The Portuguese Golden Visa remains, but missing its most popular part to date

Since February 2023, the Portuguese Government has been pushing for the complete termination of the Golden Visa program. Terminating the Golden Visa was part of a package of laws designed to promote affordable housing (“Programa Mais Habitação”).

After much (and sometimes heated) debate, which involved realtors, bankers, lawyers and service providers, the intention to terminate the only residence by investment program in Portugal endured against all criticism.

However, in a sudden change of heart, and some would say in the Government’s agenda, the program will not be scrapped altogether.

The Portuguese Golden Visa program has been highly successful, reaching the seven billion Euro investment milestone in May 2023. Real estate transactions account for most investments, eclipsing all other alternative investment routes. Continuing a trend that grew stronger during the Covid-19 pandemic due to travel restrictions, the investment fund option raised twice as much capital as in 2022.

The Golden Visa program allows foreign investors to legally reside in Portugal so long that some investment criteria were met, namely having locked in an eligible investment for five years and complying with unique minimum stay requirements instead of the “standard” 183-day stay rule applicable to other residence permits.

Nevertheless, changes will be introduced, and the most popular investment route – acquiring real estate property – will be struck out.

 

What changes?

The new bill excludes from the eligible investments list:

  1. The acquisition of real estate;
  2. The deposit of capital or investment into financial products valued in excess of 1.5 million Euros.

This simply means that acquiring a property (residential or commercial) in Portugal will no longer be a way of obtaining the Golden Visa.

 

What is safeguarded?

All other investment routes will be kept unchanged, as follows:

  • Transfer of capital in excess of 500,000 Euros to acquire participation units in venture capital funds, with a maturity date of 5 years, investing at least 60% in Portuguese companies’ capital.
  • Employing ten individuals.
  • Transfer of capital of 500,000 Euros for the incorporation or capitalization of a Portuguese company, combined with the creation of 5 jobs for a minimum of three years.
  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 250,000 Euros to invest in or support art production, or the restoration and maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services carried out by a range of public or private entities.
  • Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 500,000 Euros for scientific research purposes.

In summary, the Government merely restricted the options to obtain a Golden Visa.

 

What happens if the bill is approved?

This bill becomes Law when the Portuguese Parliament approves it. If approved, the new Law will only apply to new applicants (ongoing applicants and renewals will not see any changes in their process).

 

Want to know more?

To know more about the current eligible investments for Golden Visa purposes, please follow this link.

We had previously expressed our concerns in another article about the legality of the proposed bill, available here.

 

Want to apply for a Golden Visa?

If you still wish to apply for a Golden Visa under the available routes, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible. Our team is available to assist you and your family with all the necessary immigration, investment structuring, corporate and tax aspects associated with investing in Portugal.

 

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