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In Portugal, the entry, stay, exit, and removal of aliens, including the issuance of residence visas for investors is regulated by Law No. 23 of July 4, 2007.[1]  Pursuant to article 60(2), a residence visa may be granted to an immigrant entrepreneur who wishes to invest in Portugal, provided that investment transactions have been made in Portugal, or the person can prove that he or she has funds available in Portugal, including those arising from financing from a financial institution in the country, and demonstrate, by any means, the intention to make an investment transaction in Portuguese territory.

To attract investments, Law No. 23 was amended in 2012 by Law No. 29 of August 9, 2012, which created a special system of residence permits for investment activities in the country.  “Investment activity” is defined as any activity performed in person or through a company that leads, as a rule, to the implementation of at least one of the following situations, and for a minimum period of five years:[2]

i)    transfer of capital in an amount equal to or greater than €1 million [about US$1.3 million];

ii)   creation of at least 30 jobs;

iii)  acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or greater than €500,000 [about US$650,000].[3]

Order (Despacho) No. 11820-A/2012, issued jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros) and the Ministry of Internal Administration (Ministério da Administração Interna), regulates the conditions for the application of the special system of residence permits for investment activities.[4]

On January 25, 2013, Order (Despacho) No. 1661-A/2013 amended Order (Despacho) No. 11820-A/2012 and, among other things, decreased to ten the number of required jobs to be created.[5]

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Prepared by Eduardo Soares
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
August 2013

[1] Lei No. 23/2007, de 4 de Julho, art. 60(2), as amended by Lei No. 29/2012, de 9 de Agosto, available on the website of the Procuradoria-Geral Distrital de Lisboa [Lisboa Attorney General’s Office], at http://www.pgdlisboa. pt/leis/lei_mostra_articulado.php?ficha=1&artigo_id=&nid=920&pagina=1&tabela=leis&nversao.  For the general conditions for granting temporary residence permits, see article 77.  For the requirements for residence permits for investment activities, see article 90-A.   

[2] Id. art. 3(d).

[3] Id. (translation by author).

[4] Despacho No. 11820-A/2012, available on the website of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras [Foreigners and Borders Services], at

[5] Despacho No. 11820-A/2012, art. 3(1)(b), as amended by Despacho No. 1661-A/2013, de 28 de Janeiro,