Portugal golden Visa investment funds

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Funds for EU Citizenship: Ultimate 2022 Guide

The Portugal Golden Visa investment funds route is the fastest and potentially the most tax-efficient way to start your journey to EU citizenship.

This route offers a low cost of investment and favorable tax situation when compared to the better-known Golden Visa property route. 

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the Portugal Golden Visa investment funds route.  We’ll also discuss how the investment funds route measures up against the property route.

As with any investment product, Portugal Golden Visa investment funds carry an element of risk. With that in mind, we’ll also examine the potential downsides of investment funds, highlighting the important questions you should ask when deciding on a fund. Please note, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified financial advisor before choosing to invest in a fund.

For those who plan to live in Portugal, we’ll look at how to combine the investment funds Golden Visa route with Portugal’s generous NHR tax program, to benefit from preferential tax treatment on your worldwide income for 10 years. 

Portugal Golden Visa: Overview

Since its launch in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has been a resounding success and is now widely considered one of Europe’s most popular immigrant investor programs.

The Golden Visa scheme has granted nearly 10,000 visas and generated over €5.3 billion of foreign investment for Portugal, according to 2021 statistics from SEF, the Portuguese borders and and immigration agency. 

Most applicants have been Chinese nationals, followed by those from Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, and Russia. 

Recent political developments, such as Brexit, have also spurred a rise in the numbers of British nationals seeking to regain their rights in the European Union, via Portugal’s flexible Golden Visa scheme. 

Portugal Golden Visa investment funds route

The Portuguese government introduced the investment funds route in late 2018. It gives investors the opportunity to get their Golden Visa by investing in Portuguese venture capital and private equity funds. 

Many funds focus on residential property, while others invest in commercial property including storage, student housing, hotels and retail units. Others invest in Portuguese start-ups, high-tech, energy and sustainability projects, and agriculture.

Not just any fund can qualify for the Golden Visa scheme; there are strict requirements. The fund must be registered in Portugal and have at least 60% of its capital invested there. 

All funds in the Golden Visa scheme are closely regulated – by the Portuguese Securities Markets Commission (CMVM), the Bank of Portugal, and the Portuguese tax authority (Finanças). 

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Funds 2022

NB. This is not an exhaustive list of funds eligible for the Golden Visa. We endeavour to keep all information as accurate as possible, but are not responsible for any inadvertent errors that may occur.

FUNDDESCRIPTION MIN. INVESTMENTSUBSCRIPTION
DEADLINE
HOLDING PERIOD
1. EQTY Global GrowthPrime residential real estate in Portugal & global private equity investments€100,000Sep 20238 yearsMore info
2. Pela Terra
Farmland
Quality Portuguese farmland with long-term water rights €100,000Jan 20237 yearsMore info
3. The Impacto FundReal estate development in Portugal (residential, touristic & student)€350,000Feb 20238 yearsMore info
4. BlueCrow GrowthDiversified real estate incl. retail, industrial, hospitality & agriculture€105,000Dec 20227 yearsMore info
5. Next FundLuxury real estate in Portugal & the Mediterranean€200,000Jun 20226 yearsMore info
6. Prima Capital FundShort-term residential real estate in Portugal€150,000Dec 20226+ yearsMore info
7. Portugal Yield IIDiversified & low risk yielding real estate€250,290Oct 20298 yearsMore info
8. Portugal GatewayLater stage growth fund, investing in expansion capital for already proven businesses €100,000Upon reaching target size (€50 million)10 yearsMore info
9. MedCapitalSmall/medium size healthcare operators in regions of Portugal with less developed private health care supplies€150,000Dec 202210 yearsMore info
10. Indico BlueEarly-stage Portuguese start-ups and SMEs€250,000Dec 202210 yearsMore info
11. Self Storage Fund 1Self-storage facilities and operators located in city centres €150,000NA7 yearsMore info
12. CGA Portugal FCRCompanies investing in the fields of hospitality, retail, residential, and retirement property assets in Portugal and the US.€50,000Upon reaching target size (€30 million)8 yearsMore info
13. Blackbull FundDiversified
investments in commercial real estate, hospitality and corporate assets.
NAJun 20228 yearsMore info

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

No matter which route you use, the Portugal Golden Visa has substantial benefits for you and your family members. With your Golden Visa residency – leading to Portuguese citizenship – you’ll achieve the following:

