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Golden Visa for foreign investors in Portugal from 2022 with significantly more restrictions

Golden Visa, Golden Visa for foreign investors in Portugal from 2022 with significantly more restrictions

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Starting January 1, 2022, the Portuguese government will change the rules for the Golden Visa. This scheme allows foreigners who invest in the country to become permanent residents after five years of keeping the invested money in the country.

The purchase of residential property in the country, one of the most popular modalities for Brazilians, will be more restricted.

The program eliminates Lisbon, Porto, and parts of the Algarve as areas eligible for purchasing houses and apartments. However, the minimum investment value for real estate, currently 500,000 Euros, will not be changed.

residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and some regions of the Algarve will no longer be eligible for the visa
Residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and some regions of the Algarve will no longer be eligible for the visa. (Photo internet reproduction)

In other modalities, investment values will increase by up to 50%. This is the case of investment funds, which will be increased from 350,000 euros to 500,000 euros.

Below are the changes in the principal investment modalities:

  • Investments in investment funds increase from EUR 350,000 to EUR 500,000.
  • Acquisition of residential property (value) 500,000 EUR = No change, but residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and some regions of the Algarve will no longer be eligible for the visa

Considering that the values are in euros, and for those who want to buy a property in the most appreciated regions of the country, the changes are significant. Therefore, those who wish to take advantage of the current benefits should hurry.

This is the documentation organized. Since it is a bureaucratic process that requires a large amount of documentation, it is ideal if the interested party starts applying for the program by the end of this month.

Otherwise, start the process as soon as possible, says Iolanda Fonseca, managing partner at Portugal Advisory in the Algarve, advising families interested in immigrating to the European country. “Opening a bank account in Portugal is a lengthy process,” she said.

“Moreover, the whole procedure conducted by the Foreigners and Borders Services is long, and the end of the year is just around the corner. We’ve had many inquiries these past couple of months for high-end private properties in the Algarve and our team has been rushing to ensure all deadlines are met in time. As for investment opportunities, hotels, resorts and the like, demand has also been high, particularly given that this season has proved a success and has been extending for longer than usual,” she noted.

NOT RETROACTIVE

All Golden Visa beneficiaries until January 2022 will maintain their benefits, even with the planned changes. Thus, those who already have a visa or who are in the process of proceeding through the current steps provided for in the current law will keep the visa as is. This measure is not retroactive, that is, it does not affect existing processes or even those that began to be processed until the date the restrictions came into effect.

ALL BENEFICIARIES UNTIL JANUARY 2022

Thus, applicants who already have a visa or are proceeding through the aspects provided for in the current law will keep the visa. Restrictions on real estate investments necessary for granting a Golden Visa continue to apply to the interior territories of the country, Madeira and the Azores. Real estate investment in Porto, Lisbon, and the Algarve will no longer be allowed for allotting of Golden Visa status. An increase in the criteria for investments or the number of jobs will be required for approval.

APPLICATIONS CAN BE PLACED UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR

Despite having presented a drop in the number of Golden Visas requests in recent years, the trend is for the requests to accelerate in the coming months since it is possible to apply until the end of 2021. However, it is worth considering the average period of three months to make the request. Thus, those who still intend to apply in the current program form should take advantage of the last months of 2021 to carry out all stages of the process.

“Anyone waiting for the second half of December may be negatively surprised, it’s the holidays and the SEF is typically understaffed, processes may not be entered on time as scheduling is expected to be difficult. As I always advise our clients, our motto is: The time in now!,” Iolanda adds.

WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE GOLDEN VISA PORTUGAL?

Foreign citizens from outside the European Union Community, those who do not have European citizenship, can still request the status. In addition, they must carry out one of the eight types of investments defined in the visa modality. The investment can be made in person or through a company incorporated in Portugal or another EU member state of the European Union with a permanent establishment in Portugal.

GOLDEN VISA AND REAL ESTATE SPECULATION

One of the main reasons for restricting real estate investment in large Portuguese cities is the impact on the real estate market. The program was created when the country was still lacking foreign investment and was emerging from one of the worst financial crises in Portuguese history.

PORTUGUESE GOLDEN VISA VS. AMERICAN GREEN CARD

The advantage of the Portuguese Golden Visa over the American Green Card is that the minimum length of stay in Portugal is 7 to 14 days per year when purchasing a property. In the United States, that requirement increases to six months, Bezerra says. “In other words, it’s only possible to spend the vacations in the property and rent it out for the rest of the year.”

Another advantage is that the Portuguese visa allows access to all countries in the European bloc and includes children up to age 25, spouses, and parents in the visa.

It also offers more investment opportunities (in the U.S., you have to start your own business or invest in companies that create jobs) and a guaranteed return on investment, which is not the case with the green card.

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