On 12 February 2021, the Portuguese government announced that it had approved amendments to the tighten the qualifying investment options under the Golden Visa Residency Permit (GVRP) programme.
First introduced in 2012 and commonly known as the ‘Golden Visa’, the GVRP is a fast track route for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal. The GVRP provides qualifying individuals and their family with full rights to live, work and study in Portugal. It also provides visa-free access throughout the Schengen Area of 26 European countries and, after five years, the right to apply for permanent residency and then citizenship in Portugal.
The principal amendments, which are to be effective as from 1 January 2022, are as follows:
A. Increasing the minimum amounts for Qualifying Investment Options
- Capital Investment – Investment via a bank deposit, the purchase shares in a Portuguese company or the incorporation of a single-member private limited company is to be increased from a minimum of €1 million to €1.5 million;
- Investment Funds – Investment in Portugal-regulated funds dedicated to the capitalisation of companies is to be increased from a minimum of €350,000 to a €500,000;
- Job Creation – Investment to incorporate a new private company or increase the share capital of an existing company with a registered office in Portugal, together with the creation of five permanent jobs for at least three years, is to be increased from a minimum of €350,000 to €500,000;
- Scientific Investment – Investment in an accredited institution to benefit the national scientific and technological infrastructure is to be increased from a minimum of €350,000 to €500,000.
B. Restricting the scope of the Residential Real Estate Option
From 1 January 2022, GVRP applicants will no longer be able to make a qualifying investment in Lisbon and Porto, the two largest cities of Portugal, or anywhere in the coastal regions of the mainland, which includes the Algarve and Silver Coast.
The aim of the amendment is to encourage increased foreign direct investment in low-density areas. GVRP applicants will only be able to make qualifying residential real estate investments – minimum €500,000 (or €350,000 for a renovation project) – in the interior of mainland Portugal (designated municipalities are shown on the map below) or in the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores.
Anyone submitting a GVRP application before the 1 January 2022 will qualify under the current rules, so it is important to act now if you want to take advantage of the enhanced qualifying investment options while they are still available.
After five years of legal residency in Portugal, it is possible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. GVRP holders are only required to be present in Portugal for seven days per year to maintain GVRP immigrant status and be eligible for citizenship. This is highly exceptional and there is pressure from other EU member states for Portugal to change. We believe it is unlikely that Portugal will be permitted to continue with this arrangement in the long term, so speed may also be of the essence if you want to take advantage of this special EU entry option.
Sovereign – Consultoria, an established local presence
Sovereign first established an office in Lagoa, in the Algarve region on Portugal’s south coast, in 1998 and has developed a large client base of foreign individuals and companies with interests in Portugal. With a full complement of qualified accountants and bilingual administrative staff, Sovereign – Consultoria is able to deliver rapid and accurate advice and assistance to our clients.
All-inclusive GVRP application processing service from the comfort of your home
Please click on the following link for an overview of the GVRP-related services that we are able to initiate and complete prior to your need to travel to Portugal:
Please get in contact to arrange a phone call or video conference with one our experienced advisers if you would like to receive further information about the GVRP programme and/or to discuss your options in detail.