  • Residency in a safe, stable, and politically neutral EU member state 
  • Fast five-year pathway to be eligible for EU citizenship – which brings you full freedom to live, work, study and retire across the 30 countries of the EU and EEA (European Economic Area).
  • Beat Brexit – if you’re British, regain your lost EU rights by acquiring Portuguese citizenship
  • Dual (or multiple) citizenship – not every EU country allows it, but Portugal does
  • Travel visa-free to 186 countries with Portugal’s well-respected passport
  • Travel visa-free across the Schengen zone with your Portuguese residency permit 
  • Flexible minimum stay – your choice either to live in Portugal, or just visit for two weeks every year 
  • Free healthcare – Access to Portugal’s good quality state healthcare system 
  • Tax benefits – Preferential tax treatment on your worldwide income (if you decide to live in Portugal) with Portugal’s generous NHR tax scheme 

All Golden Visa Routes for 2022 

In total there are eight different routes to get the Golden Visa in Portugal. Real estate and investment funds are by far the most common. Here are all the routes for easy comparison.

Please note, it’s no longer possible to invest for the Golden Visa in residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and portions of the Algarve. However, commercial real estate is still available in all those locations, along with residential options in central Portugal, the Azores, and (our favourite) Madeira.

Golden Visa routeMinimum investment
Investment and venture capital funds€500,000
Real estate (any eligible area)€500,000
Real estate (low-density zones only)€400,000
Real estate (rehabilitation only)€350,000
Real estate (rehabilitation in low-density zones only)€280,000
Bank transfer to Portuguese bank €1,500,000
Cultural heritage projects€250,000
Research and development projects€500,000
Create a Portuguese company and 10 jobsNo minimum

Want to discuss funds in more detail? Book a free consultation

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Funds vs Real Estate 

How do investment funds measure up when compared to the popular real estate Golden Visa route? Here’s a handy comparison of the two.

FUNDS PROPERTY
Investment threshold€500,000From €280,000 (low-density) to €500,000 (standard)
Submission timeline (approx) 5-7 weeks (if all paperwork in order)Highly variable – you can’t apply without the deeds
Investment costsTypical fund subscription fee: €5,250
Typical legal fees: €6,000
Total investment cost = €511,250
Transfer taxes (7.5 %): €37,500
Typical legal fees: €6,000
Total investment cost: €543,500
Government feesProcessing: €533 for main applicant + €83.30 per dependent (Paid at start and at each renewal)
Application fee (paid at start): €5,325 per applicant
Renewal fee (per renewal): €2,663 per applicant
Processing: €533 for main applicant + €83.30 per dependent (Paid at start and at each renewal)
Application fee (paid at start): €5,325 per applicant
Renewal fee (per renewal): €2,663 per applicant
Exit feesVaries by fund, typically 35% of profitNone
Taxes At entry: Zero
Ongoing: Potentially zero
At exit: Zero capital gains for non tax residents; 10% for tax residents
At entry: Transfer tax 7.5%; stamp duty, notary fees
Ongoing: Municipal tax up to 0.5% per annum; Rental income 28%
At exit: Capital gains 28%
Hassle factor Low:
Once the investment is made, you’re all set for a pathway to citizenship
High:
– Finding and managing tenants and/or holiday guests,
– Dealing with property management firms,
– Maintenance,
– Other possible legal costs 
Safety High:
– Professionally managed,
– Closely regulated by the Portuguese government
Medium:
– Property market is less regulated than funds,
– More vulnerable to market changes,
– More risk of loss or damage
Investment managementProfessional fund managers, increasing the chance of good returns You’ll have to manage your property yourself, or hire someone to help
Location restrictionsNone; you can live anywhere you want Limited to property in central Portugal, the Azores, and Madeira
Ease of exitLow:
Most funds lock you in for 5-7 years
High:
You can sell at any time (but you’d lose residency rights)

So which Golden Visa route is best for you? 

Investment funds might be the right fit if… 

  • Living in Portugal isn’t necessarily your plan with the Golden Visa 
  • You might want to live in Portugal in future, but haven’t yet chosen your perfect location  
  • You’re keen to save money on associated taxes and fees 
  • You don’t want the added hassle and expense of finding a reliable management firm to look after the property and find suitable tenants  
  • Your property needs don’t match Golden Visa program requirements (for example, you want something modest, or in a lower-cost area), although you can buy more than one property to reach the minimum investment threshold. 

Property might be better for you if… 

  • You want your investment to function both as a place to live and as your route to residency in Portugal (for example, if you’re selling your main home elsewhere to raise the Golden Visa funds). For Brits, this could suit you if you want to live in Portugal for four months per year, but can’t due to the 90/180 rule in the aftermath of Brexit. With a Golden Visa you can.  
  • You’re not in a rush and are happy to spend time looking for the perfect property investment 
  • You’re willing to pay the higher associated costs in taxes and fees
  • You’re happy to invest outside of prime areas of Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve . We strongly suggest looking at properties in Madeira

Golden Visa investor requirements

To be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa, you must be a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen, over 18 years old and with no criminal record. These eligibility requirements apply to whichever Golden Visa route you choose.

