascais regions offers a good supply of planned communitiesIntegrated Master-Planned communities
The interest from foreign buyers in these areas has increased exponentially since the Golden Residence Program was launched late in 2012. With the influx of foreign owners to these areas, the property values in Portugal are increasing. This also leads to a higher quality of design and build of planned communities, in turn attracts further long-term value.
Golden Visas for EUR 350,000
Golden visa legislation in Portugal allows a 30% reduction in the qualifying limit through investment in buildings which are over 30 years old and in need of renovation work. This brings the required investment down from €500,000 to just €350,000.
Properties that fall into this category are not only difficult to come by, due to stringent requirements, but it is difficult for international investors to manage the renovation works from aboard.
We have a selection of renovation projects to offer in Lisbon and other locations which will allow investors to qualify for the reduced investment route. The cost of the renovation work is included in the price and will be completely managed for you by the developer, saving overseas buyers the stress and time and costs of overseeing this aspect themselves.
Financial Return on Investment
Some of these properties offer a guaranteed rental return of 4% per annum. The projects we can offer vary in price, and a portfolio of properties can be bought to make up the required €350,000 investment.
Due to the rarity and demand of such developments, these properties sell quickly when released onto the market. We urge investors who are seriously interested in these opportunities to contact us as soon as possible as we often have a waiting list in place for such renovations.
Golden Visas and Guaranteed Rental Income
There are several great opportunities to purchase an investment property which are managed by a globally recognised property management companies, offering guaranteed rental return and access to the Portuguese Golden Visa programme. These are often within a managed hotel complex.
- Guaranteed total return of 25%, paid over a minimum of 5 years (5% p.a)
- A 25 year management and rental agreement
- Prices ranging in price from €550,000 to €1,050,000 for existing freehold property
- Ongoing performance related annual income, this is not guaranteed but projected to be 5% pa
- No additional management costs
Investors purchasing property at or above €500,000 will qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
Portuguese Banking arrangements
As you would expect, we work with Portugal's leading investment and retail banks to assist our clients with the necessary banking relationships to organise their investments.
Taxation in Portugal
Portugal has a lenient tax regime on non-resident income and newly arrived residents who may also qualify as Non-Habitual Residents (NHRs), although the standard regime imposes an income tax at higher and progressive rates on the income of other residents.
Non-residents are taxed at 25 percent on Portuguese source employment and self-employed income, and at 28 percent on capital gains, rental income and various forms of investment income.
The NHR regime is designed to attract talented individuals in high value-added activities and high net worth individuals. The incentives include a reduced tax rate of 20 percent on Portuguese source income from designated professional activities and a tax exemption on a wide variety of foreign source income, including pensions, interest, dividends, royalties, as well as income from overseas professional activities, subject to certain conditions.
The employment areas which qualify for NHR status are technical professions (architect, engineer, geologist etc); artists, actors and musicians; doctors and dentists; medical and educational professionals; IT; scientific; business investors and managerial talent. A comprehensive list can be obtained from Haskew Law.
technical professions (architect, engineer, geologist etc); artists, actors and musicians; doctors and dentists; medical and educational professionals; IT; scientific; business investors and managerial talent. A comprehensive list can be obtained from Haskew Law's partners in Portugal.
The NHR scheme is available for individuals not treated as tax residents in Portugal at any time in the immediately preceding five years. Engagement in a high-value activity is not a requirement for tax-exemption of other sources of income. The entitlement is granted for a period of 10 years from the year in which the applicant becomes tax resident in Portugal. To be tax resident, the individual has to remain in Portugal for 183 days in the tax year, or alternatively, on or by 31st December of the tax year, they must hold a dwelling with the intent to use it as a permanent residence.
