If you are considering moving to Portugal, you should know that finding a place in the continental part of the country is not the only option that you have. Madeira and the Azores are the islands in the Atlantic Ocean that also belong to Portugal. What is especially exciting about the opportunity to acquire legal residence on the islands is the advantages that you can make use of when applying for a ‘golden visa’ to Portugal. We expect that a growing number of foreign nationals will soon use the opportunity to lodge on the islands because these territories are now classified as ‘underdeveloped territories’. The status allows Madeira and the Azores to offer more beneficial conditions to foreigners seeking legal residence in Portugal as compared to the mainland part of the country.
In the text below, we are going to advertise Madeira, an island that offers wonderful business opportunities as well as an incomparable climate. You can apply for a Portuguese residence permit, move to Madeira and enjoy a peaceful and quiet lifestyle while having access to all the modern amenities.
Main reasons why you should apply for a Portuguese golden visa by investing in Madeira:
The required investment amount is 350,000 euros if you purchase some real property (residential or commercial) on Madeira. This is 20% less than the required investment amount if you purchase similar property on the mainland (500,000 euros).
Madeira is far away (1,000 kilometers) from the noisy Portuguese cities and summer lasts all year round on the island.
Freelancers including IT specialists started going to Madeira in large numbers when the COVID-19 pandemic started. They were happy to use the infrastructure that the ‘Digital Nomad Village’ on the island offers. Besides, the island is highly popular with tourist business owners and retired people.
Due to the small territory of the island, everybody knows everybody else on Madeira and you will feel at home wherever you go.
Please read on if you would like to learn why you should choose Madeira if your goal is to acquire legal residence in Europe.
Basic information about the island of Madeira
The island of Madeira (Ilha da Madeira in Portuguese) is a small island in the Atlantic located 1,000 kilometers away from Portugal and 520 kilometers away from the African shore. Besides, the same name is used to refer to the Madeira archipelago. So the word ‘Madeira’ can mean ‘the island of Madeira’ or it can mean ‘several islands in the vicinity of Madeira’. The capital of the region (and Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal) is the city of Funchal. The area enjoys some special treatment on the part of the Portuguese authorities as it is considered an underdeveloped territory. The infrastructure on the islands is rapidly improving and Madeira also boasts the highest internet speed in Portugal.
The area of the island of Madeira is only 740 square kilometers, its length is about 57 kilometers, and its width is about 22 kilometers. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate on Madeira is warm and the weather is always stable: there are no long rain periods nor enervating heat.
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Relocation to Madeira: all pros and contras
The main advantage that relocation to Madeira offers is the possibility to acquire legal residence in Portugal by investment. You do not have to permanently live on the island to keep the residence card and after a few years, it can be turned into a European passport! Here are the basic requirements to foreign nationals seeking a ‘golden visa; to Portugal or a permanent residence permit in the country:
- If you invest in a piece of real estate that requires renovations, the minimum required investment amount is 280,000. If you invest in a livable piece of property in an underdeveloped region (including Madeira), the required investment amount is 350,000 euros. You can also invest 500,000 euros in any piece of real property located anywhere in the country thus qualifying for legal residence in Portugal.
- You have to keep the property in your possession for five years.
- You can extend your legal residence permit after holding it for one year. Afterwards, the permit needs to be extended every two years.
- You can spend only 7 days per year in Portugal in order to keep your residence permit. Or you can spend 365 days a year in the country!
You should also know that you are allowed to let your property on a lease thus obtaining a stable passive income. You can sell it back after five years without losing your legal resident’s status.
If you are interested in applying for a ‘golden visa’ to Portugal, please request a professional consultation with an InternationalWealth expert! We will be happy to help you choose the piece of property to buy, go through the application procedure (you do not have to leave the comfort of your home while the documents are processed), open a bank account in Portugal, acquire a residence card, and adapt to living on Madeira.
Relocation to Madeira: main pros
Even though Madeira is part of Portugal, it is an autonomous region and the local authorities pass their own regulations. This opportunity turned out especially beneficial when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The continental part of Portugal was dead quiet because everything was locked down while the course of life remained pretty much the same on Madeira.
This became possible because Madeira is an isolated island accessible via a single airport and a seaport. It was relatively easy for the local authorities to check everybody who came to the island for coronavirus before letting them disembark. Yes, sometimes the remoteness of an island can be frightening but at other times, it can be a blessing.
Climate on Madeira
Summer lasts for almost twelve months per year on Madeira. The coldest it can get at night in the wintertime is +13С. This does not mean, however, that it is going to be extremely hot in the summer. The average daily temperature in the summertime on Madeira is 25C and the water temperature remains the same throughout the year at about 20C due to the Gulf Stream washing the shores of Madeira.
So if you dislike contrasting temperatures, snowy winters, and enervating heat, you are welcome to Madeira! We must note at this point that you will not find such a comfortable climate in continental Portugal: summers are extremely hot in the south and winters can be quite cold in the northern parts of the country.
