Portugal has one of the most popular Residency by Investment programs across the globe and for good reason. We look at why this is the case, what the new changes to the program mean, and how it will impact investors
Portugal has one of the most successful and sought-after Residency by Investment programs in the world. Since the introduction of the Portugal Golden Visa program in October 2012 in response to the Eurozone financial crisis of 2010, there have been over 10,000 applications processed and in excess of €6 billion raised in direct foreign investment (FDI).
There is no doubt that Portugal’s desirability has played a major role in the program’s success, with a warm climate all year around, a safe and secure environment and multicultural society. However, the unique nature of the program’s residency requirements have to be the biggest advantage of all.
Portugal’s Golden Visa program allows one to invest in Portugal and apply for residency of the country. The process usually takes 6 to 9 months, depending on the investment route chosen. Once the residency has been granted, it allows the applicant and their family to live, work and study in Portugal, as well as giving them the freedom to move visa free across Europe. After having the residency visa for 5 years, the applicant and their family become eligible to apply for Citizenship of Portugal, and with it, the ability to live, work and study anywhere in Europe.
This may sound similar to many residency programs globally, however the big difference with Portugal is that, to maintain the residency visa over the first 5 years, all applicants are only required to be in Portugal for a minimum of 7 days per year in the country. Meaning you do not have to make Portugal your main home to qualify for residency or citizenship thereafter!
The success of the program to date has seen the majority of the €6 billion FDI come into the major cities of Lisbon and Porto. As such, the Portuguese government has implemented new measures to diversify investment across the country, namely the interior regions.
From 1st January 2022, the following changes will be made to qualifying property investment for the Portuguese Golden Visa:
- Investors will not be able to buy residential property in Lisbon, Porto, Setubal and the Silver Coast.
- Qualifying property will only be available in designated interior regions of the country. The qualifying property purchase cost will remain between €280,000 – €500,000, depending on the region and type of property purchased.
- Applicants can still purchase commercial property anywhere in Portugal, including Lisbon and Porto.
The changes being brought in will not slow down the applications for Portugal’s Golden Visa, moreover, it will help accelerate growth in regions of Portugal that would not normally see FDI. This can only be good for the country as a whole, and continue its rise in popularity as one of the most desirable citizenships on earth.
Windsor Capital Management is a specialist advisory firm, assisting global citizens with their Citizenship and Residency requirements.
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