Portugal Golden Visa FAQ

If you have any questions about the Portugal Golden Visa program, chances are you will find the answers here.

Concept of FAQ support as frequently asked questions help

General Golden Visa Program FAQ

Find answers to the most common questions about the Golden Visa program in general, investment migration, settling and buying a property in Portugal.

1. Can a foreigner buy a house in Portugal?

There are no restrictions on buying a home in Portugal as a foreigner, and the real estate sector is well developed. Many foreigners settled in Portugal and invested in their second home there.

2. Can a loan be taken out to fund your investment in Portugal?

Yes, a loan can be taken out to fund your investment. However, it cannot be issued from a Portuguese financial institution. To qualify for the Golden Visa program the funds invested must come from a non-Portuguese bank.

3. Can I buy a property remotely?

The best option is to do live stream viewings form home. There are two ways to proceed with the investment and make a purchase if you really liked the property:

  1. You authorize a third party in Portugal (e.g. golden visa lawyer) with a power of attorney to obtain a property in your name. This power of attorney can also be granted from your home country and should be arranged in advance.
  2. You reserve the property by making a small down payment online and a) come to Portugal later yourself or b) provide a power of attorney to a third party in Portugal.

4. Can I travel to and live in any of the Schengen countries?

Yes, with the residence permit issued by Portugal, you can visit or live in other Schengen states for up to 90 days in 180 day period without a visa.

5. Do I have to register and pay Social Security contributions in Portugal?

No, it is not required. Although, if you don’t, you have to cover many health care costs yourself. In that case, it might be prudent to get private health insurance instead.

6. How are the online viewings of Portuguese properties realized?

The realization of online viewings is very easy. After having chosen the property we arrange a time that suits you and maybe another person that is important for the decision. The viewing is done through a normal messenger like FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Meet, Facebook, or Skype. You only need a stable internet connection that allows video calls from your country.

7. How is the education system in Portugal?

Portugal has a high standard of public and private schools. Public schools are free for both citizens and foreign residents while private schools require a considerable amount of money in fees. As with any private school, there are advantages: classes taught in English, smaller class sizes, additional extracurricular activities, and more modern facilities and training.

Whichever option you choose the education system in Portugal is well developed and offers to families a variety of schools and universities to make children grow as competitive individuals with endless opportunities for realization around the world.

8. How long can you live in Portugal without a visa?

US citizens and Non-EU citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.

9. Is it possible to use borrowed funds for investment?

Yes, it is possible to borrow funds that exceed the minimum amount for a Golden Visa. For example, for an investment of €600,000, you can take out a loan of €100,000 from a Portuguese bank). If the funds are not borrowed in Portugal, then you can use them for the full investment cost.

10. Is Portugal LGBT-friendly?

In 2019 Portugal was named one of the best countries in the world for LGBT people and is generally very tolerant of the gay community. The rights of those who identify with this community are recognized and enforced.

11. Is the cost of living in Portugal low or high?

You can retire comfortably in Portugal, in a large city, on an income of €1,200 EUR per month — or less. For some people, the value of your social security benefit is enough to cover your costs of living.

12. Portugal vs Spain Golden Visa: which is better?

What's better depends on what you're looking for and how fast you're looking to get citizenship.

After five years with the Portugal Golden Visa, you can get permanent residency and citizenship, but for the Spain Golden Visa, you must wait 5 years for permanent residency and 10 years for citizenship. To obtain permanent residency in Spain, you have to physically live in the country for at least 183 days per annum. In Portugal you're not required to live there for more than 7 days per year.

The minimum investment in real estate in Spain is €500,000 EUR while in Portugal it’s only €280,000 EUR.

13. Should all supporting documentation be translated into Portuguese?

Yes, anything that’s not in Portuguese needs to be certifiably translated (in addition to being legalized). Not even documents issued in English are accepted.

14. What are the key benefits of the NHR tax regime?

Non Habitual Residents in Portugal enjoy the following benefits:

  • Pay no wealth taxes
  • Enjoy tax exemption on gifts for family members
  • Enjoy free remittance of funds to Portugal
  • Enjoy a tax residency in an EU white listed jurisdiction
  • 0% tax on foreign sourced income (except only 10% tax rate on foreign-source pension income, since April 1, 2020)
  • Pay a flat tax of only 20% on a range of Portuguese income types.

15. What are the taxes and costs for property acquisition and ownership?

There are certain taxes and costs associated with buying a property in Portugal. These include IMI, IMT, stamp duty, notary and land registry fees.

Real Estate Investment Related Fees

The property costs vary depending on the purchase price, type of property and whether it will be your primary or secondary residence in Portugal. The following chart breaks down the Portugal Golden Visa fees and taxes for the investment in a property.

Fee Type Fee Amount
Property Investment €280,000 EUR — €500,000 EUR
IMT Transfer Tax 6% — 8%
Stamp Duty 0.80%
Surveyor Fees €300 EUR — €600 EUR
Notary Fee €1,000 EUR — €1,500 EUR
Land Registry Cost €200 EUR — €300 EUR
Property Taxes- IMI 0.30% — 0.80%
Legal Fees 1% — 2%

16. What do I need to open a bank account in Portugal?

Portuguese residency requirements include a bank account and NIF number before proceeding with your investment and submitting your application.

Once you have your NIF number, you can then set up a bank account. A bank account is required, as monies must be transferred to your Portuguese bank account to fund your investment. Again, you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer for this step. Many have connections with local banks and can aid in a seamless process.