Residents of Portugal who do not qualify as NHR are subject to a progressive personal income tax rate up to 48%, although additional surcharges for 2014 apply, dependent upon income levels. Currently, a 3.5% surcharge is levied, plus an additional 2.5% solidarity surcharge on income above Eur 80,000 rising to 5% on income above the Eur 250,000 level. Note that these surcharges also apply to non-exempt income of an NHR.
The standard rate of corporate income tax is levied at 25% and the standard rate of VAT currently being applied is 23%.
Company Formation In Portugal for investors
The formation of a company encompasses the following steps:
Step 1 - Approval of business name and issue of legal person´s card
The first step comprises having the prospective company´s name and objects approved. A request is made through a specific form or via the internet, where three different names are proposed and presented in descending order of preference. The company´s object is also subject to approval. Check the name requirements and some examples of valid company objects.
Competent authority: National Registry of Legal Persons (RNPC)
- Standard form no. 11, in duplicate;
- Standard form no. 10;
- Proof of payment of the respective fees.
If accepted, the request is submitted:
- Business name admissibility certificate, valid for 90 days.
Average wait: 2 days for approval of a 1st application.
Step 2 - Depositing the capital
Capital contributions in cash must be deposited in a credit institution. A bank account in the name of the prospective company must be opened for this purpose and, on signing the memorandum of association, the deposit of the capital must be proven by affidavit of the members, provided with full assumption of liability.
Step 3 - Signing the memorandum of association
A company is officially established when the memorandum of association is signed by all members and their representatives.
The signature of all members or their representatives must be legalised in situ.
- Memorandum of association.
Average wait: 0.5 days.
Legal status of the company before registration
Step 4 - Registering the company
The company only possesses legal personality after it has been registered. Thus, after signing a memorandum of association the company must be registered at the respective Registry of Companies. Request for registration can be made via the internet. The Registry of Companies will require the publication of the company´s article of association.
Competence authority: Registry of Companies Office
- Official form;
- Declaration of commencement of trading;
- Legalised copy of the memorandum of association;
- Certificate of Admissibility of the Business Name.
- Company Registration Certificate.
Average wait: 3 days. The time necessary to obtain the Registration Certificate varies from registry office to registry office (it can take from 8 days to several weeks).
Deadline: 60 days from the date the memorandum of association entered into.
Step 5 - Declaring the commencement of trading
A declaration of commencement of trade, establishing the start of business for fiscal purposes, is submitted via the internet or through a specific form obtained at the local Tax Office, which must be signed by a certified public accountant.
Competent authority: General Tax Directorate
- Form no. 1886 (INCM), in triplicate, with the relevant data regarding the licensed accountant, duly certified;
- Certificate of Incorporation;
- Photocopy of the memorandum of association.
- Declaration of the commencement of trading.
Average wait: 0.5 days.
Deadline: prior to the commencement of activity, or within 90 days of the incorporation date at the National Registry of Corporate Bodies (Registo Nacional de Pessoas Coletivas).
Step 6 - Registering with Portuguese Social Security
Registering the company and its employees as contributors to Social Security.
Competent authority: Regional Social Security Office
- Contributor ID form;
- Legalised copy of the memorandum of association;
- Certificate of Incorporation;
- Minutes concerning the appointment of the members of the company´s bodies established in the articles of association and a definition of their status regarding remuneration;
- Photocopy of the National ID and Taxpayer cards of the members of the company´s bodies established in the articles of association;
- Declaration of the commencement of trading.
Average wait: 3 days.
Deadline: 10 days from the date of the Declaration of the commencement of trading for tax purposes.
All of these steps can be implemented at Centro de Formalidades de Empresas (Companies House) or, independently, at each of the competent public offices, some of which are available online.
On concluding these steps, it may be necessary for the company to license the business activity to be undertaken.
The "On-the-Spot Firm" initiative makes it possible to form a private limited company, single member limited company or public limited company in just one office in a simple and very rapid manner (around 55 minutes).
Obtaining a Certificate of Admissibility beforehand is not required in the "On-the-Spot Firm" procedure.
