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Spain vs Portugal golden visa

spain vs portugal golden visa

Portugal and Spain’s residency by investment or Golden visa attracts hundreds of investors each year for the benefits and advantages of holding a European residency permit.


Both countries offer golden beaches, exquisite gastronomy, amazing weather year-round, and a stable lifestyle in the heart of Europe.


It is no wonder that so many high-net-worth individuals from the United States, UK, Middle East, and beyond are seeking legal residence by investment through these nations’ Golden visa programs.


If you’ve been wondering which golden visa program is right for you, this article will help you sort that out.

Spain vs Portugal golden visa overview:

Portugal and Spain provide the Golden Visa programs to non-European Union nationals to obtain permanent residency – or citizenship in the long run and gain access to the European Union.


What are these Golden Visa Programs?


Portugal = easy and affordable investment options.

Portugal’s Golden Visa program was launched in 2012 as a legal process based on the law that invites foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain fully valid residency permits in Portugal for themselves and their families in exchange for a qualifying investment into the country. 


The Portuguese Golden visa requires applicants to spend a minimum of €280,000 on real estate in low-density areas of Portugal.

The minimum residency requirement is 7 days the first year and 14 days the following years to maintain your residency permit. You’ll be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Program

Spain = fastest way to get a temporary residency permit.

Spain’s Golden Visa program was launched in 2013 to encourage foreign investment and welcomes their families in exchange for a qualifying investment to boost the state economy.


The Spanish golden visa requires applicants to spend a minimum 500,000.


In Spain, the rules are more flexible. There is no residency rule to maintain the visa, you’re only required to visit Spain once in the first year. 


The Spanish Golden Visa lets you first live as a temporary resident with an opportunity to become a permanent resident after the first five-year period. You’ll be able to apply for Spanish citizenship after you live in the country for ten years.


Both programs allow you to obtain valid residency permits for yourself and your family, eventually leading you to the possibility of getting an EU passport.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Program

What benefits will you get as a European resident?


Portugal and Spain’s golden visas offer similar fantastic benefits and advantages for non-EU residents:


  • Freedom of movement: Movement without restrictions in the Schengen Area. 

  • Health & Education: You and your family can enjoy quality education and world-class healthcare in Portugal or Spain.

  • Pathway to citizenship: Both programs offer an indirect path to citizenship if you meet all the residency requirements, but the time to get there will differ.

  • Ease of process: both programs have an easy, straightforward application and renewal process.

Which Golden Visa should I pick?

We’ve prepared this comparison table to help you sort out which golden visa works best for you.

Spain vs Portugal golden visa

Pathway to EU citizenship

Once you get a golden visa, you must meet the criteria to apply for citizenship. Here’s a quick overview of Portugal and Spain’s requirements.


Citizenship requirements for Portugal

  • Five years of living in Portugal, on average seven days per year

  • Having no unpaid taxes in Portugal

  • A2 Portuguese language exam

  • No criminal record in the home country


Citizenship requirements for Spain

  • 10 years of living in Spain uninterruptedly

  • No criminal record in the home country

  • A2 Spanish language exam

  • Take a test on knowledge of the Spanish Constitution and social-cultural customs

Family eligibility


Portugal’s golden visa allows a spouse and dependent children (under 18 years old or still completing studies) to be included, as well as your parents – if they’re dependent on you.


For Spain, the investor’s spouse, children under 18, and parents can be included as dependent on an application.


Portugal and Spain’s golden visa taxation


When you hold a golden visa in Portugal or Spain, you won’t be required to become a tax resident unless you spend more than 183 days of the calendar year in either of the two countries.


Here’s a quick overview of Portugal vs Spain golden visa taxation:




Income tax

Corporate tax

Inheritance tax

Foreigner tax


14.5% – 45%



NHR tax exemption scheme


19% – 45%


1% – 7% (depending on the region)



Portugal has one of the most favorable tax schemes for foreigners in the EU. The Non-Habitual residency (NHR) gives tax exemptions to golden visa holders for up to 10 years.


Portugal’s golden visa program holds the most benefit for those whose country of citizenship does not require them to declare their global income.


If you’re from the U.S., you can certainly take advantage of the golden visa, but whether it’s the best option for you depends on your personal tax obligations.


The holder of the NHR status does not need to pay tax on:

  • Dividends, interest and royalties

  • Capital gains

  • Rental income from a real estate outside of Portugal

  • Income from employment in another country


It’s important to keep in mind though, that Spain tax investors on their worldwide income if you live in Spain for over 183 days per year. Tax is charged at 24.75% on income derived in the country, like rental income.


A major plus for the Portuguese program is the ability to apply for a Portuguese passport five years prior to obtaining residency, contrary to the ten years needed for acquiring a Spanish passport.


 Golden Port Visa is here to assist you through the entire process. We are more than an immigration consultancy – we are your trusted Portuguese partner that will help you achieve your relocation goal.


We specialize in assistance with residency and property investment in Portugal.


Contact us to schedule a free call or send us an email to know more about the program.

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