Why the D2 Entrepreneur Visa Complements Portugal's Coveted Golden Visa Demand

An intoxicating combination of 300 days-a-year sunshine, quality of life, high quality schools and great healthcare has long made Portugal a desirable place for high net-worth individuals and their families.

In recent years its hugely popular residency programs such as the Golden Visa and likes of the D2 visa – frequently referred to as the entrepreneur visa – have unlocked access to both the lifestyle and the EU’s Schengen area.

Whilst the Golden Visa is residency is through investment the D2 visa is more about creating productivity, value and jobs for Portugal.

They both open the door to visa-free access to the 27 Schengen area member countries for both work and pleasure.

Both have proved attractive to the non-EU citizens they are aimed at. But while both pathways lead to Portuguese residency and eventually citizenship, understanding the nuances of both is crucial for making an informed decision.

Launched in 2018, the D2 visa caters specifically to entrepreneurs and freelancers who want to launch business interests in Portugal – or expand an existing one outside the country.

In addition, the main applicants are eligible to include their partner and children for residency.

There is, unlike the Golden Visa, no fixed investment cost – but you will need to demonstrate an initial investment and host of factors for your application to be considered.

These include providing proof of your business plans – both new and existing – and explain the contribution it will make to the country. Clearly jobs and high-value professions as well as entrepreneurs are an important dynamic for any country’s economic prosperity.

Steve Philp is Partnership Director at Portugal Pathways, a platform that supports people seeking a new life in Portugal by advising on how best to structure their life, income, tax, investments, residency and assets to optimism their finances and ensure a smooth transition.

He says: “The D2 visa is a great option for those who want a relatively swift path to residency and have a sound business plan, or established business, they wish to bring to Portugal.

“But there are plenty of conditions which we are frequently called upon to provide guidance on.

“For example, there is a need to demonstrate your financial capacity to sustain your business endeavours and job creation.

“Alongside the Golden Visa, it is an excellent option and we are only too happy to talk people through the benefits of both and how they can take advantage of the excellent benefits both provide.

“We often see people come to Portugal on a D8 ‘Digital Nomad’ visa, aimed at high-value professionals - and then want to eventually build their own scalable business or partnership with entrepreneurs using the D2 visa.”

The Golden Visa, which has long been the most prized of visa options, is still proving hugely popular since improvements have been made in terms of the timescales and quality of the regulated investment fund offerings.

While many people invest in a thriving real estate market in Portugal, especially at the top end, it is no longer possible to do that using the Golden Visa. Today, it is more related to investing in a business, job creation and cultural commercial entities.

The Golden Visa requires an investment of EUR 500,000 in approved private equity or venture capital funds in Portugal. Alternatively, there is the Cultural Production Golden Visa options which, for a more philanthropical contribution to a cultural project, can offer a path to residency from just EUR 200,000.

Adds Portugal Pathways Steve Philp: “Portugal’s appeal is only increasing. It offers a fabulous quality of life and securing the likes of the Golden Visa or D2 entrepreneur visa unlocks all the business potential of the Schengen area.

“We are seeing no let-up in the demand and advise anyone pondering a move to get in touch so we can get the process under way as swiftly and effortlessly as possible.”