Portugal’s Residency Visas
An article written by Rogerio Fernandes Ferreira, Founder & Managing Partner at RFF Lawyers and Duarte Ornelas Monteiro, Managing Senior Lawyer at RFF Lawyers
Not only for its climate, safety and beaches, but also due to the investment opportunities and the tax benefits that can offer, Portugal stands as an opportunity for international migrants. Despite of the consequences of a potential inflation crisis around the world, the Portuguese economy is still showing signs of a good recovery after the Covid situation.
Thus, while the average economic growth of the European Union in 2022 stands at 3.6% (3.5% in the Euro Zone), Portuguese GDP growth at an expressive rate of 6.7%. Simultaneously, at the end of 2022, Portuguese unemployment rate was set on 6%.
In terms of investment opportunities, the Portuguese real estate market continues to grow, with the entry of new international companies. In 2022, property investment in Portugal increased by 67%, with the highest growth in Southern European countries (Spain, Italy and Portugal).
Alongside with that, the possibility for people who were not Portuguese Tax Residents in the last 5 years of applying for the Non-Habitual Resident Tax Regime encloses undeniable advantages related to income taxation. Under this Regime employment income and self-employment income rendered from high value-added activities are subject to PIT at a flat 20% tax and most of the income earned abroad will be exempt in Portugal, as long certain conditions are verified.
The Portuguese Government announced in February the intention of revoking the entire Golden Visa program.
This proposal, alongside with others connected with measures to manage the housing crisis in Portugal is currently under a period of public consultation (ending on the 24th of March) and is still waiting for a concrete draft of legislation.
In the first draft of the legislation made available by the Portuguese Government and besides confirming the intention of revoking the Golden Visa program it is also proposed not to accept any application for a golden visa submitted after February 16th.
Despite being a mere draft of legislation still subject to approval it is important to start looking for alternatives for someone planning to relocate and invest in Portugal.
To reside in Portugal, the most appropriate Visa to request would be the Residency Visa. This Visa can be requested before a Portuguese Consulate and, after obtained, allows its applicant to request a residency authorization. After 5 years of residence in Portugal, it is possible to apply for the permanent residency authorization and/or for the Portuguese nationality.
When applying for the Residency Visa, applicants will need to select the right Residency Visa’s modality, according to the activity performed and we have selected below the most requested.
PASSIVE INCOME (D7)
The Passive Income Visa, well known as the “D7”, is one of the most attractive Residency Visas. To obtain it, the applicants will only need to demonstrate income from a passive source, such as pensions, retirements, investment funds, stocks, or rental contracts, among other alternatives.
The Digital Nomad Visa was an innovation on the last changes on the Portuguese Immigration Legislation. This Visa is aimed for people who work on a remote basis for non-Portuguese entities or individuals. The applicant will be required to demonstrate average monthly earnings in the last three months from employment or self-employment activity in an amount of at least €3040.00 (value for 2023).
HIGHLY QUALIFIED WORKER
The Highly Qualified Worker’s is a fast-tracked Visa created with the intention of attracting high value-added professionals and academics to work in Portugal. Applicants will need to demonstrate the existence of an employment contract, a freelance contract or a promissory contract with a Portuguese entity or individual.
This sub-modality also includes the well-known “Tech-Visa”, which provides a fast-tracked process for expats employed in companies and start-ups certified by the Portuguese Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. In these cases, the company itself can initiate the relocation process on behalf of the employee.
EMPLOYEMENT ACTIVITY (D1)
The Employment’s Visa requires the demonstration to the Portuguese Consulate of the existence of an employment contract or promissory contract between the applicant and a Portuguese entity or individual.
FREELANCER OR ENTREPRENEUR (D2)
The Freelancer or Entrepreneur’s Visa is aimed for people who perform a freelance activity and already hold a contract, or a promissory contract signed with a Portuguese entity or individual, or for people who incorporate a Portuguese company. Regarding the incorporation of a Portuguese company, it is not established any minimum threshold for the share capital nor for the investment executed.
Applicants of any type of Residency Visa will not need to wait to have their residency situation consolidated in Portugal to bring their family members. In this sense, spouses or persons with whom the applicant is living in a civil partnership for more than 2 years, minor children or stepchildren and economic dependent adults (such as adult children and parents) will be entitled to request, at the same time of the main Residency Visa application, the Family Member Residency Visa.
Besides the specific requirements for each modality, all applicants of a Residency Visa will need to fulfill general requirements related to the demonstration of sufficient means to support their life, having an accommodation in Portugal and that they do not constitute a threat to national the European Union security, among others.
These general requirements are not difficult to comply with, as Portugal has one of the most permissive legislations on immigration, with very low rates of administrative denials. Although the process can be demanding and bureaucratic, with a competent legal assistance, it is almost always possible to find the right Visa for each type of Migrant.