The Golden Visa application in Portugal is quite straightforward. Below is a detailed list of steps to take toward a successful application process.
Step One: Decide On Your Investment Type
First things first. You need to analyze the list of available investment types and decide on which investment you will move forward with. Tip: more than 90% of all Portugal Golden Visa applicants have chosen to move ahead with a real estate investment. Nevertheless, the fund option also started gaining traction in recent years.
Step Two: Gather All The Necessary Documents
You need to gather all necessary documents for yourself, the main applicant, as well as all those for your dependents, if you have any. This step may get a bit tiring, especially with all the translations, notarizing, apostilles, and certifications. However, a professional advisor will help alleviate the boredom.
Step Three: Get A NIF & Open A Bank Account
As mentioned above in the article, getting a NIF and opening a bank account in Portugal can practically both be done within a day. This is a task that you can delegate to your lawyers to complete without your presence in the country.
Step Four: Finalize The Investment
Now that you chose which investment type to go with, it’s time to pay up and lock in your investment in Portugal.
Step Five: Submit Pre-Application
With your qualifying investment made and your paperwork ready, you will submit your pre-application online to SEF. In most cases, your law firm will do this on your behalf and notify you if there is anything missing.
In standard times, it takes roughly two months from the time you submit your documents until your appointment date.
Step Six: Schedule & Attend Your SEF Appointment
After analyzing your pre-application, SEF will provide you with a set of available dates for a biometrics appointment. On the chosen appointment date, you and your dependents need to physically show up at the corresponding SEF office in order to submit your fingerprints and make your application official.
Step Seven: Get Your Golden Visa And Renew
Bingo! You and your dependents receive your Golden Visa residence cards. Your law firm or your professional advisor will collect the cards and send them your way. Each card is valid for two years and at the end of the validity period, you will renew your Golden Visa card to receive a new one.
In standard times, it takes roughly four months from your biometrics appointment until you receive your cards.
Step Eight: Become A Portuguese Citizen
After you renew your initial Golden Visa card twice and complete a total of five years, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal. The citizenship application typically takes anywhere from six months up to a year. Once you receive your permanent residence or citizenship, you will no longer need to maintain your investment in Portugal.
Timeline: What Is The Timeline For The Golden Visa Process?
The initial application and the supporting documents are submitted online to Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF). SEF is the official immigration and border services office in Portugal. Once they approve your application, you then need to appear for an interview in person.
There are numerous SEF offices across Portugal, and you may apply for any of them, regardless of where you made your investment. That way, you can avoid districts with long waitlists such as the SEF office in Lisbon. It can take up to six months for SEF to approve and provide a biometrics appointment date, as long as it is not one of the high-demand locations.
As the main applicant, you and all your dependents can book the SEF appointment simultaneously. After the in-person interview, you will receive your Golden Visa cards. It typically takes around four months to receive these residence permit cards.
Your residence clock starts ticking on the day your Golden Visa card is issued.
Year One And Two
Your initial Golden Visa residence card will be valid for two (2) years. In these two years, you must spend a total of fourteen (14) days in Portugal.
At the end of this period, you need to renew your residence permit. So, between 30-90 days prior to the expiration date of your card, you need to repeat the above SEF appointment to renew your cards. For the renewal, you need to re-submit the up-to-date documentation (ie. criminal records), biometrics, and necessary application processing fee.
Year Three, Four, And Five
Your renewed Golden Visa residence permit will be valid for three (3) years. Within those three years, you must spend at least twenty-one (21) days in Portugal.
At the end of the fifth year, you have three options:
- Apply for Permanent Residence in Portugal
- Apply for Citizenship in Portugal
- Continue with the Golden Visa temporary residence program
If you decide to become a permanent resident or a citizen in Portugal, you no longer need to maintain the Golden Visa investment you made in the country.
The above application, stay, and renewal requirements always apply to all Golden Visa cardholders, including the main applicants and the dependents.