Golden Residency Scheme FAQ's

Golden Residency Permit FAQ’s For Property Investments.

1. What is it?

On the 8th October 2012 the Portuguese Government passed legislation allowing for temporary Residency permits to be issued to foreigners who invest in Portugal subject to certain conditions. At the end of five years a Permanent Residency Permit may be granted, and at the end of six years of residency Portuguese citizenship may be applied for.

2. How does it operate?

To qualify for an individual must:
a) Invest € 1,000,000 in Portugal (e.g. transfer of funds/investment in companies) OR
b) Create at least 10 permanent jobs in Portugal OR
c) Purchase, and hold, property above € 500,000 with no mortgages. Sums over this minimum investment may carry a mortgage but the investor will have to invest at least € 500,000.
Then for the next five years they have to spend 7 days per annum in Portugal on average (see below).

3. Are there any grounds for refusal of a Golden Residence Permit?

Yes: an individual maybe refused a Residency permit if:
A) He has been convicted of a crime punishable with a prison sentence of more than one year.
B) He is in a period where he has been banned entry into Portuguese territory following a removal measure of the country.
C) On the grounds of public health: (this may only be based on diseases that have been defined by the WHO, or other infectious or parasitic contagious diseases which are the object of protection measures in Portuguese territory).
D) A Residence Permit may be refused on the grounds of public order, public security or public health.

4. What documents/proof of identity do I need to provide? For the Residency Permit:

• Chinese Criminal Record document (CCR document)
• Portuguese Criminal Record
• Passport & Valid Schengen Visa
• Proof of Purchase/Investment
• Land Registry Document
• Fiscal number
• Declaration from the investor confirming compliance with the investment requirements
The only documents you will need to provide are:
• CCR Document
• Your Passport with the valid Schengen Visa
• Medical Insurance valid in Portugal
The rest will be arranged for by PLMJ your legal representative.

5. Criminal Certificate required from the Chinese Authorities – how long does this take and how much does it cost?

This document normally takes around 1-2 months to be obtained.

6. How long must I invest for?

To qualify for the permit you must hold the investment(s) outlined above. The initial Permit is valid for one year. It must then be renewed for subsequent periods of two years. After five years have elapsed then the person will be entitled to apply for a Permanent Residency Permit. After six years have elapsed then the person has the right to apply for citizenship and a Portuguese passport.

7. What happens to my investment after 5 years – can I sell it?

Yes, you only need hold the investment during your period of Residency.

8. Do I need to occupy the property I am purchasing or can it be rented out?

You do not need to occupy the property and it can be rented out to obtain an income.

9. Do I have to spend all 7 days in Portugal per annum?

For the first period of one year, you have to be in Portugal and to be able to show that you have been in the country during seven days. For the subsequent periods of two years, you have to show that you have been in Portugal for fourteen days during that period but they do not have to be consecutive. It should be noted that the Portuguese Immigration Office will have access to your dates of entry and exit in/from Portugal.

10. If I spend more than the minimum amount will I get my passport any quicker?

No – you have to have had a Resident Permit for six years and fulfil the necessary criteria.

11. Will my Schengen Visa be multiple entry or just single? How long will the visa be valid and will I have to apply every year?

In order to enter Portugal you will need a valid single entry tourist or business visa (cost € 35) which is usually valid for 90 days. Then, having fulfilled the investment criteria above and having obtained all necessary documentation, you (or your legal representatives on your behalf) can apply for a Golden Residence Permit. The residency permit will then allow you to travel freely within the Schengen area.

12. What are the Schengen Countries?

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE UK AND IRELAND ARE NOT A PART OF THE SCHENGEN AGREEMENT.

