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Redefining Your Life’s Purpose in Portugal

by glen@glenkowalski.com
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Redefining your purpose in life is a challenging task. But not impossible. 

It’s true. There is no proven formula for figuring out your life – and changing it for the better. However… there is a cosmic rule that always applies: you can’t take bigger, or better, or faster steps than your environment allows. 

And with that, I mean both your internal and external environments. 

Understandably, you can’t grow in the same place where you are mentally and/or emotionally unstimulated,  or in your hometown which hugs you in a perpetual comfort loop. Also, growth depends on external factors, such as governmental policies, benefits you get as a taxpayer, and the list goes on.

If you’re planning to redefine your life’s purpose, then Portugal more than likely has something in store for you. If you’d like to find out more, here follow our highlights on Portugal, its current policies on residency and citizenship, and the perks of residing in this country.

Why Portugal?

Located on the Iberian Peninsula, the country of Portugal is now one of Europe’s emerging youthful and vibrant places to visit. Portugal has successfully married the concept of progress and preservation, and from the many high-end restaurants and shops, you can witness its rich, centuries-long history, including Roman roads, medieval castles, convents, palaces, and manor houses.

The weather is superb as well, and the warm summers and mild winters, especially in the south of Portugal, make it ideal for hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities. 

And don’t forget the wine!. Portugal takes pride in preserving one of the earth’s oldest vineyards. Every region in Portugal promotes unique offerings, from full-bodied Alentejan reds to Minho’s refreshing Vinho Verde (young wine).

More importantly, Portugal provides a safe, stable, and accessible environment conducive to living for the country’s residents — both natives and expats. 

First, Portugal ranked fourth among the safest countries globally in 2019 and third among peaceful countries in 2020. Second, medical care is free for both citizens and residents. And lastly, the country welcomes non-European citizens, especially remote workers, who make sizable investments. 

It sounds like a suitable place to redefine your life’s purpose. So, let’s take a look at the current Visa policies that you and your family can afford for a quick moving-out, moving-on plan.

Portuguese Visas: The D7, D2, and Golden Visa

The Portuguese policies on residency and citizenship are arguably one of the most friendly, fast-processing, and family-appropriate in the world. 

Compared to other European countries, the immigration process is straightforward and includes, among others, three major Visa categories: the D7 (Passive Income Visa), D2 (Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa), and the Golden Visa.

So, what are these Visa categories all about? These are your ticket to Portuguese residency and citizenship at the same time. You may notice that they differ in purpose. Hence, it comes with varying minimum requirements and a period of validity.

D7 Visa

If you’re a retired foreign citizen, a pensioner, or an expat planning to live off a recognized stable income, then the D7 Visa is for you. This Portuguese visa type provides opportunities to non-Portuguese citizens who wish to reside and live on their income. 

Since this is a residence Visa, bear in mind that the D7 Visa intends you to acquire a residence permit in Portugal. With this in place, you are entitled to have two entries, and you can remain in Portugal only for a period of four months while obtaining your official residential permit. 

Once you have received your two-year temporary residence permit, renewal takes place after two years and one year successively. Unlike most other temporary visa schemes, the D7 visa provides a direct path to permanent residence or citizenship after five years of stay.

While most literature regarding the D7 describes the minimum requirements when applying for a D7 Visa as “passive income”, such as your pension, real estate, transferable equity, royalties, intellectual property, or fixed rate financial investments, this is, in fact, a misnomer. Portugal also accepts stable and proven monthly income from a remote employer in the form of an employee contract, invoices or payslips, and correlating bank statements. 

The minimum income requirements are as follows:

  • You must have a passive or remote working derived income of at least $717.49 per month or $8,203 per year for single applicants.
  • You must provide an equal monthly passive or remote working income of $1,436.17 per married couple (or $17,234 per year) for married couples.
  • For dependent children under 18, you must show a €190.50 per month or a yearly amount of €2 286. This amount is equivalent to around 30% of the primary applicant’s total required passive income.

Another aspect that differentiates the Portuguese temporary residency visa from most others is Portugal’s firm belief that immediate families should not be split up. Practically, this means the Portuguese government allows your family to stay in Portugal through the Family Reunification program. In other words, once you’re a holder of a D7 Visa, your vertical-line family members automatically inherit the privileges of a residence permit, too.

D2 Visa

While the D7 Visa upholds residential pursuits, this type of Visa provides exclusive privileges to foreign businesses, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, company owners, shareholder partners, or startups who plan to expand business in Portugal.

The core objective of the D2 Visa is to enable all small and medium-sized businesses to raise external resources, which would help maximize the development of the Portuguese economy. 

