Proposed EU Long Term Residency Changes as Alternative to Portugal GV

Seems like the EU wants to make it easier to obtain Long Term Residence Status. From what I’ve read in the article and other sources the following are either proposed or already in force:

  • Ability to receive long term residence status after 3 years combined in most EU countries (currently I believe it’s 5 years in a single country)
  • Once received, the ability to move and work in different EU countries with minimal bureaucracy (apparently bureaucracy surrounding working in the destination country is not the greatest right now)
  • Will only be lost after 1 year out of the EU (the EU court has already ruled that a few days every 365 in the EU is sufficient for renewal)
  • Relevant to this forum, investment visas do not count towards the 3 years

Now of course not everything is set into law yet and at the end of the day a residency card is not the equivalent of citizenship, but after all the drama surrounding the Portugal GV this is starting to seem like a very good option of obtaining quasi citizenship like status as long as you’re able to put in 3 years of tax residency. This won’t be limited to just Portugal, you can go to the country of your choice with their relevant long term visa.

What are everyone’s thoughts? As someone already in possession of a strong passport it would certainly make me care less about trying to obtain a EU passport. I’m ok with not being able to vote, and I’ll just try not to break the law and get deported :joy:. This will still require actual residence but with the recent changes will GVs start requiring it too? Saves a lot of money too.


Treating investment visa holders like second class citizens makes me wonder if eventual PT citizenship via ARI will also be treated as “less than”.

For example: you are a citizen of Portugal but don’t get freedom of movement to live and work wherever you want in the EU.

Would be very interesting if something like this happened. For example for Taiwanese passports there is a second tier passport for those without household registration and it’s quite hilarious because this passport doesn’t even give you right to stay in Taiwan itself. British Overseas Passport would be another example

1 Like

I was literally discussing this with my husband an hour ago before even seeing this. We are seriously contemplating dumping our GV application (not even pre-approved yet and waiting since dec 2021) and applying for the digital nomad visa. It feels like the writing is on the wall that 183 days in country will be requirement for citizenship and access to the Schengen zone. Even if the GV stay requirement doesn’t change I fear that we will be rejected when it comes to applying for permanent residence or citizenship at the end of a very long and expensive road. Now, seeing this, it makes me even more concerned. Add the fact that we could all be waiting three years to even get our first residence card and this new law is very enticing to me. Our goal is to be able to travel all over Schengen NOW and have the ability for our kids to live, work and study in the zone. At the rate we’re going now my kids will be adults by the time we might be considered for permanent residency/citizenship. And in the meantime we’re losing these precious years we had planned on adventuring with them.

1 Like

Yeah all the uncertainty has me wanting my money back.

1 Like

I totally agree. Personally the allure of Portugal has also faded for me over the years so the fact that I’ll be able to move around and choose from other countries is also quite a draw


I keep seeing 183 days get thrown around in this forum for D7, but that is not the case. 183 days is for tax residency.

Most non-GV Portugal visas require you to not be outside of the country for more than 8 total months over the duration of the visa (usually 2 years), and not outside of the country for any consecutive stretch of 6 months during that time. This effectively makes it a 240+ day requirement.


Isn’t the digital nomad visa 183 days per year? I have read so much I can’t keep it straight. Or is the digital nomad essentially the same thing as D7 if you’re using it as path to citizenship? With D7 Isn’t it only 8 months per year if it’s not consecutive? I thought d7 was 6 months per year consecutive or 8 months non-consecutive.

I have read so much but of course nothing is clear and everything contradicts itself. It definitely isn’t what we planned, to be in PT 6 mo consecutively but it feels like the only path. Also, the ability to be in other countries is also appealing to us. How do they determine which language test you need to pass because I’m already fluent in Spanish from living in Madrid during college. I could take that test and actually teach my children the language so much easier than what I’ve been attempting with Portuguese.

I think the main point is that, whatever the number, it is many times more days per year than ARI applicants signed up for. 180, 260…might as well be 365 when compared to 7!


So, it may help your confusion to know that there is a difference between “visas” and “residency permits”.

The D8 (digital nomad), D7 (passive-income/retiree), D2 (HQA) etc are all types of visas, which are short-term-stay (less than 1 yr).

You can convert these to a residence permit once you are in country. However, you have to apply for the visa first. That is the reason for the funny dance you see people in AFIP doing, having to time their visa app and flight to Portugal and SEF visit, since the normal D7 visa is of 4 month duration only so you have to get the residency app done while the visa is still valid.

The terms for the residence permit for a digital nomad are no different than those for the passive-income (or other types of residence permits) - the standard “no more than 6 months at a time or more than 8 months in two years cumulative”.

However, you can be in the country continuous up to a year on the digital nomad visa, I believe. I don’t know, I haven’t looked at it. Visas can have different lengths depending on purpose.

