Practical conditions required to naturalize via Golden Visa

Hi friends, I am from China, and I want to immigrate to Portugal through the golden visa. I am a little confused at the moment.

I have consulted two immigration agencies. Their statements on obtaining Portuguese citizenship through the golden visa are somewhat different,

mainly focusing on: one agency’s statement is: meeting the requirement of 7 days of residence per year for 5 years.

The other agency’s statement is: meeting the requirement of 7 days of residence per year for 5 years is not enough. If you only live 7 days a year, it is very likely that you will be considered to have little connection with Portugal, and it is very likely that you will not be naturalized. Even if you meet all the paper conditions, you need to live at least for half a year to be naturalized, and you need to prove your strong connection with Portugal.

I currently live and work in China, and I don’t have much time to stay in Portugal. I am not sure if I am suitable for obtaining a passport through a golden visa. Has anyone obtained a passport or permanent residence through a golden visa? Successful or failed cases are both acceptable. How many days did everyone live in Portugal when they successfully obtained a passport?

There are certainly people on these forums who have obtained citizenship after fulfilling only the minimum stay requirements. Lawyers also report many cases of the same for their clients.

See for example this sub:

On the question of “ties”, the understanding on here is that there is no longer any legal requirement to show a “connection” other than the ARI-based residence and the language requirement. See some discussion here:

If your second agency has evidence of someone having been declined citizenship due to lack of connection, this would be valuable info, including whether this person challenged that decision in the courts.

This applies to adults; the situation for minors is more complicated.

5 Likes

Well the whole idea of Golden Visa is not living in Portugal. I don’t know why they would tell you that when many have already received their citizenship through this program.

At the moment, though, the timeline isn’t 5 years. More like 9 or 10, with 2 years or so after the five years for citizenship, and 2 years or so from application to grant of the GV. We’re all waiting for the regulations to come out, which might cut out some or all of that first 2 years.

2 Likes

Hi Chris J :grinning:
1. On the question of whether someone can be naturalized if they meet the minimum residence time, I also checked most of the posts in the forum. Unfortunately, there are not many people who say how long they have lived in Portugal. It is very likely that you will only be renewed for the Portuguese GV and will not be given a passport

  1. On the question of relevance, my second agency has sent us a copy of the Portuguese nationality Law, please allow me to send the part about relevance
    -Artigo 9.º
    Fundamentos
    1 - Constituem fundamento de oposicao a aquisicao da nacionalidade portuguesa por efeito
    da vontade:
    a) A inexistencia de ligacao efetiva a comunidade nacional; a) A inexistencia de ligacao efetiva;

This is the English version after I use the translator
article 9 º.
Teaching in progress
1 - Constitute grounds against the acquisition of Portuguese nationality
The will to:
a) Lack of effective links with the state and society;

I checked your above post on naturalization, but I don’t seem to see your opinion on this, I’m not sure if this is true, what do you think about this

Article 9 contains grounds for objection to the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by effect of will.

“Effect of will” is covered in Chapter II Section I of the Nationality Law, and covers acquisition of nationality by:

(Art 2): underage or disabled children
(Art 3): marriage or civil partnership
(Art 4): reacquisition of nationality after a period of incapacity

For the ARI we’re interested in the acquisition of nationality by naturalisation, covered in Chapter II Section III of the Act. This is naturalisation, not effect of will. The ability of the state to object on the grounds of lack of connections under Article 9 do not apply.

6 Likes

Maybe it is because I live in China, where any information is very blocked, we need to use VPN to get in touch with the foreign community, and you must have a good English level, otherwise you can only get all kinds of information through intermediaries and various media, so far this community is the best information I can find about the golden visa

1 Like

Yes, it’s a long-term plan

Thank you Chris J
That’s completely clear about this one. I’m glad to have your help

3 Likes

At least it doesn’t apply to adults. If you are a family with children under 18, the parents can get citizenship through naturalization but those children still need to prove connection to get the citizenship together with their parents.

1 Like

Does China allow you to acquire a second citizenship, or would you need to renounce your Chinese? Are you therefore wanting to get the GV PR rather than citizenship? If so that could be why you’re getting the mixed messages - it’s apparently pretty much impossible in recent years to get the GV PR. So maybe your agency is saying that in your case you’d need to move to PT?

As explained above, there are many cases of people getting citizenship through GV with only minimum stay - I don’t recall seeing one on this forum that was rejected.

China does not support dual nationality, I think most Chinese people apply for Portuguese GV for permanent residence or naturalization, if only the minimum time can be naturalized, it may be the best choice for people who cannot live in the naturalization place for a long time

I would not say it is impossible to get GV PR. We do not see many GV PR because people often skip it and go straight to citizenship. It is about getting appointment for PR biometric and apply it. The process is do-able by filing lawsuit. If one really wants to do it and files a lawsuit to get appointment for GVPR, he/she will eventually get it.

2 Likes

Just spoke to my lawyers about the GV PR. According to them, many of their clients are from Asia and do not have chance to apply PR because they do not put any effort on getting A2 portuguese. PR requires A2 certificate of language too. And then if someone already has A2 portuguese, he could skip PR to apply citizenship. :joy:. That’s why we barely see GVPR.

