Golden Visa vs D7 Visa for Portugal

Golden Visa vs D7 Visa for Portugal

Which will be best for you?

This table provides a brief overview of your options for getting a Portuguese Visa

Is this you?
Your answer

Do you plan to make Portugal your main base for the next five years?


Are you willing to become a tax resident of Portugal and pay tax on your worldwide income?

Do you earn income or own a business from outside Portugal?
Are you able to make a large investment (min. €500,000) in Portugal?
Do you have regular passive income, such as a pension?
Then this option will probably be the best for you!
Golden Visa
D7 Visa

Let’s explore more closely your options for applying for a Portuguese Visa. Essentially, there are two alternative pathways...

The D7 Visa and Golden Visa

The D7 Visa is sometimes referred to as the passive income visa or retiree visa and is often most suitable for those earning income from outside but who would like to stay permanently in the country.

A key factor is how much you have available for investment in Portugal – either in terms of venture capital funds or domestic property. This is the best route toward gaining your Golden Visa. Having acquired it, you’ll find that you enjoy much more flexibility with residency while still progressing towards citizenship.

D7 Visa vs Golden Visa Portugal

Portuguese citizenship

Both the D7 and the Golden Visa pathway will set you towards Portuguese citizenship within five years. A key difference between the two is that, in order to be granted Portuguese citizenship, you need to demonstrate that you have, in some way, integrated into the community. Clearly, those who have adopted the D7 Visa option and are, therefore, resident in the country can more easily demonstrate such integration.

If you go for the Golden Visa route, although you’re not obliged to reside in Portugal for more than two weeks, we would still advise that, in the early years, you spend more than the minimum amount of time in the country. Essentially, you need to show that your interest in the country is more than purely for financial gain. The more you can do this, the greater your chances of a smooth passage when following the Golden Visa route.

The Portuguese language

For a successful citizenship application, you’ll need to reach at least A2 level in Portuguese – not a strenuous target and achievable within five years. Those following the Golden Visa route, and spending less time in the country, may wish to take lessons in Portuguese when they’re outside of the country.

Portugal’s NHR program

With the Golden Visa, you don’t need to become a tax resident of Portugal, although you can if you wish. With Portugal’s NHR tax program, acquiring tax residency could be a good move, depending on your current situation.

However, D7 residents have to make Portugal their main dwelling. This means becoming a tax resident and spending at least 183 days in Portugal each year.

Income requirements

For the D7 route, making an investment in Portugal won’t be necessary. You simply need to show proof of regular income, equivalent to the Portuguese minimum monthly wage (approx. €700).

If you’re expecting to have family members with you, you’ll have to add an extra 50% of the minimum monthly wage for an adult and 30% for each child.

For Golden Visa applicants, the situation is altogether different. They must make a significant investment in Portugal. How much? Well, that depends on whether you go for residential property or investment funds. We will advise you on this, but whichever option you go for, you’ll be looking at a minimum of €350,000, either in a Portuguese investment fund or to rehabilitate a property in a low-density area. If you simply want to buy a property, then you should be considering a minimum sum of €500,000.

Tax situation

Both the D7 route and the Golden Visa route offer the opportunity to apply for the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) tax scheme.

Non-Habitual Residence (NHR)

If you’re eligible for NHR, then, for a period of 10 years, you’ll enjoy preferential tax treatment on your overseas-sourced income (as well as certain types of Portuguese-sourced income).

If you’ve taken the D7 route, then you’ll need to make Portugal your main dwelling place, which means becoming a tax resident. You must apply for NHR by March 31st of the year following the one in which you register tax residency. Don’t miss this deadline! If you do, you’ll miss out permanently on your NHR benefits.

For Golden Visa holders, you can opt to become a tax resident in Portugal, but it isn’t obligatory. You can start the NHR process once you’ve registered as a tax resident.

As a Golden Visa holder who’s resident elsewhere, you’ll only be liable for Portuguese tax on income from local sources, such as real estate rental income or sale of a property. You won’t have to pay tax on any overseas income.

D7 and Golden Visa application fees

The D7 Visa is the less costly of the two - around €400 in government visa fees. To employ a lawyer to deal with your application, fees start at around €2000.

Golden Visa application fees are more varied and always dearer than D7 Visa fees. They depend on which investment pathway you choose.

The Visa application process – taking the D7 Visa route

The D7 route comprises two stages...

  1. Submit your application at the Portuguese Embassy or consulate in either your country of citizenship or country of legal residency. Once your application goes through, the embassy will grant you an initial D7 Visa. This is double-entry and valid for four months. You can then enter Portugal.
  2. Applying for residency in Portugal to the Portuguese immigration office (SEF).

Once SEF approves your residency application, you’ll get your residence card – usually valid for two years, after which you must reapply.

For your D7 Visa application to be successful, you must have...

  • a Portuguese tax number (NIF). For this, you’ll need the presence of a fiscal representative, usually a lawyer.
  • Then, with the NIF, you’ll need to open a Portuguese bank, into which you deposit your application funds. Most banks will allow you to do this remotely. Or, a lawyer can open an account on your behalf and act as your fiscal representative.

Finally, before applying for residency with the D7 Visa route, you’ll need proof of accommodation in Portugal. This might involve buying or renting a home.

One option is to rent or buy with a ‘promissory contract’. This will include a clause to protect you from liability if the D7 Visa is rejected.

Alternatively, you can arrange for friends already resident in Portugal to state that you live with them.

The Visa application process – taking the Golden Visa route

This option is more flexible than the D7 Visa application route and involves far fewer upfront requirements. It’s essentially a case of making that significant investment, and then you’ll be awarded your Golden Visa.

The D7 or the Golden Visa route – which is the one for you? We have the know-how and on-the-spot expertise to support you through the entire decision-making process. Get in touch today. We’re ready to help.

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