The definitive legal person ID card, company memorandum and articles of association and extract of the entry in the company register are handed over on the incorporation of the company. The Social Security number is also immediately allocated. The Registry Office will guarantee communication to all entities that should be notified of the incorporation of the company, as well as guarantee that all subsequent procedures will be performed.
An "On-the-Spot Firm" can be formed in Company Registry Offices and/or at Company Registry desks operating in Company Official Procedures Centres (CFE).
Those using the "On-the-Spot Firm" procedure are automatically registered in a centre of arbitration and provided with a .pt internet domain.
"On-the-Spot Firm" formation procedure
1 - Choose the business name and type of memorandum and articles of association
Choose one of the business names from the list of pre-approved names provided by the "On-the-Spot Firm" customer service desk. An expression indicating the company´s intended object is always added to the business name. The interested party may alternatively submit a Certificate of Admissibility issued by RNPC. Select one of the draft memorandum and articles of association packs, approved by the Directorate-General of Registry and Notary Public Acts, available from "On-the-Spot Firm" desks.
2 - The members of the company undergoing incorporation are present at the "On-the-Spot Firm" desk
The information/documents to be submitted by each member:
- Taxpayer card;
- National ID card, passport or driver´s licence.
- Photocopy of Legal Person ID Card (NIPC),
- Original copy of the Extract of Entries in the Company Registry, proving all entries in force and issued less than 1 year previously,
- Photocopies of the national ID and taxpayer cards of the legal representatives of the company;
- The minutes of the resolution of the general meeting (this document may not be required; it depends on what is established in the company´s articles of association);
- Photocopy of the up-to-date deed of incorporation or memorandum and articles of association, issued by the respective Company Registry Office.
3 - Finalisation of the procedure
The company´s documents are drafted there and then, and the certificate of the company´s registration, the memorandum and articles of association, legal person ID card and social security number of the company are handed over.
4 - Subsequent acts
The declaration of the commencement of trading, duly filled in and signed by the licensed accountant, can be immediately submitted on incorporation. If it is not, then it must be submitted within 15 days of the date of incorporation.
The deposit of the capital has to be completed within five working days of the incorporation of the company.
- The Certificate of Admissibility is not required;
- The immediate receipt of the company´s papers.
- Impossibility of reserving a name or choosing a name that pleases the user;
- The standard memorandum and articles of association available are very restrictive;
- Only the following company types can be formed:
- Private limited company (Lda.);
- Single member limited company and Public limited company (S.A.), as long as the capital does not comprise capital contributions in kind and the company´s incorporation does not require prior approval.
Facts About Portugal
Portugal holds the records for the longest, and shortest, reigning monarchs in the world
The first ruler Alfonso I Henrique of Portugal reigned for 73 years, 220 days; Crown Prince Luís Filipe was technically King of Portugal for 20 minutes after his father Dom Carlos I was assassinated on 1 February 1908 and before he was wounded in the same attack and died shortly afterwards.
Portugal is the oldest nation-state in Europe
it became the kingdom of Portugal in 1139, and Portugal's borders have barely changed since 1297 when the Portuguese and Spanish signed a treaty handing over the Algarve to Portugal. The first king, Alfonso I Henriques, came to power in 1143 and the country remained a kingdom for the next 800 years up until 1910, when it became a republic.
Portugal’s official name República Portuguesa (the Portuguese Republic) is named after the country’s second largest city of Porto
Today, Portugal consists of mainland Portugal, the Azores and the Madeira Archipelago. The nine islands of the Azores are situated about two hours’ flight from the mainland in the Atlantic Ocean. The Madeira Archipelago, which consists of Madeira, Porto Santo and two uninhabited islands which are nature reserves, lies about 500km off the African coast.
