With so many exciting opportunities for South Africans abroad, it can be tough choosing a destination if you’re thinking about leaving the country. Portugal is increasing in popularity as an immigration destination for South Africans because it’s a first world country that forms part of the European Union. Although it might be considered a poor country by global standards, it is making strides in economic improvement with recent upgrades by all the credit agencies, all of which points to the fact that Portugal is a great place with fantastic prospects for newcomers.
Let’s take a quick look at some good reasons to immigrate to Portugal from South Africa, including what you need to know about Portugal’s Golden Visa program, and their immigration requirements.
Reasons to immigrate to Portugal from South Africa
The weather is great and it’s always sunny in Portugal. As one of Europe’s sunniest countries, there are around 300 clear days a year, so if you’re one of those sunshiny, solar-powered people, Portugal is for you. All of this fantastic weather allows you to play tourist in any season, and while there are overcast days with rain, it’s never long before the weather’s switched it up to sunshine again.
The natural beauty of Portugal is spectacular. From the unbelievable turquoise waters of the Algarve to the breathtaking vineyards of the Rio Douro through to the white-topped Serra de Estrela mountain, Portugal is a landscape of incredible contrasts and picture-perfect beaches. With one of the longest coastlines in Europe bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it’s basically heaven for beach worshippers and surfers.
The laidback lifestyle. It’s like Cape Town, but less frustrating. Stress doesn’t exist, no one is in a hurry to get anywhere, and mealtimes are leisurely and social. Work hours include an hour or two for lunch and there’s no clock-watching in Portugal. This relaxed pace affects every aspect of life positively and is excellent for those looking to escape the frantic rat race in South Africa.
Best of all, Portugal is a tax-friendly jurisdiction, which is an important consideration for you, if you’re looking to gain Portuguese citizenship by investment.
Did you say, “Portuguese citizenship by investment”?
In 2012 after Portugal was bailed out along with Greece, Ireland, and Spain, Portugal put in place attractive mechanisms by which investors could be attracted in order to stimulate their failing economy. One of these incentive structures is Portugal’s Golden Visa program, which is intended to make it easier for non-European investors to buy Portuguese real estate.
This means that for a minimum investment of €350,000 a South African could be eligible for residency, provided the rest of Portugal immigration requirements are satisfied. This would start you on the road to Portuguese citizenship, which would then lead to EU citizenship, and it’s this prospect that makes immigration to Portugal from South Africa very attractive. When considering their tax scheme (aimed at drawing individuals from high tax jurisdictions) that enables people to become tax residents in Portugal and not have to pay tax on their worldwide earnings for a decade, it becomes clear why Portugal would be a top choice for South Africans working abroad.
What are the minimum residency requirements in Portugal on the Golden Visa ticket?
Most countries require you to have lived within their borders for a specified amount of time in order to qualify for permanent residency or citizenship. Portugal’s Golden Visa program throws out all the complicated time requirements and states that it’s only necessary to spend seven days a year in Portugal. That’s right. If you’ve got the money, you only need to spend a week in Portugal, and the rest of the time can be spent enjoying all the travel perks of that new, shiny EU passport.
If you’re not getting in on the Golden Visa program, for everyone else it takes six years of living in the country before you can be considered for citizenship, and it’s five years if you’re content with permanent residency.
What are the tax implications of buying property in Portugal?
When we’re talking Golden Visa entry into Portugal, the tax implications are simple. If you want to own property in Portugal, you need a local tax number and a Portuguese bank account. As a non-resident investor, you’ll be expected to pay 28% on your net income, which means that as a South African taxpayer, you would declare that on your income tax return, and thanks to double taxation agreements between the countries, you won’t be taxed twice.
Have you heard about Portugal’s Green Visa?
A new investment category recently launched as part of the Golden Resident Permit Programme, this is a residency-by-investment structure that allows non-EU citizens to make a capital investment and receive a five-year residency visa.
Once you’ve got this visa in your possession, you’ll have it made. You and your family can relocate to live in Portugal and travel visa-free throughout the whole European Schengen Area. Living the dream!
What does it take to be eligible for Portugal’s Green Visa?
Money, of course. Eligibility requires an investment of €500,000 in environmental projects, ranging from organic agriculture and ecotourism schemes to renewable energies and other environmental initiatives designed to help Portugal work toward reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impact.
These specific areas of investment cover:
- Organic farming
- Renewable energy
- Carbon neutral projects
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