Golden Visa or D7 Visa for Portugal: Find out which route to take

24 de March, 2021

Golden Visa or D7 Visa for Portugal: Find out which route to take

The Golden Visa and the D7 Visa are two visas that have some points in common, such as the possibility of investing in a property...
Reading: 10 min

The Golden Visa and the D7 Visa are two visas that have some points in common, such as the possibility of investing in a property, obtaining a residence permit and applying for Portuguese nationality. If you intend to live in Portugal and have doubts whether you should choose the Golden Visa or the D7 Visa, read this article. We will explain the main differences and the advantages of each to help you make the right choice when you apply for your visa.

D7 or Golden Visa? Talk to a specialist and clear your doubts! >

Golden Visa or D7 Visa: see details of each option

1. Target Audience

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa was created in order to attract investors to Portugal, of all kinds. However, investors from the real estate segment were the most attracted by this program, whether because of the minimum amounts required, the heating up of the Portuguese real estate market itself, or even the safety and ease that usually involves this type of investment.
The official statistics from the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service) point out that, from October 2012 until February 2021, real estate investment was responsible for about 94% of the Golden Visas granted, with Brazilians occupying the 2nd place in the ranking of nationalities who most requested this type of visa, second only to the Chinese.
In the acquisition of real estate, the total investment made, since the creation of the visa in 2012, has exceeded 5 billion Euros.
Therefore, the Golden Visa aims to attract people interested in investing their resources in Portugal, especially in the real estate segment.

Changes to the Golden Visa

As of July 1, 2021, the Golden Visa becomes more limited and the rules for granting the visa will undergo some changes. It is important to know that the new rules will be implemented in phases, and it is expected that the changes will not be fully in place until the end of 2022.

The biggest change is the restriction in relation to the location of real estate investments required for the granting of the Golden Visa. As of the change, only properties located in inland territories of the country, Madeira Island and the Azores will be accepted for the granting of the visa. Thus, cities such as Lisbon and Porto, as well as the Algarve region, will be left out of the

Golden Visa program for real estate investment starting in 2022.

The main objective of the change is to encourage new investments to benefit regions in the interior of the country, especially those with lower population density.

When presenting the approved changes, the government justified the decision by explaining that since the program’s creation most of the investments have been made in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. Now it is time to take the benefits of the investments to other parts of the country.

D7 Visa

The D7 Visa has become well known as the “retiree visa”, however its scope is much wider.

In fact, with this type of visa, the Government of Portugal aims to attract people to the country who have financial resources of their own, that is, who are able to promote their own livelihood in the country and, as a consequence, spend or invest their resources here.

So, of course, that retirees or pensioners fit this profile very well, after all, every month they are guaranteed to receive that right resource and that can promote their livelihood in Portugal (of course, depending on the amount of the retirement or pension and provided they prove to have the minimum amount required).

However, people still of working age may also be perfectly capable of providing for themselves in Portugal, for example, if they have resources accumulated over their lifetime, from financial investments, intellectual property, company interest and dividends, or even from their investments (including real estate).

So if you are interested in investing in Portugal, if you have the financial resources to do so, you are probably also a good candidate for the D7 Visa, and not just the Golden Visa.

If you are retired and plan to move to Portugal, get to know the ebook Living in Portugal Retired.

2. Investment required

Golden Visa

To become a candidate for the Golden Visa, the interested party must prove to have made in Portugal one of the investment types that are accepted by this special Regime and in the minimum legal amount foreseen. The investment possibilities are the following:

  • Acquire real estate with a value of 500 thousand euros or more;
  • Buy real estate built more than 30 years ago, or located in areas of urban rehabilitation, and do restoration work, for an overall amount equal to or greater than 350,000 euros;
  • Transfer capital amounting to EUR 1 million or more;
  • Create at least 10 jobs;
  • Investing in investment or venture capital funds aimed at the capitalization of national companies, in an amount equal to or higher than 350 thousand euros;
  • To invest at least EUR 350 000 in scientific research;
  • Apply at least 250,000 euros to artistic production and the preservation or conservation of national cultural heritage;
  • Transfer of capital in an amount equal to or greater than 350 thousand Euros destined to the constitution of a commercial company with the creation of 5 permanent jobs or to reinforce the social capital of a company already established in the country.

