Credited with an investment of 5.2 billion euros from non-EU citizens, the Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme is an overseas investor programme. Introduced in 2012, the “Golden Visa” was granted with an investment in Portugal of over €500,000 or the creation of 10 jobs.
It successfully created mini property booms in prime real estate locations that forced property prices up, making property unaffordable for locals. Under pressure from opposition parties, the Portuguese Parliament approved changes to the legislation in February 2021, which will be implemented from January 2022.
If you are considering an investment in Portugal from outside the EU, you should be aware of the changes to the legislation.
According to the Portuguese border agency, the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) up Until July 2021, the purchase of real estate was used for 9,265 of the 9,875 visas granted up to July 2021. It is reported that 16,762 residence permits have also been granted to family members.
As a result, the Portuguese government announced as part of the 2020 Budget that the Golden Visa regime would be modified. The new legislation amending the Golden Visa programme was published on 12 February 2021.
You will no longer be able to purchase property in major cities such as Lisbon or Porto or in the popular coastal towns of the mainland, such as the Silver Coast and the Algarve, under this scheme.
The Golden Visa Investment and Venture Capital Fund is a residence visa offered to members of the Schengen area or outside the EU who have made a significant investment in Portugal. To qualify, the fund needs to be registered in Portugal with at least 60% of the capital invested in Portugal.
Investors can inject money directly into real estate, including hotels, commercial, retail and student accommodation or into an urban regeneration area. You can also qualify by investing in research activities in science or technology by either public or private, scientific research institutions or by making capital transfer of at least €1 million in a Portuguese bank account.
The Golden Visa Residence Permit (GVRP) guarantees visa-free access to the Schengen Area of 26 European countries for 90 days in any 180 days while only being required to stay in Portugal for seven days every year. Subsequently, after five years, visa-holders have the right to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal. It is also extendable to family members, including your spouse, dependent children and parents. You don’t need to reside in Portugal full-time to renew the visa.
You are only required to spend seven days in the first year in Portugal. Fourteen days must be spent in the country during each of the two subsequent two-year periods, but they do not need to be consecutive.
Visa holders are exempt from paying tax on worldwide income if they live in Portugal for less than 183 days per tax year. The Golden Visa also gives tax efficiencies on dividends and capital gains. Taxes can be reduced or exempt, depending on your tax status and the fund.
The Portuguese Securities Markets Commission (CMVM), Bank of Portugal and the tax authorities all regulate your funds and ensure they are in compliance with strict rules and are being managed properly.
The Golden Visa allows you to access Portuguese public services, including health and education. There is no limitation on subsequent investments or employment opportunities.
Applicants can obtain the Golden Visa via the following investment routes:
To apply for a Golden Visa you will need to do the following. You do not have to apply for the visa in person. If you are not in Portugal, you can give Power of Attorney (POA) to a legal representative to apply on your behalf.
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