Spain & Portugal Property South Africa is The Collaboration Partner for South Africa for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal Property* - the Leading Property Agency in Portugal that offers South Africans and other International Citizens, amongst others, a first-class service for Portugal Property Acquisition, for Portugal Residency Services, for related Financial and Tax Advisory Guidance, and other services. This is based on:
- The Largest Portfolio of Properties in Portugal – which gives the Client excellent choice of property across Portugal (including Lisbon, Cascais, Estoril, Porto, The Algarve, The Silver Coast, Country/Rural areas, Madeira, and The Azores) in order to best meet the Client’s needs and to ‘buy well’.
- A highly professional and personal service – provided by a very well trained, skilled and experienced team that is integrated around supporting the Client’s needs. Importantly, Berkshire Hathaway Portugal Property is a national company covering ALL regions in Portugal and able to provide a truely national service to its Clients.
- Well experiences in the Portugal Residency programs – to help with guidance on the associated processes for acquiring Portugal Residential Visas and associated access to the EU and Schengen countries.
- Expert Legal and Tax Guidance – if/when required, to best plan, manage and take advantage of Portugal legislation and incentives for Residents or Non-Residents.
Below, you will find the following 3 information topics:
1. 10 Reasons on Why Portugal ?
2. Portugal Residency Programs and Residence Visas application processes.
3. Maps of Portugal, Lisbon area, and The Algarve
10 Reasons on Why Portugal?
Whether you are looking purely for a Property Investment or a Holiday or Second Home, -- or maybe you are also looking for Residency and potential future Citizenship in an EU Country that will cater for both you and your family’s needs in this regard, then Portugal offers a very compelling case for why it should be considered as the preferred country:
Portugal – an EU Country. Being part of the European Union gives Residents access to Europe’s largest trading block (of about 28 countries), with free movement of people, goods etc across these countries. Residents do not need passports to move between the Schengen countries (which are the bulk of the EU countries). Currency is the Euro, one of the world’s top 4 major currencies.
Leading Peaceful and Stable Democracy – Portugal ranks 6th (out of 163 countries) on the Global Peace Index (2022) – one of the highest ranked EU Countries. It has a multi-party democracy political system, with an independent Judiciary.
Relatively Strong Economy – 2021 GDP growth was 5.5 % (a strong rebound after the weak 2020 pandemic year). During the period 2015 to 2019, the average pa growth was approx 2.5%.
A Culturally Vibrant Country -- With a deep history influenced by many regions (eg Moors, Romans, Germans etc), today Portugal is described as ‘rich’ in Culture – be it around “Family, Food and Football” – or more broadly around community spirit, architecture, music, dance, etc and 'joie de vivre'. A gregarious and welcoming community!
CHOICE: Full Range of Locations and Lifestyles that caters for all preferences – From the capital Lisbon, one of Europe oldest cities, but also a leading banking, commerce, and increasingly a tech hub centre, TO its sought-after chic suburbs of Cascais and Estoril that offer a mix of seaside and close to the city lifestyle, TO Porto, Portugal's 2nd largest city, located on the Douro river estuary in north Portugal, with its uniquely attractive architecture and surrounding wine and port industry, TO The Algarve in the south of the country, with a truly beautiful and world class coastline of classic golden sandy beaches and rugged coves, along its 150 km stretch of a variety of small villages and larger sought after vibrant Coastal towns, surrounded by some of the best Golf courses and water sport facilities in the world.
Attractive Climate – Overall a Mediterranean like climate: warm to hot summers with minimal rainfall, and mild winters. Cooler in the north, and a very sought after climate in the south on The Algarve
Relatively Low cost of Living compared to many European Countries – Portugal has the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. However, Portugal in comparison to South Africa, is approximately 35% higher, with property rental costs (+ 73%) being a contributing factor to the higher prices (especially in the capital Lisbon.) Grocery prices are typically +32%. Source: numbeo.com Note - numbers are approximate and easily subject to change, especially with exchange rate fluctuations.
Attractive Portugal Residency Programs -- Whilst (with effect from October 1, 2023), there are no longer any Property Investmemt options associated with the remaining Golden Visa Program’s Golden Visa Program, there are a variety of Residential Visa options that can be applied for, and in turn these can potentially also lead to Permanent Residence and future Citizenship.
