Missed the boat on NHR, can Golden Visa help us?

We are US citizens living in Portugal. We entered ion a D7 is a but failed, sure to misinformation, to file for NHR. Now too late - we are tax residents without NHR and subject to Portugal taxes. We have also been completely unable to get reliable tax information from anyone.

Leonard again. We are wondering whether a golden visa program might work for us. We are living o the coast, in Lourinha. But can we, as US citizens and Portugal residents, apply for a GV?

Can you answer or point us towards someone who can? Given that we already have a home we would be interested in RE investment.

Hi, it depends .

You have a permit residence in portugal ?

Hi and thanks. Yes, we obtained residence permits in 2019. We had been informed (incorrectly) that our D-7 visas came with NHR status. So we didn’t file for it. Now everyone says its too late. So we are looking for some way to remain in Portugal a lot, but not remain tax residents.

So we are wondering whether the GV might be an opportunity. We qualify in all the important ways and can readily afford the investment. But as we are already residents, we may be excluded. So that is the #1 question.

We have also been rather desperately seeking to find a PT accountant familiar with the US situation, and getting nowhere. Either people do not reply or are filled with misinformation because they have never dealt with US citizens. Or have appointments only weeks from now. All we need at this point is someone who can ey-ball our situation.

A golden visa will not help you. You are wanting to live in and benefit from a country but not pay any taxes there? Unfortunately, that scenario does not work. Of course, Portugal has created an exception with the NHR status but if that is not available to you, then golden visa is not by itself a means to eliminate taxes.

No, you are dead wrong about our intentions. Ahostile reply to a query helps no one.


I believe you should qualify for the GV, but unfortunately it may not help you in the way you’re hoping for. While it would let you spend much or (crucially) as little time in Portugal as you’d like, if you still maintain your main residence in the country you’d still be considered tax resident:

If you’d give up your current accommodation (or rent it out if you own it), and only spend a few months in Portugal per year while clearly spending most of your time in another country, then yes you may be able to revert to non-resident tax status.

Well as I see it, here is the way it might help. It is very clear that the GV is separate from tax residence. If we spend less than 183 days here we could cotiue our residence i the US, We still own our house there. And as I understand the GV, we would be free to leave and still remain in the Schengen area. So we could buy a condo somewhere, and divide the majoity of our days - say 183 of them, outside of Portugal.

As is, I still travel many days for work (120 days in China alone in 2019). We have a son and Veronica’s mother still living in the US. We could probably be happy enough spending 6 months in Portugal. Regardless of where we are we are still payin US taxes - even though we did not spend a single day there in 2020. We moved to Portugal for the NHR - and then followed poor advice from professionals here (which we still receive every day).

I would feel better about paying our fair taxes here anyway if I could find anyone who could tell me hat they are. The tax accontants we have conshulted continue to insist that we pay nothing and have no need to file. They have no experience with Americans.

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GV doesn’t really solve things by Schengen - you can go elsewhere in EU but you can’t stay elsewhere > 90 days until you hit the 5 yr mark and get long term residency.

It sounds like a pretty complicated situation already. Your proposed answer to it just adds more complication. I’m not sure you’re going to find an answer here, at least not one you’re going to want to rely on. You might find one in .pt but you might not, since let’s face it most people with money probably don’t live in .pt. Maybe one of the larger houses like SRS Global or Caiado Guerriro that have significant immigration and tax and accountancy all in house. It won’t be cheap but it may not be as bad as you think - I’ve spoken to them (about immigration, not tax) and the prices while higher weren’t exactly ridiculous either compared to some others - and in your situation it may be best to just pay up anyway. That said, given the time of year, it may be impossible to get eyeballs quickly and you just need to be patient. Maybe try to file for extensions on all your relevant taxes til you get past the rush.

Dear Leonard,

Thanks for your email. Let me get your question straight first.

So you are currently in Portugal under a D7 visa and a tax resident here. But instead, you would like to switch it to a Golden Visa, where you stay less than 183 days in Portugal and declare as a non-tax resident. And you want to know if you are still eligible to apply for a Golden Visa since you already have a D7 visa and a resident in Portugal right?

If this is the question you are asking, I can clarify this with my lawyer.

Please note that a Golden Visa allows you to stay in Portugal, but not other EU countries (just for 90 days). And to be a non tax resident, you need to stay here less than 183 days per year. Also, the fund for Golden Visa investment has to come from a foreign country.

These conditions so far are ok with us. As US citizens we have to [pay our taxes on global earnings in the US. As residents of Portugal, we have to pay our taxes on global earnings to Portugal if we are tax residents in the given year. We still own our US home; our son is currently occupying it but we own it, pay the taxes and utilities, and it is available to us for as long as we wish.

Three months in another Schengen country could work. It may not even be necessary. That leaves us with the months to travel and visit our family and take care of our chores in the US. Given that I spent three months working in China in 2019, and may continue to work there after the pandemic is passed, this is not a bad annual calendar.

Some years we will spend more days in the US. Veronica’s MOm is over 90, and while she is happy living independently now ( and will be a sourpuss if she cannot) there will come a time where we have to care for her. We can imagine a year divided between Portugal from May 1 to November 1, China from November 1 to New Year, travel in January and February and US inMarch - April - when my most important professional meetings happen.

So the question remains whether we would be eligible for GV as residents of PT.

HI Leonard,

I have confirmed with my lawyer, there is no problem. You are eligible for the golden visa application.

If you have more questions and need help on the process and investment options. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Please note that a Golden Visa allows you to stay in Portugal, but not other EU countries (just for 90 days).

90 days within a 180 day period.

And to be a non tax resident, you need to stay here less than 183 days per year.

Once you become a tax resident, you remain a tax resident until notifying Finanças you’re leaving and not coming back. Quote from euroFINESCO eBook nº30 - Leaving Portugal Moving Back

“Transferring Fiscal Residency
You must also* inform Finanças that you will no longer be resident for tax purposes. As proof, you must submit 2 utility bills related to your new home. If you do not as yet have new electricity or water statements, your bank statement with a local address will suffice.” …


  • You also have to notify SEF, but that’s not tax related.