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October 27, 2020

From 2021, Portugal’s popular residency by investment programme, which offers an affordable route to Portuguese citizenship and EU membership and which has seen a record number of applications in 2020, will change its conditions, allowing applicants to invest in real estate only outside of Porto, Lisbon and the popular Algarve region.

This change to Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Programme, according to the recently held State Budget 2020, should have happened already, but the pandemic had postponed the final decision by government.

It means that from 2021, investors can only become residents under the country’s residency by investment programme if they choose real estate in Portugal’s less visited and popular countryside and not in the cities of Porto and Lisbon or other tourist-heavy areas, and these cities are available for investment via the programme until the end of this year.

This comes during a year that has seen the European city achieve a record number of Residency by Investment programme applicants, with the capital Lisbon and the second-largest city, Porto, proving particular hotspots due to the high profits that can be achieved from renting the properties for tourists all year round.

According to Vidaimobiliaria, “with the new changes, foreigners who intend to acquire an ARI through the acquisition of real estate will have to focus on the interior regions of the country, instead of the Litoral regions, where most of the investment is currently concentrated”.

This means that the government will exclude not only the tourist traps of Lisbon and Porto from the programme, but also beautiful settlements at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, such as the Algarve region which will also not qualify for the EU residence permit.

Portugal’s Golden Resident Permit Programme, which offers citizenship after five years of temporary residency, has been a popular choice for economic citizenship since its debut in 2012, offering an affordable route to eventual citizenship, and has become even more popular in 2020 due to the effects of both the pandemic and with the Brexit situation looming.

Once a citizen, after five years of residency (owning property there, but not having to live there), you get not only the ability to study, live, travel and work in any fo the EU member states, but you obtain one of the world’s most powerful passport. Ranked as 7th in the world, according to the latest Henley Passport Index Q4 2020, the passport allows citizens to travel visa-free to an incredible 186 countries.

Potential citizens must spend some time on Portuguese soil during the five-year residency period in order to obtain citizenship – seven days in the first year and 14 days for the subsequent two-year periods.

Portugal delivers a safe and stable environment with a focus on family and offers first-rate educational and medical facilities and systems. 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, though the real estate purchase option continues to be the most popular. 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.

Applicants via the programme have the choice of investing €280,000 in real estate that has been built more than 30 years ago and is located outside of the major cities; €350,000 in real estate built more than 30 years ago; €400,000 in real estate outside major cities.

To find out more about the programme, read our country profile by clicking here