Portugal Golden Visa for UK Citizens: Your Guide in 2024

Are you a UK citizen looking to gain residency in Portugal through investment? The Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens offers you a gateway to not only live, work, and study in Portugal but also enjoy unrestricted travel within the Schengen Area.
January 11, 2024
Ana Fankhauser
January 11, 2024

Are you a UK citizen looking to gain residency in Portugal through investment? The Portugal Golden Visa for UK citizens offers you a gateway to not only live, work, and study in Portugal but also enjoy unrestricted travel within the Schengen Area. This guide provides an in-depth look at how UK citizens can benefit from the program, outlining investment options, the application process, and the potential for citizenship—all tailored to your post-Brexit needs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Portugal Golden Visa offers UK citizens residency rights without the need for continuous presence in Portugal and a path to permanent residency or citizenship after five years, with privileges such as living, working, and unlimited travel within the Schengen Area.
  • A variety of investment pathways exist, including property acquisition, contributing to national heritage, venture capital fund investments, and establishing or investing in Portuguese businesses, each with specific minimum investment requirements and potential tax implications.
  • For Golden Visa applicants, family reunification permits immediate family members to also obtain residency, and lifestyle benefits include access to healthcare, education, and a high quality of life, fostering cultural integration into the Portuguese community.

Navigating Portugal's Golden Visa as a UK National

UK passport with Portugal's Golden Visa emblem

The Portuguese Golden Visa program, also known as the Portugal Golden Visa program, is specifically tailored for non-EU citizens who are 18 or older, possess a clean criminal record, and are capable of making a significant investment originating from outside Portugal. The program offers temporary residency for two years, is extendable for an additional three years and doesn’t necessitate living in Portugal to maintain eligibility.

Golden Visa holders gain the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and can even apply for permanent residency or citizenship within five years. The program rules necessitate a minimum stay of seven days per year in Portugal, which is less demanding than many other residency programs.

Consequently, the Portugal Golden Visa program presents a feasible and appealing solution for UK citizens seeking an alternative route to achieve residency and unrestricted movement within the EU.

Understanding Brexit's Impact on UK Citizens

Brexit altered the landscape for UK citizens, stripping them of their privilege to reside, work, and travel freely within the EU. Now, UK citizens are required to secure a legal residency permit for long-term stays in any EU country.

Portugal’s Golden Visa program, also known as the Portugal Golden Visa program, can reinstate these rights by granting residency permits through qualifying investments in Portugal.

The Portuguese Golden Visa Advantage for UK Expatriates

The Portugal Golden Visa provides numerous benefits for UK expatriates, including:

  • The right to reside and travel unrestrictedly within the Schengen Area
  • Access to a high standard of living and healthcare
  • The opportunity to seek Portuguese citizenship after five years of residency.

The program also allows family reunification by granting residency permits to family members of the primary investor applicant, which makes it an appealing choice for families planning to move to Portugal.

Investment Pathways for UK Applicants

There are various investment pathways available for UK applicants

The Portugal Golden Visa program provides a range of investment options, accommodating diverse investor needs and preferences. These options include:

  • Purchasing property
  • Investing in qualifying Portuguese venture capital funds
  • Contributing to national heritage projects
  • Investing in or establishing a commercial company in Portugal

Each option comes with its own set of requirements. For instance, investing in qualifying funds requires a minimum investment of €500,000 and can be distributed across several funds. Establishing a business, on the other hand, involves creating a minimum of ten full-time jobs or investing a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business.

Venture Capital Fund Investments

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers a significant avenue for venture capital fund investments, which involve capital transfers. The process involves making a qualifying investment in a Portuguese Golden Visa investment fund. The minimum investment threshold is €500,000, which can be distributed across several funds.

The anticipated returns from these investment funds can vary between 3 and 10%, offering a profitable opportunity for investors.

National Heritage Contributions

National heritage contributions are available for UK applicants

Another pathway to the Golden Visa is through contributing to national heritage projects. This route involves donating €250,000 towards preserving national heritage or donating €500,000 to support research and development activities within Portugal.

This choice not only provides a route to residency and possible citizenship but also helps maintain the country’s cultural heritage.

Commercial Company Options

The entrepreneurial option is ideally suited for business owners or entrepreneurs seeking to establish a European operation. This option involves creating at least ten full-time jobs within a business you own or investing a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business.

This investment must lead to the creation of a minimum of five new full-time jobs within a span of three years.

