Spain vs. Portugal Golden Visa: Which is Best for You?

Investing in a Golden Visa program is not just a pathway to residency and potential citizenship in a European country; it’s a strategic decision that can impact your global mobility, tax situation, and quality of life.

Portugal and Spain are two of the most sought-after Golden Visa programs in the world. Both offer unique advantages, but one emerges as the more advantageous option for most investors when the details are laid out side by side. This article will guide you through a detailed comparison, helping you decide which Golden Visa is best for you, Portugal or Spain.

View from Coimbra University, Portugal

Introduction to the Golden Visa Programs

Portugal Golden Visa: Launched in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa program offers non-EU/EEA investors the opportunity to obtain residency by investing in the country. Known for its minimal residency requirements and a clear path to citizenship, it stands out for its flexibility and benefits.

Spain Golden Visa: Introduced in 2013, the Spain Golden Visa program also offers residency to non-EU/EEA investors through real estate investment or other significant financial contributions. While offering a straightforward residency solution, its path to citizenship and residency requirements differ markedly from Portugal’s.

Your Portuguese Passport Starts Here 👇

Investment Options and Requirements

  • A variety of investment options starting from €250,000 in arts or cultural heritage, or €500,000 in investment funds.
  • No requirement to live in the country prior to applying for citizenship.
  • Option to include family members in the application.
  • Requires only 7 days per year, or 14 days every two years, for 5 years before eligibility for citizenship
  • Minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate.
  • Other options include a €1,000,000 investment in shares or bank deposits, or a significant contribution to a new business that creates jobs.
  • Option to include family members in the application.
  • Requires holding residency for 10 years, with 5 years living in Spain, before eligibility for citizenship.

Valencia, Spain

Why Investors Choose Portugal’s Golden Visa Over Spain’s

Flexibility and Global Mobility

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is lauded for its flexibility. Investors are required to spend only seven days per year in Portugal to maintain their residency, unlike Spain’s more demanding stay requirements. This makes Portugal’s Golden Visa particularly attractive for those seeking to maintain a global lifestyle without being tethered to one country.

Pathway to Citizenship

Portugal offers a clear and relatively quick path to citizenship within five years without the need to reside permanently in the country. Spain, on the other hand, requires investors to live in the country for a significant amount of time before applying for citizenship, making Portugal the preferred choice for those looking to acquire an EU passport more swiftly.

Investment Options and Returns

Portugal’s diverse investment options, including lower barriers to entry like the €250,000 arts and culture donation, provide investors with flexibility in choosing where to put their money. The option to invest in venture capital or private equity funds, particularly in sustainable and eco-friendly projects like the Pela Terra II: Regenerate fund, not only qualifies investors for the Golden Visa but also aligns with global investment trends towards sustainability.

Quality of Life and Benefits

Both Portugal and Spain offer an enviable quality of life, with excellent healthcare, education, and a mild climate. However, Portugal edges out with its more welcoming expat community, lower cost of living, and the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime that offers significant tax advantages for the first ten years.

Administrative Process and Time to Residency

The administrative process for obtaining a Golden Visa in Portugal is streamlined and investor-friendly, with clear timelines and support throughout the application process, especially since recent changes to the Nationality Law which starts your 5-year window to citizenship from the day you apply. Spain’s process, while similar, has experienced backlogs like Portugal, leading to longer wait times for applicants, however, Spain has yet to announce a solution to this issue.

Madrid, Spain

Why Portugal Wins for Most Investors

When comparing the two programs, Portugal’s Golden Visa stands out for its combination of investment flexibility, minimal residency requirements, fast track to citizenship, and quality of life benefits. For investors looking for a European residency that offers both a potential return on investment and a pathway to an EU passport, Portugal provides a compelling proposition.

Ready to explore the Portugal Golden Visa further? Reach out to us to learn how the Pela Terra II: Regenerate fund can be your gateway to European residency and beyond.

Stay tuned for the next sections where we’ll delve deeper into each aspect, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on which Golden Visa program best suits your investment and lifestyle goals.

