Requirements, fees and other concerns of getting PR or Citizenship After GV?

I’ve talked to an immigration consultant, and he mentioned that the Portugal GV program requires people to become permanent residents at the end of year 5, and can apply for citizenship one year after. After researching more about this question, it got even more confusing to me and I have even more worries about applying to this program. Here are my concerns:

  1. Which timeline is correct? There’s one discussion that said the Golden Visa program says one can apply for citizenship after 5 years but Portuguese law actually requires 6 years. So pending an amendment to the law, the transition to PR is temporarily needed. Are they really changing the law soon or will getting PR first be the standard or recommended path?

  2. What other additional requirements are there to get citizenship compared to PR? Is the process much easier if we become PRs first, then apply for citizenship?

  3. I am very concerned about the PR requirement because I saw that SEF has a permanent residence fee of €7455 for investors, with a renewal fee of €3728 (while fees are less than €225 for all other non-investor services/categories) . For our family of 4, this alone costs close to an additional €30k, a bit too high for something that remains unpublished in most GV materials. And I cannot understand why there is a renewal fee different from non-investors? After one becomes a permanent resident, shouldn’t renewal be same as all the other PRs?

  4. How much do we budget for naturalization and get a Portuguese passport and citizenship card then? Is the process and fees same as other applicants, GV or not?

  5. Do applicants for either PR or citizenship need to be in Portugal at the time of application? How about while waiting for the actual process to be done? Is there a risk that either will be denied if one doesn’t have a Portuguese address at the time of application or the applicant did not stay in Portugal until it was granted?

I am interested in getting a Portugal GV using the fund option, with the eventual goal of getting citizenship. However, there are certainly concerns when the fund matures, when citizenship can be applied (both for me, my spouse and my children, one of who is going to be around the age of 17 to 19 at the end of the GV process), and what else might come unexpected at that time. The GV process by itself is well-documented only until the time most say GV holders are eligible for PR or citizenship and may also choose to continue renewing their GV status. I haven’t been able to read what happens eventually and how the PR or citizenship process works. I hardly see any reason why anyone would choose renewing their GV status and not convert to either PR or citizenship anyway. And for those who invested in funds, that might not even be an option anymore. Any experience, thoughts and insights are appreciated.

  1. Citizenship used to require 6 years of legal residence, but that was changed to 5 years in 2018. Sources:
    Know the 7 changes in the Portuguese Nationality Law | Atlantic Bridge
    Main Changes To The Rules On Portuguese Nationality - Immigration - Portugal

  2. Don’t know about the difference in requirements. Was never interested in permanent residency. AFAIK being a permanent resident doesn’t makes it easier to attain citizenship. Permanent residence is just a different form of legal residence than the golden visa residence and any kind of legal residence works as long as you’ve had 5 years of legal residence.

  3. Agreed, permanent residence fees appear very high but I don’t see a need to apply for permanent residence.

  4. Can’t find a direct source but I’m pretty sure the application fee for naturalization is around 200 EUR. I’m confident that the fee to get a passport is a lot less than that. These fees apply to all people, not just golden visa holders so there is no huge mark up.

  5. That’s a little unclear right now to be honest. Not many golden visa holders have received citizenship as I understand. From what I gather many early golden visa investors are not interested or able to have dual citizenship and thus apply for permanent residency instead. A “connection to Portugal” is required to be granted citizenship however it’s believed that the basic level of Portuguese language (another requirement) plus investment is enough to satisfy that requirement. Additionally, the burden of proof is on the government to prove that you don’t have a connection to Portugal before they can deny your application.

I’ve had a report from another forum that someone has received their passport without ever actually living in Portgual. Of course this is hardly gospel, it’s one person and they haven’t shared exactly how they proved “ties”, just that it wasn’t boots-on-ground.

Of course, things can change in 5 years too; GV isn’t really a promise of citizenship, merely residency, and I quite imagine the government could choose to move the goalposts on this one, especially under EU pressure. There is a certain leap-of-faith to all of this.

Some counties don’t let their citizens have dual citizenship. So in this case, if they don’t want to renounce their original citizenship, they probably will do permanent residency or keep renewing the GV, I am guessing.

Here is a list of fees from SEF website. It looks like passport fee is €111
https://imigrante.sef.pt/en/?media_dl=3009

The whole aftermath of the application seems to be a lot of work :roll_eyes:

There’s plenty of paperwork in the fore-math too :slight_smile:

Thank you for feedback. I found the explanation of the difference between the 5 and 6 years posted in another topic here in this site.
It does sound like it might still take 6 years for most people before getting a Portuguese passport, unless another law gets changed again.
Anyway, from all experience with government bureaucracy (not specifically with Portugal), I somehow think that one needs to at least renew the residence permit at least one more time if one’s permit expires exactly at the end of the 5th year of getting the residence permit. I doubt any country allows you to submit a passport application before or on the exact date you qualify. And if one allows the residence permit to expire, then it might actually jeopardize the application for citizenship and might even invalidate what has been achieved from the start.
Am not specifically bothered if one needs to get permanent residency and have to wait another year for citizenship. The PR fees for investors just don’t sit well with me, especially the €3728 PR renewal fee. Why is there still a distinction between those who got their PRs through the golden visa compared to everyone else? The distinction should end upon completion of all golden visa requirements, or at least end after conversion to PR status. This feels like being used as a cash cow to be milked forever.

1 Like

Because ARI is about money, therefore it costs more :slight_smile:

FYI golden visas are being issued with 2 year validity right now instead of 1 year. Not sure how long that will continue but that means that your initial visa plus two renewals will be good for 6 years, giving you plenty of time to apply for citizenship. I also think that while you have a citizenship application pending, that provides you with legal status in the event that your golden visa expires.

We are cash cows. It’s the whole point of offering golden visas — to bring a lot of money into the country.

It may provide legal status while your citizenship application pening. What about the rejection of this application, while your GV already expired?!