Alternative Portugal Visas:

Visa Type Purpose Eligibility Key Advantages Key Disadvantages
D7 Visa (Passive Income) Passive income generation Income from sources outside Portugal Low minimum income requirement, path to permanent residency and citizenship Income must be generated from passive sources, such as investments or pensions
D8 Visa (Freelance and Remote Work) Freelance and remote work Self-employed individuals or remote workers with clients outside Portugal Opportunity to live and work in Portugal while serving international clients Requires proof of income and clients outside Portugal
Golden Visa Investment Investment of €280,000 or more in real estate or other approved investments Fast-track to permanent residency and citizenship, no physical residency requirement High investment threshold, potential for property market fluctuations
Startup Visa (D2) Entrepreneurship Innovative business idea and minimum investment of €50,000 Support for entrepreneurs and potential for high returns, path to permanent residency Competitive application process, risk of business failure
Tech Visa Highly skilled workers Employment in a qualified tech sector company Access to Portugal's growing tech industry, streamlined application process Dependent on securing employment with a qualifying company
Studnet Visa Education Enrollment in a Portuguese educational institution Access to Portugal's education system, potential for post-graduation employment Requires full-time study, may not lead to permanent residency
Family Reunion Visa (D6) Family reunification Close family members of Portuguese citizens or residents Allows family members to live in Portugal with their loved ones Dependent on the status of the family member in Portugal
Jobseeker Visa Job search Proof of job search in Portugal and sufficient financial means Opportunity to explore job opportunities in Portugal, potential to obtain a work visa Limited duration, no guarantee of finding employment

We offer all long-term Portuguese visas for your needs.

Financial Prerequisites and Legal Procedures

Financial prerequisites and legal procedures for UK applicants

The Golden Visa application process for Golden Visa applicants includes:

  • Meeting certain financial preconditions
  • Making an investment that meets certain financial thresholds
  • Submitting an online application along with the requisite supporting documentation
  • Attending a personal interview.

The necessary documentation includes:

  • A government-issued travel document
  • Evidence of investment
  • Confirmation of fund transfer
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Criminal record
  • Affirmations of investment compliance and adherence to Portuguese authorities.

Minimum Investment Requirements

The minimum investment requirements depend on the pathway chosen. For instance, for real estate investments, the minimum requirement is €400,000 for properties in low-density areas and €350,000 for real estate over 30 years old located in urban rehabilitation areas.

For business-related options, the minimum investment stands at €500,000 for investing in an existing Portuguese business or venture capital fund.

Navigating Legal Costs and Fees

Navigating legal costs and fees is a crucial part of the application process. The legal costs for the primary applicant typically range from €4,000 to €6,000, while expenses for dependents and renewals may vary slightly.

A family of four could potentially incur legal fees amounting to €20,000 to €30,000 throughout the application and renewal phases.

Establishing Fiscal Roots: Bank Accounts and Taxes

Setting up fiscal roots in Portugal is a significant step in the Golden Visa process. This involves opening a Portuguese bank account and understanding the tax implications for Golden Visa investors.

The tax implications entail meeting tax obligations related to any income derived from their investment in the country and becoming a tax resident if they live in Portugal for over 183 days in a financial year.

Opening a Portuguese bank account

Opening a Portuguese Bank Account

Opening a Portuguese bank account is a relatively straightforward process. Foreign investors are required to provide evidence of their current residential address in their home country and a valid government-issued identification document. They will also need to obtain a NIF number, which is essential for all financial activities, including the establishment and administration of a bank account within a Portuguese financial institution in Portugal.

Tax Considerations for Golden Visa Investors

Tax considerations for Golden Visa investors include paying taxes on any income generated from their investment in Portugal. If investors choose to rent out their property, the real estate income is taxed at a fixed rate of 28%.

Furthermore, becoming a tax resident opens up the possibility of qualifying for the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Tax Program, which offers tax exemptions on almost all foreign source income and a favorable flat tax rate of 20% for certain professions.

Residency Perks and Citizenship Prospects

The Portugal Golden Visa program provides multiple benefits for residency and a straightforward pathway to citizenship. The program grants the right to live, work, and study in Portugal and the freedom to travel within the Schengen Area.

After five years of legal residence, individuals become eligible to pursue Portuguese citizenship, offering the privilege of obtaining a Portuguese passport and visa-free travel to 188 countries.

Living and Working Rights in Portugal

Golden Visa holders in Portugal are granted several rights, including:

  • The right to reside and work in Portugal (authorization may be required to work in other EU member states)
  • Access to healthcare services through the National Health Service
  • The ability to enroll their children in state schools or private international schools.

