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The changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa program were finally approved.

The amendments will only enter into force on January 1, 2022, that is, they will only apply to Golden Visa applications requested after this date and it will not affect the rights of Golden Visa holders, including their family members, who obtained a residence permit under the previous condition.

The modifications make the Portuguese regime more demanding, namely because it limited some real estate investments to certain areas of Portugal and since it increased the amounts legally required for certain types of investment.

In short, the most relevant changes are as follows:

  • a) The Golden Visa investment type based on the acquisition of real estate for residential purposes will only be possible if the properties are in the Azores, Madeira or in certain territories specified in Ordinance 208/2017 from July, 13 (mainly interior of mainland Portugal). However, it will continue to be possible to obtain a Golden Visa through the purchase of properties located in any area of Portugal, including in Lisbon, Porto and on the continental coast, if such properties are not intended for housing, such as, for example, if they are intended for commerce, services, offices, warehouses, hospitality, catering, industry or any other purpose other than housing.
  • b) The minimum amount to access the Golden Visa through the subscription of investment units in investment funds or venture capital funds has been increased from € 350,000 to € 500,000.
  • c) Concerning the Golden Visa investment option via transfer of capital to Portugal, which also includes bank deposits in Portuguese banks or the incorporation of a company with the same amount of share capital, the minimum investment amount has been increased from € 1,000,000 to € 1,500,000.
  • d) In the case of a Golden Visa obtained through the transfer of capital applied in research activities carried out by public or private scientific research institutions, the minimum investment amount has been also increased from € 350,000 to € 500,000.
  • e) Finally, in the case of a Golden Visa obtained through the transfer of capital destined to invest in a company with headquarters in Portugal, combined with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, the minimum investment amount was changed from € 350,000 to € 500,000.

Accordingly, those who wish to obtain a Golden Visa under the previous conditions, should hurry up and do so in 2021.

Anyway, the program will continue to be attractive. The characteristics and attractiveness of Portugal and the Portuguese people are immutable. The integration of Portugal in the European space combined with its transatlantic vocation are unchangeable. The objectivity of the program and the absence of any discretion on the part of the public administration remain a central characteristic of the program. Last but not the least, the main legal advantages of the Portuguese program remain unchanged: i) possibility of residing outside of Portugal without losing the residence permit ii) free movement within the Schengen space iii) large family reunification possibilities and iv) opportunity of the investor and his/her family to request a permanent residence permit or the Portuguese nationality ~considered one of the strongest passports in the world- within 5 years.

For all these reasons, we believe that the Portuguese Golden Visa regime will continue to be a popular program for those looking for a residence permit abroad or a foreign passport to hold.




The Portuguese tax regime for non-habitual residents was introduced in 2009 to attract individuals and their families to live in Portugal.


To become a non-habitual resident it is necessary to fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • Stay more than 183 days in Portugal during the tax year (consecutive or not) or
  • Have a dwelling in Portugal in conditions that suggest the intention to maintain it as the habitual residence.

The applicant can not have been considered a Portuguese tax resident in the previous 5 years.

The status of non-habitual resident is not awarded automatically: In fact, it depends of a prior analysis and approval of the Portuguese tax authorities.


Taxpayers acquire the right to be taxed as non-habitual residents for a period of 10 years whether consecutive or not. After that period, taxpayers will be taxed in accordance with the general personal income tax rules as set in the Portuguese Personal Income Tax Code.


As long as the individuals are taxable as non-residents, Portuguese sourced income from employment and self-employment activities that are considered “high value added activities” are subjected to a special withholding tax at a rate of 20%.

Under Portuguese law “high value added activities” are those of a scientific, artistic or technical nature and include the following activities:

  • Architects, engineers and similar
  • Visual artists, actors and musicians
  • Auditors and consultants
  • Doctors and dentists
  • University teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Liberal professionals, technicians and similar
  • Company’s high level professionals; Investors, Managers and Directors

Other types of income sourced in Portugal are subjected to the ordinary Portuguese tax rules.


  • Pensions: This income is exempted from taxation in Portugal as long as it is taxed in the source state in accordance with a Double Tax Treaty (DTT) concluded between Portugal and the respective state. Alternatively, this income will also be exempt if, under the rules in the Portuguese Personal Income Tax Code, it is not deemed to be earned in Portugal. In practical terms, this often results that pensions are exempted from any taxation. For this reason many retired people are choosing Portugal to live.
  • Employment income: It will be exempted from Portuguese taxes if it is taxed in the source country under the applicable DTT or in the absence of a DTT if it is taxed on the country of origin and not considered obtained in Portugal under Portuguese tax rules.
  • Self-Employment income from high added value activities, royalties, interests, dividends, rental income and capital gains: It will be exempted from Portuguese taxes if it can be taxed in the source country under the applicable DTT or in the absence of a DTT if it can ben taxed on the country of origin under OOCD DTT model, if the source country is not included on the Portuguese “black list” and the income is not considered obtained in Portugal under Portuguese tax rules.


Gifts and inheritances to spouses (includes non-marital partnership), descendants or ascendants are exempted from paying taxes.  Gifts and inheritances in favor of other individuals will be subjected to a flat tax stamp of 10%.  Portuguese tax system does not establish any wealth tax.


Although great care has been taken when drafting this information, we do not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any consequences arising from the use of the information herein contained. This information is provided for general information purposes only and does not intend nor should be considered as legal or any other professional advice

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