1 Like

Oh, really? I did not know that PR also requires A2 certificate, I think for most Asian countries, citizenship is more preferred than PR, but unfortunately, the two major foreign immigration countries, China and India, do not recognize dual citizenship

Here it is:

Proof of basic knowledge in portuguese language is required in order to apply for PR.

  • Comprovativo de conhecimento do português básico, mediante apresentação de:
    • Certificado de habilitações emitido por estabelecimento português de ensino oficial ou de ensino particular ou cooperativo reconhecido nos termos legais ou
    • Tratando-se de pessoa que tenha frequentado estabelecimento de ensino oficial ou de ensino particular ou cooperativo reconhecido nos termos legais em país de língua oficial portuguesa, mediante certificado de habilitação emitido por esse estabelecimento de ensino ou
    • Certificado de aproveitamento no curso de português básico emitido pelo IEFP ou por estabelecimento de ensino oficial ou de ensino particular ou cooperativo legalmente reconhecido ou
    • Certificado de conhecimento de português básico, mediante a realização de teste em Centro de Avaliação de Português como Língua Estrangeira (CAPLE), reconhecido pelo Ministério da Educação e Ciência.

I submitted my citizenship application about 3 months ago through a lawyer after completing 5 years of residency in Portugal as a GV holder (I think that the residency requirement is the same for PR applicants). For GV holders to maintain residency during the 5 years, they basically need to be in Portugal physically to what averages out to be 7 days per year. To prove my 5 years of residency, I got a letter from AIMA and submitted it to IRN. Since PRs are handled by AIMA, you probably will not need to do this. However, please note that until approval of citizenship (it will take about 3 years), I will need to continue renewing my GV because I need to maintain my resident status until citizenship is approved. With PRs, I am not sure how this works. If it’s the same process as GV residency renewal, you should be able to apply for PR at AIMA 3 months before your GV residency card expires, or if your card expiration date is past the 5 years, you can apply as soon as you meet the 5-year requirement. Note that 5 years is counted from the date of issuance printed on your first card. Also, it looks like you should not apply for PR until you can prove proficiency in the Portuguese language. Until then, you can continue renewing your GV. As for “ties” to Portugal, it seems that there were issues because it was not entirely clear what would be sufficient proof. As for GV holders, my lawyer said that holding the GV property and paying taxes (real estate and/or rental income) was sufficient to prove the ties. I would double check with a professional your plans and timing of applying for a PR. Good luck! P.S. If you don’t have a Golden Visa yet, it seems that the 5 years begin from the time that you submit the application. Also, real estate does not seem to qualify for GV anymore, so you should check whether whichever investment vehicle you choose qualifies as a proof of ties to Portugal (I would think so).

2 Likes

Thanks for this very helpful post, and good luck with your naturalisation process.

Can I ask, did your lawyer explain why they believe you have to show “ties” to Portugal? This issue comes up repeatedly, and we know that some lawyers and consultants think that demonstrating ties is a requirement. Yet an analysis of the nationality law and regulations show that while the state can object to a citizenship application on the grounds of a lack of connection to Portugal, this is ONLY in certain cases, notably minors and marriage - but not for naturalisation after five years of residence. Indeed, there used to be a requirement to show ties for regular naturalisation cases, but this was removed from the law in 2006.

An intermediary, La Vida, writes, for example (2022):

“A recent media report suggested that some Golden Visa investors are being rejected for citizenship, for not holding sufficient ties with Portugal, but this is not the case. Having checked with several of our legal advisors we can confirm that Portugal’s nationality law does not require applicants to establish connections to the country and there is no stipulation in the legislation that allows the Portuguese authorities to dispute a Citizenship application based on a lack of connections or ties to Portugal when someone applies for Citizenship by Naturalization. Our legal partners have successfully processed several hundred Citizenship applications for Golden Visa holders and this has never been an issue or caused a rejection. In general, the main reasons one would not be approved for Citizenship is for obvious reasons such as having a criminal record, being dishonest on the application or not providing the correct documentation.”

So I’m still puzzled by all this. Why do some lawyers think ties are required? Are they not up to date with the law? Have some IRN staff denied applications on spurious grounds? Or have we and many lawyers misunderstood the law? I think it’s the first of these, but I could be wrong on this, and it does seem an important question.

2 Likes

Thanks SCK for sharing this information, does it mean that you only live in Portugal 7 days per year? Am I understanding correctly that you must maintain your GV (which can be up to three years) from the time you apply for naturalization to the time you get your citizenship?

I recall seeing “ties to Portugal” stated in the law. Whether that has been removed, I don’t know, but when I first asked my lawyer last year about it, he told me not to worry about it because for GV applicants, it was sufficient to have the real estate investment and to be paying taxes. He told me not to sell my property in the meantime, not just because of the ties to Portugal issue, but because to renew my GV should it expire before citizenship is granted, I need to have maintained my original investment. I am not sure what your situation is, but if you were granted a GV through real estate investment, you probably face the same issues as I and you probably don’t need to worry too much about the ties to Portugal issue as you probably will need to maintain your original investment until your PR or citizenship is granted. Good luck. I hope that you find all of the answers that you need

1 Like