One of the key benefits of the Portuguese golden visa is the rules on citizenship. Citizenship in any EU country means citizenship of the EU. European Union citizens are able to live and work anywhere in Europe including the UK.

Investors can apply for citizenship in Portugal after six years. That is five years under the investor visa scheme plus a further one year permanent residency. But to achieve this the investor does not have to live in the country. Spending just two weeks every two years in the first five years and potentially no time at all in the sixth year of residency.

The result of this is a route to citizenship without having to live in the country. Hence the attraction of buying a property, renting for income without needing to use that property, and potentially selling once the goal of citizenship is achieved.

To qualify for citizenship investors need to take a basic Portuguese test.

The road to citizenship is key for many of our clients considering a golden visa scheme as part of their long term plan for the family. The route is easier in Portugal than through the Spanish golden visa scheme (where it is 10 years demonstrating residence in the country). Hence the popularity of the investor residency scheme in Portugal which has seen over 400 applications in the first year and now growing month by month.


22 thoughts on “Citizenship

    • It is possible to obtain citizenship in Portugal after six years. The first step is to obtain the “golden visa” through property investment. Your spouse and children will qualify. Citizenship can later be applied for without the need to be living in Portugal. Once you are a citizen of Portugal you are a citizen of the EU allowing freedom to travel, work, live, study anywhere within the EU including non Schengen visa countries like the UK.

  1. I need to know more about the basic Portuguese test. Do we have to learn the Portuguese language? If yes, is this for the hole family to do or only the investor?

  2. Yes you will all need to learn very basic Portuguese in order to qualify for citizenship. It is a very basic multiple choice test however. Children that are very young would not be included in this.

  3. I am interested in second passport and citizenship by investment for myself and my family. I have a wife, son – 15 and daughter – 26. Will they b included? Can I include my parents inlaw in investment?

    • The Portuguese golden visa is a residency program although it can lead to citizenship after 6 years this would be a separate application. It’s worth noting that you can gain citizenship without needing to reside in the country. Your son will qualify as he’s under 18. Your daughter may qualify if dependent, we would need to look more closely at the circumstances. Your parents in law would not qualify unless your spouse was the main applicant, they were over 65 and dependent.

    • No, you can buy any real estate but then La Vida has a wide portfolio and of course you gain our experience and advice on the residency visa programme for free. We have a real estate side to our business that has been selling international real estate for over 10 years. As for citizenship and a second passport, important to know that this is not a citizenship by investment programme but a residency programme. First you must establish residency before you can apply for citizenship. But with the right to residency you do not need to exercise that right and you can apply for citizenship in Portugal after six years without living in the country.

  4. My daughter (26) and son (24) are currently both partially financially dependent on me. However it would be difficult to convince the Portuguese authorities that after 6 years (when they apply for citizenship) that they are still dependants of mine! My daughter may even be married by then with a different surname. Is there any way to get around this – I would not like to go through the entire process, wait 6 years and only then find out that my children are not eligible for citizenship? Is there another country offering Golden Visas that excludes the condition that one’s children must be a dependent/student?

    • Yes, you are correct. I think it would be very tricky to convince the authorities that your children are still dependent on you and will be in 6 years time. Certainly as your daughter could be married by then. As soon as any dependent child is over 21years old it get very complicated.

      The only alternative option for Portugal, would be to make a separate investment of €500,000 in each of their names.

      Or you could consider the Cyprus Citizenship scheme which will obtain you an EU passport in just 90 days following a real estate investment of €2.0 million. This includes children up to the age of 28 years old. Once you have an EU passport it is for life so there are no renewals, so your children are then free to go and get married straight away if they like. You can read more on this scheme here-

      Although this programme is initially higher in cost than in Portugal, there is an exit strategy with Cyprus whereby you are able to reduce your investment down to just €500,000 after 3 years by selling some of your properties. This allows you to recoup the bulk of the cost.

    • You will need to have held the property and residency card for six years before applying for citizenship in Portugal. This is not a citizenship by investment programme but a residency by investment. However having gained the right to residency then through Portugal’s citizenship laws you can apply for citizenship after 6 years. However you do not need to have lived in the country.

  5. I am from the UAE but I note in the top figures for Portugal golden visa applicants the UAE is not featured. Have you dealt with clients from the UAE? Would I be better going with a local UAE agent?

    • We have dealt with clients from over 40 different countries. Many agents are specific to one country but our market stretches across Middle East, Africa, Asia, Americas and Australasia. The bulk of applicants for the Portugal golden visa are Chinese. It is a vast market. The UAE is very high on the list though. We have many clients from there and we visit frequently. Our next visit is first week in September. See our visit schedule here. Personally I feel you are better dealing with a European agency that has global reach. You will probably find a very restrictive range of product from a local agent (probably a few high commission products). They are also very likely to lack the expertise of the Portuguese market. This is a complex investment as it is not just real estate but also understanding the intricacies of residency and citizenship investment. We specialise in Europe purely for international investors and we have over 12 years experience in this.

    • No, there is an application process. You do not need to be living in Portugal but you need to pass a basic language test. Please contact us for full details.

    • You can sell your property at any time, however every time you renew your residency visa, you will need to prove that you still own a property which meets the investment requirements of €500,000. Renewal’s take place at the end of the first year, third year and fifth year. You can then apply for Citizenship after 6 years, should you wish to. At the time of each renewal, applicants must show that they own a property worth €500,000 or more. If you cannot prove this, then your residency visa would not be granted. We would advise to keep hold of your property for the first six years so that you can ensure your renewals and citizenship application are granted with ease. If you did want to sell your property and buy a new one half way through the process, then this is possible, but it would be advisable to coordinate this with plenty of time ahead of any renewal dates. You can view our Portugal real estate collection here.

    • You can find more detailed information on the scheme on this LINK
      You may also like to watch our recent webinar presentation on the Portuguese Golden Visa scheme, which you can view on this LINK
      One of our visa experts will contact you directly to advise your further and see how we can assist you.

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