D7 or Golden Visa for Portugal—which one to choose?

Are you looking to obtain dual citizenship with Portugal? If this is the case, it is essential to compare the visa pathways available: the D7 visa and Golden Visa. Both visas can lead to Portuguese citizenship and will allow you to legally reside in Portugal, but there are slight differences between the D7 and the Golden Visa.

The D7 Visa

Often known as a retiree visa or a passive income visa, the D7 visa is popular among retirees, as well as remote employees and online entrepreneurs. The D7 visa is not limited to passive income, but can also include people of working age who are perfectly capable of living in Portugal through financial investments, company interest and dividends, or even their own investments (including real estate).

The individual applying for the D7 Visa must demonstrate that he or she has the bare minimum of personal resources necessary to support himself or herself in Portugal, but he or she is not required to make any form of prior investment in the country to qualify. You can apply for it if you have a steady income from remote work contracts with companies outside of Portugal.

If you wish to bring family members along, you’ll need to budget an additional 50% of the minimum monthly income for an adult and 30% for each child.

We recommend that you produce proof of income beyond the minimum standards to increase your chances of being accepted.

Characteristics of the D7 Visa

The Portuguese government uses the D7 visa to attract people who have their own financial resources and can support themselves to spend or invest their money in the country. Retirees or pensioners suit this profile perfectly as they are guaranteed to receive the appropriate resources each month, which can help them improve their standard of living in Portugal provided they prove to have the minimum amount required.

The D7 visa requires you to stay for a minimum of 6 to 8 months in Portugal, interpolated over the total period of validity of the respective residence permit (1 year initially and every 2 years after its renewal). If you need to be gone for longer than the aforementioned durations, it is possible to legally dispense with this requirement. However, the length of the minimum required stay in the country is beneficial in the long run because those who own the D7 visa find integration in their communities easier, which will often suffice for citizenship purposes.

Tax residents

Because D7 visa holders must make Portugal their main residence, they must also become tax residents. Both the D7 and Golden Visa pathways include the possibility of applying for the non- habitual residence (NHR) tax scheme. If you qualify for NHR, you will get preferential tax treatment on your foreign-sourced income (as well as certain forms of Portuguese-sourced income) for 10 years, starting from the date you become a Portuguese tax resident.

After registering for tax residency, you must apply for NHR by March 31 of the following year. If you become a tax resident in 2021, you’ll have until March 31, 2022 to apply.

The Golden Visa

On the other hand, the Golden Visa is for people willing to make a substantial upfront investment in Portugal.

Golden Visa holders benefit from a significant lot of flexibility with residency restrictions in exchange for the ability to strive toward citizenship. For the entire five years, they only need to spend a total of 7-14 days in Portugal. As a Golden Visa holder, you can keep your current residency and job while living outside of Portugal. You could also pursue another citizenship option at the same time, such as the BNO (British Nationals Overseas) route for Hong Kong residents in the United Kingdom.

It is optional for Golden Visa holders to become tax residents in Portugal, but it is not compulsory. Depending on your circumstances, obtaining tax residency in Portugal through the NHR tax program may be a wise decision. If you decide to migrate to Portugal on a Golden Visa, you can begin the NHR process after you register as a tax resident. Non-resident Golden Visa holders will only be subject to Portuguese tax on income derived from local sources, such as real estate rental income or property sales. They are exempt from paying Portuguese taxes on their worldwide earnings.

Golden Visa investments

Golden Visa holders must invest a significant amount of money in Portugal. The actual amount varies depending on the Golden Visa path chosen (real estate, investment funds, cultural projects, or entrepreneurship). The smallest amount conceivable is 280.000€, which would be used to support art or preserve national cultural assets. However, few Golden Visa candidates choose this option because it is difficult to generate a profit.

Investing at least 350.000€ in a Portuguese investment fund or rehabilitating a property in a low-density region is a realistic expectation. At a higher investment level, further real estate alternatives are available.

D7 or Golden Visa?

Choosing which path to take depends on your goals, circumstances, and tastes. The Golden Visa and the D7 Visa both have advantages and disadvantages. As a result, each case should be examined separately. Both the Golden Visa and the D7 Visa are good options for people with income, who are investors, and who want to reside in Portugal or obtain Portuguese citizenship.

Orience can assist you in your journey towards Portuguese residency. Our team of legal experts and consultants will help you determine which investment path to take to achieve your dream residency.