Roadmap to Portuguese Citizenship

After maintaining a Golden Visa for five years, individuals are eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. The process involves:

  • Demonstrating connections to Portugal
  • Maintaining a Portuguese bank account
  • Having a clean criminal record
  • Successfully passing an A2 level Portuguese language examination

The approval process can take up to 2 years due to a backlog of applications.

Family Reunification Opportunities

Family reunification is a unique benefit of the Portugal Golden Visa program. The program extends residence permits to family members of the main investor applicant, making it an attractive option for families looking to relocate to Portugal.

The eligible family members include the spouse, minor children, children over 18 who are studying and are dependent, and parents who are financially dependent on the investor.

Life in Portugal: Lifestyle and Cultural Integration

Life in Portugal provides a high quality of life and a friendly, inviting culture. The lifestyle is characterized by beautiful beaches, a warm climate, and a relatively low cost of living.

The Portuguese are renowned for their warm and hospitable nature, which facilitates the integration of expats into the local community.

Embracing the Portuguese Lifestyle

Adopting the Portuguese lifestyle is fundamental to becoming part of the local community. This involves:

  • Understanding and respecting cultural differences
  • Participating actively in the community
  • Enjoying the benefits of Portugal’s multicultural society
  • Familiarizing oneself with Portugal’s popular traditions and customs, such as religious festivals, traditional dances, and the diverse culinary offerings,.

Healthcare and Education for Golden Visa Families

Golden Visa families have access to Portugal’s National Health Service and a range of educational options. Healthcare services include emergency treatment, psychiatric care, and maternity care, most of which are provided free of charge.

On the education front, children of Golden Visa holders are eligible to attend state schools that offer the Portuguese curriculum, as well as several private international schools that follow the British and American curricula.

Alternatives to the Golden Visa

While the Portugal Golden Visa program provides multiple benefits, alternative visa programs exist for UK citizens aiming to secure residency in Portugal. These alternatives include the D7 visa, start-up visa, and student visa. Each of these options has its own set of requirements and benefits that might be more suitable for certain individuals.

Preparing for Application Submission

Preparation for the Golden Visa application submission requires gathering a substantial amount of documentation, a process that can be executed remotely with the help of a legal professional. The necessary documentation includes:

  • A government-issued travel document
  • Evidence of investment
  • Confirmation of fund transfer
  • Healthcare coverage
  • Criminal record
  • Affirmations of investment compliance and adherence to Portuguese authorities.

Real Estate Considerations Post-2023 Changes

Modifications to the Portugal Golden Visa program, effective in 2023, will affect the eligibility of specific real estate investments. From 2023, the Golden Visa will no longer be available through real estate purchases or investments in funds linked to real estate, whether directly or indirectly.

This change means that alternative investment avenues, such as allocating €500,000 to funds unrelated to real estate, will remain valid.


The Portugal Golden Visa program presents a unique opportunity for UK citizens to maintain their ties with Europe post-Brexit. The program offers a range of investment options, residency perks, a pathway to Portuguese citizenship, and the possibility of family reunification. With the changes coming into effect in 2023, potential investors should consider their options carefully and seek professional advice to make an informed decision.

As UK citizens navigate the post-Brexit landscape, the Portugal Golden Visa program emerges as a powerful tool for securing residency and free movement within the EU. So, if you’re a UK citizen seeking to maintain your ties with Europe, the Portugal Golden Visa could be the key to unlocking a world of opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can UK citizens apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Yes, UK citizens can apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, which allows them to travel freely within the Schengen Area and regain most of the EU citizen rights lost in Brexit.

Can a British citizen retire to Portugal?

Yes, as a British citizen, you can retire to Portugal. However, you will need a valid visa if you plan to stay for more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

Can you live in Portugal with a British passport?

Yes, UK nationals can live in Portugal with a British passport for up to 90 days within a six-month period without a visa, but for extended stays or permanent relocation, visa requirements similar to those of Americans or Australians apply.

Is Portugal's Golden Visa ending in 2023?

No, the Portugal Golden Visa program is not ending. However, there have been significant modifications to the program that came into force on October 7, 2023, including changes to the qualifying investment options.

What are the eligibility criteria for family reunification under the Portugal Golden Visa?

The eligibility criteria for family reunification under the Portugal Golden Visa include the investor's spouse, minor children, dependent children over 18 who are studying, and financially dependent parents.

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Ana Fankhauser
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