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Europe - Portugal & The Golden Visa Program

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Is my dream of living in Europe still alive?

Yes, but it’s clearly not going to be as easy as things were, that’s for sure. There’s been lots of people firing questions about their long-term life plans so I thought it would be helpful to answer some of your many questions and shed some light on the lesser-known aspects of Visa’s post Brexit. 

How can I buy and live in Europe post Brexit?

Simply put, if you want to spend more than 3 months at a time in any European country, you will need to look into applying for a visa. After a bit of research, sooner or later you’ll come across what is known as a Golden Visa Program and if you’re diligent you might also come across non lucrative visas and other residency programs.

What country has the best Golden Visa scheme?

Comparing the 5 most popular countries for Brits, in my opinion, (drum roll please)….Portugal comes out top as it has a couple of incentives which can lower the threshold of initial capital outlay. There is also a lesser-known route you can take by applying for a D7 Visa which you might be very excited to learn about.

What is a Golden Visa?

It’s a scheme that encourages foreign investment into a country in return for allowing you to stay and live there with added rights. In Portugal, they have what they call a Golden Residence Program.

Do you need to be extremely wealthy to qualify for a Golden Residence Program?

Well, it’s certainly not for buyers on a tight budget but if you’re looking to buy a property as a second or even a primary home then the purchase cost price alone could make you eligible. 

How much does a Golden Visa/Golden Residency permit cost?

At present, the standard minimum investment is €500,000 which most interpret as the minimum price of property that they need to purchase but there are some other minimum investment options offering lower investment amounts.

€ 350.000, applied in research activities developed by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated in the national scientific and technological system;

€ 250.000, applied in investment or support of artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;

 € 350.000, aimed at the acquisition units in investment funds or venture capital funds focused on the capitalization of companies, 

€ 350.000, for the incorporation of a commercial company with its head office in Portugal, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or to increase the share capital of a commercial company with registered office in Portuguese territory, with the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years.

Are there any exceptions to the minimum €500,000 property purchase?

Yes, the good news there are some interesting exceptions here. If the property was built at least 30 years ago or located in an area of urban rehabilitation. In this case the minimum amount required by law for acquisition drops to € 350,000. You’ll need to check with your lawyer to check if your target property qualifies.

Can you include refurbishment costs as ‘invested money’ and reduce this reduce figure?

In some cases, yes. For example, if you buy a property built at least 30 years ago or located in an area of urban rehabilitation as above and agree to an execution of rehabilitation works, for a total amount of at least €350.000 then this may qualify you for a Golden Residency Permit. 

Are there certain areas or regions in Portugal that may require a smaller investment?

Yes, there are lots. The lower investment threshold applies to some properties located in low density territories, i.e.  fewer than 100 inhabitants per km2 or a per capita GDP of less than 75% of the national average. These are mainly interior areas with but with a few notable exceptions – there are even some areas in The Algarve. The list is a long one, so if you’re interested, then get in touch with us at the office. 
and you use some of the costs of refurbishment as your ‘invested money’

Can you sell the property and keep your residency? 

Yes, but only after 5 years. Until then, you need to renew your residence permit and, for that to happen, you need to keep the initial requirements (which involves keeping the property).
If you obtain residency, do you need to give up UK residency?

No, not according to Portuguese law, one thing does not harm the other. You can combine the two residency permits, without having to renounce one. You will however need to speak to an expert regarding your tax position

Do I need earnings to live in Portugal?

You will need to show you have the means of subsistence for a period of at least 12 months equivalent to €7,980 per year or €665 per month. 

Can I bring my family with this visa?

Yes, as long as you can illustrate that they won’t be a burden on the economy. The minimum means of subsistence is currently €3,990 per year, for the spouse/partner and €5,586 per year, for each child under 18 or over 18 at the applicant's expense

What if I don’t have enough money to buy a Golden Residence qualifying property? 

There are still options open to you and that’s when the D7 visa comes in. It involves a bit more leg work but a fraction of the cost.

Who can apply for a D7 Residence Visa?

It was aimed at retired foreign citizens and foreign citizens who have an income but could be suitable for many British people.

How do I apply for a D7 Visa?

The residence visa application must be submitted with the following documents: 

Self-declaration: Declaration signed by the applicant, specifying the reason for the visa 
application, the period you intend to stay in Portugal, the place of accommodation and indication of references in Portugal (name, address and telephone number of family and / or friends).
You’ll also need to provide proof of means of subsistence and proof of accommodation in Portugal - the latter can be Proof of purchase or lease of housing in Portugal, an invitation letter made by a citizen legally residing in Portugal, with a photocopy of the identity of the inviting person; or Proof of hotel reservation for a minimum period of one week. There are also some other admin jobs to complete such as providing copies of passports, criminal records and medical insurance etc

What are the necessary requirements? 

The main one is to prove that you have the minimum income that allows you to reside in Portugal, similar to those applying for a Golden Residence Permit. These are;

1st Adult (applicant): 100% of the current minimum wage (€ 665) x 12 months; 
2nd or more adults: 50% of the current minimum wage x 12 months; 
Children and young people under 18 and dependent children of legal age: 30% of the current minimum wage x 12 months. 

What's the procedure? 

It’s pretty straight forward. There are basically two stages involving visits firstly to the the Consulate or Embassy of Portugal in the country here in The UK and the second one before the Immigration Service (SEF) in Portugal. 

The D7 Visa allows its holder to enter Portuguese territory in order to apply for a temporary residence permit. It must be requested at the Embassy of the country of origin, and only with a valid residence visa can you travel to Portugal.
The average time for obtaining a residence visa varies between 30 to 60 days. 
After the visa is granted, it will be valid for two entries into Portuguese territory and for a period of 4 months.

Is this a long-term solution?

Well, it’s a start! In Portugal, once a temporary residence permit is granted, it is renewable for successive periods of 2 years and, after 5 years, the applicant may acquire the permanent residence permit or the Portuguese nationality. 
The holder of a residence permit resulting from the D7 Visa, cannot remain outside of Portugal more than 6 consecutive months or 8 intercalated months. 

Sounds great, what’s the next step?

After you’ve figured out which type of visa is best suited to you and your budget then get in touch with us at the office and we’ll happily talk it through with you.