Spain vs. Portugal Golden Visa: Which One Should You Choose?

Porto In Portugal

If you are you trying to decide between the Spain or Portugal Golden Visa, you’re not alone! But when both countries offer attractive Golden Visa Programs, it’s not easy to choose between them. Both offer you visa-free travel in the Schengen region and the potential for residency and citizenship, in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy.

This article will help you to decide, once and for all: Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa?

This comprehensive guide will compare both of the Golden Visa opportunities, highlighting essential factors like investment requirements, cost of living, financial implications, and lifestyle considerations. Whether you’re attracted to Spain’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, or Portugal’s lower investment requirements and tax benefits, this article will provide the necessary details to make an informed decision.

Investment Requirements

To acquire a Golden Visa in both Spain and Portugal you must make an investment in their country which must be held for at least 5 years or as long as you wish to hold your Golden Visa, at which point you can return the investment and apply for permanent residence.


To be eligible for the Golden Visa in Spain, you must inject money into the Spanish economy in one of the following ways. You have the option to invest  €500,000 into the property market, €2 million in Spanish Government Bonds, or €1 million in shares in Capital Transfer, Spanish companies, or bank deposits.

1. Real Estate (soon to be altered)

If you take the option of investment by real estate, you must invest €500,000 in either one or more properties in Spain. The property or properties can be either residential or commercial. The property you buy can be rented out.

2. Business Development

If you choose to obtain your Golden Visa by assisting the Spanish business economy, you must invest at least €1 million into opportunities that either create employment, have a strong socio-economic impact on the economy, or contribute to technological/scientific innovations.

3. Capital Transfer

If you choose this option, you must make a Capital Transfer of at least €1 million into the Spanish Public Debt.

4. Stocks and Shares

A popular option is to gain your Golden Visa by investing at least €1 million worth of shares in Spanish companies, or by putting this money into a bank deposit with a Spanish financial institution.


To obtain a Golden Visa in Portugal, you must inject money into their economy, however, you have more competitive investment options than in Spain. The low-cost investment options are to invest €400,000-€500,000 into real estate, €280,000-€350,000 into real estate rehabilitation, or €250,000 into the conservation of national heritage.

The slightly more expensive options are to invest €500,000 into research, existing businesses (to create jobs), or private equity funds. There is also the option to create 10 full-time jobs in Portugal. Lastly, you could also gain your Golden Visa by making a Capital Transfer of €1.5 million to Portugal or a Portuguese business.

1. Real Estate (soon to be altered)

You can invest in Portugal by acquiring real estate worth more than €500,000 (not in Lisbon, Porto, or other coastal towns), or €400,000 if you buy property in a low-density area. The investment focus has recently shifted towards low-density areas, urban renovation, cultural heritage, and job creation. This shift is due to the rising cost of housing in capital cities such as Lisbon and Portugal, which is forcing locals out of living in these areas.

2. Real Estate Rehabilitation

It is also possible to invest €350,000 into rehabilitating a property that is at least 30 years old and in an urban rehabilitation area, or this amount lowers to €280,000 if it is also in a low-density area.

3. National Heritage

You can invest a minimum of €250,000 into the conservation of national heritage, arts, or culture.

4. Research

You can also invest €500,000 into research conducted by accredited institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological systems.

5. Existing Businesses

You can invest €500,000 into Portugal-registered businesses where the incorporated company must create a minimum of five new full-time jobs for at least three years.

6. Private Equity Funds

Another very popular option is to invest €500,000 into qualifying private equity funds.

7. Capital Transfer

You are able to make a Capital Transfer of at least €1.5 million to Portugal or a Portuguese business.

8. Create 10 Full-Time Jobs

The last option is to create at least 10 new full-time jobs in a Portuguese business that is owned by you, as the main applicant. This number drops to 8 if it is in a low-density area in Portugal.

A photo of a lake in Porto, Portugal, with colourful buildings and boats.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Residency and Citizenship Requirements

The Spanish Golden Visa and Portuguese Golden Visa both harness certain requirements for recipients, beyond the investment they have to make.

