Update: New amendments to the Portuguese Golden Visa program are finally confirmed.

The package of laws designed to promote affordable housing (“Programa Mais Habitação”), which impacts the Golden Visa program, was recently approved on July 19th, 2023.

Since February 2023, the Portuguese Government has been pushing for the complete termination of the Golden Visa program. However, the program will not be scrapped altogether in a sudden change of heart. Nevertheless, the most popular investment route – acquiring real estate property – will be struck out. Investment in funds will likely become the most popular option.

Foreigners and non-residents are still allowed to acquire Portuguese real estate property without the benefit of eligibility for a Golden Visa. Several other investment options remain available.

The Golden Visa program allows foreign (non-European Union citizens) investors to legally reside in Portugal so long that some investment criteria are 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.

Which investment routes are terminated? 

The new law 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;
  3. Acquisition of participation units in investment funds investing in real estate.

The acquisition of real estate is excluded, including indirect investment in real estate via Portuguese-based collective investment vehicles, such as venture capital fundsHow to assess if a fund is deemed not to hold directly or indirectly real estate investments is yet to be determined.

Which investment routes are still available?

The following investment routes are still available:

  • 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.

*The investment activities still eligible for the Golden Visa cannot be conducted, directly or indirectly, for real estate investment.

The following capital contributions are also eligible for Golden Visa purposes but are generally considered non-yield-generating options:

  • 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.

The investment threshold may be reduced by 20% if the investment is conducted in low-density areas.

Will other residence programs be impacted?

Other routes for expatriates to relocate to Portugal, such as the D7 or the D8 residence permits, remain intact.

When will the new law enter into force?

The entry into force of the new law is the day following its official publication in the Republic’s Gazette, which should be contingent on the parliamentary law approval process. For more information, read this past article regarding the Golden Visa.

The new law will only apply to new applicants (ongoing applicants and renewals will not see any changes in their process).

Impact on current Golden Visa holders and applicants

Current Golden Visa holders and applicants are grandfathered in. The new amendments allow the possibility of renewing residence permits when these permits have been granted under the previous Golden Visa regime. Under the new law, all Golden Visa renewals will be continued under the previous Golden Visa rules. The latest and past investors will not have to comply with the general 183-day stay requirements to renew their residence authorizations.

The current Golden Visas will be automatically converted into the already established entrepreneur visa without the obligation of fulfilling the general staying requirements days for regular residence authorizations. Golden Visa holders must comply with a minimum permanency requirement of seven days during the first year and 14 days during the subsequent 2-year periods.

The reunification rights of family members remain the same.

On the possible refusal of Golden Visa issuance to citizens of specific jurisdictions

The new law provides for the possible refusal of the granting or renewal of residence permits to citizens of third countries (non-E.U.) subject to restrictive measures by the E.U.

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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