Reasonable Property purchase costs and taxes – Whilst Portugal is similar to most leading European Countries in having various taxes in place that relate to Property, some of these are lower than in other countries. EG Overall additional property purchase costs (transfer taxes, stamp duty, notary fees, legal fees, etc) are typically lower at around 6%-8% of property price for 300k to 500k Euro properties, and closer to 10% for 1m Euro properties.
Become a Portugal Tax Resident with low tax on some incomes – Under Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residents (NHR) Regime, a new Resident with Portugal as their Tax Residency and living a minimum of 6 months per annum in Portugal, can apply for the NHR and be granted 10 year concessions of low tax on some external incomes (eg external pernsions is currently categorised at 10% tax rate, and a low tax rate (of 20%) on some Portugal incomes. This scheme, which was introduced in 2010/2011 in Portugal, is generally seen as a positive and attractive tax benefit for new Portugal Residents with approved NHR. Note: The Portugal Prime Minister has publically indicated in September 2023, that he plans to stop the NHR program (due to (amongst othger things), perceived inequity particularly against traditional Portuguese Citzines. So this program may fall away in 2024 (?) -- yet to be agreed, legislated etc. In the same way that approved Golden Visa applications will remain supported (post October 2023), then it is expectred that approved NHR applicants will also be recognised for the proggram , after the date of the program stopping accepting new applicants.
Portugal Golden Visa (PGV) Program
PLEASE NOTE: In Mid February 2023, The Portugal Prime Minister announced that the Portugal Golen Visa program would cease. This change went before Portugal's Parliament in March, but no final decision on the program has yet been made. Until a final and clear statement is formally approved and communicated re what elements (or all elements) will cease to exist, and/or what related changes are made, we have left the commentary on this page of the Portugal Golden Visa as it has been in recent years. We will update this information in the second half of July 2023 or when a final decision has been taken. We are of the understanding that any existing/current holders of the Portugal Golden Visa should not be impacted by these changes - but we await a formal statement on all aspects of the program. The latest view is that changes are expected on the eligibilty of using Property Investment Funds for New Developments as a Golden Visa option.
Portugal has one of the most successful Golden Visa Programs. It is now a well refined and well managed process
The PGV Program for eligible Investors is a fast track process for obtaining a Portuguese Residency Permit for the Investor and his/her family members (spouse, children under 18 years, children in full time tertiary education and parental dependency, and parents aged 66+ years with a dependency on their children). Portuguese Residency allows for working in Portugal, as well as for free movement across the 26 Schengen countries in Europe. After 5 years from the date of the Permit issue, and with application conditions remaining in place (eg the Investment, etc), the Permit holder can apply for Permanent Residence, and after a further one year (6th year), Citizenship can be applied for.
Eligibilty for the PGV Program
There are a number of Investor options (6 listed below) for eligibility to the PGV Program. (To date, approximately 90% of approved applications have been for the Property Investment option.). Please note that the program applies to property in designated areas, as highlighted above.
- 1. Property Investment of a minimum of 500k Euro . Can be a single property or total value of multiple properties, and any type of property. Property can have financing/mortgaging, as long as a minimum of the first 500k is unmortgaged. Investment value can be reduced to 400k for investment in certain lowly populated areas.
- 2. Property Investment of a minimum of 350k Euro in Properties at least 30 years old or in regeneration zones. 350k can include both the property cost and the renovation costs. The process needs various approvals, is somewhat more complex than the ‘500k’ option, and generally overall has a little longer approval process due to the renovation considerations. The Investment can be further reduced to 280k for investment in certain lowly populated areas.)
- 3. Job creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs in a business investment/new business
- 4. Capital Investment of 1m Euro deposited into a Portuguese Financial Institution
- 5. Investment of 350k Euro of funds into Portugal for Research programs
- 6. Investment of 250k Euro into Portugal in Cultural and/or Artistic programs
PGV Program Process Overview (for property investment of 500k)
- Investor purchases property – per normal property purchase process.