It is necessary not only to have your own resources (as these minimum amounts cannot be financed) and the intention to invest, but you will also need to actually disburse the amounts as a necessary precondition for applying for the Golden Visa.
Thus, you must first make the investment in the country and only then apply for the Golden Visa.

D7 Visa

The D7 Visa applicant, on the other hand, needs to demonstrate that he or she has the minimum required resources to promote his or her livelihood in Portugal, but specifically, he or she is not required to make any kind of prior investment of his or her resources in the country in order to be eligible.

That is, let’s imagine you have a good financial condition and are interested in investing in real estate in Portugal and residing in the country. In theory, you could opt for either the Golden Visa or the D7 visa.

If you choose the D7 Visa, once you are in Portugal, you can buy the property you want, in the amount you want and under the conditions you want, without any prior commitment to buy or maintain this investment.

Therefore, the D7 Visa does not oblige you to invest your money in Portugal, be it in real estate or in any other modality, but it also does not prevent you from doing so if you wish, which is at your own discretion.

Learn about the experience of those who have already obtained the D7 visa for Portugal.

Apply now for your D7 Visa. Talk to a specialist! >

3. Process Cost

It is also worth noting that the fees for the Golden Visa application (and its renewals) are significantly higher than the fees for the D7 Visa application, as well as the respective family reunion application (which is possible in both cases).

Golden Visa

As an example (in March 2021) for the initial Golden Visa application for the investor and his/her spouse/companion the estimated amounts to be paid to the Government of Portugal are as follows:

  • 533: cost for the reception and initial analysis of the Golden Visa application;
  • 5325: cost for issuing the Golden Visa Residence Permit (per person).

As for the renewal of these Golden Visas, there will be a charge:

  • 533: cost for receiving and analyzing the Golden Visa renewal request;
  • 2663: cost for issuing the new Residence Permit (per person).

D7 Visa

In the case of a D7 visa application for the applicant and his/her spouse/companion, the amounts are paid in Reais (from the updated Euro exchange rate), since the application must be made in Brazil, through the company VFS Global, responsible for the analysis and issuing of these visas.
The issue of the Residence Permit and subsequent renewals, which are requested at SEF in Portugal, are paid in euros. The values are:

  • R$ 777.82 (Consular fee of R$ 596.78, transfer fee of R$15.27 and processing fee of R$165.77): cost for the reception and initial analysis of the D7 Visa application (value for each application);
  • 72.20: cost for issuing the D7 Residence Permit (per person).

In order to apply for the renewal of these residence permits, the fees to be paid by the applicant and his/her spouse/companion are

  • 72.20: cost for issuing the D7 Residence Permit (per person).

Golden Visa or D7 Visa retirees
Understand the difference between entrepreneur visa and the Golden Visa in Portugal.

4. Residence in Portugal

Golden Visa

The big difference between the Golden Visa and other types of visas for Portugal, including the D7 Visa, is precisely the legal residency and its reflection in a future application for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residency.

This is because the Golden Visa is the only type of visa/residence authorization that exempts its holder from actually residing in Portugal, as long as he/she remains in the country for a minimum of 7 days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent 2-year periods.

In other words, if you wish to live in Portugal you will be fully qualified with the Golden Visa, just like the other types of residence visas. But if you wish to maintain your residence in another country, coming to Portugal only to spend a few vacation days per year, the Golden Visa is the most suitable program for you!

As for Portuguese citizenship and permanent residency authorization, we will deal with this topic shortly below.

D7 Visa

If you opt for the Golden Visa or D7 Visa, you will be allowed to legally reside in Portugal, as well as your immediate family members by applying for family reunification.

For the D7 Visa, the minimum time required to stay per year in Portugal is 6 consecutive months or 8 months intercalated in the total period of validity of the respective Residence Permit. That is, for the period of 1 year initially and every 2 years after its renewal, under penalty of cancellation of your residence permit.

However, if it is necessary to be absent for longer periods, there are some legal hypotheses that may waive this requirement, and that must be previously communicated to the SEF.

