Amendments to the Portuguese Golden Visa

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Comprehensive amendments to the Portuguese Golden Visa

Several Portuguese economic sectors looked with anticipation and dread to possible amendments to the Portuguese Golden Visa regime. The sense of urgency is now present when considering applying for EU residency under this program.

The Portuguese Government discussed the possibility of changing the Golden Visa regime since 2019. When the Parliament enacted the State Budget for 2020, it authorized the Portuguese Government to amend the regime framework of the ARI (Autorização de Residência para Investimento), also known as the Golden Visa. The authorization, grafted into the State Budget, allowed the Government to amend the law to favor investment in low-density regions and investment in urban requalification, in cultural heritage, in high environmental or social value activities, in productive assets, and fostering job creation.

Now, Decree-Law 14/2021, of 2021-02-12 introduced several changes to successful residency by investment program. The changes focus on minimum investment thresholds and geographic restrictions. The increase in minimum thresholds was transversal to most types of investments.

Although the Portuguese Government hinted in a past Cabinet Resolution that changes would be in force in July 2021, the actual change will apply only on the first day of 2022. Furthermore, a transition period is absent.

The new changes will enter into force on January 1st, 2022, and will only apply to Golden Visa applications submitted after that date. The same rules will apply to renewals.

 

List of Golden Visa eligible investments in force in 2021

Until December 31st, 2021, the following investments are eligible for applying for a Golden Visa.

 

Real Estate Investments 2021

  1. Acquisition of real estate worth at least 500,000 Euros; or
  2. The acquisition of real estate for a minimum purchase price of 350,000 Euros, if the property is at least 30 years old or is located within an urban regeneration area and the buyer refurbishes it; or
  3. The acquisition of real estate for a minimum purchase price of 280,000 Euros, if the requirements in ii. are met, and the property is located in an eligible zone.

 

Capital Investments 2021

  1. Bank deposit/investment into financial products and in Portuguese public debt instruments valued in excess of 1 million Euros; or
  2. Acquisition of shares in commercial companies for 1 million Euros; or
  3. Transfer of capital in excess of 350,000 Euros to acquire participation units in venture capital funds, with a maturity date of 5 years, investing at least 60% in Portuguese companies’ capital.

 

Business Investments 2021

  1. Creation of a business employing ten individuals; or
  2. Transfer of capital of 350,000 Euros for the incorporation or capitalization of a Portuguese company, combined with the creation of 5 jobs for a minimum of three years; or

 

Arts & Science Patronage 2021

  1. Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 250,000 Euros, to invest in or support art production, or the restoration and maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services carried out by a range of public or private entities; or
  2. Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 350,000 Euros for scientific research purposes.

 

List of Golden Visa eligible investments in force in 2022 onwards

The new list of eligible investments promotes investment in inland areas, urban requalification, cultural heritage, activities of high environmental or social value, productive investment, and job creation.

This list will apply from January 1st, 2022 onwards.

 

Real Estate Investments 2022

  1. Acquisition of real estate worth at least 500,000 Euros; or
  2. The acquisition of real estate for a minimum purchase price of 350,000 Euros, if the property is at least 30 years old or is located within an urban regeneration area and the buyer refurbishes it; or
  3. The acquisition of real estate for a minimum purchase price of 280,000 Euros, if the requirements in ii. are met, and the property is located in an eligible zone.

 

From January 2022 onwards, not all properties will qualify for a Golden Visa eligible investment. Eligibility will be restricted to the Azores and Madeira Autonomous Regions or inland districts, as per specific ordinances. Investment in commercial property is not geographically limited.

 

Capital Investments 2022

  1. Bank deposit/investment into financial products and in Portuguese public debt instruments valued in excess of 1.5 million Euros; or
  2. Acquisition of shares in commercial companies for 1.5 million Euros; or
  3. Transfer of capital in excess of 500,000 Euros to acquire participation units in venture capital funds, with a maturity date of 5 years, investing at least 60% in Portuguese companies’ capital.

All investment thresholds have been raised.

 

Business Investments 2022

  1. Creation of a business employing ten individuals; or
  2. Transfer of capital of 350,000 Euros for the incorporation or capitalization of a Portuguese company, combined with the creation of 5 jobs for a minimum of three years; or

Incorporating a company is still an eligible investment, but the required initial capitalization has increased to Euro 500,000 Euros.

 

Arts & Science Patronage 2022

  1. Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 250,000 Euros, to invest in or support art production, or the restoration and maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services carried out by a range of public or private entities; or
  2. Transfer of capital in the minimum amount of 500,000 Euros for scientific research purposes.

 

Portuguese Golden Visa benefits

The benefits of the Golden Visa are kept unchanged.

Golden Visa Residency Permit holders may reside in Portugal. They can also travel to other European Union and Schengen area countries (and other territories with open borders within Europe) such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, San Marino, and the Vatican.

Flexibility is part of the appeal of this residency scheme. Golden Visa Residency Permit holders must stay in Portugal for as few as seven days per year during the first year and as few as 14 days in the following two-year periods – 35 days in a five-year period.

The Golden Visa also grants the right to family regrouping, the possibility to request a permanent residence permit in Portugal after five years and does not constitute an obstacle to applying for Portuguese citizenship (further requirements must be met) after five years.

The maintenance of an eligible investment is mandatory for Golden Visa Residency Permit purposes. As long as the investment is secured in Portugal, the Golden Visa Residency Permit does not expire, provided it is renewed.

Applicants may divest without any penalties other than the termination of the Golden Visa Residency Permit.

The Portuguese Government is frequently reviewing the legal framework relevant to these affairs.

 

Should you require our assistance regarding these matters, please contact us.

Disclaimer

This publication or document contains general information and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide legal or tax advice or services. It should not be acted on or relied upon or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. Professional legal advice should be requested for specific cases. We do not undertake any continuing obligation to advise on future legal amendments, or of the impact on the conclusions herein. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The contents of this publication or document may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express consent of GFDL.

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