Unknown unknown of Portugal Golden Visa

Hi all,

I am interested in the Portugal GV and just found this great forum. I read many thread and it seems more complicated than I thought. I am particularly worry about unknown unknown risk or nuance that may block me in the middle of process. Here are the complication and “what-could-be-wrong” after a few days reading through the thread but I cannot list unknown unknown. So if anyone can let me know any complication that I missed, that would be great.

I am US citizen and my wife is Chinese citizen. Our goal is to get the GV and Portugal passport after 5 years and we would like to take the investment fund approach.

Here are the complexity I’ve learnt:

  • Document requirement during the process. Documents requires appostill, see Apostille and document preparation for US GV investors. Since our documents are from US and China, we need to get Apostille from both country. I still don’t know how to get the Apostille for China-issued documents.
  • Tax complication: According to Investment fund vs. real estate for Portugal golden visa; PFIC for US citizens it seems US citizen need to take care of PFIC if invest in the funds.
  • Tax residency: We don’t plan to live in Portugal even after getting the passport. My understanding so far is that if we don’t stay in Portual longer than 183 days and we don’t have residency (here means physical apartment to live), we don’t need to pay Portual tax for our international income even we are the citizen. Not sure if it is correct.
  • Legal firm selection. I see a lot of legal firms and don’t know how to compare them. The fee is an obvious thing but what else do I need to compare? What is the key service some legal firm may not provide? Any trap that I should be aware to avoid risk?
  • Fund selection. I am looking for safe/conservative fund. I understand that the PFIC is one of the key thing and I can look at their investment area but the information of these funds are limited. How can I get more information about these fund in addition to what they provide me? What are the key information and due diligence that I should do? Shall I expect my legal firm help me to investigate the fund?

Thank you!

China is not a member of Hague Convention. Therefore there is not apostile service in China. What China-issued document are you referring to, marriage cert? If so, you need to notarise it in China by Notary Public, translated by Portuguese consulate certified translation service and authenticated by Portuguese consulate officer. If your wife has lived in the US for more than one year, a US criminal record will do.

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If you are planning to invest 500.000 then please take 10 hours to read the forums here. All your questions are already answered.

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Thanks, Yes, I’ve read the forum. My key questions is what else I should be aware that I don’t list here.

On your point 3 ( Tax residency: We don’t plan to live in Portugal even after getting the passport…). Neither the GV nor Portuguese citizenship oblige tax residency. Income tax applies to income of persons resident in Portuguese territory (over 183 days) and non-residents who earn income in Portugal. The official documentation is at: Personal income tax (IRS) in Portugal - ePortugal.gov.pt
On your points 4 and 5 - Legal firm selection and Fund selection - Jim Zhing (@jjmz) made an Excel file comparing a number of variables (Funds, legal firms, etc) which is available at Portugal Golden Visa Model - Google Spreadsheets. Please note that the file was relevant in July 2021 - so you will need to do your own research to verify the current situation, as some choices are/may be outdated/invalid. You may also want to read the postings at Real estate vs Fund option Cost Summary? as well as other more recent postings regarding fund choices.
Good luck.


Unfortunately, the official requirement is different when it comes to the ‘reagrupamento familiar’ as compared to the main GV applicant.
It may sound funny as it is, but the main GV applicant is required to supply their criminal check from the country of nationality OR from the country where they have resided for more than one year.
For the dependants, the coordinating conjunction changes from OR to AND, i.e. BOTH criminal checks will be required if their country of nationality is different from their country of residence.

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Thank you, the spreadsheet is very helpful.


Ah, this is the unknown nuance that I was not aware of, thanks.

You ask what you haven’t mentioned, so I mention it.

There are uncertainties around what is actually required in terms of citizenship. The minimum on-shore of 14-days/2yrs applies to the residence permit. While the letter of the law states that you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time in the country, some believe that “minimum effort” won’t really be enough at the end of the day. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of data one way or the other to work with on what is or isn’t acceptable. In any event, making blissful assumptions about minimum-effort-to-passport may not be especially wise, if you are doing so, whatever you may have been told or sold. (if you are not, then clearly this does not apply.)


Thank you so much Jeff, this is very helpful. I did have concern about the requirement of citizenship but all the law firms I met told me that the minimum effort should be enough. I also have not found any information confirm the one way or the other. Would love to here if anyone else knows about more data point please kindly share.