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Portugal's Golden Visa Program

posted 2 years ago

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program (View Programme) is proving to be hugely popular with South African citizens.

It should be noted that this program is for residency-by-investment, not immediate citizenship, although Portuguese citizenship can be available after 5 years.

The Golden Visa grants South Africans or other non-EU investors the right to reside, work, and study in Portugal in exchange for a minimum investment of EUR 280,000. The Portuguese program then allows successful applicants to qualify for either permanent residency or, if they wish, citizenship, after 5 years of maintaining their residency permit. With residency comes free travel access to all 26 Schengen countries (roughly equivalent to the EU) for up to 6 months each year (90 out of every 180) days.


The Portuguese Golden Visa and Portugal’s way of life hold many benefits.



Portugal has a relaxed yet sophisticated lifestyle, international and cosmopolitan for those who wish, but peaceful and safe for all.

There is plenty of entertainment in Portugal.

Great food, wonderful old cafes, magnificent wines and wineries, an often-pulsating nightlife, many boutiques, and some of the most beautiful beaches and resorts in the world (reminiscent of South Africa, perhaps) It is quite a diverse and welcoming culture.

Temperatures in most areas are fairly mild all year round, with mostly gentle winters and lovely summers in the south.

However, if you prefer a bit more seasonal variety and a true winter, just head to the mountains in the northern region of the country, where there is even skiing.


Portugal offers an excellent free public education system for its residents from kindergarten through primary and secondary schools.

Transfer to the Portuguese schooling system, though, does require learning the language, so most expats register their kids in English, German, or French-speaking international schools, at least until they pick up the local tongue.

The infrastructure, as a rule, is also very good for roads and transport, power, and communications.

But one of the key factors for most immigrants is employment. Portugal’s unemployment rate is very low (well under 6%, the normal level of job movement), and demand for qualified professionals is strong. Portugal is amongst the top in desirability for nomad workers. Major cities like Lisbon and Porto provide the best corporate career opportunities, and provisions for foreigners who work remotely are also outstanding.


Safety for their families and themselves is a crucial priority for many South Africans looking at overseas emigration. In a global report (GPI), Portugal was ranked in the top 3 safest countries in the world.

It is also one of the most affordable European countries.  Overall, Portugal is a little more expensive than South Africa. For most groceries and consumer goods, studies show it is only 6 to 10% higher, but in some crucial areas, e.g., housing and schools (if private), it is more. However, salaries are significantly higher for most, so this tends to more than balance out. Equally important, if you aim for a European lifestyle, it is often dramatically cheaper than most other European countries, but with all the benefits.

Additionally, a strong South African community has developed over the decades, thanks to good relations between the two countries and a welcoming immigration policy.


When it comes to the best places to live in Portugal, the capital city of Lisbon, the Algarve, and Madeira seem to be the preferred options among South African expatriates. Lisbon has proven to be a friendly city for immigrants, as well as being the cultural center of the country. More than 20% of Lisbon’s population is of foreign origin! Many also find Lisbon the perfect city to work in and the best place to invest in.

If you are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle, then the Algarve may be for you. You’ll find beautiful beaches and perhaps the best sunsets you’ve ever seen, an ideal destination if you’re looking for a comfortable place to retire. The island of Madeira also offers fabulous landscapes. The cost of living in Madeira is noticeably lower than in a city like Lisbon. This allows many South Africans to move and enjoy a life of comparative luxury on a beautiful island with all the protections of Europe.


Portugal allows dual citizenship, and a person accepted for residency can apply for Portuguese naturalization after 5 years of residence. A significant positive for many South Africans is that a Portuguese passport gives visa-free access to 185 countries around the world, including the freedom of movement within virtually the whole European Union without border controls.




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