Portugal has a lot of different immigration options available, from its Residency by Investment route (the Golden Visa), its Passive Income option (the D7 visa), to its newly christened digital nomad visa.
However, there is one option that is tailor-made for businesses that often goes unnoticed – the Portuguese D2 visa.
The D2 Visa is a temporary two-year residency permit available for self-employed people, freelancers, and independent services providers. It allows them and their families to reside, study, and work in Portugal.
It’s based on company formation, meaning a person will have to establish a company and actively manage it to maintain their residence. Alternatively, they can also invest in an existing Portuguese company on the condition they take up an active management role.
The D2 visa has no minimum investment amount, but a person should have enough to register a company, make a sensible influx of capital to get it running, and enough money to support themselves for the duration of the visa.
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Registering a company in Portugal can cost between €600-€1,800, depending on the company type and location. This includes registering the company in the Chamber of Commerce, registering its official name, issuing a tax number, and opening a corporate bank account.
As for the company’s capital, the law requires different minimums depending on the type of company. A limited liability company or LDA, is the most popular company type, and it requires a capital share of no less than €5,000.
In terms of maintenance funds, an applicant must show that they have sufficient cash to maintain themselves in Portugal without recourse to public funds for the duration of the D2 Visa. As the visa is issued for a year, they will need to prove they have at least €9,120 for the applicant, another €4,560 for the spouse, and an additional €2,736 per child. This can be shown in a bank statement to at least cover a period of 12 months.
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The D2 is renewed for three years depending on the business’ activity and the income it derives, and if that income covers the maintenance fund requirement, then there is no need to show savings upon renewal. However, if the business does not yet make the required income amount, an applicant can simply show savings as proof of funds again.
The low investment threshold for the D2 Visa makes it an excellent option for those looking to expand their business into Portugal and, by default, the EU.
The process is as follows:
- Register a business in Portugal.
- Open a bank account.
- Collect relevant documents, fill out the application, and draft a business plan.
- The application and business plan are submitted to the local Portuguese embassy.
- Once approved, an applicant gets a 4-month landing visa and travels to Portugal to collect their residence permit.
- As long as the business remains active, the visa can be renewed.
Drafting a business plan for an immigration program differs a bit from a traditional one, and a qualified immigration firm can handle the matter on one’s behalf. The most important things to consider when drafting a business plan for immigration purposes are the following:
- Feasibility and scalability of the business.
- Who is financing the business (foreign financing is preferred).
- Why Portugal is the destination of choice.
- An expansion plan.
Added Economic Value
This is the most important part, as it will highlight how the business will benefit the Portuguese economy and can be done by showing one or more of the following:
- How many jobs for locals will the business create?
- Export activity of the business.
- How the business will attract new businesses to Portugal.
- Whether the business will serve an underdeveloped region.
- If the business will increase R&D or innovation.
- If the business or the business owner brings specialised knowledge to the Portuguese market.
- Whether the business will introduce a new product or service into the Portuguese market.
Achieving at least one of the added economic value criteria would go a long way in helping the applicant get approval.
Once approved, an applicant only needs to highlight the continuity of the business and their role in it to renew their visa. However, to do so, they must reside for at least six months a year in Portugal. After five years of continuous residence, they can apply for permanent residence or citizenship, and their status will then no longer be linked to their business.
An Excellent Option For Dubai Entrepreneurs
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up 94% of all enterprises within Dubai; they also make up a staggering 97% of all enterprises in Portugal and are responsible for about 58% of all turnover and 82% of investment volumes.
Both Dubai and Portugal offer SMEs governmental financial support, the former through its National SME Program, and the latter directly through its government.
Trade between the UAE and the EU is also a major attraction for entrepreneurs; the trade balance between the two economic behemoths averaged almost $53 billion in the past few years.
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The D2 provides an excellent financial advantage as an entry point into the EU, as average operating costs in Portugal is lower than other countries in the EU. In fact, it is 38% lower than that in the French market, and this allows for greater financial savings.
The low operating costs also allow Dubai entrepreneurs to shift some of their operations to Portugal, as the average salary for highly skilled workers in Dubai (€71,743 per year) is much higher than that of Portugal (€39,200 per year), almost 46% higher to give the matter some more context.
The UAE and Portugal already have a double taxation treaty in place, and an entrepreneur can structure their taxes in the most beneficial way to save money for their company.
To know more about the D2 or other immigration routes to Portugal, contact us today to talk with one of our immigration experts.
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