Portugal's dictatorship for almost half of the 20th Century is considered the longest in Europe
The authoritarian regime was in power from 1926 to 1974, with Antonio de Oliviera Salazar in control for most of that time. First was the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), followed by the Estado Novo (‘New State’). A bloodless coup known as the ‘carnation revolution’ overthrew the authoritarian regime on the 25 April 1974. This day is commemorated every year with the public holiday Freedom Day. Portugal became a democratic republic in 1976.
Portugal was the world’s first maritime power and birthplace to some of the world's first explorers
It was at the forefront of European exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries: During the Age of Discovery, Ferdinand Magellan was the first person to circumnavigate the globe; Vasco de Gama discovered the sea route to India; Bartholomew Diaz was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa, which he called the Cape of Good Hope; and Álvares Cabral and others discovered new lands, including Brazil, parts of Africa and the Far East – and claimed them for Portugal.
Portugal’s colonial empire spanned 600 years, the longest-lived of the modern European empires
At its height, it included what are now 53 different countries. Brazil got independence in 1822, all of Portugal’s African colonies were independent by the end of 1975 and the last Portuguese colony, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.
Portuguese is the official language of eight other countries outside of Portugal
As a result of its colonisation, Portuguese is spoken in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, as well as Goa in India and Macau. It’s the 6th most spoken first language in the world with around 203 million speakers (2014).
Portugal was first European nation to engage with the transatlantic slave trade
Taking slaves from West Africa to the New World. It was also the first colonial power to abolish slavery, some 50 years before Britain, Spain, France and the United States.
Portugal is a founding member of NATO and an EU member
It joined the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union (EU), in 1986. Portugal was awarded a 78 billion EUR EU/IMF bailout by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2011 on the understanding that the government would adopt austerity measures.
Portugal was one of the first countries to adopt the euro
You can still exchange Portuguese escudo banknotes for euros: it officially gave up its own currency, the Portuguese escudo, in favour of the euro in 1999. Euro currency was introduced in 2002 and the Banco de Portugal (Central Bank of Portugal) will continue to exchange escudo banknotes until 28 February 2022.
The earliest recorded hot air balloon ascent was in Portugal
A model hot air balloon invented by Father Bartolomeu de Gusmão (1685–1724) ascended on 8 August 1709 at the Casa da India, Terreiro do Paço, Portugal.
Lisbon is older than Rome and among the oldest cities in Europe
Archaeological finds dating back to 1200BC reveal Phoenician populations in and around Portugal's capital city.
Around 81 percent of Portugal’s population are Roman Catholics
Christianity came to Portugal when it was part of the Roman Empire. Church and state have been separate since the days of the First Republic (1920–26) but Catholic moral and legal codes have a foundation and most traditional festivals and fairs have religious origins.
Monks and nuns are credited with creating some of Portugal's tastiest traditional treats
You can eat a nun’s belly (barrigas de freira), an angel’s double chin (papos de anjo) and fat from heaven (toucinho do céu) in Portugal; they are all delicious pastries. The monks and nuns in Portugal’s many monasteries and convents used egg whites to starch their habits and preserve wine and made cakes and pastries with the leftover egg yolks.
Women in Portugal live six years longer than men
A gender gap greater than in most other OECD countries. According to the OECD 2014 statistics, life expectancy at birth in Portugal is 77.3 years for men, and 83.6 years for women.
Portugal was the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage in 2010
Portugal has come a long way since homosexuality was outlawed and punishable by imprisonment under the fascist Estado Novo regime. It also ranks 10th out of 49 countries worldwide for its record on LGBT human rights in the 2015 Ilga-Europe Rainbow Country Rankings.
The longest bridge in Europe is in Portugal
The six-lane, cable-stayed Vasco de Gama bridge crossing the Tagus River to the north of Lisbon is over 10 miles long.
