Portugal is well known for its Golden Visa, a simplistic route to obtaining residency in Portugal in exchange for a qualifying investment. However, the EU nation boasts many more immigration categories that often go unnoticed, and among those lies another Residency by Investment Program; the Portuguese Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa.
What Is Portugal’s HQA Visa?
Portugal’s HQA Visa is a Residency by Active Investment Program designed to attract talented professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors to Portugal. The program was launched in 2018 in a bid to promote innovation and R&D within the country and has since become one of the most popular investment migration programs in Europe.
To qualify for the HQA Visa, applicants must invest a minimum of €175,000 to establish their own business, with the intention of promoting innovation, technology, or scientific research in the country. The investment must be made through a Portuguese bank account and should include all company formation costs and visa application fees.
In addition to the investment requirement, HQA Visa applicants must also participate in a three-year business incubator program provided by a government-approved institution. The HQA aims to help entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses in Portugal and provides them with access to resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
Portugal’s government puts a lot of effort into maintaining and developing its SME environment, as they make up 99% of Portugal’s business population, so the government introduced several measures to support SMEs, including financial aid, tax relief, and subsidies for hiring new employees, and the incubation program is meant to help new businesses integrate into the economy while providing them with the knowledge they need to take advantage of the government’s many supportive initiatives.
HQA Visa Qualification Criteria
To qualify for an HQA Visa, an applicant must:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Have a clean criminal record
- Have the sufficient means to make an eligible investment (€175,000)
- Establish a new company in Portugal
- Take part in a three-year incubator program offered by a government-approved institute
- Register for private health insurance in Portugal.
Obtaining an HQA Visa is a simple procedure that requires some very simple steps:
- An applicant must open a Portuguese bank account
- They must then register their business and enroll it in an approved incubation program
- Then they collect the required documentation for the HQA application
- They submit their application and obtain a four-month residency permit
- They must travel to Portugal within those fourth months to collect their two-year HQA Visa
Applicants can add their spouse and financially dependent children to their application. Children above the age of 18 must be fully dependent on the main applicant or spouse and must be enrolled in education.
HQA Visa holders can apply for a three-year extension on their visa before the initial two years end, and after a total of five years, they can apply for permanent residence and citizenship.
The HQA does have a physical residence requirement, meaning its holders must reside in Portugal as tax residents to qualify for extensions, permanent residency, and citizenship.
The Benefits Of The HQA Visa
HQA Visa holders can reside and work in Portugal and enjoy all the benefits of living in the country, including its pleasant climate, high living standards, and relaxed lifestyle. They can also enroll their children into education institutes as residents instead of international students.
Another one of the main advantages of the HQA program is its quick processing time, with most applications processed within three months. It is also one of the few investment migration programs that offer a passive investment option, allowing investors to delegate the day-to-day management of their business to a local manager.
In addition to the above benefits, HQA Visa holders and their families can also benefit from visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, as well as gain access to Portugal’s excellent healthcare and education systems.
The HQA program offers a simple and attractive route for entrepreneurs, investors, and talented professionals to gain residency in Portugal and benefit from all the opportunities that the country has to offer.
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