Portugal’s Golden Visa Still Attracts Investors, but Changes are Afoot

Portugal’s Golden Visa program has proved to be one of the most popular schemes in Europe, attracting investors from across the globe.

With an investment of €500,000 (or €350,000 reduced option) in real estate in Portugal will gain a residency permit for a family including dependent children. The Golden Visa can be renewed every two years, providing the applicant spends two weeks in the country every two years.

And as Brexit continues to cause uncertainty for the future, UK buyers are also seeking to take advantage.

Changes to Portugal Golden Visa in 2021

However, from July 2021, the Portuguese government is introducing new rules which will block investors from buying in high density areas such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve.

While the official legislation is yet to be published, on December 22 2020 Portugal’s Council of Ministers approved an amendment in a decree-law which will change the parameters of where investors can acquire property to qualify for the Golden Visa – which offers non-EU nationals a route to Portuguese residency with an investment of €350,000 (for an existing home) or €500,000 (for a new-build).

The objective of the changes, which were announced in December 2020, are to spread foreign investment across Portugal, therefore benefitting other regions, specifically those which are low density. From July 2021, investment in coastal locations including Lisbon and Porto will no longer qualify.

Can I still buy now?

The good news is that the Portuguese government have stated that there will be a transition period. The Portuguese government have stated that existing way to obtain a Golden Visa under the current programme until 31st December 2021.

Effectively this provides non £U investors with an additional six months in which to purchase a property and make their application.

This means that there is currently a great opportunity for investors to purchase in the country’s most desirable locations to meet the July deadline.

Currently, the exact details of how the cut off deadline will work are unknown. However, several steps in the Golden Visa process could apply – from having signed a purchase agreement to having been granted the Visa.

Will changes to the golden Visa affect my existing investment?

No, the Minister of state made clear that already active ARI visas would not be affected by the changes.

Additionally for those purchasing properties in locations which still qualify for Golden Visa, the key benefits will remain the same – those benefits include

  • Free travel across the Schengen zone
  • Obtain a Portuguese passport for you and qualifying family members after 5 years
  • A minimum real estate investment of €350,000 or €500,000 is required
  • Only one application is required for the investor and their direct family
  • The Golden Visa process takes only 4-6 months to receive residency cards, allowing you and your family to work, live and study in Portugal
  • No relocation required

Are there other ways to get Portuguese residency?

While there has been a lot of focus on the Golden Visa, a further option is the D7 Visa, which has become known as the “retiree” visa, and it has a much wider scope.

The D7 Visa is available to those who can demonstrate that they have a minimum amount of resources required to support their lives in Portugal . Therefore, the D7 Visa does not oblige you to invest your money in Portugal, either in real estate or in any other modality, but also does not prevent you from doing so if you wish.

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