If you’re considering joining the 34,000 UK citizens already residing in Portugal, it’s important to be well-informed about the process. One way to prepare for your move is by exploring the Golden Visa programs in Europe, which can eventually lead to citizenship. To help you prepare for the official test, you can find valuable resources at https://www.citizenshipbritish.com/life-in-the-uk-practice-test/. Familiarizing yourself with the requirements and testing your knowledge will set you on the right path toward your new life in Portugal.
Portugal and Greece are two of the most popular Golden Visa countries. Between October 2012 and October 2020, a total of 9254 investors obtained residency in Portugal. Similarly, 7903 investors obtained residency in Greece. Enterprise Greece released this data that includes the dates 2013 and September 2020.
So, what is the process of obtaining citizenship in another country through a Golden Visa? Below you can find the process for both Portugal and Greece.
Portugal Golden Visa
It is basically a residency by investment program. It offers a variety of investment options for you. They include real estate purchase and a fund investment qualifies for Golden Visa application. Other investment options include capital transfers to the country, and establishing a business to create ten job positions.
After you invest in the country, you can apply for your Golden Visa. At first, it grants you temporary residency. If you obey the stay requirement, you can apply for permanent residency at the end of five years. The stay requirement is only seven days per year. So, you don’t need to move to Portugal completely. After five years, you can apply for citizenship as well. Portuguese citizenship also means EU citizenship. So, through the Golden Visa Portugal after Brexit, you can even gain more rights than before.
Citizenship through Portugal Golden Visa will give you the right to visa-free travel to 186 countries. You can also live, work, and study in any EU country as well. Another advantage of this visa is that you can include your dependent family members in the program. So, you don’t need to be alone in this process.
Tax benefits of Portugal Golden Visa
An important aspect of this program is the tax treatment it offers to foreigners. Through your Golden Visa, you can benefit from the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program. This will grant you the exemption on most of your foreign income for ten years. Also, you will be subject to reduced tax rates on your Portuguese income.
If you were not a tax resident in Portugal in the last five years, you can apply for it after you get your Golden Visa. You need to spend more than 183 days each year to qualify for the program. If you plan to retire in Portugal, this might be a good opportunity and you will be subject to only 10% taxation on your foreign pension.
The tax regulation is especially important for you as a UK citizen. The reason is the high tax rates in the UK. UHY(Urbach Hacker Young International Limited) declared its study about international income rates. According to its study in 2019, the “UK taxpayers on the same salary would pay a 46.1% tax rate, less than in Ireland, Belgium or the US, but above the European average tax rate of 44.2%”. So, Portugal Golden Visa will bring you both EU citizenship rights as well as tax benefits.
Greece Golden Visa
As mentioned above, many investors choose this program as well. There are some differences between Greece and Portugal Golden Visa programs though.
Real estate investment option is available for Golden VisaGreece as well. In fact, this investment type has the lowest investment threshold in Europe for residency. The minimum amount is only €250,000. Other investment types include investment in bank deposits and investment for Greek government bonds.
Greece also does not impose any stay requirement to maintain your Golden Visa. So, you don’t need to be in Greece at any time of the year. You only need to renew your residency every five years. You should note that there is no record of an investor’s citizenship through Greece Golden Visa yet. So the Portuguese program is a safer route if the main goal is to obtain EU citizenship.
Greece offers a tax benefit for foreign retirees as well. As a pensioner, if you shift your tax residency to Greece, you will only be subject to 7% taxation on your foreign pension for ten years.