The Portugal Golden Visa Scheme has been a great success but changes come into effect from January 1 2022 which means the scheme will no longer apply to popular destinations such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve.
The Golden Visa – available to those outside the European Union – will still be available after this date, but investors would need to purchase property in less popular areas which tend to be inland and with low populations.
The good news for fans of the coastal region of the Algarve, famous for its beaches and golf courses, is that some parts were spared from the changes. Tourist developments – including resorts with residences, apartments and villas – are also exempt from the changes. The autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores are also exempt.
Most looking to qualify for a Golden Visa invest through residential property – with minimum investments of up to €500,000 required, depending on the type of property and location.
PORTUGAL RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
- Minimum outlay €250,000
- Processing time 2 months to residency (5 years to citizenship)
- Residency or travel requirements 35 days over 5 years
- Freedom of movement 186 countries
- Investment Options 8
Overview Foreigners can obtain residency by investing in Portugal and subsequently (and quite quickly) apply for citizenship. Unveiled in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Program has been updated a number of times over the years. Up until July 2019, the programme had brought more than €4.7 billion in direct investment into Portugal with some 7,700 investors benefiting. The programme, which has proven to be one of the most popular CIPs in Europe, offers citizenship after five years of temporary residency and offers eight investment options. Compared to obtaining citizenship of other European countries, such as Austria and Malta, Portugal offers a fairly simple second citizenship route and is considered to be the fastest, easiest and cheapest along with Greece.
Pros Considered to be one of the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get EU citizenship, a Portuguese passport gives you visa-free access to a huge number of countries (186), making it one of the most powerful passports in the world. While potential citizens must reside in Portugal during the five-year residency period, which leads to citizenship, it only requires seven days in the first year and 14 days for the subsequent two-year periods: a great plus if you don’t wish to live there permanently but want to access the benefits of EU residency. Portugal delivers a safe and stable environment with a focus on family. Investors can receive a 10-year tax exemption or low tax on most non-Portugal-sourced incomes, via NHR status. There are eight investment options to choose from. Citizenship is extendable to family members, including spouse or legal partner; children under 18 years; dependent children under 26 years (if unmarried and full-time students); parents of spouses (if over 66 or over 55 and dependent); and siblings under 18 years. The country offers affordable and diverse real estate offerings and investors can earn good ROI from properties due to Portugal’s burgeoning economy and super-healthy tourism industry.
Cons It takes five years to gain citizenship and investors must reside in Portugal for at least 35 days during those five years. You must have basic proficiency in the Portuguese language. Real estate in the main centres of Portugal, the cities of Lisbon and Porto, will no longer be eligible for investment under a new government guideline, coming later in 2020. Watch this space.
USP Currently, the easiest, fastest and cheapest European / EU country of which to obtain citizenship.
Ease of processing Residency, via a residency permit, is granted to applicants following an investment of at least €250,000 in real estate or another government-approved option. Residents must hold a residency permit for five years in order to be granted citizenship. During the five years, residents must reside in the country for a total minimum of 35 days, seven days in the first year and 14 days in subsequent two-year periods. Residents will also need to complete a Portuguese language citizenship test. After five years with the Portuguese investment visa, applicants can apply for a passport.
Freedom of movement Once a citizen, Portugal offers a first-class European passport with visa-free access to 186 countries, including being able to work, live and study freely in all 27 member states of the EU. Dependent children and parents will also qualify for the same benefits.
Investment options 8
PORTUGAL RBI INVESTMENTS
There are eight residency investments options, all of which must be kept for a minimum of five years.
Option 1 Transfer of at least €1 million to Portugal
Option 2 Creation of 10 new full-time jobs within a Portuguese business in the form of a single-member limited company. Can be only eight jobs if in a low-density area.
Option 3 An investment in real estate of at least €500,000 anywhere in Portugal but can be just €400,000 if located in a low-density area.
Option 4 An investment in real estate and its rehabilitation. Applicants must invest in eligible properties that are more than 30 years old and are located in designated areas of urban rehabilitation and must be at least €350,000 (property price + ex-VAT value of rehab work contract) or €280,000 if in a low-density area.
Option 5 An investment of minimum €250,000 into the conservation of national heritage, arts and culture.
Option 6 An investment of minimum €350,000 in research conducted by accredited institutions as part of the national scientific and technological system.
Option 7 An investment of at least €350,000 into an existing Portugal-registered business and create five full-time permanent jobs for a minimum period of three years.
Option 8 A minimum investment of €350,000 into a private equity fund.