The Portuguese are fatalists
Portugal has a tradition of fado, the idea that one’s fate or destiny cannot be escaped and it’s the name given to a form of traditional Portuguese singing that’s been given UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage status. You’ll often hear fado in bars, and restaurants – melancholic songs of love, loss, hopefulness and resignation – accompanied by soulful guitars, mandolins and violins. Fadoalso appears in in everyday speech: people often use the expression oxalá which means ‘hopefully' or ‘if only’, from the Arabic inshallah = ‘god willing’.
Portugal’s most famous export and its national drink is Port
It is fortified wine made by adding grape spirit or brandy to the wine before fermentation ends making it sweet and very alcoholic at around 20 percent proof. The wine is then aged in oak barrels or steel containers for between two and six years before bottling. Port wine grapes are only grown on the steeply terraced hillsides of the Douro valley near Porto, one of the world’s oldest established wine producing regions and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Portugal is Europe's most westerly point
the westernmost point on mainland Europe is the Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca) in Portugal.
The biggest wave ever surfed was in Portugal
– an underwater canyon in the area makes this part of the Portuguese coastline the world’s biggest wave generator. In February 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara rode a gargantuan wave of 23.77m (78ft) off the coast of Nazaré in Portugal – and created a new world record.
To Qualify and Apply For a Gloden Visa For Portugal
To qualify for the Golden Visa, the foreign investor must purchase the aforementioned property valued at the required rate. Alternatively, the investor must transfer at least one million Euros as an investment into a Portuguese commercial enterprise and this investment must create at least ten jobs for Portuguese nationals.
The application for the Golden Visa
program must contain:
- proof of the foreign national’s investment
- A copy of your passport
- Two passport photos
- A Portuguese fiscal number
- Criminal record report
- A declaration from the Tax Departments of previous countries of residence
- A declaration from the Portugal Social Security confirming no debts to the country
- A declaration from the investor stating that the investor has complied with the Golden Visa program rules and proof that the investor obtained valid Portuguese health insurance.
The foreign investor is allowed to bring his/her spouse and children to Portugal. The Golden Visa is initially valid for one year and may be renewed twice for two year increments as long as the investor proves that the investor has resided in Portugal for at least seven days during the first year of residence and at least fourteen days during the second year of residence, and that the investment funds remain in place and are creating (or have created) the necessary ten new employment positions for Portuguese workers.
Benefits of the Golden Visa
In the inaugural year of the Golden Visa program, Portugal issued 318 visas, most of which were awarded to Chinese nationals with the remainder going to Russian nationals, Angolan nationals, and Brazilian nationals. Golden Visa holders are authorised to live, work, and travel into Portugal without the need for additional employment or travel documents.
Because Portugal is part of the European Schengen Area, which is comprised of 26 European countries, Golden Visa holders are authorised to travel anywhere within the Schengen Area for up to ninety days per trip. These areas include:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
Obtaining Permanent Residency and Portuguese Citizenship
After five years of holding the Golden Visa, the foreign investor and family can apply for Portuguese permanent residency. The application must contain proof that the foreign investor possesses a clean criminal record, financial independence sufficient to support him/herself and family, proof of domicile and residence in Portugal, and a basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.
Once the investor has been a resident for six years (counting the five years that the investor was a Golden Visa holder), the investor can apply for Portuguese citizenship through a legal proceeding called naturalisation. The naturalisation application also includes proof of a clean criminal record, but requires passage of a Portuguese language test to ensure the foreign national and family can adequately speak the nation’s language. Upon approval, the investor can apply for a Portuguese passport and live, work, study, and travel in Portugal without restriction or condition.
Importantly, Portugal recognises dual citizenship and does not require new citizens to renounce their previous nationality.
Booking a Consultation
Complete our online enquiry form and one of our senior managers will arrange a confidential consultation to discuss your requirements and potential options.
At Haskew Law, our team are highly acclaimed as ready to manage even the most complex of cases. Our thesis, however, is to keep things as simple as possible. We believe it is important our clients are comfortable and remain in control of their international plans throughout the process. We endeavour to protect our clients best interests while delivering outstanding results.