The Residence Permit for Investment Activity (RPIA), effective as from 8 October 2012 (Law n.º 29/2012, of 9 August 2012, which changed the immigration legislation, Law n.º 23/2007, of 4 July 2007), with new changes on 30 June 2015 (Law n.º 63/2015), allows for foreign citizens outside the European Union to invest in Portugal and obtain a temporary residence permit.
The Portuguese Residence Permit for Investment Activity, commonly known as Golden Visa, is one of the most attractive programs for international investors, considering it is a very simple one with clear and straight forward legal requirements.
The bearer of the Residence Permit for Investment (RPIA) has excellent benefits, namely:
- Possibility to enter the Portuguese territory without residency Visa;
- Free movement (without a Visa) within the Schengen Area, constituted by 26 European countries;
- Live and work in Portugal;
- Minimum need of stay in the Portuguese territory, since the bearer only has to stay for a minimum of 7 (seven) days in the first year after obtaining the permit, and 14 (fourteen) days in the two following years;
- Benefit of the family reunification, including spouse, under aged children, children of age who are dependents, first degree ancestors who are dependents of the bearer or of his spouse and under aged siblings who are dependents;
- To become eligible for PERMANENT RESIDENCY after 5 (five) years of temporary residency, by obeying the effective legal requirements;
- To become eligible for PORTUGUESE CITIZENSHIP after 5 (five) years of residency, by obeying
- the effective legal requirements.
GOLDEN VISA REQUIREMENTS
- The Golden Visa program was recently enlarged to include new investment possibilities, besides the first previously existing 3 (three). Thus, currently, the applicants who meet one of the following conditions are eligible for the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (RPIA):
- Transference of Capital in the amount of € 1.000.000,00 (one million Euros) or over;
This is one of the lesser used ways to obtain the Golden Visa, as it is necessary to invest, at least, one million euros by bank deposit, or to acquire public debt titles of the Portuguese state, or to acquire securities. However, for those with existing assets and financial market experience it may be a very viable option.
- Creation of, at least, 10 job positions, and respective inscription with the Social Security;
Concerning this form of investment, which is also unusual, the applicant shall have to create 10 (ten) job positions and submit the respective individual labour contracts, as well as the certificates of social security registration.
- Purchase of Real Estate in the amount of € 500.000,00 (five hundred thousand Euros) or over;
The investment in the Real Estate Market has been, by far, the most used way of investment by foreign investors in order to obtain the so wanted Golden Visa, considering it is a simple and swift procedure.
Besides, Portugal has a very attractive real estate market, with a wide range of choices; It is a very competitive sector, at the height of the highest European standards, in terms of quality, clearness and dynamism; and has very appealing prices.
Also, it has the advantage of the purchase being possible by more than one applicant, as long as each applicant invests the minimum amount of € 500.000,00.
- Purchase of Real Estate, with, at least, 30 years over the construction date, or located in areas of urban rehabilitation, and with rehabilitation work on such Real Estate, in the minimum amount of € 350.000,00 (three hundred and fifty thousand Euros);
Despite not very common, considering it was introduced by the very recent legislation, it may have great potential. As previously mentioned, the Portuguese Real Estate Market is the biggest investment permit choice to obtain the Golden Visa.
- Capital transference in the amount of € 350.000,00 (three hundred and fifty thousand Euros), applied in research developed by public or private research institutions which are part of the technological and scientific national system;
The new legal rules also brought the possibility to require the Golden Visa by investing, at least, € 350.000,00, in scientific investigation. The applicant shall have to obtain a statement issued by a public or private scientific investigation, part of the technological and scientific national system, certifying the reception of those capitals.
- Transference of capitals in the amount of € 250.000,00 (two hundred and fifty thousand Euros) or over that are applied to investment or support to artistic production, recovery or maintenance of the national cultural assets:
In this kind of investment, not yet used, besides applying the € 250.000,00 in artistic production and preservation or conservation of the cultural assets, the applicant shall obtain a statement by the Office of Strategy Planning and Cultural Evaluation, declaring the effective transference of those capitals.
