Portugal: invest in the good life

Portugal, and in particular the Algarve and Lisbon has become one of Europe’s most popular destinations for real estate investment and establishing commercial enterprises.

Lisbon is a firm favourite of those looking to invest in a city rich in culture, full of great restaurants and with great weather all year round. With up to 300 days of sunshine a year and temperatures that stay well above freezing in winter, Portugal’s capital city encourages an active lifestyle that embraces outdoor living. It’s great to lounge on the beach in October or March, or enjoy a relaxing holiday on the terrace of a café in February!

Officially, Lisbon has the lowest crime rate of all European capitals with a very low number of reported crimes over the past five years. Portugal is also proud of its stable political climate, and provides a healthy environment for long-term investment.

Numerous other factors also contribute to the high standard of living in Lisbon. The fantastic leisure facilities makes the Portuguese capital one of the best places to live in Europe. From the city centre you can enjoy the parks and green open spaces or be at the beach in just a few minutes. Nature lovers can take a walk in Monsanto – the largest urban forest in Europe. Surfing is accessible and golf is more affordable than in other European capitals.

Visa Gold programme

The Portuguese programme, Visa Gold, offers non-EU citizens a host of benefits, including a quick and easy way to obtain a 5-year residence permit and the opportunity to apply for Portuguese nationality when buying real estate worth at least 500,000,00 euros. Accordingly, you can get a European passport for six years. Another bonus for owners of Visa Gold is the ability to travel freely in all the countries of the Schengen zone – this is important for non-EU members in order to invest in property or start up a business.

Business opportunities

The Portuguese tech sector is well known for embracing innovation and is popular with many multinational companies. The EU has recognised Portugal as having a highly efficient legal and administration infrastructure for entrepreneurs. In fact, doing business here has become much easier – you can set up a company in Portugal in less than one hour. According to the ‘Global Benchmark Report’ 2010, Portugal ranks seventh in the OECD in terms of lowest levels of business costs and taxes.

The Portuguese tax system is highly competitive and is a key component in attracting overseas investment. One approach is to request the status ‘non habitual resident’. To obtain this status the applicant must be a tax resident in Portugal, which means that in a calendar tax year he or she must spend at least 183 days, continuous or intermittent, in Portugal.

When applying for a special tax status, the applicant must reside in Portugal. However, if 10 years after obtaining such status a person leaves Portugal, the status is maintained. This system applies to citizens who have been tax residents in Portugal since 2009 (when they were not tax residents for five years before obtaining special status). If an individual receives special tax status and a source of income in Portugal, it will generally be taxed at a rate of 20%.

Further information