Spain or Portugal Golden Visa? A Comprehensive Comparison

Investing in a foreign country isn’t just about financial gain—it’s about opening doors to new opportunities and securing a brighter future for yourself and your family. In Europe, the Golden Visa programs offered by Spain and Portugal stand out as prime avenues for investors seeking residency and a pathway to citizenship.

However, deciding between these two enticing options requires carefully examining their unique features and requirements. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the differences between Spain’s and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs, helping you chart a course towards your investment and lifestyle aspirations.



Application Process

Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Comparison Chart of Spain and Portugal Golden Visa


Which Golden Visa is better, Portugal or Spain?

For whom is Portugal Golden Visa a better choice?

For whom is Spain Golden Visa a better choice?




The most common investment amount for both Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs is €500,000. Let’s explore the main differences between these investment options for the same amount.

In Spain, the predominant choice among investors is real estate, with €500,000 being the typical investment threshold. This can include any type of property, ranging from residential apartments to commercial buildings. Investors also have the flexibility to spread their investment across multiple properties if desired.

On the other hand, in Portugal, the preferred option is investing in Investment Funds. These funds offer a diversified investment portfolio and are managed by professional fund managers.


In Spain, the income generated from real estate investments depends on various factors such as property type, location, and condition. For properties located in tourist hotspots, the average rental yield typically ranges between 5% and 8%.

In Portugal, the returns from Investment Funds can vary significantly due to factors such as the type of fund, income strategy, performance, and associated fees. Expected yields on Portugal’s Golden Visa Investment Funds generally range from 3% to 10% annually.

Exit Strategy

In Spain, investors have the flexibility to sell their Spanish property at any time after acquiring it. However, it’s important to note that capital gains taxes may apply on the sale. Additionally, it’s crucial to consider the prevailing conditions of the real estate market, as selling the property could impact the investor’s eligibility for the Golden Visa renewal.

In Portugal, each Investment Fund has specific redemption terms governing the timeframe and process for investors to sell their units back to the fund. The success of the exit strategy largely depends on the fund’s performance in the market. Professional fund managers with expertise in investment management carefully calculate and execute the exit strategy, ensuring optimal returns for investors.

By understanding the differences in investment options, income potential, and exit strategies between Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs, investors can make informed decisions aligning with their financial goals and risk tolerance levels.


Comparison of All Investments for Golden Visa: Spain vs. Portugal

Investment Option Minimum Investment Portugal Spain
Real Estate €500,000 Not Available
Bank Deposit €1,000,000 Not Available
Investment Funds €500,000 Not Available
Government Bonds €2,000,000 Not Available
Business Investment €1,000,000 €500,000 (with 5 job creation)
Donation €250,000 (cultural heritage) Not Available
Scientific Research €500,000 Not Available


Golden Visa Application Process:  Spain vs. Portugal


Common requirements for applicants for both countries

  • over 18 years old;
  • proven legal income;
  • valid medical insurance;
  • investment funds originating outside of the country whose residence permit the investor wants to obtain;
  • clean criminal record;
  • Make the qualifying investment and hold it for 5 years

Additionally, applicants for Spain residence by investment must confirm their financial independence. They transfer to a Spanish bank account the sum that exceeds the annual minimum wage at least four times. In 2023, the minimum wage in Spain is €600 per month, or €7,200 per year; therefore, an applicant must transfer at least €28,800 to their Spanish bank account.

Processing Time

Spain: It is streamlined processing with an average turnaround time of 2 months, facilitating prompt access to Spanish residency.

Portugal: Navigate through Portugal’s administrative procedures, characterized by a thorough approach, with processing timelines typically ranging between 9-12 months.


 Government Costs

Spain Portugal
Initial Application Fee Approximately €250 per applicant €773.74 per applicant
Approval Fee €8,000 per visa holder €7,730.10 per visa holder
First Visa Renewal Fee €2,500 per visa holder €3,865.79 per visa holder
Total €10,750 €12,369.63



Minimum Stay Requirement to Maintain Golden Visa Status

Spain offers a significant advantage with no minimum stay requirement. This flexibility allows you to manage your investment and personal affairs as needed without restriction on your physical presence in the country.

Portugal implements a phased residency requirement. In the first year, a minimum stay of 7 days is required. Thereafter, you must maintain residency by spending at least 14 days in Portugal every two years.


Golden Visa Residency Renewal Process

Spain grants a one-year Golden Visa upon successful application. Following the initial visa, extensions are issued in the form of three-year residency permits. These three-year permits are renewable for a maximum of five years, providing a clear path toward long-term residency.

Portugal offers a two-year Golden Visa upon program acceptance. Subsequent renewals occur every two years, ensuring a streamlined and consistent process for maintaining your residency status.


Permanent Residency and Citizenship Compared

Here’s a comparison of permanent residency and citizenship pathways for the Golden Visa programs in Spain and Portugal:

Permanent Residency

Feature Spain Portugal
Eligibility After 5 years of legal residency After 5 years of legal residency (including initial application waiting period)
Minimum Stay Requirement 183 days per year over 5 years 7 days in the first year, then 14 days every two years thereafter



Feature Spain Portugal
Eligibility After 10 years of legal residency After 5 years of legal residency
Minimum Stay Requirement 183 days per year over 10 years 7 days in the first year, then 14 days every two years thereafter


Spain: Offers permanent residency after 5 years but requires a longer 10-year residency for citizenship. A stricter minimum stay requirement of 183 days per year applies throughout the entire 10-year period.

Portugal: Portugal Golden Visa gives faster path to both permanent residency (5 years) and citizenship (5 years). The lenient minimum stay requirement allows for more flexibility (7 days in the first year, 14 days every two years thereafter).