(Note that the ARI is anomalous to the normal processes, in that you don’t need to apply for a residence visa first. It’s a specific carve-out to a general regime.)


I do wonder about this. How much do you care about where you spend your “6 months of Schengen reset” in order to achieve your goal? Since you do have to stay somewhere to reset the 90/180 clock on a regular basis and call that “home”. (Obviously, you can choose to ignore 90/180 and take your chances, but that’s outside scope of what I’m discussing.)

Just as a personal opinion, if you already speak spanish, and already lived in Madrid, Spain would seem to have made a lot more sense in the first place.

If you dig around, you’ll find an essay I wrote about how citizenship isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be, especially for an American. The passport is useful for someone coming from a number of countries, but for all intents and purposes, EU Long-term residency may as well be equivalent to EU citizenship and indeed the EU regs state that this is the intent. In which case what you really want is permanent residency as quickly and easily as possible… which several other countries can offer you.

1 Like

We didn’t do Spain because our business is here and we didn’t think we could do the 6 months in the country for 5-10 years. We didn’t want to become tax citizens of Spain.

The GV was ultimate flexibility and, even in Portugal staying past 183 days may be horrendous for us as we’re in our peak earning years. We met with two different Portuguese tax advisors and they both told us polar opposite advice which adds to the confusion.

Our ultimate goal was for us to be able to continue to spend time in Portugal (and travel in the Schengen as we wish, not having to be locked in Portugal for 6 months at a time but being able to hop somewhere for a week or two then fly home, spend a few more weeks somewhere else, etc. Portugal was to be our home-base) without long stay requirements (I believe that only citizenship offers that?) once you have citizenship there is no time maximums required in the country? We wanted our kids (now 9 and 6) to be able to live, work and study in the EU.

We had planned on doing about 5-6 months per year in Europe with about 80 of those days in Schengen zone traveling and the other days in Portugal. Then we need to be home in CA for our business which is located there.

I’m just thinking now the only major tweak to this would be 7-8 months in Europe and only 4-5 months in America which we could do but the tax issue may just make it a non starter for us.

1 Like

I assume the main difference is you lose residence if you live outside the EU for a few years, while citizenship is usually for life.

Like how a green card can be lost if you stay outside the US too long, but US citizenship can’t.


This is the issue right? I’m only 41 and our business is in America. I don’t how long we could keep doing 6 months per year in Europe. Citizenship eliminates that for is.

If this is true, kind of contradictory they’d allow a few days a year to maintain EU wide status, while so strictly opposing golden visas on the basis that they only require a few days a year.

1 Like

Here is the official ruling.

Article 9(1)(c) of Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents must be interpreted as meaning that any physical presence of a long-term resident in the territory of the European Union during a period of 12 consecutive months, even if such a presence does not exceed, during that period, a total duration of only a few days, is sufficient to prevent the loss, by that resident, of his or her right to long-term resident status under that provision.

They want long term residency to be as similar to citizenship as possible and they state part of the reason is that you don’t lose your citizenship for not returning to your home country for a year.

Now of course there are other ways to lose your residency card which are not present if you have a citizenship (committing a crime) but at least for stay requirements taking 1 trip to the EU of any length every year shouldn’t be a big issue for most of us I assume

I’m not too surprised to be honest. I think they are against obtaining residency without actually having lived significantly in the EU whereas for long term residency you will have put in your 3 or 5 years

1 Like

Ah it seems like GV is the perfect setup for you. Out of curiosity have you already applied for GV?

Personally in my peak earning years (now) without the GV I will just stick with the Schengen 90/180 rules. Like you I don’t want to be taxed, don’t want to stay in 1 country for extended periods, and mostly just want to hop somewhere for a few weeks to a month and then go home. I don’t have kids though, but I think in the future (depending on when you plan to retire) you could always bring them along on another visa or they could apply themselves if they want to attend university there for example.

I tried looking for your post but couldn’t find it. But yes after a lot of reading this is the conclusion I’m arriving at too to cope with the GV fallout (and maybe it’s for the better anyways). My primary goal of another passport would be increased residency/travel access especially to the EU and I already have a strong passport. The additional access a Portuguese passport will provide me is minimal (outside of the EU of course).


yup. this.

1 Like

Really, it feels like you could have done this with a Spanish or Greek GV as well. Just that you’d be using somewhere else as home base. There are no boots-on-ground requirements for the Spanish GV at all, as long as you don’t care about citizenship or PR. Greece would be fine. Or even Malta.

(CBI got killed. RBI did not, and the terms aren’t that bad. Though in your case it might not be practical simply due to the logistics of living on an island and the limitations on flights/access.)

You might consider switching to HQA. If it were me, that’s probably what I’d do.

1 Like