It is simple to open with only a few items required.

  • NIF number;
  • Passport or state travel document;
  • Active telephone number capable of receiving SMS messages;
  • Proof of address from country of residence;
  • Proof of income;
  • Deposit into the account of €250 EUR to €300 EUR.

If you plan to be present for opening a bank account, you will need to bring the documentation listed above with you. The documentation you can bring to showcase proof of address includes a foreign bank statement, custom forms, or a sim card delivery note. We also advise having the €250-300 EUR in cash for an even smoother process. This entire process should take you no longer than 20 minutes, and you’ll be walking out another step closer to obtaining your Golden Visa.

17. What does “basic knowledge” of Portuguese mean?

The CIPLE Portuguese proficiency test (also known as the level A2 Portuguese language test) is an examination to determine if the test-taker has a basic understanding of the Portuguese language. It is a beginner-level test and will cover foundational knowledge.

You’ll need to be able to read, write and speak adequately in Portuguese. This includes having a good understanding of Portuguese phrases and frequently used vocabulary.

18. What is a Portuguese fiscal number - NIF?

The NIF is your Portuguese tax number. It must be acquired before opening a bank account. If not physically present, it is crucial to hire a lawyer for this step. Your NIF number is also required during property acquisition in Portugal, and all other tax-related transactions.

19. What is Portugal D7 visa?

Portugal D7 Visa is a unique form of visa that grants foreigners with a stable passive income the Portugal residence right or permits and an option to relocate or retire in Portugal.

Passive income earners, including retirees, who intend to move to Portugal may advantageously apply for a specific residence permit, known as the Portugal Passive Income Visa, also known as Retirement Visa.

The Portuguese government introduced the visa in 2007 and had since become the most sought-after visa by non-EU nationals seeking to relocate to Portugal. The visa will allow you and your family to obtain a residence permit and grant you access to all the associated benefits.

20. What is the most common type of investment?

The most common type of investment is in real estate. It has long been the most popular selection. This is due in part to the affordable properties for sale available in beautiful coastal and city areas. These homes may be used for leisure by the owner or as a rental property to accrue revenue.

21. What is the Portugal SEF agency?

The Portugal Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) is the main body responsible for issuing Golden Visa rules and regulations for foreigners. The SEF is a security service within the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) whose mission is to enforce immigration and asylum in Portugal, in accordance with the provisions of constitutional, legal and governmental guidelines. It is the only body of criminal police with specific and exclusive responsibilities in the control of citizens crossing land borders between Portugal and Spain.

22. What is the process for applying for NHR status in Portugal?

These are the 4 steps you need to follow to register as a non-habitual resident in Portugal. 

  1. First, you will need to obtain a Portuguese fiscal tax number (NIF) via the relevant tax office.
  2. Register yourself as a Portuguese tax resident. You can do so in any Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority office.
  3. Applying for NHR status. The Portugal tax regime for non-habitual residents can be obtained online, through the government's finance website. You must register to the website and provide NIF number, fiscal address, email address, and phone number.
  4. After you've registered successfully, a password will be sent via post mail, after approximately two weeks. Once you have that password, log into the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority portal and complete the final step for the NHR status.

You can also opt to seek the help of a professional service provider to assist you in the above application.

23. What nationality has made the most investments in Portugal’s Golden Visa residence permit scheme?

Portugal Golden Visa statistics report China as the main country that has invested in the residence permit programme. As of 2020 a total of 4,764 Golden Visas have been awarded to Chinese nationals.

24. What taxes apply to income generated in Portugal?

Rental income and income arising from capital (e.g. interest, dividends etc.) will be taxed at a rate of 28%. The Non-Habitual Residency program provides great tax advantages to those immigrating to Portugal. Professional individuals from high value-added activities are eligible to apply for a flat income tax rate of 20% for some Portuguese-sourced income, when practicing this activity in Portugal during the first ten years. The flat rate applies to income sources from some high-valued professions, as well as income from self-employment.

25. Where can you learn Portuguese and prepare for a language test?

You can choose to enrol in an online course or at a centre that offers A1 and A2 courses. When making use of supplementary methods of learning, you must make sure that it’s in local Portuguese and not a Brazilian dialect.

26. Where is the best place to buy property in Portugal?

Buying a Golden Visa property in Portugal is an excellent investment. The reasons for this are many, including the continually developing market and economy, the country's modernization, especially the big cities, and the quality living conditions. Here are the best places to buy a property:


The capital of Portugal, developing at a swift pace, offers many entertainment and business project opportunities. Prices in Lisbon are continually rising and investing in property for rent, sale, or living is definitely worth it.


Porto also has an extremely competitive market and significant interest from tourists. Investing in property guarantees you an excellent return. For every 100 euros invested in a property for tourists, it is expected to get on average 12 to 14 euros of annual revenue.


Algarve is a good investment, especially during the summer season, which is longer than many other European countries. Private rental is often a cost-effective and flexible way to have time to make permanent decisions. The area has beautiful natural landmarks and opportunities for active sports and recreation.

27. Why invest in real estate in Portugal?

Portugal offers one of the most dynamic and developing real estate markets in Europe. What makes it such an attractive destination for investment is the outstanding quality of life, the opportunity of acquiring a Golden Visa, business opportunities, security and economic stability plus some of the lowest costs of living in all of Europe.