Opening Portuguese bank account for GV in 2023—recent data points, alternatives

As many people are rushing to get their GV applications in before the law changes, the most problematic item on their todo list for most is opening a Portuguese bank account in a timely manner.

It used to be the case that going in person would speed things up considerably (especially if you would try a few different branches at different banks), and while it might still help avoid some unnecessary back and forth, it seems most if not all new account openings now get sent to the banks’ central compliance departments—which is the current bottleneck.

Unfortunately, the delays at compliance are now measured in months, as opposed to weeks for those applications that got sent there in the past. Supposedly, this is a result of stricter compliance requirements post the invasion of Ukraine and all the sanctions that followed.

The workaround applied by some real estate developers (I know of Mercan and Rossio Palace) is to allow direct investment transfers from abroad. Essentially their bank issues the declaration that’s needed for the GV application.

There are a few things to keep in mind with this approach:

  • The foreign account needs to be in your name
  • The banks will still conduct compliance checks on the inbound transfers, typically requiring essentially the same set of documents as for opening and funding a new account—however since they don’t want to block a transfer for too long these checks are prioritized (the transfer is typically released in a few days after the requested documents have been supplied)
  • You’ll typically apply for a bank account at the same time (you anyway need to collect all the documents for the transfer), but the account opening process will not hold up your Golden Visa application

Unfortunately, I don’t think this workaround is applicable to those who invest in funds, as you’ll need an investment account to deposit your shares. It seems most people are still recommending Nuno at Bison Bank for this (although recent data points I’ve seen suggest that will also take at least a month+ currently).

I’d like to make this thread a useful resource for those who are still in the process of applying for the Golden Visa. Please share any relevant data points based on recent experiences, such as:

  • Do you know any other developers offering a workaround than the ones listed above?

For recent bank account openings (in the past months):

  • How long did it take you?
  • Beyond the time to open the account, were there additional delays/compliance checks carried out when transferring the investment amount?
  • Did you do it remotely? Alternatively, which branch did you go to?
  • What’s your nationality/residency?

As a side note, the Portuguese central bank has recently been inspecting 12 financial institutions to assess their systems and controls in relation to golden visas, with the aim of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. This may be part of the reason that the process has become much more protracted over the last year or so.


Yeah, that definitely isn’t speeding things up…

The latest DPs I’ve heard from a fund manager that works with both Bison Bank and Banco Atlantico is that they both take about 4-6 weeks now.

Apparently, CGD (Caixa Geral de DepĂłsitos) look like they may be moving faster, but too soon to really tell.

For other banks I’ve been hearing 2-3+ months…

So if you’re looking to invest in funds I’d try opening with several banks and see which one you get open the fastest.

For real estate investments it’s much faster as long as you can make your investment to the developer’s trust account.

There was another thread on Nomadgate where someone posted they had opened a bank account with Atlantico and it was very quick. I believe I read somewhere else that their fund options are limited.

Our original paperwork, and certified identity documents, were delivered to Bison Bank (not to Nuno, unfortunately) on May 9th. We were told that bank accounts were taking 2-3 weeks to open at that time. We are trying to invest in a fund that is closing on May 30th, so I just emailed today for a status update. I’m happy to update this thread with what ACTUALLY happens. =)

Also, I’d be interested to hear if anyone experienced additional delays/compliance checks when transferring!

Right now, we feel fairly confident that we are going to make the application. We kicked off on 4/19 though and are still worried it’s going to be tight.


Yes, I opened one in March with Atlantico 100% through their app without assistance, it was probably 2 weeks from memory, just their standard account (Good for transfers, e.g. Real Estate). I would imagine their “Funds” holding account might be slow.

My guess is maybe this process would take longer in May than in March.

We have opened an account with Novo Banco remotely with POA to our lawyer. It has taken about 8 days to open and unlock the account. It was unlocked on May 18. There was about 2 day delay as they requested additional tax records from the US. Now waiting to get online access! Funds have been wired already to account.

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Took about a week to get it done .

Update: I emailed my Bison Bank contact to ask about status. And he said that he needed a new certified passport as the copy he had was “cut”, without any clarification as to what that meant. Luckily, my lawyers responded, even though it was after business hours and clarified. They will send a new certified passport over to Bison on Monday.

What this did teach me is BE THE SQUEAKY WHEEL! I mean, when would he have figured out that he needed a new passport and request it if I hadn’t emailed?


José Barroso at Novobanco is the banker I dealt with.

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another update. We heard from Bison Bank today and they said to expect an IBAN by the end of next week. Therefore, we won’t make one of the investments we were targeting.

To review timeline, May 9, Bison received our hardcopies plus certified documents. And we will have an IBAN by the end of next week.

took 2 months for the Bankinter to issue the specific document for the GV bank declaration.
I had to resubmit documents to prove where the money came from, recent pay slips and 2023 1040 documents.