Are you thinking of acquiring foreign citizenship? There are various possibilities to consider and each of them will have its own strong and weak sides. In some cases, you can become a citizen of a foreign country fast and the price is going to be affordable. ‘Fast’ does not mean ‘in an instant’ as the process is going to take several months, whatever country you apply for citizenship to. ‘Affordable price’ does not mean that you would be paying close to nothing. The least expensive foreign passport can be acquired in exchange for a donation to the state fund of a Caribbean country. Five countries in the region are currently administering citizenship-by-investment programs and the lowest required donation amount that you can find is US$ 100,000.
Small island states that ‘sell’ their passports to foreign nationals are in good standing as far as their international reputation is concerned but their passports are not the strongest ones in the world. The passport of an EU-member state would give you visa-free access to a greater number of destinations. Is it possible to become a citizen of a European country by investment? Yes, it is but quite expectedly, it is going to take you longer and cost you more. How much longer and how much more? It depends on the individual country as several EU member states provide for such an opportunity. The application process usually takes a few months and it requires professional assistance. Experts of International Wealth portal will gladly provide it to you.
Here we would like to advertise the possibility of acquiring a Portuguese Golden Visa. A Golden Visa is a permanent residence permit that can turn into a Portuguese passport after five years if certain conditions are satisfied. The Portuguese residence-by-investment program is attractive in several respects and below we describe the main advantages of applying for a residence permit in Portugal.
The first major advantage has already been mentioned above: you normally don’t have to apply for visas if you are traveling with a European passport. If you are a holder of a residence permit in one of the EU countries, you do not have such extensive freedom of movement but you are welcome to use it to cross the borders of any country on the continent without a visa. Theoretically, you have the right to live in any EU state if you have a Portuguese residence permit. In practice, however, the local authorities are going to frown on you if you choose to permanently reside in Spain or Austria, for example, on your Portuguese residence permit.
The second reason to apply for a Portuguese Golden Visa is the modest amount of required investment. It is much more substantial than the amount required for obtaining a Caribbean passport, but it is affordable for many people anyway. Portugal offers several options to foreign investors wishing to obtain its residence permits. Most applicants for Portuguese Golden Visas prefer to make investments in real estate in the country. How much would you have to pay if you chose this option? It depends on whether or not you want to use your real property in Portugal.
If you would like to make full use of your Portuguese residence permit and actually relocate to the country, you would probably like to purchase a livable house or apartment there. If this is the case, you can invest 500,000 euros and settle down in a nice region of Portugal. You won’t be able to find a luxurious place for this price but you can certainly buy a cozy apartment of a modest size in Portugal. You also have to bear in mind that you can apply for a mortgage to a Portuguese bank if you’d like to buy a larger place. The interest rates are really attractive in the country but you’d have to contribute 500,000 euros of your own money in any case. We must note at this point that since recently, foreign nationals who buy property in Porto, Lisbon, and most of Algarve do not qualify for residence-by-investment. They used to before but the Portuguese immigration authorities have had to introduce some limitations. Why? Because the country’s residence-by-investment program has become a bit too popular with foreigners!
Some cheaper options are also available. The Portuguese authorities incentivize foreign investors to put money in the property located in lesser-developed regions of the country. In particular, they offer the opportunity to bring 380,000 euros only if you buy real estate in such a region. Besides, the authorities also want the foreign investors to help restore old houses in the country (those built more than 30 years ago). To make this offer more attractive, they lower the required investment amount even further. Thus, if you do not plan to live in Portugal (you only want to enhance your freedom of movement with the help of the Portuguese residence permit), you can buy an old house in an underdeveloped region of the country. This is going to cost you not more than 280,000 euros. This is the smallest amount of money that you can pay to qualify for Portuguese residence-by-investment in real property. Please bear in mind that the cost of the property restoration is going to be included in the total investment amount. So if the house costs 140,000 euros and it’s going to cost as much to put it in a livable shape, you can buy it for 140,000 euros thus qualifying for legal residence in Portugal.
One more factor that makes investing in the Portuguese residence permit a truly attractive option is the opportunity to eventually become a full-fledged European citizen! After you’ve been holding the residence permit for five consecutive years, you are eligible to apply for the passport of Portugal. You’ll have to meet some personal presence requirements but they are not too harsh. You have to spend one week a year in the country on average (two weeks over each two-year period) and that’s all. So why not spend your vacations in this beautiful country and become a European citizen after only five years?