Opening a bank account before moving to a new country or even applying for a visa may seem unnecessary, but it’s an important step if you plan to invest in a Portuguese private equity fund to obtain the Portugal Golden Visa

This article explores why you need a Portuguese bank account, the options available, and the nuances to keep in mind, especially for US investors.

Let’s go! 

Why Is a Bank Account Needed? 

Portuguese investment funds for the Golden Visa are heavily regulated by the CMVM (similar to the SEC in the US and FCA in the UK). As part of the regulatory process, your chosen fund must receive the investment from a Portuguese custodial investment account.

This requirement provides an extra layer of due diligence from the bank to validate the source of the funds before they enter the economy. Moreover, the bank will act as the custodian of your investment to ensure the correct reporting and regulatory responsibilities are carried out to keep you safe and compliant as an investor. 

Your bank account will also hold the “participation units”, which represent the shares you own in the selected investment fund, and these units are required for the Portugal Golden Visa application process.

Which Bank Can You Open an Account With?

Several banks in Portugal offer custodial investment accounts with various options depending on whether you’re a US or non-US investor due to the compliance reporting required by the IRS. 

Some banks may require a minimum balance or charge fees for maintaining the account, so it is important to research and compare your options before deciding.

Non-US Investor Bank Options

US Investor Bank Options (FACTA & PFIC compliant)

  • BiG (Banco de Investimento Global) – Private bank with fully remote account opening
  • Bison Bank – Private bank with fully remote account opening
  • Banco Atlantico – Private bank with fully remote account opening
  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CDG) – Retail bank and lowest cost option for US investors. Account paperwork can be completed remotely, but a branch visit is required to sign the documents and verify I.D. in Portugal or one of their international locations. 

These lists may not include all of the available banks. Let us know if we’ve missed any. 

What are the Requirements to Open an Account? 

Each bank will have its own set of requirements and due diligence checks, so it’s always best to contact them directly or speak to your Portugal Golden Visa lawyer to find out exactly what you’ll need. 

However, in general, banks will ask you for: 

Natural Person Account

  • Identity documents – typically a passport, citizen card, or equivalent official identification document from your country
  • Portuguese Fiscal Number – This is known as a NIF and your lawyer can obtain this for you remotely, or you can visit a Finanças office in Portugal
  • Proof of Current Address – Driving license, tax return, utility bills, council tax, etc.
  • Proof of Tax Address – Tax Return, council tax, car tax, etc.
  • Proof of Occupation/Employment – Professional association registration, payslip receipt, pension statement, letter from employer, company registration document, etc. 

Legal Person Account (i.e. Company)

  • Commercial Registration Certificate or a valid equivalent document issued Less than 6 months ago.
  • Legal Person Identification Number – Card issued by the National Registry of Legal Persons.
  • Company’s Partners’ Identity – A simple declaration issued by the company containing all the members’ identity and their percentage of equity in the share capital.
  • Natural Person Details Form – Details of the main natural applicant with the indication of the management‘s members.

How Long Does it Take? 

Assuming you have all of the requested documents ready, it can take as little as 1 day to open an account when visiting a branch in Portugal, or up to 6-8 weeks when conducted remotely. 

However, depending on the demand, some banks may take significantly longer or stop accepting new clients entirely – as we saw during both the 2021 & 2023 Golden Visa rule changes – so it’s always advisable to start your bank account application as soon as possible. 


Opening a Portuguese bank account is a necessary step for those who plan to invest in a Portugal Golden Visa. 

By understanding the available options and requirements to open an account, investors can make an informed decision to ensure a smooth and compliant investment process.

Importantly, understanding the available options due to regulatory compliance (in the case of US investors) can avoid significant delays from considering the wrong bank, or costly mistakes (in the case of non-US investors) by opening an account with higher fees than necessary. 

It’s important to discuss your options with your Portugal Golden Visa lawyer and/or chosen fund to ensure you’re receiving the most up-to-date information. 

Feel free to get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss this further.