Spain’s Requirements for Golden Visa Recipients


  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • You don’t have a criminal record in the last five years
  • You’re not on the list of undesirable people
  • You’ve not been rejected for residence from certain other countries or from Spain
  • Must have valid medical/health insurance
  • You don’t have any of the illnesses according to a 2005 regulation
  • You’re able to prove that you have sufficient funds to live without working in Spain
  • Documentation of the investment is also required

Portugal’s Requirements for Golden Visa Recipients


  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Copy of a passport or other government-issued travel document
  • Must have a clean criminal record in both your residing country and Portugal (attach a completed form authorizing SEF to access criminal records in Portugal)
  • Must not have been refused a Schengen Visa in the past
  • Must have valid medical/health insurance
  • Provide evidence of a steady income
  • Documentation of the investment is also required
  • A sworn declaration of compliance with the minimum investment requirements for the necessary time period of five years

Is My Family Eligible for a Golden Visa as well?

In addition to the main applicant, their spouse, dependent parents, and children under 18 are also eligible for the Golden Visa. There are also exceptions if you have dependent children of any age due to any health or mental conditions.

Tax Implications

Both Spain and Portugal have tax treaties that prevent double taxation with many countries all over the world.


As a Tax Resident

If you stay in Spain for more than 183 days, you will become a tax resident and have to pay taxes on your worldwide income. These tax rates vary from 17% up to 50%, which may vary depending on which region you live in. You will also be liable to pay capital gains tax which ranges from 19% to 23%. There is also wealth tax which you may be liable to pay on highly valued assets, ranging from 0.2% to 2.5%, depending on the region you are in. Lastly, there are complicated inheritance tax laws in Spain. The rates range from 7.65% to 34%. If you want to know more about this, see here.

As a Non-tax Resident

If you spend less than 183 days per year in Spain, you will not be considered a tax resident. Instead of having to pay personal income tax, you will have to pay the non-resident income tax and wealth tax.

For example, if you have property that you are renting out, you will have to pay non-resident tax quarterly, at a rate of 24%. However, if you have just used the property for personal use, you will be required to pay a rate using this formulation: 24% by 1.1% or 2%. The percentage you will need to pay will depend on the cadastral value of the property. If you want to see what your property is valued at, click here.

As for wealth tax, if your property is worth more than €700,000, you will be required to pay tax on this somewhere between 0.2% and 2.5%.


As a Tax Resident

If you spend more than 183 days a year in Portugal, you will be considered a tax resident. As a tax resident, you will be taxed between 14.5% and 48% on worldwide income. You will also have to pay capital gains tax at a rate of 28%.

If you have a property in Portugal, you will have to pay IMI tax annually. The IMI tax rate is between 0.3% to 0.8% depending on the type, age, and location of the real estate. You also have to pay property purchase tax (IMT).  You will also be required to pay Stamp Duty on your property purchase at 0.8%. You will also have to pay tax on any rental income, at a flat rate of 15%. You will also still be liable to pay capital gains tax at 28%.

As a Non-tax Resident

If you spend less than 183 days a year in Portugal, you will be considered a non-habitual resident (NHR). NHR holders are given tax exemptions on any worldwide income they earn and are limited to paying a flat rate of 20% on any income earned in Portugal. You also will not be required to pay any wealth tax. There are, however, taxes involved if you own a home in Portugal (read paragraph above for more information).

Golden Visa Fees


The initial processing fee you will need to pay is €250 per person. However, the application/approval fee will cost €8000 per visa holder. The subsequent renewal fees will cost €2500.


The processing fee is €533 (+ €83 /dependent) at the time of application and at each renewal. There is also an initial application fee of €5,325 per person as a once-off. You will be required to pay €2,663 per person each time you renew your Golden Visa.

The Pathway to Citizenship in Both Countries

Both Spain and Portugal offer pathways to citizenship for Golden Visa holders.

You can apply for permanent residence in Portugal after just 5 years of temporary residence. At this 5 year point you can also apply for Portuguese citizenship.

You can apply for residency in Spain after 5 years of being a temporary resident. You can apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of continuous residency.

Portugal allows dual citizenship, so if you want a Portuguese passport, you won’t need to choose between Portugal and your home country. However, if you would like to become a citizen of Spain, you will need to renounce your original nationality (unless you’re from Iberian countries).

Maintaining your investment is crucial in both cases. It’s essential for progressing towards citizenship and maintaining your permanent residence in each country.

Comparing Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Programs

An infographic detailing the benefits and limitations of both the Portuguese and Spanish Golden Visa Programs.