To combat money laundering and fraud, all Portugal Golden Visa Investment funds will require you to provide evidence of the source of your funds. Some may also ask for proof that you’re a knowledgeable and experienced investor.

We only recommend Golden Visa investment funds that are open to US citizens, although you may be subject to additional checks to comply with FATCA regulations.

Required documents

All Portugal Golden Visa routes require a standard list of documents. It’s important to prepare these carefully, as any inaccuracies or omissions can delay your application.

The below list includes all the general documents, plus the specific ones needed for the Portugal Golden Visa investment funds route.

Golden Visa Documents:

  • Golden Visa application form
  • Receipt for payment of the application fee
  • A passport copy for each person on your application
  • Declaration from your Portuguese bank confirming the transfer of funds and that they originated outside of Portugal
  • Proof of having made the minimum Golden Visa investment (e.g. fund documents – your fund manager will be able to provide these)
  • Health insurance policy covering Portugal
  • Criminal record check from your country of origin or of legal residency of over one year (must be a certified copy and less than 90 days old)
  • Authorization for SEF to check your Portuguese criminal record
  • Proof from Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security system that you have no outstanding debts
  • Your signed declaration stating that you intend to follow the investment requirements (i.e. to maintain the investment for the required period of time)

Want to discuss funds in more detail? Book a free consultation

Tips for choosing a fund

First, make sure the fund is regulated and eligible for Golden Visa investment. We only recommend funds that already meet those criteria.

Next, check out the experience of the fund managers. Look them up on LinkedIn and do some digging around. Do they have a good level of experience and the appropriate credentials?

Are their incentives as managers well-aligned with yours as the investor? (Typically yes, because their performance fees are based on how much the fund increases in value).

Then, think about the fund’s wider strategy. Is it investing into a promising sector? Does its risk profile match your own? How long will your money be locked in beyond the minimum Golden Visa period of five years? What sort of exit strategy does the fund have?

These are all questions you should ask the fund manager before committing any money to the fund. It’s also worth seeking advice from an independent financial advisor before going ahead with any investment.

Exiting the fund

Portuguese Golden Visa investment funds are designed with the five-year residency timeline to citizenship in mind. Most funds have a minimum lock-in period of six years.

This ensures the investors can maintain a valid investment for long enough to apply for permanent residency or citizenship. But some funds may lock investors in beyond this typical six year period. Hence, the minimal lock-in period is worth keeping in mind when you choose a fund for your Golden Visa.

Most funds have optional extension periods, which they can use to go beyond the six year mark. Typically, the decision to extend is made by the fund managers, rather than the investors. This may be inconvenient if you need to access your investment soon after getting your citizenship.

Some funds make extension decisions by holding a democratic vote among all investors. We recommend that you check this point with all your funds of interest before deciding to invest.

Getting EU citizenship with your Golden Visa

Many people reading Digital Émigré are here because their main goal is to get Portuguese citizenship. The Portuguese Golden Visa investment funds route is an excellent way to achieve this.

You need to maintain residency for a minimum of five years before you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. As mentioned before, Golden Visa-specific investment funds are designed around this requirement.

As a pathway to citizenship, the beauty of the Golden Visa is its flexibility compared to other residency routes. The physical stay requirements in Portugal are minimal – just two weeks in every year.

In practice, that means you can continue your life outside of Portugal, safe in the knowledge that your investment is accumulating the years to make you eligible for citizenship – while hopefully bringing you a good financial return in the process. It’s a win-win.

Of course, the Golden Visa also gives you the choice of living full time in Portugal. This can bring you significant advantages in terms of tax efficiency, because Portugal tax residents can benefit from the country’s ten-year NHR tax program.

Want to discuss funds in more detail? Book a free consultation


Frequently asked questions

We get a lot of enquiries from potential Golden Visa applicants. Here are some of the most common questions about the process, including many related to the investment funds route. If you have another question that isn’t listed here, please contact us.

Why did Portugal create the investment funds route?

To add another route for Golden Visa investors to put foreign capital into the country, while reducing the overly heavy focus on real estate investment.

Can I get residency in Portugal through investment funds?

Yes. If you invest in a qualifying fund, you can then apply for residency through the Golden Visa route.

What’s the minimum I can invest in a Golden Visa investment fund?

€500,000

What are the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa investment funds route?

Lower overall cost of investment compared to the property route
Faster process than the property route
Easier to manage than property
Tax-efficient (with the right strategy)
Maximum flexibility – choose whether to live in Portugal or not
No geographical restrictions
Professionally managed to maximize your returns
Closely regulated for maximum safety

Can I include my family on my Golden Visa?