So if your goal is indeed to live in Portugal, alone or with your family, both the Golden Visa and the D7 Visa fulfill your goal perfectly.

Also read our article about living in Portugal with European citizenship.

5. Portuguese citizenship and permanent residence permit

Golden Visa

As we explained above, the exemption of the Golden Visa from the effective residence in Portugal has reflexes in a future request for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residence authorization, being this its great differential in relation to the other types of visas.

For those who do not have Portuguese family members, the main way to acquire Portuguese citizenship is by naturalization. For this, besides other requirements, as a rule the applicant is required to demonstrate having legally resided in Portugal for at least 5 years.

Alternatively, Portuguese law also provides for the possibility of applying for a permanent residence permit, which actually has a longer renewal period than the temporary residence permit (more common). But, for its acquisition, it is also required that the applicant must demonstrate having resided legally in Portugal for at least 5 years.

What happens in the Golden Visa Program is that, for its holders, this requirement of legal residence in Portugal is waived, either to obtain citizenship or to obtain a permanent residence permit. Well… In fact, the requirement of the time of legal residence is “exchanged” for the requirement of permanence of the investment in the country for a minimum period of 5 years.

In other words, a Golden Visa holder may never have lived in Portugal and still apply for and obtain Portuguese citizenship or a permanent residence permit, as long as he maintains his investment in the country for 5 years and meets the other requirements set forth in the Nationality and Foreigners Act.

D7 Visa

Just like the Golden Visa, the D7 Visa may also enable the holder to apply for Portuguese citizenship or a permanent residence permit. In the case of the D7 Visa, the possibility exists as long as the holder has lived legally in the country for at least 5 years.

Therefore, if you really want to live in Portugal, the D7 Visa may also be an excellent alternative to obtain your Portuguese citizenship or your permanent residence permit after 5 years. And, moreover, it is a significantly cheaper procedure.

Portuguese Nationality or Residence Visa? See which of the two is ideal for living legally in Portugal.

Can I work in Portugal with the Golden Visa or the D7 Visa?

Yes, with either the Golden Visa or the D7 Visa, you will be allowed to work legally in Portugal.

But, especially in relation to the D7, remember that one of the conditions for granting this visa is precisely the proof that you have sufficient income to support yourself (and your family, if applicable).

So even if it is possible (and you want) to work, keep in mind that it will be indispensable to prove the necessary income, even if you want to find a job in Portugal afterwards.

So… which way should I go?

Clearly, this depends on your objectives, context and preferences. Both the Golden Visa and the D7 Visa have positive and negative aspects. Therefore, each case should always be analyzed individually.

However, it is important to realize that there are alternatives, and in fact two excellent alternatives, for those who have income, are investors, want to live in Portugal or acquire Portuguese citizenship!

We hope this article has been enlightening and enriching, if you still have any questions, please contact us.


Article originally published on our partner site EuroDicas.



Atlantic Bridge

You may also like:
Prato de Paella  que é prato da Culinária Espanhola: O Melhor da Comida Típica da Espanha

Spanish Food: Best Dishes to try in Spain

Spanish food: historical curiosities, iconic dishes, and the Mediterranean diet. Find out why Spain's typical food is recognized worldwide.

Silvia Resende


Silvia Resende

Reading: 7 min

12 de February, 2024

How to finance your property in Portugal: documentation and pre-requisites


Atlantic Bridge

Reading: 7 min

20 de March, 2019

College in Portugal: How to Study in Portugal

Learn how colleges in Portugal work, the selection process, costs, and many other relevant information.


Atlantic Bridge

Reading: 11 min

14 de September, 2022

Investing in holiday rentals in Portugal for tourists? A profitable business opportunity


Atlantic Bridge

Reading: 9 min

2 de October, 2018

How to Study in Portugal: Complete Guide

If studying in Portugal is in your plans, it is not difficult to get a place at a good university in the country!


Atlantic Bridge

Reading: 9 min

13 de March, 2024

Low investment franchises in Portugal: a viable and profitable business


Atlantic Bridge

Reading: 9 min

26 de August, 2019