With only a little more than 4 months left, those of you who haven’t started the process yet may be asking yourself, do I still have time to catch the deadline of December 31st, 2021?
If you aren’t aware of the changes of the Portugal Golden Visa legislation, you can check the details here: New Updates on Portugal Golden Visa Regulation Changes 2021.
In short, starting next year, if you want to invest in real estate or investment funds for Golden Visa,
- Residential properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other coastal areas will no longer be qualified
- The minimum investment threshold for funds will be increased to 500k
If you want to invest just 350k euros in funds or a residential property in Lisbon, Porto and certain coastal areas, the time is NOW!
We have received in numerous questions from our clients on this matter, we will try to summarise our answers here:
Do I still have time to catch the deadline if I am starting from ground zero?
The short answer is yes. The deadline of December 31, 2021 is the time for submitting your Golden Visa application online, not getting your approval from the SEF (immigration office).
You still have time, but not too much.
Where shall I start? What are the steps and procedures to apply for the golden visa?
Step 1 – NIF
The NIF is essential for almost everything you do in Portugal.
Getting a NIF doesn’t mean you are liable for paying tax in Portugal, you don’t need to pay taxes in Portugal for income obtained out of Portugal. You can get your NIF months, even years, before you actually submit your visa application. I t is recommended to get this as soon as possible.
All adult applicants will need an NIF. We will apply the NIF for you remotely, and our company will be your tax representative.
- Personal documents needed: passport and address proof
- Other documents: declaration forms for appointing your NIF representative, NIF application submission form – We will prepare this documents for you to sign
Note: Documents needs to be either certified by your lawyer (in Portugal) or by a notary.
Step 2 – Open bank account
Only the main investor is needed to open a bank account in Portugal. We will introduce you to a bank for account opening. Please note that banks have their own regulations, and process. Some banks don’t take on clients for certain nationalities and/ or certain investment routes. And not all banks can open bank account remotely.
We will introduce some banks (and the bank account manager that will be taking care of you) that can work with you based on your nationality, and investment route.
- Personal documents needed: depending on the bank, but normally, in addition to your passport and address proof, tax return, tax ID, employment letters and/ or pay slip
Note: Documents and the bank account opening forms need to be either certified by your lawyer (in Portugal), or by a notary using the Hague convention (apostille) for most banks. Note: To open bank account remotely, you need to mail the original bank account opening forms and certified documents to the bank. We have been experiencing delays in mailing/ posting from some countries.
Step 3 – Personal documents
At the same time, you should start preparing personal documentations for the online application, like the police report, marriage certificate and birth certificate. Please note that all these documents need to be apostilled. After which you would also need to get it translated and certified.
The critical one is the criminal record. Countries differ in how they issue the criminal record for their residents. Some countries even require a request letter from the Portugal Consulate in order to process the issuance of the criminal record, therefore a trip to the nearest Portugal Consulate to where you live is an extra step. Getting the document and getting it apostille alone may take 2-3 months.
However, getting the documents is not always the sooner the better. For example, the police report only has a 3-month validity period (from the issuance date to the online submission date). In between this 3 months, you would also need to get those documents apostilled in your home country, and then translated in Portuguese and certified.
Note: Please note you should get police report from all the countries that you have resided for more than 1 year, or at the very lease from the country of your nationality (from which you hold the passport) and the country that you are residing in. For more details on this, please contact us. Note: If your country is not in the Hague convention, you should certify your documents in the nearest Portugal consulate/ embassy.
Refer to the below table to the validity period of the documents and requirements for apostilled.
Note: The above is not the full list of documents, as other documents may be needed for your dependents (eg. proof of student status, single, and dependent, retirement status and so on).
Other than documents from your original country, you would also need to get documents in Portugal, such as the below
- Applicant’s permission for the authorities to access his/her Portuguese criminal record.
- Certificate of no debts from the Portuguese tax and national insurance offices.
- Signed statement by the applicant that he/she will fulfil the investment requirements.
- Evidence that the minimum investment has been made (property purchase documents; renovation contract + invoice/ receipts; declaration letter from fund manager)
- Declaration letter from your Portugal bank confirming the transfer of the required funds
The Golden Portugal will be helping you to request the above mentioned informations.
