First, let me give you the good and not-so-good news: Yes, you still have time, but not much. You’ll need to get your act together today to benefit from the current rules.
Before I get into the details, a reminder on new regulations on real estate acquisition and investment funds might be helpful:
- If you buy property in Lisbon, Porto, or along the coast, you won't be able to apply for a Portugal Golden Visa,
- The minimum investment level for fund subscription will be raised to €500,000 from €350,000.
Where Do You Begin Your Portugal Golden Visa Application
Portugal Golden Visa application process is a very straightforward one, however, some steps need to be handled carefully before you can proceed further. Let me quickly go through them.
First and Foremost: Get Your Portuguese Tax Identification Number - One Week
If you’re going to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, NIF is a term you’d better get acquainted with. You’re going to need it in your application and later during your stay in Portugal. However, note that obtaining a NIF doesn’t mean you'll be subject to taxation in the country.
The following documents are required for the NIF application:
- Your passport
- Proof of address
- NIF application form
- Declaration forms to assign your NIF representative
The process for NIF acquisition usually takes around one week.
Another Main Step: Open your Portuguese Bank Account - Approx. 20 days
This is another important step for your Portugal Golden Visa application. As the main applicant, you’re going to need a bank account in Portugal. Note that each bank in Portugal has its own set of procedures and rules. Not all banks in the country, for example, allow you to open a bank account remotely. However, some banks are flexible. You'll need the following documents when you’re opening a bank account:
- Proof of your address
- Your passport
- Your NIF number
- Return on investment
- Application forms
These documents must be signed by both a lawyer and a notary in Portugal. You'll need to post these documents to the bank once they've been certified.
This process might take around 20 days. This is mainly because you’ll need to send the documents via post and delays might occur.
Before I continue with the next steps, I would like to highlight that the two initial steps can be done simultaneously. This is how we proceed with our clients now, even before they decide on their investment method. While all this bureaucracy is in place, we present them with the available investment options to accelerate the process.
Time To Commit Your Funds: Make Your Investment - One Day
This is the easiest part if you’ve made up your mind about your investment. You’ll make the transfer and voila. After this is completed, we’ll move on to the next step.
It's worth noting that the process for a fund subscription is quicker than real estate acquisition. This is mainly because real estate purchases require more research due to the abundance of market options. Furthermore, real estate investment is typically a family decision, and most investors want to look at the neighborhood, the condition of the property, the size of the property, and so on. Fund subscription, on the other hand, is mostly based on numbers and can be completed remotely. Lately, most of our clients are showing more tendency towards fund subscriptions as it’s hassle-free.
Note that, although I’ve put “one day” for the money transfer, it might take longer due to bank transfer speed, country regulations, or so on. It’s going to be wise to get all this information from your bank beforehand.
Prepare Your Documents - Two to Three months
I know it sounds longer than it should be, but let me explain. In some countries, getting all the required documents and apostilling them can take ages. This again shows that all these steps should be dealt with simultaneously to avoid any problems.
For the process, you'll need to have specific personal documents on hand, such as a marriage certificate, police record, and birth certificate. Once they’re ready, these documents must also be apostilled, validated, and translated into Portuguese.
The criminal record is another important paper and it’s handled differently in some countries. We know from experience that some countries require a letter from the Portuguese Consulate before they can issue your criminal record.
You may need to submit some documents in Portugal in addition to those from your native country. These documents include the following:
- A certificate showing that you have no debt in Portugal (can be obtained from Portuguese tax and national insurance office),
- Your criminal record in Portugal,
- The proof of investment and related documents, such as property purchase paper, or letter from your fund manager,
- The payment confirmation letter from the bank
Hard Part Is Over: Submit Your Application - One Day
Here we go. Once all the above steps are completed, it’s time to submit your application online via SEF portal. This is another important step where having a competent lawyer will save you time and effort. If there is no missing signature or document, it can easily be done in one day.
What Else You Need To Know
I’ve tried to give you a sample timeline based on our experience with customers from all around the world. This process may take less or more time depending on your circumstances.
In some countries, bureaucracy can slow down the process. In some, bank transfers can cause delays. A missing signature or a signature mismatch is another scenario. To sum up: The clock is ticking!
Which Is Faster: Fund Subscription or Property Acquisition
I’ve briefly mentioned that fund subscription is quicker than real estate investment. Let me elaborate a bit further. Buying a property, either as an investment or for relocation purposes, requires physical inspection. Although virtual viewings have been very popular, you’d want to check the house yourself. Plus, there is more paperwork involved for real estate purchases. Again, there is still time, but not much. If you’ve made up your mind about getting a house in Lisbon or Porto, you’d better hurry.
What Can Get Golden Visa Do for You
Get Golden Visa is an investment advisory company for people seeking an additional residency or citizenship through investment. We’ve helped hundreds of investors from all around the world in their quest for Portugal Golden Visa, either through the investment fund or property acquisition. We’ve simplified their search through an unbiased, straightforward approach.
We have a local office in Portugal where our licensed investment professionals will help you choose the right investment. We will accompany you throughout your Golden Visa application process, and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Please feel free to send us an email with any questions you might have. We will be happy to help in your search for the right investment in Portugal.
Charles Taylor Harris
Executive Director, Get Golden Visa