Deep Dive: Investment Impact and Economic Benefits

Economic Contributions and Growth

Portugal’s Approach: Portugal has strategically used the Golden Visa program to attract foreign investment into sectors that promote economic growth and innovation, particularly in technology, renewable energy, and real estate development outside the high-density urban areas. The program has significantly contributed to the revitalization of rural areas and supported the growth of the tech startup ecosystem.

Spain’s Strategy: Spain’s program has primarily focused on attracting real estate investment, which has helped recover property market values post-2008 financial crisis. However, critics argue that this focus has contributed to housing affordability issues in major cities without proportionately benefiting other sectors of the economy.

Impact on Local Communities

Portugal: By encouraging investments in low-density and interior regions, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has had a positive impact on local communities, creating jobs, and fostering tourism outside traditional hotspots. The program’s emphasis on cultural and heritage investments also helps preserve Portugal’s rich history and traditions.

Spain: While Spain’s Golden Visa has increased demand in the real estate market, its broader impact on local communities is mixed. The concentration of investment in urban areas has led to concerns about gentrification and the displacement of local residents.

Interested in sustainable investment options for your Portugal Golden Visa? Get in touch to learn more about investing in the Pela Terra II: Regenerate fund.

Sintra, Portugal

Navigating the Residency to Citizenship Journey

Residency Requirements and Flexibility

Portugal: One of the most appealing aspects of Portugal’s Golden Visa is the minimal residency requirement, which offers a flexible lifestyle for global citizens. The ability to maintain residency with an average of just seven days per year in Portugal before applying for citizenship is unparalleled.

Spain: Golden Visa holders in Spain are required to live in the country for at least six months each year if they wish to pursue citizenship, a requirement that may not suit everyone, especially those not looking to relocate permanently or retire in Spain.

Citizenship and Passport Strength

Portugal: After five years of residency, investors can apply for Portuguese citizenship, granting them one of the most powerful passports in the world with visa-free access to 186 countries. This makes Portugal’s Golden Visa a gateway to global mobility.

Spain: Spain also offers a strong passport; however, the requirement to renounce your other citizenships (except for nationals from specific countries) and the longer residency requirement before eligibility for citizenship can be significant drawbacks for many investors.

Lifestyle and Living in Iberia

Cultural Richness and Quality of Life

Both Portugal and Spain boast rich cultures, beautiful landscapes, and high standards of living. However, Portugal often edges out for its more inclusive expat community, lower living costs, and the NHR tax regime, offering significant financial benefits to new residents.

Healthcare and Education

Portugal and Spain both offer excellent healthcare and education systems, with public and private options available. However, Portugal’s healthcare system is consistently ranked higher for quality and accessibility, making it an attractive option for families and retirees.

Making Your Investment Count

When choosing between the Portugal and Spain Golden Visa programs, consider not just the financial investment but also the lifestyle, tax implications, and the potential for citizenship. Portugal’s program offers a unique combination of benefits that cater to a wide range of investors, from those seeking a new home in Europe to global nomads looking to expand their travel freedoms.

Tomar, Portugal

Conclusion: A Pathway to Europe Tailored to Your Needs

The decision between Portugal and Spain’s Golden Visa programs comes down to your personal, financial, and lifestyle goals. Portugal’s Golden Visa program stands out for its flexibility, minimal residency requirements, quick path to EU citizenship, and significant lifestyle and tax benefits. It offers a strategic investment in your and your family’s future, providing a gateway to Europe that aligns with both your financial objectives and your aspirations for a life well-lived.

Spain’s Golden Visa remains an attractive option for those specifically looking to invest in Spanish real estate or who have a particular affinity for living in Spain. However, for most investors seeking a combination of investment opportunity, lifestyle, and a fast track to EU citizenship, Portugal’s Golden Visa program offers a compelling proposition.

As you consider your options, remember that the right investment can open doors not just to a new residency but to a new way of experiencing the world. Portugal’s Golden Visa, especially through sustainable investment options like the Pela Terra II: Regenerate fund, offers a chance to invest wisely in your future, embracing a lifestyle of freedom, mobility, and opportunity.

Interested in leveraging the Portugal Golden Visa for its comprehensive benefits? Reach out now to discover how investing in the Pela Terra II: Regenerate fund can fulfil your investment and residency goals.

Comparing other Golden Visa programs? Check out our Portugal vs. Greece Golden Visa Comparison.