Many people ask me, ‘Can I get Residency in Portugal if I buy a House?’ Well, as usual, the answer is not so straight forward. It depends on your personal and financial situation. Buying a house alone does not get you automatic residency. However, there are ways that you can apply for that separately from your house purchase. The chances are that you will be able to find a way to spend as much time in Portugal as you like, you may just have to navigate the situation through visas and Portuguese bureaucracy!
Get a NIF to buy a House!
First of all, you need to know that you must have a NIF to buy a house in Portugal. The NIF is the the ‘Número de Identificação Fiscal or Número de Contribuinte’ or fiscal number. Every Portuguese resident Will have one of these and also expats and foreigners who buy property in Portugal will need to have an’NIF’. So before you even start the process of buying a Portuguese property you need to get your NIF from the Financas office near you (or in Lisbon if you are not yet settled). If you want to know more about the NIF then this blog might help.
if you are interested in the process of buying a house in Portugal then read our guide to buying property in Portugal.
Buying your House Does NOT give you Automatic Residency Rights in Portugal
So, can I get Residency in Portugal if I buy a House? Well yes and no! It’s important to understand that just because you buy a property in Portugal, that doesn’t mean that you have automatic residency rights in Portugal. No, you cannot just simply just buy a house in Portugal and move in and live there!
You will still need to apply for your Portuguese residency through the correct bureaucratic channels even if you own a Portuguese property. How difficult it is for you to get your Portuguese residency will depend on a number of things including how much money you have to invest in Portuguese property or business and which country you are a passport holder of (having an EU passport makes it much easier!).
Or does it?! Enter the Golden Visa Programme
There is a bit of an exception to the above rule if you have a large amount (in excess of €500,000) to invest in Portuguese property or business. If you invest over €500,000 in a Portuguese Property or from €250,000+ in arts and heritage or other businesses then you may be eligible for the Golden Visa scheme. This essentially increases (some might say even guarantees) the chances of your residency and citizenship applications being accepted when you hit certain criteria of the scheme. Portugal have come up with this scheme as a way to bring investors into the country. There are some areas where buying a property is exempt from the Golden Visa scheme (last time I checked Lisbon and soon to be Porto were exceptions to the scheme) so check with your solicitor.
You can get Portuguese residency through this scheme and apply for permanent Portuguese residency after 5 years of living there. You may be eligible to apply for Citizenship also, depending on your situation and how long you have been in Portugal.
Other ways of getting Portuguese Residency
If you have not invested somewhere in the region of €500,000 of your own money in Portuguese property or business then you won’t be eligible for the Golden Visa scheme. In this situation you will need to consider other ways of getting Portuguese Residency.
CRUE for EU Passport Holders
If you have an EU passport then you will be pleased to know that it is a relatively simple process. Within 3 months of arriving in Portugal you will need to take your passport, proof of address and proof of funds or work to your local Camara (town hall). They will issue you with a CRUE document which is the Certificado de Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia. This will give you residency for 5 years and then at the point when it is due to expire you can renew it for another 5 years or even for a permanent residency certificate.
Visa Options for Non-EU Passport Holders
If you are a non EU passport holder then it is likely that you will need to apply for a visa and then use your visa to apply for your residency certificate. The type of visa that you will need will vary depending on whether you are a student, worker, pensioner or living off your savings. However, one of the most popular options is the D7 visa which is popular with freelancers and digital nomads.
The good news is that whatever your situation, with a bit of planning and some savings behind you, it is highly likely that it will be possible for you to get Portuguese residency so that you can live in your Portuguese house. But buying a house in Portugal is not a residency requirement.