Step 4 – Bank transfer and investment fund subscription/ purchase property
Investment fund is more straightforward then property purchase, and the process is quicker. We can provide you an overview of the investment funds and walk you thru the most important aspects of each funds. We can also arrange calls with fund managers.
Property purchase is a little more time consuming due to:
- there are many more choices on the market
- there are many more criteria to consider (eg. neighbourhood, size, state of the property, amenities, etc)- there maybe negotiation on the price
- the purchase process of property takes longer
- you would need a POA in place for your lawyer to act on your behalf
- there is a counter party (the seller) in second hand property, which may add complications / delay the process
For property purchase, if you travel in person to Portugal, viewing of your short-listed properties and choosing the property can typically be done in a few days. You would need to get a lawyer for the purchase of the property. With a power of attorney, all other process can be handled by the lawyer, so you do not need to be physically in Portugal during the purchase process.
It is crucial to shortlist your properties and pre-arrange with viewing date and time ahead of time before your trip to Portugal.
With the pandemic, more and more clients choose to view and buy properties remotely. If you are to buy properties remotely, it is crucial to have a buyer agent to act on your behalf, to walk you through the neighbourhood, to look at the properties in detail.
We are here to act as your buyer agent and to help you make virtual viewings via video calls or video tape of the property and the surrounding areas. We also help to you on the transition phase if you are not in Portugal to handle it yourself (eg. change names on water, gas and electricity).
Note: if you are purchasing property remotely, you must have a POA to have your lawyer to make the purchase and sign documents on your behalf. Please note this POA needs to be certify at a Portuguese embassy/ consulate, or at a notary with Hague convention (ideally in Portuguese).
How long does a typical property purchase takes?
There are 2 steps to the purchase of a property – the promissory contract and final deed. Usually we need to wait around 15 days between both, to allow the City Council to exercise the rights of purchases preference (just as a standard procedures).
In addition, if the property has a current mortgage, it takes around 10-15 days for the bank to prepare the mortgage distract.
Step 5 – Online submission
You will need to translate all documents into Portuguese. Fill in the necessary forms and submit them online to the SEF portal. Your lawyer should be able to help you on this step.
With such a short time frame, we are advising clients to do step 1 – 3 in parallel.
Our role as your consultant is to be there along the whole journey of the Golden Visa process. We will be the main coordinator between you and the bank, fund manager/ property owner/ seller agent and lawyer.
How long does the whole process takes?
The whole process, from start to finish, can be done in 3 to 4 months as with the below timeline. Let’s take a look of at the timeline of the whole process.
Please note that every case is different, here are some examples (non-exclusive) where you may able to speed up or encounter delays
- If you live in a place where the Portuguese bank has a representative office, you can speed up your bank account opening process
- If your country is not in Hague convention, it may delay your process as you would need to get your documents certified in the nearest Portuguese embassy/ consulate
- If you have lived in several countries, it may delay your process as you would need to get your police report in all those countries and most probably you would have to get them remotely
- Posting could delay your process, as we have been experiencing extremely slow posting from certain countries
- Complication on the property purchase process may causes delay
- A missing signature/ signature not conformed to your passport signature on fund subscription forms or bank account opening forms may cause delay
- COVID could delay your process as some government offices are closed
How can The Golden Portugal help me to speed up the process?
If there is a time to hire a immigration consultant, it is now. When you need someone who has experience in every phase of the process.
Our company, The Golden Portugal, specialises in Portugal Golden Visa. We provide a one stop solution for clients going thru the Golden Visa process, from the beginning to the end. We assist in:
- NIF application
- being your NIF representative
- introducing the appropriate bank for account opening
- sourcing suitable investments
- provide cost analysis, and pros and cons of different options
- introducing lawyer to assist in your application submission
Our strength is finding the appropriate projects according to your need and providing detailed analysis on the different investment options for you to make an informed decision.
In addition, we will guide you every step along the way
- where and how to get your police report
- where to get your documents certified or apostilled
- which banks is most suitable for your situation
- how to answer your bank’s KYC questions- provide tax implications on different investment options
- help to get second and third opinions on tricky situations with our legal panel
- maintain a great connections with the banks, the fund manager or the real estate agents/ property developers
- help to find solutions to your issues you may have along the way of the whole Golden Visa journey
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