Affordable prices for real property on Madeira
To better understand how attractive it is to acquire a legal residence permit in Portugal by investing in Madeira you have to compare the real property prices in this region of Portugal with property prices in two major cities of the country. In 2020, the average prices were the following:
- Lisbon – 3,311 €/m2
- Porto – 2,.113 €/m2
- Madeira – 1,671 €/m2
These figures show that you can buy a very nice house or on Madeira if you invest the required amount. The Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program allows investing in several pieces of real property on the condition that their aggregate cost comes up to the required amount. So you can also buy an apartment in the downtown area of Funchal and a small cabin on the seashore! Everybody will find a piece of property on Madeira that will appeal to them.
Low cost of living on Madeira
You will be pleasantly surprised to find out how inexpensive it is to live on Madeira without restricting yourself to only basic products. You can lead an almost luxurious lifestyle on the Island at a very low cost. Funchal is the most expensive place to live at on Madeira but you can rent a comfortable apartment there for just 500 euros per month and you will need another 500 euros to live through the month. This is nothing in comparison to Lisbon, for example, where life is considerably more expensive.
Beautiful nature on Madeira
The inner part of the island is covered with evergreen forests with pineapples, bananas, and many exotic fruits growing there. If you climb to the top of a mountain, you will find breathtaking views of the ocean and the beaches below. Explore the beaches on the island of which there are twenty and some of them are covered with black volcanic sand.
Besides, you can take a ferry to one of the neighboring islands. The largest of them is Porto Santo where around 6,000 people live. The ‘Digital Nomad Village’ that we have mentioned above is located on the island of Ponta do Sol nearby. If you love wild nature, you can also visit one of the uninhabited islands in the area. The most popular of those are Desertas Islands and Selvagens Islands that will surely win your heart.
High level of personal security on Madeira
You are going to feel perfectly safe when you relocate to Madeira, as there is practically no crime on the island. It should not be surprising if you think how small Madeira is: people know each other by sight! The local town communities are very close and the people are supportive of each other.
What is also important to know is that the local people are very friendly to immigrants and they are very tolerant to differences too. The members of the LGBT community, for instance, do not face any discrimination on Madeira. You will see gays and lesbians peacefully and openly walking along the beaches holding hands.
Low taxes on Madeira
If you register a business company on Madeira, you will be eligible for some tax and other business benefits. If your company obtains income from foreign sources but invests in Madeira at least 75,000 euros over two years, the corporate tax rate is going to be only 5%. If you do not invest in Madeira, the tax rate is going to be 14.1%, which is comparatively low too.
Please note that the 75,000 euros can be spent on purchasing residential accommodations for the company director. In accordance with the Portuguese legislation, the company director shall have residential accommodations in the country even if he or she is a foreign national.
Madeira for those working from home
If you are among the lucky people who can make a living without leaving the comfort of their home, the Government of Madeira has a unique offer for you. There is a Digital Nomad Village on Ponta do Sol. This is the first project in the world that allows people from different countries of the world to join the community of remote workers, enjoy a high-speed Internet connection, and reside on the coast of the Atlantic.
When the project was launched, foreign residents of the Nomad Village obtained six-month residence permits. When the first stage of the project was over on June 30, 2021, many freelancers applied for extensions of their residence permits. Portugal is becoming highly popular with those people who work from home. Of course, you do not have to reside in the Digital Nomad Village if all you need to make money is your laptop and Internet connection. You can lodge anywhere on Madeira or in the continental part of Portugal.
Disadvantages of relocating to Madeira
As you can see, Madeira offers a number of advantages to the foreign nationals relocating there. At the same time, living on the islands will not suit everybody and we would like to point out some disadvantages that moving to Madeira may have. These include the following ones:
- First of all, it is the remoteness of the islands. You will not find many international events or large exhibitions on Madeira. If you go sightseeing, you will need one or two days to see all the sights on Madeira that are worth your attention. If you are a city person, relocating to Madeira is not for you.
- Second, it is the shortage of jobs. Let us remind you that the area of Madeira is only 740 square kilometers and Funchal is the only city on the island. Only the tourist sector offers many jobs, so if you are going to seek employment when relocating to Portugal, you had better consider the continental part of the country.
- Third, it is the population of Madeira that consists mostly of elderly people. People who are born on the islands will usually try to flee to the ‘big world’ as soon as they can as Madeira does not offer too many opportunities for making a career or earning a fortune by engaging in business. On the other hand, those who like to live a quiet and slow-paced life will love it in Madeira. If you are interested in the tourist industry, you should also consider relocating to Madeira as this sector of economy is certainly thriving on the islands.
We must also note that the healthcare system is not very advanced on Madeira and if you have a health issue, you will be well-advised to use the services of private clinics.
Relocating to Madeira: conclusions
Madeira is a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean that has unique natural landscapes and that makes everybody who visits the islands fall in love with the place. However, it is not going to suit everybody as a place of permanent residence. Madeira does not offer modern infrastructure and living there is very much like living in the countryside.
Relocating to Madeira is attractive for financial reasons, though. Real estate in Lisbon and Porto will qualify for participation in the ‘golden visa’ program only until the end of 2021 and if you would like to purchase property in some other Portuguese city, the required investment amount is 500,000 euros. If you choose to reside in Madeira, you will have to bring only 350,000 euros to the Portuguese economy.
If you are interested in acquiring a legal residence permit in Europe by immigrating to Madeira, please request a consultation with our investment immigration experts. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or use a messenger or our live chat to contact us. We will answer all your questions related to relocating to Madeira!