A STEP-BY-STEP GOLDEN VISA APPLICATION GUIDE
STEP ONE: DECIDE HOW YOU WILL MAKE YOUR INVESTMENT
Before you apply for this visa, you need to have already made your investment.
If you are investing in real estate, bear in mind that property purchases in Portugal can take anywhere between one to three months to finalize.
STEP TWO: BEGIN GATHERING ALL THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
While you wait for your investment to go through, you can start gathering documents for your application as it can take a few months to obtain them all.
Requesting police checks can take some time, so while you are waiting to receive that document, you can work on getting your Portuguese credentials.
You’ll need to get a Portuguese NIF or fiscal number and open a Portuguese bank account, as well. Both of these things can take place remotely, so you can get ahead of the game before you arrive in Portugal.
STEP THREE: FINALIZE THE INVESTMENT
Transfer the funds needed to complete your investment to your Portuguese bank account. After that, you can make the investment.
STEP FOUR: TRANSLATE YOUR DOCUMENTS INTO PORTUGUESE
While you are waiting for your investment to finalize, you can focus on getting your documents translated into Portuguese. You’ll need to ensure that the translation is certified by a Portuguese notary or a Portuguese consulate in the country of origin to meet SEF’s requirements.
STEP FIVE: COMPLETE THE PRE-APPLICATION REGISTRATION
The immigration office, Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), has an online portal where you can submit your application. However, you have to pre-register before you can apply.
Since Portugal’s residence by investment scheme can be quite complicated, your lawyer or another legal representative is likely to handle this for you.
Once the pre-registration is completed through this website, you can then pay the application fee of 514,80€ ($590.00) and 80,29€ ($92.00) for each family member. You will also have to submit a copy of all of the required documents at this time.
STEP SIX: SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Once you are pre-approved, you can then make your appointment. In bigger Portuguese cities like Lisbon and Faro, it can take up to three months to get an interview.
If you schedule your interview in a less populated district, you might be able to reduce your waiting time. You can find a list of SEF branches here.
STEP SEVEN: ATTEND YOUR APPOINTMENT
In your appointment, an immigration official will interview you and they will collect your biometric data.
If you are applying with your family, be sure to bring them along so that you can submit all of the applications simultaneously. By doing this, you will save yourself months of application processing time.
STEP EIGHT: WAIT FOR APPROVAL
Once you’ve attended your appointment, you have to wait three to six months to be approved. When your application is finally approved, you must pay the permit issue fee of 5.147,80€ ($5,860.00) per person before you can receive your residence card.
STEP NINE: USE AND RENEW
As discussed, your residence permit will be valid for one year. You only need to renew your residence at the end of the first and third year. At that time, the permit issue fees will be half of their original price.
STEP TEN: BECOME A PORTUGUESE CITIZEN
If you’ve maintained your investment and your minimum residency requirements, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship after your five years of “golden residence.”
Note, I said “apply”.
You will likely need to apply for permanent residence before qualifying for citizenship, so don’t assume that they’ll just hand you a passport at the end of year five.
Also, remember that you will need to know some Portuguese, so if citizenship is your goal, make sure you brush up on the language.
If all goes well, you will eventually receive a Portuguese passport, one of the more powerful passports in the world.