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Golden Visas in Spain and Portugal Comparison


Published   07:37 AM 27 July 2016
Updated    03:46 PM 29 June 2022

Golden Visas in Spain and Portugal Comparison

Spain and Portugal have two of the most sought after immigrant investor programs in Europe. These countries both offer a Golden Visa scheme whereby a foreign national can receive a temporary (or “golden”) residence permit in the selected country in exchange for a sizeable contribution to that country’s economy. Today, we will take a look the similarities and differences between each program as well as a final thought on which program is better.

Investment options
Both Portugal and Spain offer the option of investing in real estate for a minimum of €500,000. Portugal requires that the property investment be held for a minimum of five years. In other words, the property cannot be sold before the initial holding period is over. Spain requires that the investment be maintained in order to be able to renew the residence permit.
Although the real estate option is often the best investment choice due to the opportunity of return, Portugal and Spain offer other investment options. Portugal has an option as cheap as €250,000 when the funds are invested in national heritage or arts. Spain’s cheapest option, on the other hand, is the investment in real estate. Other options require investments of €1 million or €2 million.
Residence requirement of program
Spain has no residency requirement to maintain the temporary residence permit. One must only visit Spain once in the first year, and once each time the permit is renewed.
Portugal requires a minimum of seven (7) days of physical residence in the first year, and 14 days every two years thereafter.
Obtaining citizenship
Successful applicants of both countries’ Golden Visa programs are initially issued a temporary resident visa for one year. After the first year, the same temporary residence can be renewed for a two-year extension two times, for a total initial temporary residence period of five years.
For Spain, permanent residence can be obtained after the first five-year period. In order to maintain permanent residence, one must physically reside in Spain for 183 days per year. Citizenship can be obtained after 10 years of permanent residence (183 days in each of the 10 years).
For Portugal, permanent residence can be obtained after the first five-year period, and citizenship after six years.
Who can be included in the Golden Visa application?
For Spain, the investor’s spouse, children under the age of 18, as well as parents can be included as dependents on an application.
Portugal’s Golden residence visa allows a spouse and dependent children (under 18 years old or still completing studies) to be included under the “family reunion” application, however, not parents.
Program benefits
Holders of the Spanish and Portuguese Golden Visas are granted freedom of movement throughout the Schengen zone. In addition, successful applicants of both programs are able to live, work, and study in the country they applied to. Golden Visas also grant rights to health care and other services offered by the specific country.
Eventual citizenship to either country grants visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 170 countries across the globe making these both extremely powerful passports.
Return on investment
The real estate markets of both Spain and Portugal have fallen to all-time lows after the global recession. Real estate prices are thus forecast to rise and continue rising in the coming years offering investors significant potential for capital gains. Of course, research must be conducted in the chosen real estate locations to ensure the highest possible gains.
Which country offers a better Golden Visa program really depends on the particular individual’s current situation as well as future plans, both short and long term. Those who are not able to spend the required time each year physically residing in Portugal in order to keep the residence permit, may opt for Spain as there is no requirement to reside in the country. On the other hand, those who are applying for these programs with the intention of obtaining citizenship quicker should choose Portugal as citizenship can be obtained in as little as 6 years compared to the 10 or more years required in order to obtain Spanish citizenship.
Both countries offer excellent opportunities to make money on investment as the real estate prices are increasing, and are expected to continue this trend in the future. Both countries boast world-class health care and educational institutions, and are known as some of the safest countries in the world. Regardless of the chosen destination, a Golden Visa to either Spain or Portugal can offer both you and your family the start to a brighter future. Contact us today to learn more.
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