Portugal’s Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento – first introduced in 2012 and commonly known as the ‘Golden Visa’ – is a residence permit that provides qualifying individuals and their family with full rights to live, work and study in Portugal.
The Golden Visa Residence Permit (GVRP) also provides visa-free access throughout the Schengen Area of 26 European countries for 90 days within any 180 days and, after five years, the right to apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Portugal.
The GVRP is available through eight different types of investment, but the acquisition of real estate option was used for 9,265 of the 9,875 visas granted up to July 2021, according to the Portuguese border agency, the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF). Some 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 have to be revised. The amending legislation was published on the 12 February 2021.
The revised GVRP regime will come into force on 1 January 2022 and will only apply to applications submitted on or after this date. Existing GVRPs and their renewals, as well as the granting or renewal of associated residence permits for family reunification, are expressly ‘grandfathered’ under the current regime.
The principal changes, which apply to five of the eight investment options, can be summarised as follows:
- GVRP-qualifying residential real estate investments to be restricted to the interior of mainland Portugal, as well to the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. Residential real estate investments in designated metropolitan and coastal areas ¬– including Lisbon, Porto, the ‘Silver Coast’, and most of the Algarve – will no longer qualify.
- Minimum investment under the capital transfer option to increase from €1 million to €1.5 million.
- Minimum investment under the qualifying Investment Fund or Venture Capital Fund option to increase from €350,000 to €500,000
- Minimum investment under the qualifying scientific research option to increase from €350,000 to €500,000
- Minimum investment under the equity in qualifying Portuguese companies option to increase from €350,000 to €500,000
As a result, as of 1 January 2022, the GVRP can be obtained via the following investment routes:
- Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €1.5 million (previously €1 million);
- Formation of a single-member private limited company creating at least 10 sustainable employment positions based in Portugal.
- The purchase of residential, commercial or agricultural real estate with a minimum purchase value of €500,000. Qualifying residential real estate now restricted to the interior of mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. (Please see map below ). Reduced by 20% to €400,000, if the real estate is located in a designated area of low GDP or low population density;
- The purchase of residential, commercial or agricultural real estate, with construction dating back more than 30 years or located in urban regeneration areas, for refurbishing, with a minimum purchase value of €350,000. Qualifying residential real estate now restricted to the interior of mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores (Please see map below). Reduced by 20% to €280,000, if the real estate is located in a designated area of low GDP or low population density;
- Capital transfer with a value equal to or above €500,000 (previously €350,000) for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technologic system;
- Capital transfer (donation) with a value equal to or above €250,000 for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage, through the local and central authorities, public institutions, public corporate sector, public foundations, private foundations of public interest, networked local authorities, local corporate sector organisations, local associations and public cultural associations, pursuing activities of artistic output, and reconstruction or maintenance of the national heritage;
- Capital transfer of the amount of €500,000 (previously €350,000), or higher, for the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital fund of funds dedicated to the capitalisation of companies, capital injected under the Portuguese legislation, whose maturity, at the moment of the investment, is, at least, of five years and, at least, 60% of the investments is realised in commercial companies with head office in national territory;
- Capital transfer of the amount of €500,000 (previously €350,000), or higher, for constitution of a commercial society with head office in the national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent working jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial society with head office in national territory, already existing, with the creation or keeping of working jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years.
Advantages and benefits of the Portuguese Golden Visa
- Straightforward and flexible investment requirements.
- Extremely low minimum stay requirements – only seven days in the first year and 14 days during each of the two subsequent two-year periods, whether or not consecutive.
- Extendable to family members.
- Freedom to travel without a passport to all European countries that are part of the Schengen area for up to 90 days within any 180 days
- After 5 years of legal residence individuals can apply for permanent residency status in, or citizenship of Portugal. Additional qualifying criteria apply.
- No limitations on ownership of the selected investment.
- Access to all Portuguese public services, including health and education.No limitation on subsequent investments or employment opportunities.
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