Portugal’s Golden Visa Vs Portugal’s HQA Visa: Know the Difference


 Portugal’s Golden Visa Vs Portugal’s HQA Visa: Know the Difference

If you want to explore the various growth opportunities Portugal offers, choosing permanent residency and citizenship options in the country can be a wise decision. 

This beautiful country gives access to the EU zone, introducing you to the vast market area. There are a few programs to obtain residency in the country, and the best two are the Golden Visa and HQA Visa. 

However, choosing between the two visa programs can be confusing. To make it easier, this article will discuss the two visa programs in detail and also state the key differences between Golden and HQA visas. 

Read the article to understand the differences and choose the best visa program for yourself. 

Understanding Residency Programs

When a visa program grants legal residence to an individual and his family in a particular country, it is called a residency program. A few of the programs also lead to citizenship. 

These programs provide a legal residence card as proof of residency status and allow you to live, work, and settle in a foreign country. Portugal’s Golden Visa and HQA visa grants permanent residency and citizenship. Residency in a country like Portugal gives you EU access, so you can freely work and travel within the EU zone. 

Portugal offers various residency programs, and the two popular options are the Golden Visa and HQA Visa.  

Let’s learn more about these two visa programs. 

Portugal’s Golden Visa 

Portugal’s Golden Visa is also known as the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI). The program attracts foreign investors to contribute to the country through investment in exchange for permanent residence. 

It is a perfect option for foreign nationals seeking residency and citizenship in Portugal. However, there are some specific requirements an individual must fulfill in order to gain this visa. 

Look at the investment options of this visa program: 

  • Minimum contribution of €500,000 in qualified investment funds 
  • Donation of at least €250,000 in arts or cultural heritage projects
  • Creating 10 new jobs through your business 

Validity period of this residency program: 

  • Initially, it is valid for two years 
  • The Golden visa status can be renewed every two years for a total of five years 
  • After five years of holding this visa, the applicant can apply for permanent residency and citizenship 

The golden visa has a low residency requirement. During its five-year validity period, an individual must stay an average of seven days per year in the country to keep the visa active. While constantly living and working in Portugal is not mandatory, you must be there to renew the visa on time. 

Some of the benefits of Portugal’s Golden Visa:

  • Residence permit that grants permanent residency and citizenship after five years of holding the visa and fulfilling all the requirements
  • Can travel freely within the Schengen area of Europe 
  • Potential investment return 

Portugal’s HQA Visa 

Portugal’s HQA visa is for skilled professionals who want to emigrate to the country. Through this program, the government aims to attract highly qualified individuals, such as entrepreneurs, investors, etc., to contribute to Portugal’s economic growth and innovation. 

First, understand the eligibility criteria of this program:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older 
  • Must have a clean criminal record in their home country as well as Portugal 
  • Must have a relevant university degree or professional experience in a demanded field 
  • Must have an employment contract with a Portuguese employer or a viable plan to start a business in the country
  • Must have enough financial stability to support themselves and their family 

Investment requirements of the program:

  • The HQA visa does not require any specified investment amount. However, if needed, the amount is comparatively low 
  • The basic financial requirement is to meet the specified income threshold 
  • Additional investments depend on the work activity you choose, such as business or profession 

Validity period of this residency program: 

  • Initial residence permit is of two years 
  • Can be renewed every two years for a total of five years 
  • After holding this visa for five years, the applicant can apply for permanent residency and citizenship 

The residency requirement of the HQA visa asks individuals to stay in Portugal for at least six months in a row per year, or eight months in total every year, to keep the visa residency valid. 

A few benefits of HQA Visa:

  • Pathway to permanent residency and citizenship
  • Lower investment and financial requirements
  • It focuses on highly qualified, skilled professionals

You can find detailed guidance on emigrating to Portugal by visiting the page on Global Residence Index’s page about Portugal’s HQA visa. They will guide you throughout the process and ensure a smooth completion of your application. 

Key differences in a Nutshell 

Let’s have a look at the differences between Portugal’s Golden Visa and Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa.


Golden Visa: The primary criteria for an individual to apply for a Golden Visa is to choose an investment option and invest the minimum required amount. It’s open to a wide range of foreign nationals. 

HQA Visa: This visa focuses on highly qualified, skilled professionals with relevant degrees and work experience. To be eligible, the applicant must have an employment contract from a Portuguese employer or a viable business plan. 


Golden Visa: It requires a specified investment amount 

HQA Visa: Unlike Golden Visa, there is no mandatory investment amount 

Residency Requirements

Golden Visa: The applicant must stay an average of 7 days every year in the country 

HQA Visa: It requires an individual to stay for at least six months per year in a row or eight months in total each year

Visa Processing Time 

Golden Visa: The visa processing time may vary depending on the number of applications received. It may take an estimated 8-10 or 10-14 months. 

HQA Visa: It also does not have a specific processing time but might take around 4 months. Faster processing than the Golden visa. 


Hope this article was helpful enough, and now you have a basic idea about the two visa programs and their differences. 

Seek guidance from immigration professionals and choose the visa program that suits your needs and budget. So which one are you choosing: the Golden Visa or HQA Visa? 

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