A residence permit in Portugal for the purchase and renovation of an old villa

We bought a house in Portugal, conducted an expensive renovation, but could not get a residence permit under the investment program: the intermediary let us down. We turned to Immigrant Invest, already desperate. We turned to Immigrant Invest feeling desperate. Now that we have residence permit cards, we understand: it was necessary to turn to professionals right away and pay for reliable help instead of trying to save money. Time and nerves are more expensive.

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of real estate for renovation
Eldar and Zara,
a couple from Baku
Clients’ names and photos have been changed
Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of real estate for renovation
 

Eldar and Zara bought a villa in Portugal in order to obtain a residence permit and move to live in the country. But due to the pandemic and unscrupulous intermediaries, the couple faced difficulties in obtaining a residence permit under the investment program.

We will tell you how Immigrant Invest lawyers helped the couple become residents of Portugal. Namely:

  • to confirm the purchase and renovation of historical real estate a year after the conclusion of the transaction;
  • submit biometrics at the Migration Service of Portugal during a pandemic.

A backstory: reasons why the couple decided to move to Portugal 

Eldar and Zara dreamed of moving to live in a developed European country with a stable economy, high-quality medicine and a warm climate. However, the couple did not have enough finances to move abroad when they were young, and all resources went into the education of their children and business development.

In 2019, the couple decided to make their dream come true. Their children became older and had families of their own. Eldar's business streamlined and allowed him to work remotely. 

For the move, the couple chose Portugal, where they have been on vacation many times. They liked the lifestyle, the friendliness of the Portuguese, the proximity to the ocean and the availability of all the necessary infrastructure from supermarkets to hospitals.

In December 2019, Eldar decided to purchase a villa with vineyards in northern Portugal. 

The villa was suitable for the conditions of the residence permit by investment program: it was built more than 30 years ago, needed renovation and cost more than €350,000. The couple expected to make repairs and receive Portuguese residence permit cards within a year from the date of purchase of the property.

A farm with a vineyard in Povoa de Lanhoso
An example of property for renovation under the Portuguese residence permit program

The farm is located in the municipality of Oliveira, a 35-minute drive from the city of Braga.rnrnAll objects on the farm are built of stone. There are two houses, parking for two cars, a mill, a barn, vineyards, olive groves, two springs and a waterfall on the farm territory.rnrnThe two-story house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The house is equipped with a central heating system and high-speed Internet connection. It is sold furnished.

€495,000
price
220 m²
house area
49,281 m²
land area

What problems arose when buying a villa through an intermediary

The couple bought a villa through an intermediary company that promised to help in obtaining a Portuguese residence permit by investment. 

The real estate purchase and sale transaction was concluded remotely: Eldar was in Baku, and representatives of the intermediary company and the seller of the villa were in Portugal. 

Eldar received the transfer ownership certificate of the villa in early April of 2020. At this time, Portugal closed the border due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The intermediary assured the investor that the closed border would not prevent the couple from obtaining a residence permit. However, the company's managers gradually stopped responding to Eldar's letters. Three months later, the investor found out that the company had ceased to exist.

Eldar turned to another Portuguese company, which was engaged in the preparation of documents and assistance in obtaining a residence permit by investment. But cooperation ended without any result again. 

The second agent was unable to submit investor’s documents and register the spouses for biometrics in Portugal. The mediator explained the failure by restrictions in the work of the migration service due to the pandemic.

The couple spent more than a year on appeals to intermediaries. They were already desperate to get a Portuguese residence permit and began to think about how to sell the villa. 

In May 2021, Eldar read an article by Immigrant Invest about the pros and cons of a residence permit in Portugal and turned to the Immigrant Invest lawyers for advice. 

The lawyers analyzed the situation and gave a legal opinion that the couple can obtain a Portuguese residence permit. Employees in the Portuguese office of Immigrant Invest had experience in submitting documents and registering investors for biometrics during a pandemic, which was confirmed by customers’ feedback.

But lawyers warned Eldar that the process of obtaining a residence permit would take at least another six months. Most of the time would be spent on Due Diligence, the speed of which depends on the queue at the Migration Service of Portugal.

Eldar agreed with the terms for obtaining a residence permit, and he entered into an agreement with Immigrant Invest to participate in the Portuguese Golden Residence Permit Program.

We didn’t worry about the residence permit at first. We were slowly doing repairs, there was nowhere to rush. But a year had passed and the matter had not moved forward: one intermediary had disappeared, the second was fooling around for several months to no avail. It’s scary to say how stressed we felt.rnrnWhen I found Immigrant Invest, I thought: hit or miss. I’d try one last time, and if it didn’t work out, I’d sell the villa and forget about moving. But the lawyers immediately reassured us that not all was lost. After that, everything went like clockwork.

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of real estate for renovation
Eldar, 54,
applied to Immigrant Invest to obtain a residence permit in Portugal for himself and his wife

How an investor confirmed that the purchased property complied with the terms of the program

Eldar provided lawyers with a contract for the sale of the villa. The contract indicated:

  • 1937 as the construction year of the villa, which proved the age of the object which was more than 30 years old;
  • €495,000 as the cost of the villa which exceeded the threshold of €350,000 for renovation objects under the terms of the residence permit program.

The lawyers attached a copy of the transfer certificate of villa ownership to the contract.

The couple completed the renovation of the villa by the time they contacted Immigrant Invest. To confirm the fact of renovation, Eldar provided an estimate and a paid invoice for repairs.

