In January 2019, it was recorded that 4.9% of the European Union’s (EU) overall population were non-EU nationals – that’s 21.8 million of the 446.8 million people living in the EU’s 28-member countries. It is abundantly clear that many individuals from the Middle East and everywhere else in the world are seeking a better life, a secured prosperous future or the benefits that come with an EU passport by obtaining citizenship in one of the member countries.
The most popular route to EU citizenship is via Portugal’s residency by investment program, also known as a Golden Visa Program. The program is an indirect yet simple and efficient path to EU citizenship. In this article, we will take a closer look at the benefits and advantages of transitioning from a Portuguese resident to an EU citizen.
In This Article:
- What is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program?
- Path to Citizenship
- Benefits of EU Citizenship
- Book a Free Consultation
What is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program?
Launched in October 2012, the Portugal residency and Golden Visa Program is a legal process based on the law that invites foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain fully valid residency permits in Portugal for themselves and their families.
The Portugal Golden Visa Program consists of a few simple steps and requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age, in good health, possess no criminal record, have confirmed investment sources and successfully pass due diligence checks. Individuals can apply as single applicants or as a family.
Eligible family members include the spouse of the main applicant and children (biological or adopted) under 18 years of age. Parents and children older than 18 years old can be included in the application if they are dependent on the main applicant.
If all the minimum criteria are met, applicants to the Portugal residency by investment program are required to purchase property in Portugal or make an alternative investment into the country – such as job creation or investing in a small local business – before the application can be filed.
Path to Citizenship
One of the many reasons why so many individuals seek out the Portugal Golden Visa Program is because it provides a legal path to citizenship. After successfully meeting all the program requirements and holding residency in Portugal for 5 years, individuals are then eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
To qualify for citizenship, residents must have no outstanding tax payments in Portugal, possess a clean criminal record in both Portugal and their home country, and are required to enter and pass a basic language test in Portuguese – where residents must prove their basic knowledge of the language by demonstrating that they can write, read and speak Portuguese at a preliminary level.
The citizenship application can take anywhere from 6 months up to a year and if approval is obtained, the issuing and receipt of the Portuguese passport generally take about six working days. The passport is valid for five years, after which it will have to be renewed. Once residents receive citizenship, they are no longer required to maintain their investment in Portugal.
Benefits of EU Citizenship
Freedom of Movement
A Portuguese passport is ranked as the 5th most powerful passport in the world for ease of travel. Being an EU member state, Portuguese citizens are automatically categorised as EU citizens and are granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to over 185 countries and territories around the globe, including the Schengen Area, the United States, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Full Working & Residential Rights
EU citizens are legally entitled to live, work and look for work in any of the EU member countries. An added benefit is that European employers prefer to work with dual citizens as they do not need complicated permits or visas.
Western European countries are known for their attractive environments, modern comforts and first-world conveniences. Living in this region of the world greatly enhances your lifestyle and standard of living in almost every aspect.
Subsidised Tertiary Education & Scholarships
Studying in the EU gives individuals an incredible advantage as it is home to reputable schools and universities, provides opportunities for international networking and career development, has famously diverse cities, high quality of life, and, of course, 28 different countries with free or affordable tuition fees. In fact, it is predicted that in 2020, 40% of people between the ages of 30 and 34 in the EU will have a higher education qualification.
Grow A Successful Startup or Expand Your Business
EU citizens can quickly and easily register a company or launch a branch of an existing EU-based business in any EU country, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Europe is famously known for supporting entrepreneurs and startups by providing efficient procedures done through a single administrative body as well as offering many different EU funds and initiatives that are available to support fledgeling companies.
Entrepreneurs and business people will also have access to the EU’s lucrative business and investment opportunities. The EU’s 28 member states include some of the wealthiest countries and is the world’s largest single market with an economic zone larger than that of the USA and Japan combined – that’s approximately 500 million consumers. Having unbridled access to this market could be the difference between your company remaining at a small operating scale or reaching international success in one of the biggest markets in the world.
Right to Consular Protection by the EU Member States
EU citizens who are in a non-EU country where their own national state has no representation are entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any other EU country that does have representation. EU member states must help EU citizens evacuate as if they were their own nationals in the event of an emergency. Protection also covers everyday situations like stolen passports, serious accidents or falling ill.
Access to National Healthcare Benefits
Portugal’s healthcare system is truly one of an international standard and is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the 12th best among United Nations-member countries. In addition to this, EU citizens will also benefit from reciprocal healthcare when they are in any of the EU’s 28-member states, whether on a long-term or short-term visit.
Peace & Stability
When choosing to reside in the EU, you will have absolute peace of mind when it comes to your safety and security. Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. To be more specific, it is the third safest country according to the 2020 Global Peace Index, the official ranking of the safest countries around the globe. And as an added benefit, Portugal is known to be a very diplomatic nation that maintains good relationships with almost every country in the world – which makes for a peaceful society and a stable economy.
Fast-tracking Through Customs
Individuals who have had to stand in the impossibly long queues with other no-EU citizens before getting out of the airports will appreciate having an EU passport for the benefit of being fast-tracked through customs.
Ultimate Plan B
Things can change in the blink of an eye – that’s why it is always a smart idea to have an insurance policy in place if unforeseen circumstances arise. The modern world is seeing an increase in unstable political and social environments, as well as unprecedented situations which are causing some nations to spiral into chaos. Having an EU passport grants you unlimited travel, safe passage and consular assistance in situations beyond your control.
EU citizens can own property in any of the EU countries without a permit. And given Europe’s high rates of immigration and tourism, investing in real estate and diversifying your property portfolio is sure to be a lucrative move.
Book A Free Consultation
When applying to any Citizenship or Residency by Investment program, please be sure to render the services of a government authorized agent and advisor like Savory & Partners. The internet is rife with fraudulent companies offering scams that promise citizenship or residency within an implausible timeframe and at an impossibly low price. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Savory & Partners is a government-approved agency that specializes in High-Net-Worth individuals applying to any Citizenship or Residency by Investment program. We are a British Authorised Agent with decades of experience who has helped over 1200 families obtain second citizenship and have a 100% success rate in the industry.
If you would like to apply to the Portugal Golden Visa Program or want to learn more about the other European residency through investment programs on offer, then contact us today for a free online consultation and one of our agents will happily aid you in your endeavours. All of our team members have at least 5 years of experience in Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs.
We are available on every channel convenient for you.