- Once property is transferred into Investor’s name, the Golden Visa Application can be submitted. Documents required include Proof of Property Investment and Ownership, Proof of means of support (income and medical insurance), Valid Passport, Schengen Visa, Accommodation, Absense of criminal record, etc. (It is highly recommended that this is done though and with an English Speaking Lawyer, in Portugal, that is experienced in and specialises in Golden Visa and Residency programs.)
- Issued Residency Permit is initially valid for 1 year and then requires to be renewed every 2 years. Time spent in Portugal in first year is to be a minimum of 7 days, and then in every 2 year period to be a minimum of 14 days.
- Costs (approximate) of Residency Permit: Application – 517 Euro (Investor) and 80 Euro (Family Member), Initial Permit 5173 Euro per Applicant*, Renewal of Permit: 2586 Euro per Applicant*. (* Applies to both Investor and each Family Member)
- Permanent Residency can be applied for after 5 years of holding a valid Residency permit. Documents required includes proof of income/wealth, proof of accommodation, absence of criminal record, conversant in basis Portuguese.
- Citizenship can be applied for after 6 years of Residency (Residence Permit and Permanent Residence combined). Documents required include absence of criminal record, proof of being conversant in basic Portuguese, and a minimum of 18 years old
Applying for Portuguese Residency using the standard Residence Visa and Residence Permit Application Process: (This assumes you are a non-EU citizen)
If you are seeking Portuguese Residency, but you do not qualify to use, or don’t wish to use, the Golden Visa process – eg: maybe you are not planning to spend 500k+ on a Portuguese Property – then you can apply for Residency through the normal Residency Visa / Residency Permit process.
In high level terms, you first apply for a Residency Visa in South Africa (your home country) by submitting your application to the Portuguese Consulate near you. You can submit the application using the normal Schengen Visa Application form – but that (a) this is submitted to the Consulates where Residency Visas are handled and (b) the necessary accompanying documentation as defined by SEF (Portugal’s Immigration Authorities) / local Consulates is submitted at the same time. If your application is accepted, then once processed you will be issued with a Residency Visa that allows for up to 120 days stay in Portugal, during which time you can apply for a Residency Permit
The documentation required for the Residency Visa includes:
Photographs, Passport, Travel documentation, Bank Statement, Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, evidence of adequate accommodation, evidence of no criminal record / Police Clearance Certificate, Motivation on why you want to reside in Portugal, doctors letter, medical insurance.
SEF has guidelines for what is defined as ‘sufficient means of subsistence’ (for the Residence Visa or the Residence Permit), and this is updated annually based on cost of living considerations. It is important to note that the authorities are looking for evidence of assured income during the period (note—salary income is not necessarily an assured income) and/or committed funds, preferably deposited in a Portuguese Bank Account under your name. Always check with the Consulate in advance that you have latest list of required documentation and information on this.
Once in Portugal, you need to apply in person (after having made a booking) at the SEF offices for a Residence Permit. This is a Residence Permit that allows you to reside in Portugal for 2 years, and which can be renewed for a further 3 years, and then renewed again for another 3 years, etc, if/as required.
Note that there are various Permits that can be applied for, including Residence Only, Residence and Work for Others, Residence and Self Employed etc. So be ready to select the correct Permit application, and ensure you also have ready the required documentation
After 5 years of approved and uninterrupted Residency, you can apply for Permanent Residence.
After a minimum of 1 year of Permanent Residence, (ie a minimum of 6 years continuous residency) it is also possible to apply for Citizenship.
Links for SEF’s Portal and application details.
SEF Immigration Portal: https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/solicitar/
An example of a (non-EU) couple who followed this process :
Where to apply for Portugal Residence Visas in South Africa:
* The Consular Section of the Embassy of Portugal in Pretoria
Groenkloof Forum Office Park, Suite 03 (Ground floor), 57 George Storrar Drive, Groenkloof, Pretoria
* Consulate General of Portugal in Johannesburg
Portuguese House, 1st Floor, 11 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue, Bruma, Johannesburg
* Consulate General of Portugal in Cape Town
Standard Bank Centre, 10th Floor, Main Tower, Hertoch Boulevard, Cape Town
* Consulate of Portugal in Durban
389 Lilian Ngoyi Road, Morning Side, Durban
To discuss any of the above points and topics, please call Richard Vernon on 082 570 4274