Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

The Golden Visa not only allows the holder to live and work in Portugal, but residency also affords you the right to visa-free travel throughout the European Schengen Area.

Through this Portuguese residency programme, you can qualify for permanent residency and apply for citizenship after five years. Portuguese citizenship gives you the right to live, work and study in the EU.

This solution has proven very popular with clients who are looking to achieve:

Dual residency (or nationality) for you and your family

Visa-free travel throughout Europe and the Schengen area


Low physical presence requirement – only spend 35 days in Portugal over five years


Consistently voted one of the safest countries in the world

The Portugal Golden Visa functions similarly to a Schengen Visa.

Travel throughout the countries of the Schengen Area for 90 days visa-free within a six-month period:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland*
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein*
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway*
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland*

    *Not a European Union Member State

Golden Visa Portugal: New qualifying criteria (2023 update)

There are five routes to qualify for in the Golden Residence Permit Programme as of 19 July 2023.

Please note: none of the current investment categories can be used directly, or indirectly, for real estate investment.

  1. €500,000 unit/share investment

    Capital transfer if a minimum €500,000, intended to the acquisition of units/shares of non-real estate collective investment funds, which are incorporated under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the time of the investment, is at least five years and at least 60% of the value of the investments is made in commercial companies based in the national territory.

  2. €500,000 donation to research

    Capital transfer of a minimum of €500,000 applied in research activities (non-refundable donation/contribution to a public or private institution of scientific research, integrated in the national scientific and technological system).

  3. €250,000 donation to arts and culture

    Capital transfer of a minimum of €250,000 applied in investment or support to artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage (non-refundable donation/contribution to a project which is presented and approved by both GEPAC and the Ministry of Culture).

  4. €500,000 and job creation

    Capital transfer of a minimum of €500,000 intended for the incorporation of a commercial company with HQ in Portugal, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs.

  5. Job creation

    Creation of a minimum of 10 jobs, with the 10 work posts still active at each renewal (no minimum investment).

What Sable International can do for you

Since the Golden Visa programme's inception, we've helped over over half of all the South Africans who've been through the programme. 

We have a dedicated team on the ground in Portugal who work closely with our select network of local partners who are specialists within their field.  We are up to date with the current trends and dynamics within Portugal and are able to offer clients solid advice in terms of investments, processes as well as manage our clients investment expectations.

Sable International can assist with everything from opening your bank accounts, to tax advice and clearance, forex, fiscal applications, investment selection and management, residency applications and renewals and even your eventual application for Portuguese citizenship.

    Our team in Portugal is made up of South African expats who have made the move themselves. We understand the South African perspective and are able to offer contextualised advice and recommendations to make your transition as smooth as possible. 

    Golden Visa Portugal: Requirements

    To maintain your Golden Visa, you'll need to hold your investment for the duration of the visa period, spend some time in Portugal and have a clear criminal record.

    How present must you be in Portugal?

    The residency requirements are not onerous. You're only require to spend an average of seven days a year in Portugal. 

    Portuguese language test for permanent residency and citizenship

    A key aspect of applying for Portuguese permanent residency and citizenship is proving your knowledge of the language. This is done by taking a level A2 exam (also called CIPLE), which will test your understanding of the language and your ability to communicate in Portuguese.

    The exam can be written at any point after you’ve successfully obtained a Golden Visa. Since this aspect of the application process involves quite a bit of preparation, we advise that you start learning the language soon after obtaining your Golden Visa.

    Many of our clients have had success with online courses that have helped them and their families prepare for the test. It is possible to sit the test in South Africa, Portugal and many other global locations.

    Golden Visa statistics

    Since its inception in October 2012, the Golden Residence Permit Programme (GRPP), also known as the Golden Visa programme, has been a great success.

    • Over €6 billion has been invested into the Portuguese economy by non-EU investors who have secured EU residency in return for their investments.
    • South Africa is one of the top four countries investors hail from (with 422 investors).
    • Sable International has processed over 780 applications (248 investors and 532 dependants).
    • We've had a 100% success rate with those applications.
    • Some of our clients have already achieved full EU citizenship.
    • The most popular investment option since 2012 is the €500,000 real estate option, but PEF investment funds are the new trend since 2019.
    • More than 17,000 family members have been given visas as part of the Golden Visa programme.

    *Statistics accurate as of November 2021

    Get in touch

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    Disclaimer: Please do not act in reliance on information published or advised without consulting a suitably qualified independent legal or other professional advisor of your own choosing. Sable International will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of their use or reliance on any of the advice provided by any one or all of the professional advisors identified by Sable International. Sable International will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of the Portuguese Government changing the legislation and or rules around immigration and nationality. Obtaining Portuguese residency and citizenship is at the sole discretion of the Portuguese Government. Sable International will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of the Portuguese Government not granting an applicant residency or citizenship.