Here, the D2 Visa requires only a solid business plan, demanding no particular type of business to follow. In other words, you can launch a café, restaurant, or guest house, to a tech startup, to an import or export business. This is ideal for existing foreign businesses planning to open a Portuguese branch.

The Portuguese residence permits under the D2 Visa have been granted for an initial period of one year, which you can renew every two years. Now, similar to the D7 Visa, you can apply for a permanent residency (renewed every 10 years) after five years of residence in Portugal. You must prove that, during those 5-year stays, you have spent at least six consecutive months living in Portugal. But if your business requires you to travel outside Portugal for work, then a certain amount of flexibility is given.

Unlike the D7 Visa, where you must only provide proof of your sufficient living income, the D2 Visa is a bit more complex, requiring technical requirements regarding your business. In this case, you must prepare the following:

  • A well-structured, sustainable business plan
  • Sufficient capital 
  • Proof of enough financial resources  to support and set up the business 
  • Proof of experience and connections of business managers in the proposed business area

Does it require you to speak and write Portuguese? The answer is no. But you will need to pass at least the A2 language exam should you pursue Portuguese citizenship later on.

Golden Visa

The name itself speaks about the type of Visa. The Golden Visa provides a combination of residential and entrepreneurial opportunities for investors who intend to make a capital investment, purchase real estate, or create employment opportunities.

The aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis in Portugal challenged the government to cement a staunch supply of opportunities. Hence, the Golden Visa program launched in 2012 has allowed foreign investors to conduct business in the region. And that resulted in tremendous success, which raised $6.2 quadrillion in a little over eight years.

If we compare the two Visas, this one provides a fast-track process for obtaining permanent residence and citizenship in Portugal. Here, you are only required to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal. As per the Portugal residence permit, the standard 2-year validity follows and can be renewed for two subsequent periods of two and 1 years.

Just last month, the Portuguese government announced some recent changes to the Golden Visa Program that would take effect on January 1, 2022. Since the Golden Visa focuses on the investment side, here are some important notes:

  • When purchasing real estate property, it must be worth at least €500,000, that can be acquired through a deed of the property or the pre-contract agreement;
  • At least a capital transfer of €1.5 million in a bank account;
  • Also, you must have created at least ten job positions regarding the corporation of a commercial company.
  • Or you have invested in the arts to support the arts or restoration and maintenance of the national cultural heritage.

Nevertheless, the Golden Visa covers you for the overall privilege of working, studying, and living fully in Portugal.

The Perks of a Portugal Visa

After a lengthy discussion and comparison among the three categories of Portugal Visas, let’s get straight to its perks.

Residential Rights for D7 Visa

The Portuguese law grants you exclusive rights as a natural resident in Portugal. In other words, when you are a D7 Visa holder, you have access to the following without the need for special authorization:

  • National Healthcare;
  • Portuguese National Educational Service and Schools;
  • Exercise of any work activity as an independent professional;
  • A preferential tax rate with the Portuguese Non-Habitual Residency (NHR Program);
  • Application for Portuguese citizenship after five years.

Entrepreneurial Rights for D2 Visa

You will also be granted the same residential rights the D7 Visa provides. But the catch is, the Portuguese government adds substantive benefits helping your business grow more in the European area. 

Here, you may be granted the following:

  • Government support and incentives;
  • Access to an ecosystem of startups and competitive companies;
  • Highly qualified employees; 
  • Safety and security;
  • Exclusive access to the European Market.

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is the premium package that everyone wants but only some can afford. Merging the residential and entrepreneurial benefits you can get from D2 and D7, the Golden Visa creates opportunities in the business playground of Portugal and Europe at large.

With this Visa, you can freely travel within the Schengen Area of Europe without an additional Visa. At the end of five years, you’ll get Portuguese citizenship and a passport, allowing you to travel to 188 countries. 

Speaking of a holistic lifestyle, the Golden Visa permits you to live, work, and study in Portugal. You’ll enjoy medical insurance, healthcare services, and education. You can start your own business and work anywhere you want.

Wrapping Up!

That moment when you come across a country that advocates hope inside every opportunity, redefining your life’s purpose becomes a priority, and no longer a far-off possibility. 

Portugal is indeed a place fit for everyone’s purpose and inclusive of every identity — whether you are a Portuguese-born resident, an expat, a remote worker, retired, or a student — everybody is invited to celebrate with the Portuguese culture.

The best part of Portugal and its many opportunities is the incredible emphasis placed on the value of family life, which is unique and empowering in these trying times.

So, if you want to redefine your life’s purpose, you know where to go.

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