Portuguese Golden Visa Changes Postponed Until 2022

Launched in 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa programme has since been one of the most popular schemes in Europe with many investors attracted by its flexibility and benefits. The programme enables non-EU/EEA citizens to obtain a special residence permit in exchange for an investment in Portugal.

Changes by the Portuguese government initially scheduled for the 1st of July this year now won’t happen until 1st January 2022 meaning that foreign investors looking to apply for a Golden Visa get an additional 6 months to take advantage of the programme.

The Portuguese government is looking to maintain the considerable investment it has seen since the introduction of the programme. The total investment (to 31st January 2021) has been over €5.6 Billion with 90% of that being invested in real estate property.

Over 9,400 applications have been made with an additional 16,100 dependants accompanying them. The vast majority of applications have come from China with significant numbers also coming from Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia.

Just over 540 applications have been made via investment by transferring capital, accounting for over €540 million of the total.

Portugal golden visa landscape

The decision to delay the changes to the programme is part of Portugal’s plan for economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. With property development being crucial for the Portuguese economy the scheme, requiring a minimum investment of €500,000, has led to a property boom in Lisbon, Porto and The Algarve.

The economy in Portugal has seen a reduction of 8.1% over the past year, undoing much of the previous 12 years hard work which saw unemployment levels drop to a record 4%. It is hoped that this move will reduce some of the pressure on the Portuguese government, encouraging international investors to buy, live and spend their money in Portugal.

The current investment requirements, now extended until 2022, to get a Golden Visa in Portugal and claim Portuguese residency are at least one of the following:

  • Capital transfer of at least €1 million into Portugal
  • Create at least 10 job positions in Portugal
  • Purchase property in Portugal worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 reduced option, see below)
  • Acquire real estate in Portuguese urban regeneration areas at least 30 years old to the value of at least €350,000
  • Investing at least €350,000 in scientific research in Portugal
  • Investments of €250,000 or more in Portuguese arts, culture, and heritage
  • Investing at least €500,000 in small – and medium-sized businesses in Portugal

Here is a summary of the key changes to the investment options which will come into effect in January 2022:

Programme’s qualifying options under capital transfers or business Investment amount at present Investment amount from 1 Jan 2022
Capital transfer into a Portuguese bank account or specifically approved investment options Min. EUR 1 mil Min. EUR 1.5 mil
Research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system EUR 350,000 EUR 500,000
Support of artistic production or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage EUR 250,000   no change  
Acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds committed to the capitalization of companies incorporated under the Portuguese law EUR 350,000 EUR 500,000
Incorporation or increase of the share capital of a company that is registered in Portugal, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for a period of three years EUR 350,000 EUR 500,000

It is possible to obtain the golden visa through a reduced investment of €350,000 into real estate requiring renovation.

However, residential properties will soon be limited to the Azores, Madeira or any of the interior regions of the country. Investors looking to purchase a second home in Lisbon and Porto or in coastal areas will no longer be considered eligible under the Golden Visa law.

Commercial properties in Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve (offices, stores, hotels) will continue to be considered eligible investments. As always, projects need to be approved by SEF as qualifying for the reduced investment amount.

Why not download our factsheet to learn more about Portugal, the benefits of second residency, taxation benefits and the Golden Visa application process. Alternatively, our experts can guide you through your residency journey, helping you obtain your Golden Visa.

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