How it all began

Residence permit for investment in real estate in Portugal. Irina’s story.

Table of Contents

Portugal is an amazing place. Walking along the rocky slope of Praia do Castelo, it is difficult not to fall in love with this beautiful country. So Irina, the owner of a chain of stores in Russia and, more recently, the owner of Visa for investment in real estate in Portugal under the program “golden visa,” at first sight, realized that she would stay here forever. But it did not start so easy, and today we will tell you how to decide to invest in real estate in Portugal and obtain the status of a resident for less than a year.

Where it all started
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Where it all started


-“If you think about where it all started,” Irina recalls, “the first thing that comes to mind is a trip my husband and I took to Europe in 2018. My husband is an avid workaholic, so in 10 years of our life together, we never went anywhere. I wanted at least a little break from the routine, so one day I bought a couple of tickets to Moscow – Madrid and just put him before the fact – let’s go on vacation!

After a week in Spain, the couple planned to travel to central Europe but plans changed at the last minute. With whom they hadn’t kept in touch in years, their old acquaintance saw their vacation photos on Instagram and suggested they visit him for a few days in Portugal. It turned out that he had been living in Faro for a couple of years, had opened a small business there, and was already planning to get his citizenship soon. After some thought, the couple decided to change their itinerary a bit and went to Portugal.

This was Irina’s first visit to the country with which she would spend the rest of her life.

You know, it’s hard to describe in a few words all of the emotions that I had when I first visited Portugal. These beautiful cities, amazing nature, unusual but very delicious food and friendly, kind people really make you fall in love with the country at first sight. Back then, we had planned to spend  only a couple of days in Portugal, but we ended up staying for a whole week.

But all good things come to an end sooner or later. And so the vacation of our heroes came to an end, and it was time to go home, where there was a not-so-pleasant surprise waiting for them.

How to decide to move to another country
Residence permit for investment in real estate in Portugal. Irina's story. 9

How to decide to move to another country


When we got home, it turned out that we had already been wanted for a week by the landlord from whom we were renting space for stores downtown. We were due to renew the lease in two months, but “circumstances” had arisen, so he was no longer planning to work with us.

It was a severe blow for the girl. In its essence, this call meant only one thing: the business she and her husband had been building for the past 10 years was coming to an end. Of course, she didn’t want to believe it at first, so she spent the next two months looking for new premises, but could not find anything suitable.

In the meantime, my husband and I were constantly thinking about the experience of Zheny, our friend who had moved to Portugal. We often talked about moving there during the week we spent visiting him, but it didn’t seem serious or credible. But events over the past two months have made a difference.

That’s how, one word at a time, the couple began to seriously consider the possibility of opening their own business in Portugal.

First steps to a new life and collaboration with MoveToCascais
Residence permit for investment in real estate in Portugal. Irina's story. 10

First steps to a new life and collaboration with MoveToCascais

The next month, Irina spent endless reading thematic articles, asking knowledgeable people on forums, and finding all the information she needed to move. It turned out that the opening of the business is not the only option for applying for a residence permit. There is a whole immigration program called golden visa Portugal, under which anyone can get a residence permit for investment. And the destinations were completely different, and of these areas, the girl was most interested in real estate investments.

It all seemed very simple: you buy a property worth 500,000 euros, apply for a “golden visa” – and that’s all. In fact, of course, everything is not so simple. The main question that puzzled me at the time – how to find a suitable object for investment? Will it be an apartment, a townhouse, or even a production hall? It goes without saying that I had no hope of figuring this out on my own, so I immediately started looking for a consulting agency to find the answers to all the questions I was looking for.

In one of the immigration forums she found a mention of service MoveToCascais and decided to order a trial consultation. A nice bonus is that everything can be done completely remotely! In that same consultation, the first question she and I discussed was choosing a property to invest in.

We were offered to invest in an apartment hotel project that had just recently come online. It is located on the southern coast of Portugal, literally by the ocean. The apartments themselves looked fantastic: two two-room apartments with a living room, kitchen, bathroom, a huge balcony, and access to a shared terrace. With a total area of 154 square meters, these two apartments cost 530,000 euros, which perfectly suited the requirements of the golden visa of Portugal.

What is an apartment hotel and why investing in such a project is a good investment
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What is an apartment hotel and why investing in such a project is a good investment

Apartment hotels are a relatively new sphere for investors in the CIS, but it has long been developed in the southern countries and Europe. Rooms in apartment hotels belong to different people – the owners-investors. Rooms are more like small apartments: with sleeping, working, and kitchen areas. As of 2020, such hotels are even certified to get “stars.”