Yes. You can include your spouse or partner (the latter provided you’ve lived together for at least two years and can prove it), dependent children under 18, dependent children over 18 who are in full-time education, and parents, provided they are either over 66, or under 66 and financially dependent on you or your spouse.

Does Portugal have a citizenship by investment program?

No. The Golden Visa program offers residency by investment, not guaranteed citizenship. However, Golden Visa holders can apply for Portuguese citizenship after holding residency for five years. The majority of applications are successful, if all criteria are met.

Can I get EU citizenship with the Golden Visa?

Yes. All Golden Visa applicants become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of residency. As Portugal is an EU member state, getting Portuguese citizenship will give you full EU rights. Those rights include freedom of movement (to freely live, work, study, do business, or retire) across the 30 countries of the EU and EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). If you’re British, the Portugal Golden Visa is your best option to beat Brexit and regain your rights.

What are the language requirements for Portuguese citizenship?

For citizenship, you’ll need Portuguese at A2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). There are no language requirements for getting residency with the Golden Visa.

Does Portugal allow dual citizenship?

Yes

What’s the difference between Portuguese permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship?

Permanent residency still needs to be renewed and can be lost if you leave the country for too many years. Citizenship is permanent, doesn’t need to be renewed, and cannot be lost by living outside the country.
Also, Portuguese permanent residency only applies to Portugal; it doesn’t give you rights in the rest of the EU. Only citizenship can do that. Lastly, you can only apply for a Portuguese passport if you are first granted Portuguese citizenship.

How will Portugal Golden Visa changes in 2022 affect the investment fund route?

As of January 1, 2022, the minimum investment threshold has increased from €350,000 to €500,000.

What’s the difference between venture capital and private equity?

In the Portugal context, venture capital funds invest in start-ups, while private equity funds invest in established businesses. You should consider your risk level when choosing between the two.

Can I invest in more than one fund to get my Golden Visa?

Yes, as long as the total investment amount meets the minimum €500,000 Golden Visa threshold.

Can I invest more than the €500,000 minimum threshold in funds?

Yes.

Do all Portuguese investment funds qualify for the Golden Visa?

No. Funds need to meet specific criteria before qualifying for Golden Visa investment. All funds featured in this article qualify.

How long do I need to keep my money in the fund to get my Golden Visa?

Five years. This is the minimum period to be eligible for permanent residency or citizenship. You’ll need to maintain your investment to keep your Golden Visa residency status active.

Can I exit my Golden Visa fund investment early?

Some funds may allow you to sell your units early. But exiting the investment early will end your Golden Visa. You’ll lose your residency status and that will stop the clock on your citizenship journey.

Can I use my fund units to buy property on exit?

It depends on the fund. Several offer this opportunity. It’s an interesting way to secure a prime property in areas that are now outside the Golden Visa scheme, including Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. Contact us for details of funds offering this option.

What additional costs are involved in Golden Visa fund investment?

Some funds charge a subscription fee on entry. You will also have to account for legal fees for handling the Golden Visa application, plus government fees. These also apply if you use the property route.

How do fund managers get paid?

Funds typically charge an annual management fee, usually 1-2%. They also have a performance fee at fund maturity: usually 20-30% of profits. This incentivizes the fund managers to maximize fund performance.

How many days must I spend in Portugal to maintain my Golden Visa residency status?

7 days in the first year, and 14 days in each of the subsequent two-year periods. Many Golden Visa holders use these as opportunities to renew their residency permits, while having a sunny vacation in Portugal.

Can I get NHR tax status with my Golden Visa?

Yes. But only if you live full time in Portugal and register as a tax resident. As a Golden Visa holder, you can maintain your immigration status whether or not you’re a Portugal tax resident, but being tax resident is a prerequisite for gaining NHR status.

With my Golden Visa, which countries can I visit without getting another visa?

You can use your Golden Visa to travel freely as a tourist in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in every 180.

As a Golden Visa holder, can I work and/or study in Portugal?

Yes. You and your family can do both. You can also open a business in Portugal.

Can I make other investments in Portugal?

Yes.

I’m already resident in Portugal with the D7 passive income visa. Can I convert it to a Golden Visa?

Yes, you can switch from the D7 visa to the Golden Visa, once you have available funds to make the investment.

How long does it take to receive my Golden Visa?

After submitting your completed application to SEF, you can expect to receive your biometrics appointment in around six weeks. Once that’s done, SEF currently takes 4-6 months to issue the Golden Visa residency cards. This timeline may get shorter in 2022 if SEF receives additional staffing. The Golden Visa program remains very much in demand.


Want to discuss funds in more detail? Book a free consultation

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