Residency Planning – if one door closes, another opens

The Portuguese government issued – after an extended public hearing period – the final draft of its controversial ‘More Housing’ (Mais Habitação) Bill on 30 March, which directly impacts on the country’s Golden Visa (GV) programme.

The HQA Visa offers an alternative to the Golden Visa for Residency-by-Investment in Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa changes

Whilst the Bill has yet to be voted into law, the Prime Minister has clearly signalled his intention to stop the GV in its current format.

There has been a great deal of speculation and it is likely to be some time before we have certainty over pending applications and any future investment-related visa programmes in Portugal. The government has, however, said that, going forward, it only intends to accept investments into activities that provide added economic, scientific or cultural value.

As stated in previous articles, the Residency and Citizenship (R&C) planning sector is continuously evolving with the creation of new government programmes, the incorporation of additional options and benefits within existing programmes, or the removal of those that are no longer considered beneficial to the economy or society.

The withdrawal of the real estate investment options under Portugal’s GV programme does not therefore mean the end of all opportunities for those who wish to emigrate, to create an alternate residency or citizenship, or to benefit from greater personal or business opportunities.


Sovereign’s alternative R&C solutions in Portugal

The Sovereign Group provides all-encompassing R&C planning services across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.  We can also offer alternative R&C solutions in Portugal – but to find out if they are applicable, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you an experienced businessperson or entrepreneur?
  2. Would you like to engage and/or work with highly experienced incubation partners and university teams to identify, research and develop, and implement your next business opportunity, expansion and/or intellectual property (IP)?
  3. Would you like to establish a European company that adds significant value to your existing business operations?
  4. Would you also like to benefit from obtaining residency rights for you and your family, within a country that is continuously voted one of Europe’s most attractive countries in which to live.

If your answer is ‘yes’ to the above questions, then you should be considering Portugal’s Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa Programme.


Portugal’s Highly Qualified Activity (HQA) Visa Programme

Created for highly qualified professionals and entrepreneurs, this business incubation programme provides qualifying non-European investors and their family with full rights to live, work and study in Portugal – with a minimum investment requirement of just €185,000.

Designed for applicants who wish to launch and provide strategic direction to an innovative business in Portugal, applicants under the HQA Visa Programme can choose whether they want to be active or passive within the business.

Applicants are assigned an experienced mentor/incubation partner to assist and coordinate their residency visa applications, business idea formulation, business establishment and management, as well as the development of research and development projects.


Key benefits of the HQA Visa Programme

The HQA Visa Programme offers the following benefits:

  • Fast visa processing with permits issued in three to four months
  • Applicants may include their spouse/partner, dependent children and/or parents*
  • Visa-free travel throughout the European Schengen area for 90 days in any 180 days
  • Three years of professional business research, development and incubation services provided by experienced third-party incubation service providers, in conjunction with Portuguese universities.
  • Applicants can choose whether to be active or passive within the business
  • Own a Portugal-based company and enjoy the benefits and simplified administrative procedure of trading within EU member states
  • Any R&D-driven intellectual property will be owned by the applicant’s company
  • No targets for job creation or business performance
  • Flexible ‘time-in-country’ requirements
  • Holders will qualify to apply for permanent residency or citizenship after five years**
  • Holders who choose to reside in Portugal permanently can take advantage of the significant tax advantages provided under the non-habitual residency (NHR) programme

* Additional application and legal fees apply.

** To qualify, applicants must also meet the minimum language and legal requirements.

For further information, to discuss your requirements or to determine whether you could qualify for the HQA or another residency and citizenship programme, please contact Sovereign’s R&C Planning team at:


Contact Ceri Pratley
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