La Vida Golden Visa vs Mercan Group

Hi all,

Has anyone tried La Vida Golden Visa? We are about to sign up with them and reserve an apartment in Porto, Portugal, but it sounds like these properties are no longer eligible. I notice that Nomad only recommends Mercan, so I’m wondering if La Vida Golden Visa is legitimate.

Thank you, in advance, for your help.


Hi Sarah,

Please don’t assume that just the fact that I haven’t covered a specific offering or company means that it’s not legit! Especially when it comes to real estate investments there are so many different providers out there, so it wouldn’t be feasible to cover them all.

That being said, I haven’t studied La Vida Golden Visa in detail. My first impression was a bit that you’re probably not getting a good deal on the investment. As mentioned in my GV article, if your goal is to get a good deal on a real estate investment, I’d personally use a company like Pearls of Portugal who knows the local market well and can help you negotiate prices.

I might be a bit of a cynic, but I don’t think it’s likely that companies offering real estate products aimed exclusively at GV applicants are the ones with the best offers (if what you’re looking for is a solid return on investment).

So why do I mentioned Mercan in the article? Well, what you’re making with them isn’t really a real estate investment. It’s a way of buying a Golden Visa while getting a modest return on capital. You don’t have much upside, nor a lot of downside (assuming Mercan don’t go bankrupt) since contractually they will buy back your investment once you’re granted the permanent residency.

In the meantime they pay an annual 3% yield. And they will help with the entire GV process, too. So at the end of the day you’re buying a Golden Visa, not making a bet on the Portuguese real estate market (which may be close to topping out).

For the time being they are still eligible, but as mentioned I would personally only feel comfortable making a real estate investment in Porto or Lisbon at the moment in case the developer is willing to assume the risk of your application eventually being denied. Mercan does this, but they are probably not the only ones. If La Vida does, I don’t know.


This is super helpful! I appreciate your quick turnaround.

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Golden Visa? For residency in the EU for non-Eu nationals? For quality of life, Greece has Portugal beat hands down. and Im thinking the costs of Golden Visa are similiar. Potugal does have a wider selection of golf courses. If you dont need EU residency, then Turkey is an attractive option… probably the most attractive option in the Med…and you can get a residents visa there with any property purchase, with plenty to choose from in idyllic coastal locations of EUr 50, 000… I like Malta but it is a very specialist like- Malta is small (tiny) and can feel a bit cramped, not green at all, (desert), over-populated for my way of thinking especially with recent influxes in last few years… and very HOT in the summer… were talking SAHARA DESERT type hot…and cost of living comparatively EXPENSIVE. More so than Cyprus…

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We’ve been in correspondence with La Vida GV for about a year now for Portugal. We went and met with one of their partners, Spark Capital, and looked at some investment places in early November. We were hoping to pull the trigger within a year or so- obviously everything is upside down now in 2020.
They definitely are legit for as far as we got, which is only maybe to Step 2 in a 5 part process. YMMV, but I have found them quite helpful thus far.


Hi Melanie,

Thanks so much for your input. Because of Covid, we are rethinking the GV and might go for a hotel room investment through Mercan or investment funds. This is so hard to navigate now that we are not able to travel. Did you get to the step where you have to do your biometrics in Portugal?

Thanks, again, for reaching out!


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Hi Sarah!
No, didn’t get as far as the biometrics. We were starting to rethink the GV due to somewhat overpriced real estate and were thinking about the D7 visa for Portugal instead, since we have passive rental income in the US we could use. But of course, everything is on ice now that Covid is flaring at its highest yet in the US :confused:
We met with some lawyers in person while in Lisbon last fall, and I’ve had some WhatsApp calls with a few other firms since to enquire about the D7 visa prices and process. Really hoping to go that route in a year or so, once travel to the EU is possible again.


Thank you @sarahpoynter12, @tkrunning, and @mtrom for this conversation thread.

