Minimal timeline for Portugal GV application

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.

Week 1

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.

Day 1:

Day 2:

  • 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.

Day 3:

  • 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.

Day 4/5:

  • 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.

Week 2

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.

Week 3

This is the week when things come together. Two things must happen:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Week 4

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!

Resources

Consolidating some of the resources:

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Great way to bring together a LOT of research most people starting out need to do. Admins: I would pin this post on the board at the top - it will address a ton of questions most people have starting out.

I would say though 4 weeks is extremely optimistic maybe even theoretical (as you rightly note at the end) - Just the step to get the shares bought and certification issued is now on week 3 for me - just the fund and the bank pointing fingers at each other (this is after all the money is at Bison and the capital call issued).

That said, the order of things and parallelization of steps noted above is very good! I wish I had a summary post like this to go off of when I got started.

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Agreed, the information is quite good and well-condensed, but again the timeline should be considered appropriate for relative ordering purposes as opposed to at all realistic, as despite the frankly disturbing quantities of coffee consumed in the country, nothing in Portugal could possibly happen this quickly - the only things that happen quickly are journeys down the excellent and mostly empty motorways and the subsequent emptying of your wallet into gas pumps and Via Verde toll collections.

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Both excellent critiques, thank you! Having been through the wringer myself I’m all too familiar with the delays especially having started the process in August when the whole country seems to have gone off to the beach!

In my experience, both my bank and lawyer have been highly responsive and my fund has been the only source of Portugal-side delays (so far). One thing I learned the hard way is that you need to be the one controlling the process and timeline, to the point of being pushy. Nobody will hold your hand through the process, and things have a way of falling off of people’s priority list if you don’t nudge them back to the top regularly.

But you’re both right that one would need the holy grail trifecta of bank, lawyer and fund to all be going as fast as they can to make the timeline I proposed. A more realistic end-to-end time might be 6-8 weeks and one might consider the ‘weeks’ in my post as more of milestones to hit.

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Having also just done the process, I think 6 to 8 weeks is a quick but reasonable estimate.

I was done in about 10 weeks but that included an extra week of interviewing funds and a couple minor hang ups on some of the Bison paperwork where some compliance person decided my signature on some (but not all) of the papers did not closely enough resemble the signature on my passport (which was made at the check-in desk at the airport while hurrying to catch a flight). I also split my investment between two funds so I could only go as fast as the slower fund, so that added about a week as well.

If you are going with a simpler investment like IMGA, 6 weeks seems possible, but regardless you will need to be diligent, organized, and stay on top of everything.

Unfortunately time has run against me, and I am just getting started…

Do you think there is adequate time to get things completed before year-end 2021, inclusive of Thanksgiving stateside and XMas knocking out the last 10 days of December? I’m trying to be simplistic in the investment choice to minimize additional paperwork and desired diligence.

Thanks.

Slowest thing stateside is going to be apostilled documents, slowest thing Portugal side is probably getting a bank account open. Maybe if you’re willing to fly back and forth a few times?

If you get a lawyer today or tomorrow, maybe you can squeak in but it’ll be tough, talk with them

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It seems like a long shot, but it depends on how far along you have already come. There are a lot of processes involved that just can’t be expedited with any amount of money and persistence. And you’re also coming up on the holiday slowdown.

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I started the process with a similar mindset about a month ago - I know it’s late, but is it too late… The deciding factor, was that even if we didn’t get through on time, we’d continue at the €500K level. From that perspective, this is just an exercise in whether you can save money on a process you want to complete either way. If we wouldn’t have continued, then I wouldn’t have started.

I will say that I did everything within my power to handle my portion of the work as fast and diligently as possible, and I think I must have progressed at nearly minimal timelines from someone in the US. Even so, FBI check was ~48 hours, the apostille via Monument Visa was just shy of 3 weeks, and I was told to expect the time from when the funds were transferred and the investment was in my depository account at BiG, would also be ~ 2 weeks. (I followed the advice in this thread - it was really useful) But even if everything else goes at lightning speed (and it likely won’t) you’re right on the border of being too late.

But again, if you’d pursue it anyway next year, then you have little to lose - consider it part of the adventure and dive in. The biggest challenges, outside of getting a bank account, can be things like getting your signature to match your passport. Or learning to label your DHL envelope of paperwork at $0, even though you just spent $100 to ship it.

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Haha I thought the whole matching signatures thing was very goofy. Can’t believe that needs to be done in this day and age. Had me sweating!

Lots of great insight and info. Thanks!

Has anyone successfully opened an account via BORDR.IO and then subscribed to a fund like IMGA Ações Portugal or BPI FIAA, etc?

Just wondering if this is a last-ditch option. Not sure if subscribing to a mutual fund is as simple as the USA…

Is that really all that surprising? Some of all of this is simply identifying you are you. How many ways are there of doing that? You can create this paper identity, but what physical human being is that associated with? You have some vague biometrics like height weight and hair color, but they are that, vague. You have fingerprints. That’s being checked. But then… do you mean it? Did we not only tie a paper identity to a human, but does that human really want to do this or is someone else constructing the paper trail, a.k.a identity theft like happens in the US? And keep in mind too that you’re talking about a country where you have no paper trail or anything else to hang a hat on.

I’m not saying that a signature is the best available notion, but it’s what we’ve used for centuries. Can it be forged? Sure. We’ve made that easier. But again, it’s what we’ve got. It’s weight-of-evidence, and a signature that matches is just another piece.

Where does this come into play? I mean at which step of the process?

NIF application for one. And then your attorney needs to translate and certify your bank application. The attorney portion went fine for me, but that might be attorney dependent.

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Ah, ok, thanks.
NIF - yes, I remember now, but it went smoothly for me with NIFonline, while the bank account I opened in person at the bank.

Since my SEF ARI application was just submitted today (hooray), I thought I would give an update to show our timeline. We had been discussing the GV option for quite some time before this timeline, and had done some preliminary research, but this marks the time we kicked it into high gear.

51 days ago: Started consolidating all of our funds to be used for purchasing the investment, requested various documents (FBI, birth and marriage certificates, etc.)
47 days ago: Made final decision on representation, bank account, and chosen fund
<This seems like a big gap in time, but it was a lot of signing things, sending them to Portugal, getting apostilled documents, etc.>
16 days ago: Bank account opened with login details
12 days ago: Funds in PT bank account
9 days ago: Capital call issued
6 days ago: Fund GV documentation received
1 day ago: Bank GV documentation received

Now, just two days to go until we can submit the fee payment to SEF, and then the family applications can be added.

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Which fund and bank did you use? These are pretty good timelines!

We used Banco Atlantico and Iberis - I’m very pleased with both!

September 9th I emailed Bison Bank asking for a lawyer recommendation, and yesterday my lawyer (AGPC investments, specifically Catarina Garrett) submitted my application. Used Bison and the IMGA fund - Nuno was very helpful though I think at times the expectations between me as an American and their paperwork-heavy process in PT caused some strife.

Probably could do things much faster knowing what I know now, longest wait time was the various apostilles/certifications and bank account openings needed.

Who is your account manager at Banco Atlantico? Mine seems to have gone missing and I’m concerned that my application may not get submitted in time if I can’t get a hold of someone there to accept my units from Iberis (also using Banco Atlantico and Iberis)