Portugal HQA Visa: 2024 Guide to the Highly Qualified Activities Residency

If you are an entrepreneur or investor eager to make an investment or start a new business setup, Portugal’s HQA visa might be an ideal option for you. With a minimum investment of €175,000 ($160,400), this visa facilitates the incubation of research projects with the aim of turning them into economic opportunities. Plus, this visa offers many other benefits relating to your rights, taxes, and requirements.

In this article, we will explore what this visa is, why you should consider it, and how you can acquire it.

What Is the Portugal HQA Visa Program?

The Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) visa is a legal document you can receive from the Portuguese government to allow you to start a company there. It is specifically designed for individuals with entrepreneurial or high qualifications who aim to create research-based enterprises. Initially, this visa grants a 3-year residence permit, opening doors to innovation and business development.

During the first year after visa approval, recipients focus on establishing their company and overseeing project development. They have the flexibility to actively participate in daily operations or delegate tasks to hired staff and managers. Concurrently, Portuguese scientists conduct the necessary research to support the venture.

After the initial 3-year period, visa holders have several options. They can choose to take the project to market, continue research endeavors, or discontinue the project altogether, based on their goals and outcomes.

Administered by the Agency for the Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA), the program primarily targets non-European Union or European Economic Area citizens seeking entrepreneurial opportunities in Portugal. However, citizens of Russia, Syria, and Iran are currently ineligible for this visa.

The Benefits of the HQA Visa

If you are hesitating about which visa you should select, consider the following benefits the latter offers:

Company and Intellectual Ownership

This visa allows you to retain full ownership of the company and intellectual rights. This increases the value of the investment since after your project has passed the 3-year mark, you can use your discoveries as you please.

Tax Benefits

The next advantage of this visa is the tax benefits. With this Tax Incentive for Scientific Research and Innovation tax program, you will have a 20% flat tax on your personal income.

Full Refund

If the government rejects your project, this visa process allows you to get back your money. The required investment for this visa is €175,000. However, this refund doesn’t necessarily include any investment you have received from learning institutions.

Quick Processing

Another benefit of this visa is its fast processing time. It can take 1 - 3 months. Meanwhile, other visas can take 6 - 12 months for the Portuguese government to process.

Family Reunion

Portugal HQA visa also has the benefit of allowing you to bring family members with you. In particular, you can include these family members in your application:

  • Spouse or Long-Term Partner
  • Parents over 65
  • Children under 18
  • Financially Dependent Parents
  • Financially Dependent Children of Main Applicant
  • Student Children of Main Applicant

Path to Citizenship

This visa offers a path to naturalization since it requires you to acquire a residency permit. If you remain a resident in this country for a total of 5 years you will have stayed in the country long enough to qualify for naturalization. However, you will also need to be proficient in Portuguese to receive citizenship.

Travel Access

Once you have received this visa, you will need to acquire residency documentation. This permit will grant you the ability to travel across the Schengen region. Therefore, you will be able to journey through much of Europe for 90 days in a 6-month period.

Low Physical Stay Requirements

Lastly, this visa offers a low physical stay requirement of only 7 days. More specifically, if you have other professional commitments, you may stay out of the country for longer periods of time than some other visas. For comparison, the D7 visa requires you to stay a minimum of 16 months in the first 2 years.

The Requirements for Portugal’s HQA Visa

To acquire this visa, you will need:

  • €175,000 Investment
  • Project Approval
  • 3-Year Engagement
  • Clean Criminal Record
  • Proof of Legal Source of Funds
  • CV with Experience in Business or Expertise

How to Acquire the HQA Visa from Portugal

Now that you understand this visa, let us explore how you can receive it.

1. Present Your Credentials

To start your application for this visa, you should send your curriculum vitae. You should also include other documents proving your qualifications as either an entrepreneur or an expert in a field such as biochemistry, law, information technology, etc.

2. Provide Funds

After you have sent your credentials, you should provide your funds and proof that you legally acquired them. You should note that if you enter into a partnership with a Portuguese university, they may also provide additional funds outside of your required €175,000.

3. Provide Project Proposal

Now that you have provided your funds, you should send in your project proposal. The program committee will approve or reject your project. If they approve it, you will be able to proceed with the rest of the application which will facilitate your work in this country.

4. Prepare AIMA Application

Once you have received your project approval, you can begin the migration process by preparing your application.

5. Interview with AIMA

After you have readied your application, you should schedule a meeting with Portugal’s migration services. They will conduct your interview. If you pass through this process, they will allow you to proceed to the final step.

6. Secure Residency Permit

Finally, you will end this visa process by acquiring a residency permit. You will need to renew it to stay in the country as you monitor the project.

After you have acquired this permit, you can begin your project.

Portugal’s HQA Visa


Now you know that Portugal’s HQA visa is the path for entrepreneurs and experts who wish to turn innovative ideas into marketable products. With an initial minimum investment of €175,000, you can work with Portuguese higher education professionals on research projects. Over a 3-year period, you will have the chance to evolve this research into a product or service from which you can benefit financially.

Additionally, you will retain ownership of the startup and any intellectual property created. With the added support from migration experts such as Vancis Capital, you can ensure that your investment efforts are successful and provide you with the guidance and resources needed to leverage the advantages of the Portugal HQA Visa.

Take charge of your future with our expert advisors

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you with your citizenship or residency by investment goals. One of our investment migration experts will contact you to discuss your case. With over 16 years of combined experience our team has helped hundreds of families achieve freedom.