Explained – The Portugal Golden Visa Program 2022


Changes to the Portugal Golden Visa in 2022 placed geographical restrictions on buying property in densely populated areas. However, there are alternatives to buying in rural areas which allow overseas investors to purchase property in prime locations such as Lisbon and Porto.

The Portugal Golden Visa (GV) is one of the most popular residency-by-investment programs in the world. Since its inception in 2012, thousands of families have successfully relocated to Portugal.

Obtaining a Golden Visa has many advantages; it allows families to live and work in Portugal and travel freely around the Schengen Zone. It presents an opportunity to the best schools and universities in Portugal and Europe whilst at the same time permitting visa free access to several countries including the USA, Canada and Japan. The GV program requires applicants to stay in Portugal for a minimum of 14 days every two years and after five years you can apply for full citizenship.

Prior to 2022 the rules for GV application were fairly straightforward; investors who bought a property in Portugal with €500k cash down could apply. However, in 2022 the rules changed and to make sense of these adjustments we thought it would be helpful to summarise things and explain the resulting changes in buying trends we are seeing from our clients.

What has changed?

Whilst GV applicants can still buy a residential property with €500,000 cash down as they could before, there are geographical restrictions on where you can buy. The limitations include densely populated areas, effectively meaning the popular coastal areas and big cities now no longer qualify for GV purposes. Only less densely populated towns and areas qualify which forces investment in the lesser developed parts of the country.

The map below shows the regions in red which no longer qualify.


So what is the alternative to buying in rural areas?

For derelict urban buildings aged over 30 years, clients can invest less—only €350,000 cash—and benefit from Golden Visa eligibility in the prime areas of Lisbon and Porto. In this instance, investors buy an apartment for touristic purposes and generate a return on investment alongside consistent capital growth and rental income. Investors own the apartment in their name and hold the deed without complexity. Clients can apply for the Golden Visa straight away and secure this ahead of completion.

For these reasons, investors are taking this lower cost, more profitable route which is why we have identified projects that fit this profile. One of those is Passos Manuel in central Lisbon. Investors can buy fully furnished touristic apartments at €350,000 and benefit from Golden Visa eligibility and consistent net rental income through our management team, Numa Stays.

Passos Manuel

Passos Manuel is located in a premium neighbourhood in Lisbon that was recently awarded the “coolest neighbourhood in Europe”. The development comprises of 72 freehold apartments; a mixture of studio and one-bedroom layouts spread across 7 floors. Apartments are priced from €350,000 and Golden Visa eligible.

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