I’m an American national. I am considering pursuing the Portugal Golden Visa (GV) through a Mercan investment. My main reason for pursuing the Portugal GV is to obtain EU citizenship so I can live in another EU country. I do not have much interest in living in Portugal.
Simultaneously, I am in discussion with my company about moving to a different EU country for work, which I am very excited about.
The catch: Mercan lawyers have informed me that I cannot pursue the Portugal GV if I am a temporary resident of another EU country. This means that I must choose between pursuing Portuguese citizenship through the GV, and living in Europe now.
Does anyone have any creative ideas to work around this, or other paths to consider? This is a big disappointment for me, as I have to choose between pursuing an EU citizenship through the GV and living in Europe now.
I would be moved to Germany or Hungary. I actually want to live in Hungary, that is my top choice.
Why pursue the GV? Good question. There is absolutely no guarantee my employer or any other would keep sponsoring my residence in Germany or Hungary for the 8 years required to apply for citizenship in those countries. 8 years is a long time. Who knows if I will even be employed by the same employer at that time.
My understanding is that it’s extremely difficult to get a residence permit in the EU, which is why many consider the GV in the first place. If my company were to stop sponsoring me for a residence visa in Germany or Hungary, I’d be right back where I started, without legal right to live and work in Europe and no path to citizenship in Europe. I could always look for another company to sponsor me to live in Germany or Hungary, but that seems extremely difficult.
This has been extensively discussed in another thread with no useful conclusion:
You don’t really need citizenship to achieve your goal. You might consider using an EU Blue Card, and pursuing EU Long Term resident status. If you have an employer willing to sponsor you into a country, this gets you in faster and easier, and all you need to do is stay in the EU under a Blue Card for 5 years to qualify for Long Term resident status. This status lets you stay in the EU without the job. This saves you the investment and all that. Also, if your employer gets you into the EU on Blue Card but then you leave the employer, you are still eligible to find another job anywhere in the EU to maintain your Blue Card until you achieve long term residence.
Alternatively, I would be concerned that Portugal might eventually not approve of people whose clear intention of filing for citizenship is to go live somewhere else in the EU. You are talking about making a significant investment and going through a lot of bother hoping for a potential outcome that is many years in the future. A GV is simply a way to satisfy one of the requirements for citizenship; there is no direct linkage between GV and citizenship.
I have briefly looked into an EU blue card. I think I qualify, but I’m not sure. I have completed university, but in an area completely unrelated to my field of work. I studied social sciences, but I work in health care business. I have been working in health care business for over 5 years. A lot of the job opportunities in my field are in the US, so I think finding work in Europe might be tough, even with a blue card. But, I will look into it a bit more.
As for Portugal denying my citizenship application, I didn’t understand that to be likely. I happen to speak fluent Portuguese, and my understanding is that after making the Golden Visa investment and meeting the minimum stay requirements (14 days per 2 year period), I would apply and be approved. So, your perspective is new to me and I’m not sure how to interpret it.
Oh, I imagine the path works for most people most of the time. It’s hard to know because there aren’t a lot of people who have been able to use the GV path to naturalize in the first place. I imagine there are stats somewhere on naturalizations but since there isn’t anything particularly unique about a GV applicant when it comes to standing before PJ to naturalize, they probably don’t track it.
My point is more that the bar could move - the law could change to include some “spend some X time in the country” or whatever - and it’s nothing you can control, so you are taking this bet that 5 years from now the rules will still be the same, and if they change then you’re SOL. It’s unclear to me as to whether or not there is anything about, well, anything, that means that the bar for citizenship can’t be moved for a GV applicant. I don’t know. It doesn’t really concern me because I could easily see us moving at some point anyway, and PR is enough, though I might wish for the fees to reduce… but that’s so far out relatively that it’s like, well, I don’t know that I won’t be dead by then either.
You’re probably right, as a Portuguese speaker it is no doubt easier for you. If you’re fluent… are you a native of a Lusitanian country? If so, have you pursued that path?
All this is soft-sold. It’s why you see these weasel words of “path to citizenship” - no one can commit to it.
I don’t think this is correct anyway. There are a lot of different residence permits in various countries in the EU, many of which are means-based as opposed to jobs-based, not really even requiring a lot of means. Lots of retirees are getting means-based residence permits in Portugal/Spain/Italy on Social Security alone; if you’re considering a GV, money is clearly not the problem. It’s just that they are all specific to a country and don’t provide the same rights with respect to living in other countries in the EU - and tend to require more significant boots-on-ground. The reason people go for GV typically is to get out of the boots-on-ground requirement, not that they can’t get residence. It sounds like you want to get boots-on-ground ASAP, so I think exploring the non-GV options is worth doing.
Germany has quite a number of options for residence, and you list Germany as your option-2. It’s really not that hard. I considered it at one point, just that my wife wasn’t interested in living there. In your case, you could get a Blue Card, then if the job fails, switch to a regular means-based residence permit, or, well, there’s plenty of options. Just hang on your 5 years in the EU somewhere, get your EU long-term residence permit, and Bob’s your uncle. Of course you have to live in Germany, but maybe you think that is ok. (There’s some other angles here too.)
So it really depends on how flexible you can be about your where. But it’s definitely doable without a GV unless I’m missing something.
Thanks for this thoughtful reply. I will look into Germany a bit more.
If I could find meaningful, relevant work, I’d definitely consider it seriously. My take home pay would likely be cut by 1/2 to 2/3. American jobs can be quite lucrative, but it’s not the only thing in life. But the big barrier is stopping my career or doing irrelevant work for 5 years. I’m not even 40, and future income counts too. Lots of trade offs to consider.
[quote=“6cd2cff41aa164bdc7e7, post:12, topic:46461, full:true”]I can’t find any indication that Portugal gives special treatment to people from former colonies like Brazil. Seems they have to wait 5 years like everyone else?
A side note to this thread: be careful to check if the reduced time wait period only applies for people born in the affiliated countries… meaning, beware of online adverts that promote getting fast citizenship in an affiliated country (for example in south america) as a short cut to getting spanish citizenship for example.
If you are in health care, I quite imagine you will do fine. This is Europe, health care is a thing. Also, of anywhere, Germany is quite open and proactive about bringing in skilled talent that wants to work. Of course as you say the money won’t be as good but it’s not the only thing.
Also, the rules for converting an EU Blue Card to a German permanent-resident permit can be quite generous - which, as long as you can tolerate schnitzel and David Hasselhof, perhaps offers you additional options and paths to get to where you want to go (e.g. you can pursue work visas while knowing you won’t get kicked off the continent entirely or some such - there are various permutations here the exploration of which are beyond scope).
(I remember moving to Germany in '95. I was immediately subjected to a David Hasselhof marathon on RTL 2. Thing being, it didn’t really end until I left the country…)
Thanks for your thoughts. It sounds like I need to explore the Blue Card a lot more.
I am in health care business. I’d rather not say much more about what I do, but my specific industry barely exists in Europe, most of the money and innovation comes from the US or a few other places, but not Europe. So I am not sure whether I can find meaningful work in an adjacent field. I am open to it as long as it pays a living wage, as I am pursuing a GV I have obviously saved up quite a bit, I just need to make ends meet.