Portugal Golden Visa Hotel Investment 2023: A Convenient and Affordable Route to Citizenship

Hotel with swimming pool for Portugal Golden Visa hotel investment

The Portugal Golden Visa program is still fully operational under existing rules (with all routes still available) as of September 3, 2023. Here’s the latest information based on our discussions with Portuguese lawyers and other experts.
Investment funds are the fastest way to get your Golden Visa application safely submitted.

Looking to get a Portugal Golden Visa at one of the most affordable thresholds? No plans to live in Portugal full-time?

Then investing in one of Portugal’s many hotel development projects could be the perfect route to citizenship for you and your family.

With Portugal Golden Visa hotel investment, you can access the affordable €280,000 and €350,000 investment thresholds in an easy, fast and convenient way – without struggling to find appealing property in a low-density area, or managing a complex renovation project by yourself.

Let’s take a closer look at what Portugal Golden Visa hotel investment involves, plus what you should think about when choosing a project. We’ll also take a look at potential alternatives to hotel investment.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice. We’re not financial advisors. You should seek advice from a qualified financial advisor and do your own due diligence before choosing an investment route.

Why invest in a hotel development project?

Portugal offers Europe’s most appealing Golden Visa program, in which investors can access residency and then citizenship after just five years.

One of the biggest advantages of the program is its the low physical stay requirement of just 7 days per year – meaning you don’t have to live full time in Portugal to maintain your residency rights.

The typical route to get the Portugal Golden Visa involves buying a property in Portugal. Many investors from all over the world have taken advantage of the opportunities.

However, in January 2022, the Portuguese government changed the program rules. It was no longer possible to buy a residential property in any of the most popular areas: Lisbon, Porto, and a large chunk of the Algarve region.

That change sent potential investors looking elsewhere in the country for opportunities. The lower real estate investment thresholds of €280,000 and €350,000 have become more appealing, but they both come with certain restrictions that present a major disadvantage.

To invest in residential property at these thresholds, you’re restricted to buying a house or apartment in a low-density area (which are usually rural and far from major cities), or buying one that’s either over 30 years old or in need of rehabilitation.

For many investors, especially those who don’t wish to live in Portugal, that’s too much hassle and risk.

Investing in a hotel overcomes these downsides. Because it’s classed as commercial, rather than residential, you can access projects anywhere in Portugal, including the major cities.

If you want to invest at one of the lower thresholds (€280,000 and €350,000), then investing in a hotel project means you don’t need to spend months searching for a suitable property in rural areas.

Nor do you need to get involved in a potentially complicated and time-consuming renovation project of your own.

What’s more, hotel investment means you don’t need to spend time, energy, or money on managing your own property, dealing with repairs, handling tenants, and tackling legal issues. It’s a hands-off way to get your Golden Visa.

If you want to get into the Golden Visa scheme and start your clock to citizenship without living in Portugal, then investing in a hotel project could be a route worth exploring.


  • Access the most affordable Golden Visa thresholds: €280,000 and €350,000
  • Hands-off, convenient investment route
  • Some projects pay rental income upfront, reducing your cost of investment. For example, your hotel apartment might cost €280,000, but you receive 15% back within two weeks of purchase.
  • Invest in parts of Portugal no longer eligible for the standard Golden Visa via residential property investment
  • You’ll usually get a free 1-2 week stay every year, useful for fulfilling the Golden Visa’s physical stay requirements


Investing in hotel projects has many advantages, but also several disadvantages.

For starters, it’s not a good fit if you want to live full time in Portugal. Hotel development projects usually offer investors a free 1 to 2 week stay every year, but that’s as far as it goes.

If moving to Portugal full time is your goal, then the most cost-effective Golden Visa route is investing in your own house or apartment to live in. That way, you have a place to live and also a means to secure residency.

But using the standard residential property route also means you can’t buy in Lisbon, Porto, or (much of) the Algarve. One appealing option could be to buy a house or apartment in Madeira or the Azores, both of which are still open to Golden Visa investment without restriction.

Finding the right hotel investment project for your Golden Visa

With lots of hotel investment projects currently underway around Portugal, finding the right one can be a challenge.

The first step is to choose which investment threshold you’re aiming for: €280,000, or €350,000. Remember, to qualify for the lower Golden Visa thresholds, these will all be renovation-based projects.

Then, look at the terms and conditions of the project. Does it offer buyback? Will the developer pay you a portion of the rental income upfront? Is your investment protected by a bank guarantee? Who is the developer? Do they have a good reputation?

You should also give some thought to the area of Portugal where the project is located. Does it seem appealing to tourists? Would you personally want to spend time at this hotel? What do you think of the plans for the project?

The developer should have a representative available to meet with you, either in person or a video call, and answer all your questions in detail.

Alternatives to hotel project investment

Read this far but decided that Portugal Golden Visa hotel investment isn’t right for you?

Here are several alternatives for getting residency with similar benefits – with the flexibility of spending just seven days a year in Portugal.

Golden Visa investment funds route (€500,000)

Investing in one of Portugal’s eligible funds offers another hands off route to residency and eventual citizenship.

Although the minimum investment threshold of €500,000 is higher than hotel investment projects, funds in the Golden Visa program are professionally managed, highly regulated, and offer potential for high returns (although of course, this isn’t guaranteed).

Investing in funds offers the opportunity to access a range of varied real estate development projects (including residential, commercial and agricultural), along with Portuguese startups in cutting-edge fields such as biotech.

To learn more about the funds route, take a look at our 2023 guide to Portugal Golden Visa investment funds.

Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) visa (€175,000)

Another interesting alternative for potential Golden Visa investors is the highly qualified activity (HQA) visa. It’s not part of the Golden Visa program, but offer a similar advantages – namely the low annual physical stay requirements.

The HQA visa is designed for entrepreneurial investors who want to create their own research-driven startup, in partnership with a Portuguese university.

The initial investment of €175,000 goes towards funding the company and covering setup costs. The whole process can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you want – you don’t ever need to meet any business targets to maintain your residency status.

But, keep in mind, any returns on your investment will depend on how successful your startup becomes. The HQA visa won’t be the right fit if you’re a hand-off investor who prefers to have professionals managing your funds for you.

What’s more, because the HQA visa is governed by separate legislation from the Golden Visa, it offers several unique advantages for potential investors.

First, the timeline for approval is extremely short. By law, all HQA Visa applications must be decided within 30 days.

In contrast, Golden Visa applications often take months to process, which delays the start of your citizenship timeline (it begins from the date your residence permit is issued).

The HQA program also offers a guaranteed full refund of your investment if your visa application is denied.

Interested in the HQA visa program? Schedule a free no-obligation call back from our HQA specialist team.

Before you go…

Investing in hotel development projects offers an affordable, convenient and hands off route to the Portugal Golden Visa – without all the hassle of dealing with residential property restrictions.

But hotel project investment isn’t suitable for everyone, especially if you wish to live full time in Portugal. If that’s your situation, then you should instead consider investing in residential property in any area of the country that’s still eligible, such as Madeira.

You could also look at non-investment based residency routes, such as the D7 passive income visa, or the Portugal digital nomad visa for remote workers. Both of these are a good fit for those who want to live full time in Portugal.

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