Late last year, the government of Portugal announced that they were interested in amending the country’s Golden Visa Program. In March 2020, it was announced that these amendments were put on hold due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and would be reconsidered once the world was in a more stable condition.
Recently, the Portuguese government has given the go-ahead for significant changes to be made to the Golden Visa program – which will possibly be implemented at the start of 2021. Simply put, the amendments will prohibit Golden Visa applicants to invest in Lisbon and Porto.
In This Article
- What is the Portugal Golden Visa Program?
- What Changes Are Being Made to the Program?
- What Does This Mean for Potential Investors?
- Why Apply for a Portugal Golden Visa?
- Book A Free Consultation?
To ensure that you have the utmost clarity on what these new amendments mean for prospective investors, we take a closer look at the changes being made to the Portugal Golden Visa Program for early 2021.
What is the Portugal Golden Visa Program?
Launched in October 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa program is a legal naturalization process based on the law that invites foreign investors from non-European Union countries to obtain fully-valid residence permits in Portugal for themselves and their families. The program is one of the most popular of its kind in the world due to the ease of application, straightforward process and minimal residency requirement.
The program consists of a few simple steps and requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age, in good health, possess no criminal record, have legitimate investment sources and successfully pass due diligence checks. Within a timeframe of 6 months, applicants will receive their new residency permit.
Once residency is obtained in Portugal, individuals have the right to live, work and study in the country as well as gain visa-free access to the Schengen Area. The program is particularly popular as it provides a path to citizenship.
What Changes Are Being Made to the Program?
The Portugal Golden Visa program offers several RBI options to legally obtain permanent residency in the country. These options range from capital transfers and funding important research in the country to generating jobs and investing in local businesses.
However, 90% of applicants choose to buy property in Portugal as a means of real estate investment. This is largely due to Portugal having one of the highest rates for immigration and tourism in Europe – due to its year-round warm weather, stable economy, vibrant culture, beautiful architecture and high standard of living – with Forbes magazine recently ranking the country as one of the top destinations in the world to live after the global pandemic. It is not difficult to see how purchasing property in Portugal can be a valuable asset.
The changes that are being made to the Portugal Golden Visa program, possibly at the start of 2021, will see the removal of real estate investments in the popular cities of Lisbon and Porto. This will mean that from 2021 onwards, individuals will no longer be able to purchase property in these states as the qualifying investment for Portugal residency.
What Does This Mean for Potential Investors in Portugal?
Individuals will still be able to make the qualifying investments for residency in real estate or any other alternative option outside of Lisbon and Porto. These alternatives include:
- Investing €280,000 in qualifying investments in low-density areas that have strong local and international investor demand. Few locations qualify for this legislation and some of these projects even offer guaranteed returns and buyback.
- Invest in real estate worth €350,000 or €500,000 in other Portuguese cities outside of Lisbon and Porto.
However, if you are interested in buying a property in one of these two cities, we would advise you to begin your application and apply to the program within 2 months before the new regulations come into effect. The government of Portugal has provided no definitive date, as of yet, to when these changes will be made. The current expectation is that they will proceed with the removal of Lisbon and Porto from the program in the early new year.
Why Apply for a Portugal Golden Visa?
- Strong real estate market: Analysis by property specialists Knight Frank identifies Lisbon, along with Monaco, Vienna and Shanghai, as the “only four major prime residential markets set to see growth throughout the remainder of 2020”.
- Minimal residency requirements: You are only required to visit Portugal for 7 days per year.
- Safety & stability: Portugal is the third safest and most peaceful country in the world.
- Pathway to citizenship: When investors fulfil all the residency program requirements and learn Portuguese up to a basic level, they are then eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years.
- High-ranked passport: The Portuguese passport is ranked in the top 5 passports in the world for ease of travel.
- Freedom of movement: As a Golden Visa resident of Portugal, investors are also classified as a resident of the European Union. They will gain freedom of movement without restrictions in the Schengen Area.
- Health & Education: Investors and their families can enjoy quality education in schools and universities and world-class healthcare across Portugal and Europe.
- Ease of travel: Once residents of Portugal obtain citizenship, they can enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to over 185 countries and territories, including the USA, Canada and Australia.
Book A Free Consultation
We are aware that these changes might cause confusion in potential investors and cause them to be hesitant in making decisions. When applying to any Residency by Investment program, please be sure to render the services of a government authorized agent and advisor like Savory & Partners. The internet is rife with fraudulent companies offering scams that promise citizenship or residency within an implausible timeframe and at an impossibly low price. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Savory & Partners is a government-approved agency that specializes in high-net-worth individuals applying to any Citizenship or Residency by Investment program. We are a British Authorised Agent with decades of experience who has helped over 1,100 families obtain second citizenship and have a 100% success rate.
If you are considering applying to the Portugal Golden Visa Program before these changes are implemented or would like to know more about the situation, do not hesitate to contact us for a free online consultation. All of our team members have at least 5 years of experience in Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs.
We are available on every channel convenient for you.