The higher the rank of an aparthotel, the stricter the maintenance requirements and more expensive to buy and maintain. On the other hand, the cost of rooms for future guests is higher, so the financial return goes up as well.

In law, the main difference is the cost of rooms for future guests.

For the law, the main difference is that different people own the rooms.

For guests, the key difference is that the suites have a kitchen area.

For the owner, he can register in the apartments at the place of residence for 5 years, that is, get a temporary registration and extend it. For this purpose, the land on which the complex is built must have a special status.

The apartment business is an investment in real estate. Apartments are still cheaper than apartments. At the same time, the investor is immediately offered management services – there is no need to worry about the marketing campaign, a search of tenants, and their services. All this is taken care of by the hotel operator.

Income comes from residents’ payments for staying in the apartments. Plus, there’s the benefit of increased pricing: Square footage is undervalued during construction and increases in price as construction progresses.

In that case, you might ask, “So you only need to buy apartments during construction?” Not necessarily. When the complex is commissioned, the cadastral value is known and, accordingly, the exact amount that the property tax will be – so it’s easier to calculate the estimate and profitability. But as the complex is completed, the price of the apartments goes up, so taking the apartment in advance means earning on the increase in the value of the asset.

Well, we dealt with the intricacies of the project, so let’s go back to the story of Irina, who was opening a visa to Portugal.

How to apply for a visa to Portugal
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How to apply for a visa to Portugal


Selecting an object to invest in is only the first step to obtaining citizenship. Having sorted out this issue, the girl had to deal with a temporary visa to conclude a real estate transaction. Having collected all the necessary documents and remotely opened a bank account in a Portuguese bank, Irina went to the embassy to apply for a visa.

There was nothing difficult about the process of obtaining the visa, so the long-awaited permission was in her hands two weeks later, and she was ready to go.

To make the deal to buy property in Portugal, you need to fulfill several prerequisites. Firstly, you need to open an account at a local bank and make a certain amount of money there, calculated on the total amount of the purchase. This step Irina did from home.

Next, it is necessary to apply for an individual tax number – NIF. There are no problems with this either, especially if you are already in Portugal. The cost of the tax card is 6,8 euros.

A last thing. You need an official representative, a fiador, to successfully conclude the deal. If you use the services of an advice agency, you will be provided with one without any problems, so there are no problems with this in Irina’s case either.

In addition, you need an official for.

Processing residence permit for real estate investment in Portugal
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Portugal residence permit for investment in real estate in Portugal


After the deal and a couple of days of rest on the Algarve coast, it was necessary to solve the last, most important question – to issue a residence permit in Portugal.


Often, I encountered a widespread opinion on the internet that this is the most difficult and time-consuming stage of all. From personal experience, I can tell you: not at all. If you have a good reason for the application and, most importantly, a full set of properly executed documents, the chance that you will be refused is minimal.

To apply for a residence permit, the girl had to submit documents to the “service for foreigners and borders” (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF). Here is their complete list:

  • Certification of identity and a certificate of criminal record, as with the visa application;
  • Confirmation of a registered business in Portuguese territory.
  • Charter and extract from the Commercial Register;
  • Individual tax number – NIF;
  • Certificate of absence of debts from the Social Security Fund;
  • Dwelling rental contract or a guarantee from a resident of Portugal. In short, any proof of permanent residence in the country;
  • Confirmation of ability to pay.


Then a short oral interview awaits you, and that’s it. Your application could take up to six months to process. All this time, you can absolutely legally stay on the territory of Portugal and engage in any entrepreneurial activity.

Starting a new life
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The beginning of a new life


I had never planned on moving to another country, Irina recalls, but circumstances came up, and I’m thrilled that I took this risky step. You have no idea what a pleasure to live two minutes walk from the warm ocean. Our new home is just wonderful; after Moscow paneled houses, you feel like you’re in a real palace. In general, I have not regretted for a second that I moved, and I hope it works out for you too. Good luck to you, we look forward to seeing you in Portugal!

You can also change your life for the better. The most important thing about moving remains motivation and desire for change, and with more complex issues, it is best left to experts in this field. If you’re still in doubt or afraid, you can’t handle the immigration process on your own, email us, and we’ll do everything we can to make your journey to your dream country easier.


*Материал отражает историю героя статьи в интерпретации автора; относительно описанных методов и процессов при получении ВНЖ – они могут не совпадать с реальным мнением редакции MoveToCascais по этому поводу. 

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