best EU residency visa

The best EU residency visa in 2018

The best EU residency visa in 2018 is Portugal. Portugal is the most efficient and lowest cost residency program in the EU. Portugal is also the best second passport option by investment in the European Union. Here’s why you want a residency visa from Portugal in 2018 and how to get one.

Let me preface this article by saying that Portugal is the best EU residency visa in 2018. Portugal is not the cheapest residency and second passport program, it’s the best! Most investors put up € 1 million to start a business or buy real estate for at least € 500,000. Legal and government fees are additional.

If you’re on a budget, then you’re not going to get an EU residency visa or an EU second passport. You should consider Panama with an investment of $20,000 or Nicaragua with an investment of $35,000 + fees of about $10,000 per applicant. To qualify for Panama, you must be from a top 50 country. Nicaragua will accept anyone from any country.

Portugal is the best EU residency visa in 2018 because it allows you to live and work in the European Union. It also guarantees you citizenship and a top tier passport in 6 years. This makes Portugal the best, not the cheapest option.

A passport from Portugal is top tier second passport because it gets you visa free access to more countries than lesser passports. Portuguese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 171 countries and territories, ranking the Portuguese passport 6th in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Canadian, Greek and Swiss passports).

By comparison, holders of a United States passport can travel to 174 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, and the United States passport was ranked 3rd (tied with the Danish, Finnish, Italian and Spanish passports) in terms of travel freedom. Also, a second passport from Portugal gives you visa free access to the United States and Canada.

There are 7 ways to qualify for residency in Portugal. You can:

  1. Transfer € 1 million into a bank in Portugal.
  2. Invest € 500,000 into a qualifying small business.
  3. Donate or invest € 350,000 into “research activities.”
  4. Donate or invest € 250,000 into “arts and culture.”
  5. Invest € 500,000 into real estate.
  6. Invest € 350,000 into “urban” or distressed real estate.
  7. Start a business that will employ 10 persons full time.

The majority of applications for residency in Portugal are from those investing € 500,000 or more into real estate. Most of these are buying a home to live in, or as a second home. A fair number are buying commercial or residential rental properties.

Because Portugal doesn’t have physical presence requirement like Malta does, you can basically invest in any property you wish. Rental, commercial, industrial or residential properties all qualify for the golden visa program.

To keep up your residency, all you need to do is spend a couple of weeks a year in Portugal. You can spend the rest of your time in the European Union or abroad. Remember that, as a full member state, residency in Portugal allows you to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

You can also gain residency in Portugal by investing € 350,000 into “urban” or distressed real estate. A lot of our clients consider this, but few go this route. Approved buildings are usually 100 year old historic buildings (the law says at least 30 years old, but most are much older). As a result, the maintenance costs are significant. Also, because of their historic designation and locations, it’s difficult to find a profitable use for an approved building.

The second most common method for obtaining residency and a second passport from Portugal is starting a business. There is no minimum investment required, but you must employ 10 people full time.

And you must keep the business going for a minimum of 6+ years. That is to say, the business must continue, and support a minimum of 10 employees, throughout your residency period. You can close the business after you receive your passport.

Here’s how I get to 6 years minimum: You must maintain your permanent residency for 5 years (renewable twice during that time) before you get permanent residency. Then you must maintain your permanent residency for 1 year before you can apply for citizenship. Citizenship should take a few months (thus the + after 6).

Because Portugal doesn’t have a physical presence requirement, you might not need to pay taxes in Portugal on your worldwide income. If you spend less than 183 days a year in Portugal, you won’t pay income tax on income earned outside of Portugal. If you spend 183 days or more a year in Portugal, you will pay tax on your worldwide income.

If you buy a rental property in Portugal to qualify for residency, your net profits will be taxed at 28%. The capital gains rate in Portugal is also 28%.

I hope you’ve found this article on the best EU residency program in 2018 to be helpful. For more information, and to be connected with our European Union expert, please contact me at or call us at (619) 483-1708. We’ll be happy to review your residency options and recommend the program that best fits your needs and your budget.

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