In the realm of residency by investment, two countries stand out as prime destinations in the European Union: Spain and Portugal. Both offer highly sought-after Golden Visa programs, attracting investors from around the globe with promises of residency in exchange for investment. As individuals weigh their options and consider the advantages of each program, a comparison between the Spain Golden Visa and the Portugal Golden Visa becomes essential. 

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of these two programs, exploring their key features, benefits, and differences to help investors make an informed decision about where to invest in their future.

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Comparison

Spain Golden Visa Overview

The Spain Golden Visa program offers a pathway to residency for non-EU investors who invest a certain amount in Spanish real estate, business, or government bonds. Launched in 2013, this program has gained popularity due to Spain’s attractive lifestyle, vibrant culture, and strong economy. Investors who meet the requirements can obtain residency permits for themselves and their families, allowing them to live, work, and study in Spain.


Spain now excludes real estate investments as qualifying options, mirroring Portugal’s decision from the previous year.

Portugal Golden Visa Overview

The Portugal Golden Visa program is one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs in Europe, offering non-EU investors the opportunity to obtain residency in Portugal by making a qualifying investment in the country. 

The program has a starting point of €250,000 for the cultural Golden Visa. Established in 2012, it has attracted investors with its flexible investment options, straightforward application process, and access to the Schengen Area

Portugal flag in a castle

Portugal Golden Visa Benefits

Mobility: Portugal’s Golden Visa allows you visa-free entry and circulation through the Schengen Area.

Live, Work, Study: Once you become a resident in Portugal you are entitled to conduct any professional activity as an independent professional and you gain access to the National Education Service, schools, and vocational training.

Short stay requirement: One of Portugal’s Golden Visa requirements is a minimum stay of seven days during the initial year, followed by an additional requirement of 14 days for each subsequent two-year period.

Flexible Investment: Flexible and affordable investment options starting at €250,000

Family Reunion: Bring your family members, whether already in Portugal or joining you, as you are entitled to do so. You may request family reunification in AIMA at the same time as your visa application, or after you have received your visa.

Spain Golden Visa Benefits

Residency Rights: Investors and their families can obtain residency permits in Spain, allowing them to live, work, and study in the country.

Travel Freedom: With a Spanish residency permit, investors can travel freely within the Schengen Area comprising 26 European countries without the need for additional visas.

Real Estate Investment: The program allows investors to qualify for residency by making a real estate investment in Spain, which can potentially lead to capital appreciation and rental income.

Family Reunification: Investors can include their spouse and dependent children under 18 years old in their residency application, allowing the whole family to benefit from Spanish residency rights.

Path to Citizenship: After residing in Spain for a certain period of time, investors may become eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship, providing access to all the rights and benefits of being a Spanish citizen, including visa-free travel to numerous countries worldwide.

Access to Healthcare and Education: Residency permit holders in Spain have access to the country’s public healthcare and education systems, ensuring high-quality services for themselves and their families.

spanish flag in a palace

Portugal vs Spain Golden Visa: Program Benefits

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa Requirements Comparison

Spain Golden Visa Requirements

  • Age: 18 or older.
  • Criminal record: Must be clean.
  • Health insurance: Required.
  • Financial means: Must be sufficient to live on without working in Spain.
  • Residency status: Legal.

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements

  • Age: 18 or older.
  • Criminal record: Must be clean.
  • Health insurance: Required.
  • Financial means: Must be sufficient to support yourself and your family.
  • Residency status: Legal.
  • No previous Schengen visa refusals
gran via madrid

Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa: Investment Options

Portugal Golden Visa vs Spain: Path to Citizenship

Which Golden Visa to choose, Spain or Portugal?

When choosing between the Portugal Golden Visa and its counterpart in Spain, it’s crucial to weigh several factors to determine the best fit for your individual circumstances.

First and foremost, let’s address the minimum investment requirement. In Portugal, the threshold stands at a more accessible €250,000, compared to Spain’s €500,000. This lower barrier to entry can be a significant advantage for those seeking residency through investment.

Now, if your primary aim is property investment, Spain may hold the edge. Portugal recently removed real estate as an investment option under its Golden Visa program, making Spain the more viable choice in this regard.

When it comes to quality of life, Portugal shines brightly. Renowned for its exceptional quality of life, agreeable climate, and reasonable cost of living, Portugal beckons retirees and families alike seeking a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle.

For those with aspirations of citizenship, Portugal’s Golden Visa program offers a swifter route, with eligibility attainable after just five years of residency. In contrast, Spain mandates a decade of residency before citizenship can be pursued.

Considering language considerations, Spanish enjoys global prominence as one of the most widely spoken languages, presenting potential advantages for business and social interactions. However, it’s worth noting that Portugal’s growing popularity as a tourist and investment hub has fostered an increasing English-speaking community.

In essence, both Golden Visa programs boast their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The optimal choice hinges on a careful examination of your personal situation, investment objectives, and lifestyle preferences. 

real estate advisory meeting

Why choose Portugal Residency Advisors for your Golden Visa Application?

Local Expertise

We know Portugal. Due to our extensive local knowledge, we believe that concentrating our services in a single country destination is the best way to give you the most thorough and useful information. 

Holistic Approach

One single channel of communication for the entire process. We provide you with a comprehensive service that covers all aspects of your move, from identifying the ideal residency visa to finding your new home or helping you to settle. 

Transparent Service

We recommend what’s best for you base on an extensive process experience that saves time and money to clients. Our pricing is clear and competitive, and we don’t sell services that make us more money.

Simple Process

Technology plays a very important role in our company. We minimize our clients’ involvement in paperwork. We are customers ourselves and we know how to serve you. 

Frequently asked questions about Spain vs Portugal Golden Visa programs

What are the main differences between the Spain and Portugal Golden Visa programs?

The main differences lie in the investment thresholds, residency requirements, and pathways to citizenship.

What are the investment requirements for Spain and Portugal Golden Visa programs?

Spain typically requires a minimum investment in real estate of €500,000, while Portugal offers various investment options starting from €250,000.

How long does it take to obtain residency through the Spain and Portugal Golden Visa programs?

Both programs typically grant one-year initial residence permits, renewable annually, culminating in permanent residency after five years.

What is the Portugal Golden Visa program?

The Portugal Golden Visa program offers residency to non-EU investors who make qualifying investments in the country, such as, investment funds, job creation, scientific research, or cultural heritage contribution.

What is the Spain Golden Visa program?

The Spain Golden Visa program grants residency to investors who make significant investments in Spain, primarily through real estate acquisition. It allows investors and their families to reside, work, and study in Spain.

What is the difference in living in Portugal vs Spain?

Living in Portugal offers a slower pace of life, lower cost of living, and diverse cultural heritage, while Spain boasts a more vibrant nightlife, warmer climate in many regions, and rich history and cuisine.

What are the Spain Golden Visa Benefits?

The Spain Golden Visa offers residency rights, visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, access to healthcare and education, potential pathways to citizenship, and opportunities for real estate investment.

What are the Spain Golden Visa requirements?

The main requirement is a minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate in Spain. Other requirements include passing background checks, maintaining investment, and fulfilling residency obligations.