Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Investors looking to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa sometimes ask about funding or routing the investment - taking loans, buying in a joint name etc. In this blog post, I try and address some of these frequently asked questions. As always, please do check with legal and tax professionals in your home country and in Portugal before making any decision. My post is only meant to serve as a starting point based on my understanding, and not as definitive professional advice.
1. Can I take a loan to make my investment?
To the extent of the minimum qualifying amount required for the Golden Visa in the category in which you wish to apply (Venture Fund, Real Estate etc), the investment must be made from funds transferred from outside Portugal into your own bank account in Portugal. For instance, if you are planning to invest in Real Estate in the €500,000 category, at least €500,000 must be funds you have remitted from an account outside Portugal into your own bank account in Portugal, not a loan thay you take in Portugal. If the property you are buying costs say €650,000, the balance €150,000 over and above the minimum qualifying amount of €500,000 can be a loan, or indeed paid by another person. Similarly, if you are applying under the rehabilitated real estate category for which the minimum qualifying investment is €350,000, at least €350,000 must be invested from funds in your own bank account in Portugal.
Whether you can take a loan or gift in your home country to fund your bank account in Portugal will depend upon the laws in your home country. Indian tax residents, for instance, must note that as per Indian law, remittances made from India to your overseas account MUST be from your own funds in India, the source of which you can prove. One cannot take a loan in India or abroad to fund your overseas investments.
2. What about money gifted by another person?
The same rules apply as that for a loan - the minimum qualifying investment amount must be from your own bank account in Portugal with funds from outside Portugal.
Again, for Indian Residents, amounts received as gift in your overseas bank accounts must be brought into India within SIX months of receiving it.
3. Can the investment be in joint names?
Yes it can provided, again, that the minimum qualifying investment amount must be from the applicant's own bank account in Portugal with funds from outside Portugal. This is true even if the co-investor will be a co-applicant for the Golden Visa (for instance, a spouse).
The way the Golden Visa application process works is:
The investor is the main applicant - this is the person that needs to make the entire qualifying investment from his/her own bank account in Portugal with funds from outside Portugal.
After completing the investment and applying for his/her own Golden Visa, the main applicant can then add family members and dependents under the same investment, as per the rules of the Portugal Golden Visa
Therefore, even if a married couple wants to jointly invest and apply for the Golden Visa, the minimum qualifying investment MUST be made by either of them as a main applicant. However, if the two investors are independently applying for Golden Visas as "main applicants", both applicants must each contribute the minimum qualifying investment.
For example, if a husband and wife wish to apply for the Golden Visa under the €500,000 real estate category, and wish to purchase the property jointly, the main applicant MUST invest a minimum of and own a share equivalent to €500,000 in the property. If the property is worth €700,000, it can be purchased jointly, with the other spouse contributing and owning share equivalent to €200,000.
On the other hand, if two brothers or friends want to independently apply for the Golden Visa under the €500,000 real estate category, they can invest jointly in a property worth a minimum of €1,000,000 with each independently contributing and owning €500,000.
4. Can the investment be made by/through a company?
Yes it can, provided it can be proved that the main applicant's shareholding in the company translates to ownership of at least the minimum qualifying amount in the investment.
For example, if the applicant owns 75% of a company and wishes to apply under the Venture Fund category (minimum qualifying investment €500,000), the investment by the company will need to be at least €667,000.
In short, the spirit is that the main applicant is responsible for investing the entire minimum qualifying amount, and the funds for such investment must be brought from outside Portugal into the applicant's bank account in Portugal. Amounts over and above the minimum qualifying investment can be from any other legitimate source.
If you have any further/other questions regarding routing the investment, please go get in touch with us. And don't forget to consult your tax/legal professional before making any decision. This post is NOT a substitute for legal advice.