My Golden Visa application will end up taking 3 months from start to finish but there is still time to get your application in before the investment amount increases to €500k in January 2022.
In this post I will outline a minimal timeline for a GV application with the investment fund route. I’m assuming a US-based investor but you can adapt it to your own situation. The absolute minimum time you can finish the process in is four weeks. That is the best case scenario and everything has to go right with no delays.
This is the busiest week for you and it’s the only one under your control. The remainder of the time will be spent following up with your lawyers, bank, etc. and keeping them on track.
- Apply for a NIF online. A service such as bordr.io works great for this.
- Submit the FBI background check request.
- Find lawyers and send intro emails. There are two spreadsheets for some starting points:
- Email Nuno (ncorreia at Bison Bank) to open a bank account.
- Start emailing funds. I used the Nomad Gate introduction service: List of investment funds qualifying for Golden Visa in Portugal
- Figure out funding and how you want to transfer your money to Portugal. I used both IBKR and wire transfers from my bank. There’s a great comparison post here: Comparison of Money Movement Options from US to Portugal.
- Background check: Get fingerprinted and send the background check for getting apostilled. You can use Monument Visa for this. They will ship the package directly to your lawyer, who can get it translated.
- Background check: Your background check should have gotten submitted for apostille by now.
- Lawyer and fund: Set up some initial calls with lawyers and funds.
- Bank: Fill out and sign the bank forms and FedEx them to Bison Bank. They will NOT open the account until they have received your physical signature. You also cannot do this step until you have a NIF.
At the end of week 1:
- You have a lawyer selected and engaged.
- You have received an NIF.
This is your homework week. For all the funds you are interested in, you need to do the due diligence and make sure their investment strategy and risk profile is in line with yours. You cannot be lax here as these are the folks that will be holding your money for the next 8-10 years. Feel free to extend this another week if you need more time to do proper due diligence.
Some tips for success:
- Make sure the fund term is at least 7 years, or go with an open ended fund such as IMGA Ações.
- If you are US-based investor, make sure they issue PFIC statements every year.
- Read all pages of the fund’s LP agreement. If they send you more documents, read those too.
- Ask how many GV investors have already invested in them, and how many of those are US-based.
At the end of week 2:
- Your bank account is open.
- You have met with a few funds and have a shortlist.
This is the week when things come together. Two things must happen:
- You should transfer your money to your Portugal bank. Do this in chunks and do a test transfer first. Take all the time you need, you don’t want to lose your money in the ether.
- You should invest in the fund. Do NOT rush the process - have your lawyer review the fund agreement and anything else you sign with the fund.
At the end of week 3:
- You have signed the LP agreement and received a capital call.
- All your money has been transferred to your bank in Portugal.
This is the waiting week and it is entirely out of your control. You can send emails and make phone calls to speed the process along, but things will just take as much time as they want to. Engage with your bank to make the actual investment.
At the end of week 4:
- The fund units are in your bank account.
- The fund and bank have issued their declarations.
- The apostilled background check has made it to your lawyer and has been translated.
- Your application is submitted.
The above is an extremely compressed timeline. I would expect each of weeks 2-4 to easily take 2x or 3x the time. But if you have the time, do not rush the process - make sure you ‘~’ all your õ’s and ‘,’ all your ç’s. The last thing you want is to have your application rejected for some inane thing you missed.
Remember, this is just the start! After submitting your application you still need to get pre-approval, then biometrics, then final approval before you finally receive your GV card. But once your application is in the system, you’ve made it!
Good luck with your investment!
Consolidating some of the resources:
- Fund and lawyer comparisons:
- Introduction to GV funds: List of investment funds qualifying for Golden Visa in Portugal
- Comparison of money transfer options: Comparison of Money Movement Options from US to Portugal
- Specifically for US investors:
- Apostille process: Apostille and document preparation for US GV investors
- PFIC requirements: Investment fund vs. real estate for Portugal golden visa; PFIC for US citizens