- Transference of capitals in the amount of € 350.000,00 (three hundred and fifty thousand Euros) or over, destined to the acquisition of units of participation in investment funds or capital risk;
For investors who do not intend to initiate their own company, the law provides the possibility to invest in investment funds or capital risk destined to finance small and medium size companies, in the minimum amount of € 350.000,00.
- Transference of capitals in the amount of € 350.000,00 (three hundred and fifty thousand Euros) or over, destined to incorporation of a company or the reinforcement of the share capital and creation of, at least, 5 job positions, and respective inscription with the Social Security.
Lastly, for investors who intend to initiate their own company or to integrate a company. The applicant shall have to create 5 (five) job positions and submit the respective individual labour contracts, as well as the certificates of social security registration.
- Legal entrance in Portugal;
- The approval of the request of residency will only occur after the approval of the investment;
- A minimum time lapse of 5 (five) years for the maintenance of investment activities, counting as from the date of the beginning of the residency permit;
- The funds invested must be from abroad;
- Absence of breach of migration obligations by the Portuguese and Schengen Area registries;
- Absence of conviction in Portugal for a crime punishable with a jail sentence of over 1 (one) year;
- Being over the time entrance limit in national territory after a prohibition period, following a restraining order of the country.
- Valid Passport;
- Bearers of a Schengen Visa, if applicable;
- Criminal record of the country of birth and of where the applicant has lived for over 1 (one) year;
- Negative debt statement from the Social Security and Tax Authorities;
- Health insurance;
- Payment of the RPIA initial fee in the amount of € 514,80 (five hundred and fourteen Euros and eighty cents), plus € 80,60 (eighty Euros and sixty cents) per each family member in case of family reunification.
In recent years, Portugal has become a source of interest for foreign companies wishing to establish their presence in Europe and for investors looking for market advantages and a favorable business environment, mainly due to Portugal’s strategic location in Europe and easy access to other important markets.
In addition, Portugal maintains good relations with the rest of the European Union and, as a member of the Community, its rules and laws are in accordance with EU trade and import/export issues.
Today, incorporating a company in Portugal is fairly quick and straightforward process.
- NIF (Portuguese Tax Identification Number):
The first step to starting a business in Portugal is to obtain the Tax Identification Number (NIF). The Portuguese NIF is an indispensable document for the most diverse activities, including establishing a Portuguese company.
- Choosing the company name:
Choosing a company name is a very important step. That is because, the company in Portugal can be constituted with a pre-approved name by the National Company Registrar (RNPC) or with a specific name chosen by the interested parties.
As a rule, the specific name depends on the request for a Certificate of Admissibility. Basically, the applicant must indicate 03 (three) names, which will be analyzed by the National Company Registrar.
This certificate can be issued in about 24 hours or in up to 10 business days, depending on the urgency.
- Choosing the company type:
Portuguese legislation allows for several types of company models, these being the most common options:
- “Sociedade por quotas” (LDA): is a corporate model composed by two or more partners. In this model, the share capital is divided into quotas and is freely set by the partners. Each social share must be at least € 1.00 (one Euro);
- “Sociedade Unipessoal por Quotas” (UNIPESSOAL LDA): is a corporate model constituted by only one partner, who may be a natural or collective person and holds the entirety of the share capital.
- “Sociedada anónima”: As a rule, the joint-stock company (SA) is constituted by at least five partners, called shareholders. Its share capital may not be less than € 50.000,00 (fifty thousand Euros) and is divided into shares.
- Defining the economic activity of the company:
Another important point when establishing a company in Portugal is the definition of the economic activity that will be exercised. In Portugal, there is a list with the Portuguese classification of economic activities, better known as CAE. Each activity has a specific code that identifies it.
To establish a company in Portugal, it is necessary to identify the CAE codes of the activities that the company will carry out, being possible to define more than one activity for the same company.