Spain’s Golden Visa Benefits

The Spanish Golden Visa program offers many advantages. You can obtain the Golden Visa at the Spanish embassy which is valid for one year and can be exchanged for a Spain residence permit, valid for two years. The residence permit can be renewed indefinitely if you maintain your investment within the country.

  • Although you must enter Spain to renew your visa/permit, there is no requirement beyond this entry once per year, meaning you have the freedom to live anywhere you choose
  • After 5 continuous years of residency, you can apply for permanent residency (or citizenship after 10 years)
  • You can travel visa-free anywhere in the Schengen area for 90 days every 180 days
  • You can legally live and work in Spain with a Spanish Golden Visa
  • You and your family members will have access to public services such as state health care and schooling
  • There is no requirement to learn the language and no language test
  • After submitting your Golden Visa Application, it will be accepted or denied within 20 days

Portugal’s Golden Visa Benefits

The Portuguese Golden Visa program has many benefits. The initial Golden Visa Card in Portugal is valid for two years, with subsequent cards valid for three years each.

  • You are only required to stay in Portugal for at least 7 days per year, offering you a lot of flexibility
  • You have the potential for permanent residence and citizenship after just 5 years, particularly because Portugal allows dual citizenship
  • Low investment rates to achieve the Golden Visa (starting at €250,000)
  • You can travel throughout the Schengen region without a visa, for up to 90 days every 180 days
  • You have the ability to work legally in Portugal, with favorable tax regimes if you choose to do so
  • Pay either no tax (on worldwide income) or limited tax (on Portuguese income) for up to 10 years
  • Relatively low cost of living compared to the rest of Europe
  • Access to Portuguese healthcare and education for both the main applicant and family members
  • You don’t have to learn Portuguese, as there is no language test
  • There is no inheritance tax for spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents

Challenges in Both Golden Visa Programs

Despite the many benefits, the Spanish and Portuguese Golden Visa programs face certain challenges, and each has its pitfalls.


  • Hefty inheritance fees in Spain if you are looking at moving there permanently with your family members
  • Have to invest a larger amount of money (€500,000) to acquire the visa
  • Tax rates are higher than in Portugal


  • It can take up to 6-12 months for your application to be processed

In both countries, there’s been talk about reforming the programs. This could mean abolishing the program or doubling the minimum investment requirement.

Livability in Both Countries

Various factors are considered when assessing the actual livability of residing in Spain or Portugal.

Spain is more expensive than Portugal, however, for Europe, it is still considered to be low-cost. Living costs in Spain fluctuate depending on the region, with major cities being pricier than smaller towns or rural areas. The healthcare system in Spain is very good, with no premiums or out-of-pocket fees. The schools in Spain are highly recommended, with great international schools for foreigners. Spain is celebrated for its diverse landscapes and dynamic cities like Barcelona and Madrid. Its cultural heritage, art, and gastronomy are globally acclaimed.

In Portugal, the average cost of living is 11% lower than in Spain. If you want to read a full article breaking down the costs of living in Portugal, see here. This is something to take into consideration, particularly if you plan to become a permanent resident and work in Portugal. Portugal is known for its scenic coastal cities like Lisbon and Porto, and the locals’ renowned hospitality. It boasts a high standard of living and a public-funded healthcare system; the Serviço Nacional de Saúde, is ranked third for patient care and medical infrastructure.

Seeking Professional Advice

Given the complexity of these programs and the significant financial commitment involved, it’s wise to seek professional advice. This can help you understand the full implications of each program. It includes the costs, benefits, and application process. At Next Generation Equity, we handle each application meticulously and personally. As a government-approved firm, we offer you safe, valid, and authorized information.

A photo of an evening sunset in Madrid, Spain.

Making the Final Decision: Spain vs. Portugal

Choosing whether to get a Golden Visa from Spain or Portugal isn’t easy, as they both offer great opportunities. Ultimately, the decision will depend on what your primary goal is for applying for the visa. Both Spain and Portugal offer a thriving culture, modern facilities, and promising future prospects. They also both offer you the ability to travel throughout Europe freely.

If you are looking to become a citizen in one of these countries, it takes half as long to do so in Portugal and doesn’t require you to renounce your original nationality. If you are looking to make your choice primarily as a financial decision, with lower minimum investment options and tax benefits, the Portuguese Golden Visa Program is your clear option.

For more information, contact us at Next Generation Equity.


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Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

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