Portugal D7 Visa vs Golden Visa 2024: Which One is Right For You? (Full 7-Point Comparison)

Portugal’s D7 visa and Golden Visa are two of Europe’s most popular routes to residency and EU citizenship. But which one makes the most sense for your move?

We’ve compared these two popular residency routes in 7 key areas – so you can make an informed decision.

Here’s the bottom line in brief:

  • The D7 visa is best if you have regular passive income and want to make Portugal your full-time home, plus become a tax resident.
  • The Golden Visa is best if you have sufficient funds to invest and want the flexibility of choosing how much time you spend in Portugal.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of each residency visa’s unique features and how they compare to each other.

Portugal D7 Visa vs Golden Visa: Full 7-Point Comparison

#1. Income Requirements

D7 Visa

The D7 visa is designed for those with passive income from outside Portugal. That could be:

  • Dividends
  • Rental income
  • Pension income
  • Investments
  • Royalties

Remote work for an overseas employer is no longer eligible for the D7. If that’s your situation, you should apply for the D8 Digital Nomad visa instead of the D7.

For one applicant, you need to prove a minimum of €860 a month in passive income. This should be regular and recurring. Typically, you’ll need to show at least a six-month history of receiving this income.

You must also show proof of savings worth at least 12 times the minimum Portuguese salary (12 x €860).

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is designed for those who can make a significant one-off investment in Portugal. Unlike the D7, there are no recurring income requirements. Also, you don’t need to show proof of savings.

The minimum Golden Visa investment threshold is now €500,000. Note: You can no longer get the Golden Visa by purchasing property in Portugal. The best remaining route is to invest your money in qualified investment funds.

It’s also possible to get the Golden Visa at a lower investment threshold (min. €250,000) by investing in cultural heritage projects, such as film production. The key difficulty with this route at the moment is finding projects that are both available and eligible.

#2. Physical Stay Requirements

D7 Visa

The D7 visa is designed for those who wish to live full-time in Portugal. To maintain your residency status, Portugal should be your primary home.

According to local immigration lawyers, you should avoid being out of the country for over six months consecutively, or eight months non-consecutively. Once you reach the five-year mark, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship (which removes the physical stay requirements).

Golden Visa

In contrast, the Golden Visa has much lower physical stay requirements. You need to stay in Portugal for just seven days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent years. Once you reach the five-year mark, you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

#3. Application Processing Timeline

D7 Visa

The D7 visa application process starts at your nearest Portuguese consulate in your country of citizenship or permanent residency.

The first step is securing an appointment at the consulate, often via VFS. Then, gather your application documents and attend the appointment. Processing timelines vary according to the consulate, but 6-8 weeks is typical.

Next, you’ll receive your passport with a D7 visa attached. It’s valid for four months. During that time, you must enter Portugal and attend a second appointment with the border authority (AIMA) to complete your biometrics and get your residency permit.

Golden Visa

You can submit your Golden Visa application as soon as you complete the investment. Then you must wait for the border authorities to process it. Once they’ve done so, you’ll be invited to attend a biometrics appointment to get your residency permit.

Recently, Golden Visa applicants have experienced significant delays in processing their applications. Some have been waiting for over a year. This is partly due to the restructuring of Portugal’s border authority agency, AIMA.

At present, it’s difficult to predict how fast a Golden Visa application will be processed. If you’re ready to move to Portugal and want more certainty, it might be better to choose the D7 route.

#4. Tax Residency Requirements

D7 Visa

Tax residency goes hand-in-hand with physical stay requirements (over 183 days in-country per year). Residency with the D7 visa route requires you to live full-time in Portugal. That means you must also become a tax resident.

Golden Visa

With the Golden Visa, the physical stay requirements are much lower (7 to 14 days). So you have the choice of whether to live in Portugal full-time or not. That means you can also choose whether or not you wish to become a Portugal tax resident.

#5. Citizenship Timeline

D7 Visa

Getting residency with the D7 visa route puts you on a five-year timeline to citizenship. After five years, you can apply for either permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship (subject to meeting the language requirements).

Golden Visa

Residency with the Golden Visa has the same five-year citizenship timeline as the D7 visa. The only difference is that with the Golden Visa, you don’t need to live full-time in Portugal during that period.

#6. Language Requirements For Citizenship

D7 Visa

You’ll need proof of A2-level Portuguese language skills. You can achieve this either by completing a government course or by passing the CIPLE exam.

Golden Visa

Same as above.

#7. Bringing Family

D7 Visa

You can include family members on your D7 application, but you must have sufficient income to cover them. That means another 50% on top of the minimum (€860) for your spouse or partner, and 30% more for each dependent child.

Golden Visa

You can include family members on your Golden Visa without making any further investment.

D7 Visa vs Golden Visa: Which One Should You Choose?

The D7 visa or the Golden Visa both offer you a path to residency and eventual citizenship in Portugal. But they appeal to different types of applicants.

The D7 visa makes the most sense if you’re looking to make Portugal your primary home right away. With a steady passive income that covers the minimum requirements, you can gain residency by living full-time in Portugal. As a D7 visa holder, you also become a Portuguese tax resident.

On the flip side, the Golden Visa offers more flexibility for part-time living in Portugal. If you have €500K+ available to invest in a qualified fund, then you only need to stay 7-14 days per year to maintain your status. And you can choose whether or not to become a tax resident.

So weigh your personal priorities. Do you see Portugal as your permanent base with ongoing income ties? Or are you a global citizen seeking additional residence options with minimal physical stay requirements?

If it’s the former, then the D7 visa route checks all the boxes. But more mobile investors with a lump sum available may prefer the Golden Visa route for extra flexibility.

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2 thoughts on “Portugal D7 Visa vs Golden Visa 2024: Which One is Right For You? (Full 7-Point Comparison)”

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