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A new day

The US is becoming the top source of applicants for Portugal’s residency visa programmes.

Portugal is one of the leading destinations for individuals and families seeking residence in the European Union and, in the first half of 2022, the US overtook China for the first time to become the largest state of origin for successful applications under Portugal’s Golden Visa programme.

“Portugal has much to offer US investors and is even becoming known as the ‘New California’,” said Shelley Wren, Head of Business Development at Sovereign Portugal. “In addition to a stable political and social environment, clear and transparent tax rules, good infrastructure and first-class education and healthcare systems, it boasts a warm climate, a spectacular coastline and interior, strong historical and cultural legacies, excellent food and wines, and a relaxed lifestyle.

“Add to this an attractive package of benefits for expats and visa-free access throughout the 26 Schengen Area countries – and all for as little as €280,000 invested – and you begin to see why Portugal combines a very high quality of life with a relatively low cost of living. After five years of living in Portugal, investors can also apply for permanent residency and then citizenship in Portugal.”

Photo of part of the Algarve coastline, the region where Sovereign has its Portugal office

First introduced in 2012, the ‘Golden Visa’ is a residence permit that provides qualifying non-EU citizens and their families with full rights to live, work and study in Portugal in return for investing in real estate or a wide range of other qualifying investments to suit an individual’s budget and preferences. The minimum investment for real estate starts at just €280,000, while the option for investing via an approved Golden Visa investment fund starts at €500,000.

An alternative is the D7 Visa, which provides residency status to non-EU citizens, including retirees, who intend to relocate to Portugal and are in receipt of a reasonable and regular passive income. The D7 visa requires no investment but an applicant must demonstrate sufficient recurring income or savings to support themselves.

Photo of Faro's marina in the Algarve, the region where Sovereign has its Portugal office

“The Golden Visa has very low minimum stay requirements, averaging just seven days per year over the five-year visa term, so it allows holders to maintain their current residence of choice and build towards citizenship without disruption,” said Wren.

“The D7 Visa is aimed at those who intend to live in Portugal, so holders must spend six consecutive months or eight non-consecutive months per year in Portugal. However, the income threshold for the main applicant – set to Portugal’s minimum wage of €8,460 per year – is low, with even lower additional amounts for their partners and dependents.”

There may be no better time for Americans interested in moving to Portugal and ultimately securing an EU passport. A strong dollar relative to the euro, more remote work options, good value real estate and lower living costs can make it a more attractive option than staying in many parts of US. And after living through the Covid travel restrictions, many people want the flexibility that an alternative residence can offer.

“But applicants must be aware that establishing residency is a five-year process, which involves a significant commitment,” said Wren. “They need to ensure that they take expert advice on the investment options, their Portuguese and worldwide tax obligations and how best to structure their existing assets before they take up residency. Sovereign has been in Portugal for more than three decades now, so we know what we are doing. We will guide clients to find the best options to match their personal circumstances and we will be here to support you over the whole of your visa journey.”

Please contact Sovereign for more information:

(+351) 282 340 480
[email protected] |

Photo of part of the Algarve coastline, the region where Sovereign has its Portugal office

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