Portugal Citizenship by Investment

After you invest in Portugal, you can easily become a local resident and then, a citizen. The target audience of this option is foreign retirees, wealthy individuals and anyone who loves the Portuguese lifestyle. This overview will explain how to apply for this program and why expats value it highly.

From Golden Visa to Citizenship

This program has been around for over a decade. It was launched to help the country overcome the consequences of the financial and economic crisis of 2008. It attracted over €6 billion to the national treasury. Expats love this program for its low entry threshold, transparent conditions and the benefits that it grants them.

The quickest and easiest path for local citizenship is buying a house or apartment worth half a million euros. More affordable real estate can qualify too. Are you ready to invest in a property that needs renovation and/or is located in an area with low population density? If yes, you might need to pay as low as €280,000. But this method has its pitfalls:

  • Areas where few people live can't boast developed infrastructure. If you can afford large foreign investments, you're probably used to high living standards.

  • Not any random old building qualifies as one that requires renovation. It's important to meet the criteria set by the authorities.

  • It makes sense to handle the renovation only if you know how to approach it and have the relevant experience. Otherwise, you risk losing funds and nerves.

Apart from buying real estate, you may come across alternative options for getting the Golden Visa:

  • Invest in local science, culture or venture capital

  • Transfer €1.5 million to your account in a local banking institution

  • Launch a business and employ at least 10 locals

All these methods have their pitfalls. They might make you wait much longer than if you buy a property.

Terms and Timeframes for Buying Citizenship in Portugal

It doesn't matter whether you're from the EU or not. People from all over the world have the right to apply alone or together with their dearest and nearest.

It's essential to tick these boxes:

  • Come of age

  • Be able to prove that you've always been law-obedient both in your homeland and in Portugal

  • Have a source of income outside Portugal to provide you with the fund that you'll invest in your new citizenship

Each applicant can take the following people with them:

  • Spouse

  • Sons and daughters aged 17 or younger

  • Sons and daughters aged 25 or younger if they haven't tied the knot yet and keep studying full-time

  • Mother and father aged 65+

Initially, the application is submitted remotely. After the preliminary approval, you'll be invited to a face-to-face interview at an immigration office. There are many of them in Portugal. You can choose any of them for the interview. It's not mandatory to stick to the branch that is the closest to the location of your freshly purchased property.

In the capital, waitlists are typically long. In remote provinces, they're short. In the most popular areas, expats wait for half a year to provide their biometrics. Away from such territories, they can complete the process in four months. All your family members who apply with you can visit the interview together.

Your initial Golden Visa card will be valid for 24 months. It's enough to spend only two weeks in Portugal during this period.

In 21 months after receiving the visa, apply for renewal. If you lack time, you may re-apply one month before the current one expires. You'll be required to pay a fee as well as provide the documents and biometrics.

The second version of your visa will remain valid for 36 months. It's enough to spend three weeks in Portugal during this period.

Then, you'll have three options to choose from:

  • Keep renewing your Golden Visa

  • Apply for permanent residence

  • Apply for citizenship

The second and the third option will allow you to resell your investment property. The first option won't.

Expats need to pass a language test to become local citizens. It's very easy and anyone can cope with it. It's enough to prove that you can order a cup of coffee in a cafe without third-party help or explain how to reach a certain destination.

Plus, it's crucial to timely pay your local taxes.

The processing fee that you need to pay when applying for the Golden Visa is €533 per applicant. There are no discounts for underage kids or elderly parents. When the visa is issued, each applicant will need to pay €5,325. The fee for renewing the document is €2,663 per person.

Benefits of Citizenship by Investment in Portugal

Expats adore this country for its warm and sunny climate. The landscapes are mesmerizingly beautiful and the coastline is very long.

It's a safe country with a low crime rate. Its residents are positive-minded and hospitable.

The cuisine is delicious. Fish, meat and garlic are its three main staples. You'll appreciate fresh fruits and vegetables as well as delicious local wines.

Portugal is a great place to retire or live together with a family. The quality of medical services is very decent and many of them are available for free to residents.

Local public schools offer education only in Portuguese. But you can send your kids to an international private school. The cost of private education here is more affordable, compared to the UK and the US.

Nearly 190 countries allow Portuguese passport holders to cross their borders without a visa. You'll be able to work and study all over the EU. If you decide to launch a local business, it will be easy for you to cater to the whole EU market.

If you spend at least 183 days per year in this country, you'll qualify for local tax residence. For the first ten years, you'll enjoy a privileged taxation regime.

Find out whether your homeland has signed a dual taxation treaty with Portugal. If yes, you won't need to pay double taxes.

You can obtain local citizenship in 5-6 years after making an investment. Few countries in the world accept new citizens that quickly.

You and your family won't need to stay here permanently to maintain your residence permit. One week per year is enough.

Local Real Estate Prices

When investing in Portugal for citizenship, you'll appreciate the affordable prices of houses, apartments and commercial premises. In 2023, the average cost of a 200 sq.m. house was almost half a million euros, which is an ideal fit for the Golden Visa requirements. Compared to the previous year, the prices have risen by over 6%. The exact growth rate depends on the region:


Price per sq.m., €

Average price, €

Annual growth


Almost 3,500

Over 690,000

Over 3%


Around 3,000

Over 610,000

Almost 18%


Almost 2,400

Almost 480,000

Over 25%


Around 2,000

Around 410,000

Over 6%


Around 1,400

Over 280,000

Over 27%


Around 1,350

Almost 270,000

Over 13%


Almost 1,300

Almost 260,000

Over 24%

Let's compare the prices in the cities that generate the highest demand among investing expats:


Average price, €

Price per sq.m., €

Annual growth


Over 1 million

Almost 5,150

Over 3%


Almost 900,000

Almost 4,500

Almost 27%


Almost 890,000

Over 4,400

Almost 15%


Over 750,000

Over 3,700

Over 19%


Over 730,000

Almost 3,700

Over 18%

Castro Marim

Over 700,000

Over 3,500

Almost 56%

Alcacer do Sal

Over 700,000

Around 3,500

Almost 29%

Vila do Bispo

Almost 700,000

Almost 3,500

Almost 32%


Over 690,000

Over 3,400

Almost 20%


Over 670,000

Over 3,300

Over 20%

In 2022, the local prices broke a record. It took them one year to skyrocket by almost 19%. The last time it happened was in 1991.

In 2023, the prices might drop by up to 3%. This forecast was released by Moody's team. Alternatively, they might slightly grow by a maximum of 1%. Global economic growth is slowing down and inflation is accelerating. The international financial market remains extremely volatile and the geopolitical situation is unstable. These factors prevent real estate prices from growing faster. Nevertheless, the prices are unlikely to plummet significantly. Now, it's an optimal time to buy before they keep growing actively.


Let's imagine that you want to obtain Portugal property citizenship thanks to purchasing a house or apartment that costs half a million euros. Be ready to prepare these papers:

  • A filled-in application form

  • Valid passport

  • Two passport-style photos

  • Local health insurance

  • Proof of having always been law-obedient

  • Documents that confirm the fact of buying the property

  • Official promise to avoid attempts of reselling your purchase in the next five years

  • Payment receipt

If you opt for other investment types, the set of papers should include the documents relevant to the chosen option. For instance, a financial institution where you deposit funds can issue a declaration to confirm your intentions.

Dual Citizenship

After you obtain Portugal citizenship by investment, you won't be forced to renounce that of your homeland. You'll be allowed to have two passports. When traveling around the world, you can use the passport that grants you the best benefits.

Selected states fail to support dual citizenship. Only in this case, you'll have to renounce your old citizenship.

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