Explanation of Minimum Stay Requirements


  • Spain’s Golden Visa program emphasizes long-term residency and integration.
  • The minimum stay requirement of 183 days per year over 10 years reflects this focus, encouraging investors to fully immerse themselves in Spanish life and contribute to the community.


  • Portugal’s program offers a more flexible residency requirement.
  • The minimum stay of 7 days in the first year and 14 days every two years thereafter provides greater freedom for investors who may not be able to commit to spending a significant amount of time in Portugal every year.



Comparison Chart of Spain and Portugal Golden Visa

Feature Spain Portugal
Investment amount €500,000 for any type of property €500,000 (venture capital funds)
Minimum stay requirement to keep Golden Visa None 7 days in the first year, then no less than 14 days every two years
Golden Visa validity The first visa is for 1 year, the next permit is for 3 years, next renewal is for 5 years. 2 year, renewable every 2 years
Path to permanent residency After 5 years After 5 years
Minimum stay requirement for PR 183 days a year during the 5 years 7 days in the first year, then no less than 14 days every two years
Path to EU citizenship After 10 years After 5 years
Processing time 2 months on average 9-12 months on average*
Government Costs €10,750 €12,369.63

* Portugal’s recent law recognizes the start of legal residency from the date when residency was requested. This change means that this waiting period will be included in the 5-year residency duration calculation.



The Golden Visa program doesn’t mandate residence in Spain or Portugal. Nevertheless, it’s essential to contemplate your affinity for the country, its people, collective mindset, lifestyle, and various aspects. Although Spain and Portugal share a border and may seem similar at first glance, these two nations exhibit notable distinctions.


Climate Type: Spain exhibits a broader range of climates, including continental and Mediterranean, while Portugal’s climate is predominantly Mediterranean.

Summers: Summers in Spain tend to be hotter, especially in southern regions, compared to Portugal where temperatures are slightly milder, particularly along the coast.

Winters: Inland areas of Spain experience colder winters compared to Portugal, where winters are generally mild.

Rainfall: Spain’s northern coast receives more rainfall than Portugal, where the northern regions experience higher rainfall levels due to Atlantic influences.

Cost of Living

While the overall cost of living in Spain and Portugal is considered on the lower side compared to many European countries, there are some subtle differences to consider:

  • Accommodation: Renting an apartment in Portugal might be marginally cheaper than similar options in Spain, with some exceptions depending on specific locations. However, buying property can be more expensive in Portugal, especially in popular coastal areas.
  • Food: Groceries and dining out tend to be less expensive in Portugal.
  • Transportation: In Portugal, public transportation costs, including buses and trains, are generally lower.
  • Utilities: Electricity and water bills can be slightly cheaper in Portugal compared to Spain.

Portugal tends to be slightly cheaper overall, especially for groceries, utilities, and public transportation.

Language and Integration

Spain: Spanish is the primary language spoken, although regional languages like Catalan, Basque, and Galician are also spoken in certain areas. Expatriates may find it beneficial to learn Spanish for better integration into local communities.

Portugal: Portuguese is the official language, with English widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among younger generations. Expatriates may find it relatively easy to integrate into Portuguese society due to the welcoming nature of the local population.



As you weigh the options presented by Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs, consider not only the financial investment but also the application process, costs, lifestyle, and personal factors that will shape your experience in your chosen destination.

Which Golden Visa is better, Portugal or Spain?



  • Real Estate Investment: Ideal if you prefer investing in real estate and potentially generating rental income.
  • Climate: Offers diverse climates, with warm Mediterranean coasts and cooler mountainous regions.
  • Culture and History: Rich cultural heritage with vibrant cities and historical landmarks.


  • Stricter Residency Requirement: Requires spending at least 183 days per year in Spain to maintain residency.
  • Longer Path to Citizenship: Takes 10 years of legal residency before applying for citizenship.
  • Potentially Higher Taxes: May have slightly higher income tax rates and social security contributions compared to Portugal. Wealth tax applies to high-net-worth individuals.



  • Investment Flexibility: Offers a wider range of investment options with potentially lower minimum investment amounts.
  • Faster Path to Citizenship: Requires only 5 years of legal residency before applying for citizenship.
  • Lower Overall Tax Burden: Generally, offers lower tax rates, no wealth tax.
  • Lenient Residency Requirement: Only requires 14 days of physical presence every two years to maintain residency.


  • No Real Estate Investment: Currently does not accept applications through real estate investment.
  • Climate: Less diverse than Spain, with the majority having mild winters and warm summers. Northern regions can be wetter.


For whom is Portugal Golden Visa a better choice?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is an ideal choice for investors seeking permanent residency or citizenship in the EU while preferring not to reside in the country.

It is well-suited for investors experienced in diverse investment opportunities beyond real estate and familiar with the nature of investment funds.

For whom is Spain Golden Visa a better choice?

The Spain Golden Visa appeals to investors seeking relocation and residency in Spain, desiring to immerse themselves in the country’s culture and pursue permanent residency or citizenship.

This program is suitable for individuals who are certain they do not seek long-term permanent residency or citizenship but prioritize access to the Schengen area and free travel in Europe.

This program is particularly suitable for investors with a traditional investment approach, who prefer real estate ventures.


Ultimately, the choice between Spain and Portugal’s Golden Visa programs depends on individual preferences, investment goals, and lifestyle considerations. Investors should carefully weigh the advantages and considerations of each program before making a decision. Whether your heart yearns for the flamenco rhythms of Spain or the fado melodies of Portugal, may your Golden Visa adventure be filled with boundless opportunities and enriching experiences, setting the stage for a new chapter in your life’s story amidst the timeless beauty of Europe.