13. How much does a Golden Residency Permit cost? The Portuguese Government has issued the following fees:

Processing fee (application and renewal) – € 500
Initial Investor Residency Permit – € 5,000
Initial Residency Permit for Family members – € 5,000
Initial Residency Permit for children under 18 – € 2,500
Renewal of Investor Residency Permit – € 2,500
Renewal of Residency Permit for Family members – € 2,500
Renewal of Residency Permit for children under 18 – € 1,250

14. How long will my application take and do I have to pick it up in person?

Once the application is submitted before the Portuguese Immigration Office (SEF), it will take around 1-2 weeks for the application to be processed. Once the application is processed, the Portuguese Immigration Office will contact the investor’s legal representatives in Portugal and request that a meeting with the investor is scheduled in Portugal. This meeting will serve to collect the investor’s signature and fingerprints, which will subsequently be printed into the actual Residency Permit. At that moment, the Portuguese Immigration Office will then hand a document which will replace the actual Residency Permit until this is issued (this normally takes around two weeks).

15. What is a Schengen Visa and how does it operate?

Travelling in Europe has been simplified with the introduction of the Schengen visa. As a visitor to the Schengen area, you will enjoy the many advantages of this unified visa system. Generally speaking with a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen region during the validity of the visa. Internal border controls are limited with no or few stops and checks. Once you have your Golden Residence Permit, this acts as a Schengen Visa allowing you free travel throughout the Schengen area.

16. What happens if I don’t spend 7 days in Portugal/the Schengen Area in any one year?

In the first year you have to prove that you have spent 7 days in Portugal. Once the permit is renewed you have to show that you have spent (collectively) 14 days in the two year renewal period, and again for the following two years. If you cannot prove this then there is a likelihood that the renewal will not be granted. It should be noted that each individual holding a Golden Residency Permit shall comply with these minimum periods.

17. Can I sell my investment at any time if I no longer need the Residency permit?

Yes, but without proof of the investment you will not be able to renew the Golden Residence Permit and should your circumstances change then you will have to start the whole process over again.

18. What are the Government Fees involved. First year, then for the next two years, then for the next two years.

Processing fee (application and renewal) – € 500
Initial Investor Residency Permit – € 5,000
Initial Residency Permit for Family members – € 5,000
Initial Residency Permit for children under 18 – € 2,500
Renewal of Investor Residency Permit – € 2,500
Renewal of Residency Permit for Family members – € 2,500
Renewal of Residency Permit for children under 18 – € 1,250

19. Can my family travel on the same Residency Permit?

Your family can be granted Residency status subject to the fees above and subject to you holding the investment criteria outlined above. After a period of five years they too will be eligible for a Permanent Residency Permit and after a period of six years they too will be eligible for a Portuguese Passport.

20. Does my legal fee cover the three applications for the grant & renewal of the Golden Residency Permit as and when it is required?

Yes, it covers the fees charged by the lawyers but does not cover the Government charges that have been outlined above.

21. What other costs are associated with my Residency Permit?

You are responsible for the cost of the initial Visa to gain entry into Portugal and the costs of the flights, accommodation etc.

General Property Section:

1. Can I apply for a Residency Visa by spending 500,000?

The minimum amount that has to be invested in Property is € 500,000. This is excluding property taxes and purchase costs. No mortgage is allowed on this amount and it must be paid in full. It doesn’t have to be in one property and can be in any number of properties so long as the total amount invested is 500,000 or greater.

2. What if the Property cost is greater than 500,000?

Sums over the minimum investment amount can carry a mortgage.

3. What is the process of buying property through you?

We have put together a group of experts in their fields to offer a one-stop shop and to facilitate the purchase of your investment as easily and as quickly as possible. You will be guided towards an investment that suits your requirements and, depending on what you choose, the process will be explained to you.

4. What documents/proof of identity do I need to provide?

For the Property purchase, the following documents will have to be provided:
- Proof of address (e.g. bank statements, utility bills);
- Passport;
- Chinese Identity Card;
- Tax Declaration allowing for a Portuguese Fiscal number to be obtained (produced by the legal representatives);
- Power of Attorney in Portuguese (produced by the legal representatives).

