Both Portugal and Spain offer golden beaches, an enticing culinary scene, excellent year-round weather, beautiful architecture, rich culture and a safe and stable lifestyle in the heart of Europe. It is no wonder that so many High-Net-Worth individuals from the Middle East and beyond are seeking legal residence by investment through these nations’ Golden Visa Programs.
Portugal and Spain’s residency by investment programs attract hundreds of investors each year for the many benefits and advantages that come with holding a residency permit in one of these two countries. Provided that all program requirements are met, non-European Union nationals can obtain permanent residency – or citizenship in the long run – and gain access to the European Union.
In This Article:
- What Are These Golden Visa Programs?
- Golden Visa Benefits
- Application Time
- Time to Citizenship
- Golden Visa Requirements
- Golden Visa Residence Rules
- Eligible Family Members
- Golden Visa Investment Options
- Tax Advantages
- Book A Free Consultation
While both Portugal and Spain offer golden visas, the program requirements and conditions between the two differ. We take a closer look at the differences between the programs to give you a better idea of which golden visa program is better suited to your needs.
What Are These Golden Visa Programs?
Portugal’s Golden Visa Program was launched in October 2012 as 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 in exchange for a qualifying investment into the country.
The Spanish government passed a law in 2013 to launch the country’s residency by investment program – the Spain Golden Visa Program – to encourage foreign investment and boost the state economy.
Like Portugal, non-EU nationals can obtain fully valid residency permits in Spain for themselves and their families in exchange for a qualifying investment into the country.
Golden Visa Benefits
Both Portugal and Spain’s golden visas offer similar fantastic benefits and advantages for non-EU residents:
- Freedom of movement: As a permanent resident of Portugal or Spain, investors are also classified as a resident of the European Union. They will gain freedom of movement without restrictions in the Schengen Area.
- Health & Education: Investors and their families can enjoy quality education in schools and universities and world-class healthcare in Portugal or Spain.
- Pathway to citizenship: Both Golden Visa Programs offer an indirect path to citizenship if all residency requirements are met and maintained.
- Ease of travel: Once residents obtain citizenship in Portugal or Spain, they can then enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to over 185 countries and territories, including the USA, Singapore and Hong Kong.
- Ultimate insurance: Holding a golden visa in Spain or Portugal is a great Plan B to put your mind at ease in times of economic or political instability in your home country.
- Ease of Process: Easy, straightforward application and renewal process for both programs.
The processing time for Portugal’s Golden Visa Program can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months to be approved.
Spain’s processing time for a golden visa is comparably faster than Portugal. The program is known to be fast and efficient. Once the paperwork is submitted, it usually takes as little as 20 business days for the visa to be approved.
Time to Citizenship
After holding residency in Portugal for 5 years, individuals are then eligible to apply for citizenship without the need to live in Portugal.
Non-EU nationals have the opportunity to become permanent residents after the first 5-year residency period on the condition that they physically reside in Spain for 183 days per year. You can only apply for Spanish citizenship after you have lived in the country for 10 years.
Golden Visa Requirements
As with the benefits, both Portugal and Spain’s Golden Visa Programs have similar requirements. Applicants must:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Possess a clean criminal record
- Hold a valid medical insurance and health certificate
- Have enough funds to live in the country
- Make a qualifying investment and maintain it for 5 years
- Successfully pass due diligence checks
The only differences between the two are that Portugal’s Golden Visa Program only allows applicants who are not on the list of undesirables and have not been previously refused visas or entry in the Schengen Zone. In comparison, Spain’s Golden Visa Program does not have these requirements.
Golden Visa Residence Rules
There is a minimum residency requirement of 7 days per year for 5 years to maintain your residency permit.
The Spanish golden visa rules are more flexible than its counterpart. There is no residency rule to maintain the visa. You are only required to visit Spain once in the first year to provide your biometric data and then once each time the permit is renewed.
Eligible Family Members
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.
Eligible family members include the spouse of the main applicant and children (biological or adopted) under 18 years of age.
Golden Visa Investment Options
- Paying a Capital Transfer of at least €1 million.
- Generating 10 new jobs for a Portuguese business or single-member company (reduced to 8 positions if in a low-density area).
- Investing €500,000 in real estate. This is reduced to €400,000 if located in a low-density area.
- Investing €350,000 in a real estate rehabilitation project. This is reduced to €280,000 if located in a low-density area.
- Investing €350,000 into private equity funds.
- Invest at least €350,000 into an existing Portuguese business.
- Invest €250,000 into national heritage preservation.
- €350,000 investment into research.
- Real estate investment of at least €500,000. You can invest in more than one property.
- Issue a bank deposit of at least €1 million.
- Invest €1 million in shares of Spanish businesses.
- Contribute €2 million in government bonds.
- Start a business that generates employment, contributes to technological or scientific innovation, or has a strong socio-economic impact.
Foreign investors who intend to live in Portugal can benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident Tax Regime, which allows tax-exemptions for golden visa holders for up to 10 years. Exemptions include income obtained from pensions, dependent and independent work, capital, real estate income, capital gains, and intellectual or industrial property.
In Spain, foreign investors are taxed on their worldwide income if they live in Spain for over 183 days per year. Tax is charged at 24.75% on income derived in the country, like rental income.
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 Portugal or Spain 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 enquiry. 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.