September 24, 2021

Healy Consultants Group Blog

Company registration, Offshore incorporation, Global corporate services

Portugal business set up and migration


A cultural hub in the southern part of Europe, Portugal is considered relatively safe and offers one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe. Its US$238.8 billion (2019) economy continues to attract entrepreneurs in all business fields due to its openness towards foreign investments.

In a recent engagement – one of my first at Healy Consultants Group PLC – I engaged a client who is a successful tech entrepreneur from Kenya. He wanted us to assist him to migrate to Europe with his family.

The Client runs a payment gateway business In Africa that enables e-payments. It is similar to PayPal but is mainly used in Africa.

For this engagement, three criteria needed to be met: i) finding a country to migrate to that would welcome a family from Kenya ii) a jurisdiction that minimizes corporate tax and iii) a location from which he still could operate his business and operate part of his business from.

Initially, Portugal, Estonia and Cyprus all met these criteria. They were chosen for their good pathways toward citizenship. Each country has two programmes from which to choose, such as setting up a company and ultimately gaining citizenship through examinations, or investing in properties to secure a ‘Golden Visa.’

We provided client with a thorough and detailed comparison table detailing several aspect of each jurisdiction including taxation, immigration processes, local demographics, citizenship pathways etc.

After reviewing the detailed comparison table of the three jurisdictions, the Client chose Portugal. That’s because there is a higher English-speaking demographic in the country, helpful reunification laws that allow the Client’s family to migrate easily, and the country also has an easier path towards citizenship. 

To enter Portugal, basic entry criteria needed to be satisfied, such as having a passport, valid residence visa and evidence that the Client has adequate accommodation. A Portuguese business was also intentionally registered to not only obtain the visa, but also to process payments received from our Client’s business in Kenya.

It wasn’t a complicated engagement, but there were a few challenges that we had to tackle. One was to obtain a temporary Portuguese residence visa. Currently, the Portuguese embassy in Kenya is not issuing visa applications. This had, instead, to be done through the Portuguese embassy in Maputo, Mozambique, although the Client was not required to travel to complete this step. The application required a lot of information, and our Client was grateful for our work in compiling comparison tables outlining the visa application in each of the shortlisted European countries he was considering.

Another obstacle that we had to work through was the Client’s background and profile, which raised some compliance issues. However, we managed to effectively and efficiently find solutions for these setbacks.  

This is an ongoing engagement, with likely further challenges on the horizon. We estimate that it will take roughly five months in total to complete the migration process, from obtaining the short-term residence visa for the Client to travel to Portugal, to applying for the long-term residency visa. 

The engagement has been a useful learning experience for us on the latest immigration laws in Portugal, Estonia and Cyprus. We’re getting a lot of enquiries for migration to Europe at the moment, and our base knowledge is improving all the time.

Read more about our international migration services here.