@sarahpoynter12, it sounds as if we are on a similar research track. We have spent our whole careers in the hotel industry and know it so well, (have done a ton of work with both brands Mercan is advertising currently) so we might have a little blindness and preference for Mercan. I will tell you that the global companies for both hotel brands noted suffered significantly at the start of COVID and their design review processes for projects have been quite delayed as the D&C teams were required to take furlough at the start of June here in the US. I do not know if they have design review teams in the EU (and could not speak to their employee situation), but I suspect they do. In general, based on our 20 years in the hotel design industry, you are right to assume that projects may be delayed during this time due to sluggish review processes and project funding holds (although Mercan claims it is a liquid funding scenario), however if the Mercan project is starting construction in October (if I recall correctly), they should already be through (or close to complete) the review process check points that the brands require. The biggest potential for delay that I can see, would be if Portugal had to issue a quarantine and work stopped. I hope this is helpful insight. What I would tell you is if this hotel were in the US, I would most certainly not invest in it. Our lack of national response is going to continue to negatively impact the hotel industry externally and internally and it is hard to say for how long.

We did research some property investments and as Thomas suggested we did find through direct questioning that the property values are over-inflated and “projected” to be worth what you are paying for it after 5 years. That feels very speculative and discomforting, especially because we would be diverting investments to a non-traditional investment account - and so getting our money back so we can reinvest it stateside again is an essential component for us. I haven’t connected with Pearls of Portugal but have dug around their website alot, if I learn anything I will share. We keep going back and forth about a turnkey approach making things so easy or just buckling down and doing the leg work ourselves to save money. I am hopeful P of P is somewhere in between as a real estate option. Based on your post recently about La Vida I spent tons of time on their website and the properties look tremendous but they seem so overpriced. Plus I have heard from a youtube channel I follow (our rich journey) that the property prices listed on Idealista or similar are generally very inflated and properties tend to be less in reality because they do not have the equivalent of the MLS system, they don’t share real pricing - so it is hard to truly compare property value La Vida is offering against just normal apartments for sale. I have not corroborated this, just thought I’d share. What we do like about La Vida is the guaranteed return + you have the (hopefully) increased value of the property as additional ROI. Also per ORJ on You Tube, they said property does tend to take longer to sell in Portugal so if you are like us and want your investment back sooner rather than later, it may be a challenge and is obviously market dependent. Not sure if anyone can corroborate that. This is just the info we have found and are trying to flush out, hope it is helpful. And of course - double check it all - but hope it is helpful and look forward to continued conversation.


Hi Melanie, I was also considering the D7, and was keen to have someone look into this for me - did you manage find someone that knows more about this etc. thanks Neal

Hi Neal,
I did, actually 3 very qualified law firms had great approaches. Happy to message you their info- don’t want to accidentally shill for anyone here.

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Hi @mtrom - would you be willing to share info regarding the law firms you investigated with me as well? We are also exploring the D7 again vs. GV. Thank you so much! Emily

If anyone has received their Golden Visa through Mercan, or who is currently working with Mercan is willing to share their experience and feedback, please DM me. Thanks!

Dear Melanie,
thanks for sharing your research in this thread. Would you be so kind to share the companies you were considering for D7?
thanks, Olga

Sure thing, Olga. I will message you directly.

Hi Melanie,

I’d love to get those lawyer contacts you mentioned.


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Hello Steve, just sent you over a DM. :smiley:

Hi Melanie, thanks for sharing. I am also considering the D7 if you can share the info will be much appreciated :innocent:

Just sent IMs to both of you :slight_smile:
Please keep us all posted on this thread on how things go for you!

Hi Melanie. I am new to this forum, and just starting the research about a Golden Visa for Portugal. The D7 visa is new to me and I would love your lawyer referrals if you’re willing to share.

David, I am also interested in your experience with Mercan if you are willing to share? We are at the early stages of communication with them.