€23,000
investor’s expenses on renovation of the villa in Portugal

The bill included payments for repairs, construction materials, replacement of plumbing, purchase of new household appliances and furniture. The amount of the renovation invoice was around €23,000

According to the terms of the Portuguese residence permit program, only properties in which the investor has made a major repair are suitable for the renovation option: with the replacement of communications, fine finishing of residential premises and a complete renovation of the kitchen and bathrooms.

Victor Esik, the head of the Portuguese office of Immigrant Invest
Victor Esik,
the Head of the Portuguese office of Immigrant Invest

Preparing documents to apply for a residence permit in Portugal

The lawyers prepared a standard package of documents in two weeks. In addition to the documents for the villa, the application was accompanied by:

  • copies of Eldar and Zara’s passports;
  • certificates of non-conviction;
  • a list of investor's income sources with confirmation of their legality;
  • a marriage certificate;
  • a medical insurance;
  • government questionnaires and forms.

Eldar also provided the Portuguese tax number he received before purchasing the villa. As the address of registration of the investor in Portugal, the lawyers indicated the address of the villa under the contract of sale.

Before applying for a residence permit, Eldar paid a fee of €533 for himself and his spouse. The lawyers attached the payment receipt of the fee to the rest of the documents for obtaining a residence permit.

€1,066 
Eldar paid for applying for a residence permit by investment

Submitting biometrics when the borders of Portugal are closed

The lawyers submitted Eldar’s application to the Migration Service of Portugal on June 9th, 2021. The response from the migration service came five months later: the investor had successfully passed Due Diligence and could get a Portuguese residence permit.

5 months
to consider the application at the Migration Service of Portugal

Together with the approval, the lawyers received access to an electronic queue for the submission of biometrics for the production of residence permit cards. In order for the couple to get a residence permit faster, the lawyers registered them for the next free dates. Eldar had to be fingerprinted at the migration office in Porto and Zara in Coimbra. 

Due to the pandemic, many investors have faced difficulties in obtaining a residence permit in Portugal. In 2020, the country’s migration service suspended work several times, then the government began its restructuring. Because of this, a queue was formed for the consideration of the application and the submission of biometrics.rnrnMany companies that position themselves as agents of the program can not sign up clients for biometrics for months. Most often because they work only in Lisbon and Porto, where the longest queues for applying are.rnrnWe monitor the work of the migration service offices throughout the country. As soon as there is free time in any department, we immediately sign up clients for biometrics.

Victor Esik, the head of the Portuguese office of Immigrant Invest
Victor Esik,
the Head of the Portuguese office of Immigrant Invest

In November 2021, Eldar and Zara had valid Schengen visas, but the border of Portugal remained closed to foreigners. Entry into the country was allowed only if there was a good reason. 

A visit to the migration office by appointment is considered a good enough reason to travel to Portugal. 

When checking in for a flight and passing the Portuguese border, the spouses presented:

  • a confirmation of an appointment for fingerprinting at the Migration Service of Portugal;
  • an approval for obtaining a residence permit;
  • a valid Schengen visa;
  • negative results of PCR tests for coronavirus, made 72 hours before departure.

On November 22nd, 2021, Eldar and Zara arrived in Porto. The investor was fingerprinted the next day, and the spouse was fingerprinted three days later, on November 26th. Both times the couple were accompanied by an Immigrant Invest lawyer.

The result of cooperation and moving to Portugal with residence permit cards

On December 13th, 2021, Eldar and Zara received their residence permit cards by mail. Participation in the investment program took six and a half months from the moment of applying to Immigrant Invest.

6.5 months
time spent for obtaining residence permits in Portugal

The couple flew to Portugal immediately after receiving residence permit cards. They moved into a renovated villa: Zara took up the arrangement and decoration of the house, and Eldar began the restoration of buildings on the site.

1
May 27th, 2021
Eldar concluded an agreement with Immigrant Invest
2
June, 9th
Lawyers submitted an investor’s application to the Portuguese Migration Service
+ 2 weeks
3
November, 11th
the Portuguese Migration Service approved the application
+ 5 months
4
November, 22nd and 26th
Eldar and his wife submitted biometrics in Portugal
+ 2 weeks
5
December 13th, 2021
Eldar received Portuguese residence permit cards
+ 2 weeks

Children and grandchildren came to the couple in Portugal to celebrate Christmas and the New Year together. In the future, Eldar plans to regularly take his grandchildren to Europe on vacation: to relax on the Atlantic coast or travel around the Schengen countries.

In January, Eldar and Zara went to a ski resort in Austria. They did not need a visa for the trip as it was replaced by Portuguese residence permit cards.

The couple plan to occasionally come to Azerbaijan to visit relatives and on business. The rest of the time they want to spend in Portugal and apply for citizenship after five years of residence in the country.

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of property for renovation to move to the European Union

In Portugal, the couple live an hour’s drive from the Atlantic coast. They often go to Fao Beach in the Parque Natural do Litoral Norte

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of property for renovation to move to the European Union

In January 2022, the couple spent two weeks in Mayrhofen, which is one of the top 10 resorts in Austria in terms of size and length of ski slopes

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of real estate for renovation

Eldar and Zara will go with their grandchildren to Cascais, a resort town 30 kilometers away from Lisbon

We talked about all the opportunities that opened up for the investor's family in the guide for the residence permit program in Portugal by investment.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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Zlata Erlach

Caribbean Investment Program Expert

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Zlata Erlach

Caribbean Investment Program Expert

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