5. Do I need to occupy the property I am purchasing or can it be rented out?

No, most of the properties we have available are rented out thereby giving you a viable return on investment. As they are already rented, then you will have to stay elsewhere during your seven days in Portugal (but able to be paid out from the income you receive from your investment). Alternatively we have properties that you can purchase without the need to rent out but you would not receive an income on these.

6. What are the property taxes and purchase costs for an investment of
500,000?

There are three taxes in Portugal which are involved with the purchase of a property:
a) “IMT”, which is the municipal tax on transfer of real property for value.
b) “IS”, which is stamp duty &
c) “IMI”, which is the annual municipal property tax
Depending on the cost of the Property depends on how much tax is payable on it. Please see the brochures for the individual investment products with the associated tax rates.

7. How much can I expect the income from my investment to be?

Depending on which investment you choose, the income will vary. Please see the various brochures with the products attached.

8. Who are PLMJ?

PLMJ is a leading Portuguese law firm and has extensive expertise in the fields of investment and immigration having assisted numerous clients with their investments in Portugal. The firm provides expert legal advice of the highest standards with the aim of offering all their clients a personalised and efficient service.
For the purposes of the new regulations on residency permits, PLMJ offers a full investment package for the purposes of obtaining residency for investment purposes for a set price of € 7,500 for three people (two adults and a child) including renewals. Additional dependants can be added at €500 per person (plus the government fees).

9. Who are Mornington Capital?

Chris Eddis – Owner of Mornington Capital (turnaround experts in the resort & hotel sectors). They have extensive Far Eastern experience; having lived and worked in Hong Kong and Macau for a number of years, they bring a unique insight to the local market with widespread contacts.

10. Who are Bridgehead Capital?

Bridgehead Capital has, for the last 20 years, been actively involved in property development, sales and marketing, principally in the UK, Portugal, Bulgaria, and the Caribbean (€60m in Portugal over the last six months). BCL’s key strengths in property lie in their knowledge of and ability to develop commercial packages and sell high-end residential product to a market that remains receptive to the right packaged product.

11. Who are Right Value and how are they used?

Nuno Agostinho MRICS, ASA is the Founder of Right Value. RightValue’s mission is to establish an excellent standard of quality in property valuation services to its customers.
Principal Services
Appraisal of Urban Buildings (Retail, Residential and Industrial)
Appraisal of Equipment and Machinery
Appraisals of Rustic Land
Appraisals for Legal Purposes
Inventories
Appraisal of Companies and Businesses
Appraisals for Fiscal Purposes
Right Value follow the main international innovations in terms of appraisal, following the principal rules and directives from the following State Bodies, Institutes and Associations:
- CMVM (Portuguese Assets Market Commission);
- IVS (International Valuation Standarts),
- RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor),
- ASA (American Society of Appraisers),
- AI (Appraisal Institute),
- National Association of Valuers

12. How will I receive the income on my investment – Will I have to have a Portuguese bank account or can I have it sent overseas to my existing account?

There are no restrictions on any income deriving from property investments being received either in Portugal or abroad.

13. Can I export this income to China/Russia etc.

Yes. There are no restrictions to the transfer of funds from Portugal.

14. Will I have to pay tax in Portugal on the income?

Any income derived in Portugal from Portugal is subject to Portuguese tax. These rates are currently: 26.5%.
If you obtain a Residency Permit in Portugal, you are allowed to import income derived outside Portugal tax free and with no limits.

15. Does Portugal have a double taxation treaty with China/ Russia?

Portugal does have a double taxation treaty with China and Russia meaning that if you pay the tax in Portugal you will not then be charged it again in China or Russia or such tax will be reduced to the amount of tax payable in China or Russia.

16. What is a Fiscal Number, why do I need one and how do I get one?

A fiscal number is an identification number before the Tax Authorities which is required for a number of actions, namely, property acquisition. Your lawyer will obtain your fiscal number as part of the conveyance process.