For those of you not fully aware, there was a proposal to change the terms of the Golden Visa programme during the final approval of the State Budget for 2020. The changes in question are to stop investment into City Centre’s and Major Towns within Portugal for Golden Visa Investors and to only approve applications that are in interior parts of the country or fall under what the government determines as Low-Density areas.

However, the changes of Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, which were approved by Parliament under the State Budget for 2020, have been suspended for the time being because of the paralysis caused by the Coronavirus. In effect, it means that companies dealing with the application and processing of these investment visas in return for property purchases of € 500.000,00 or over, can still offer applicants the opportunity of buying homes in Lisbon and Porto.

The new regulations governing the concession of authorisations for residency for investment (ARIs) was supposed to come online at the start of 2021. But now, because of the pandemic, the Government has decided to leave the decision to change the rules at an official level on stand-by as the threat of a medium-term recession in the Portuguese housing market looms.

What is the Golden Visa?

Established in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program (ARI) enables nonEU/EEA citizens to obtain a special residence permit in exchange for a 5-year investment in Portugal. As a primary requirement, in order to maintain the Portuguese residency, the investor only has to spend about seven days per year in Portugal, while still reaping all the benefits of being an EU resident—including visa-free travel in the entire Schengen area.

Since the scheme was introduced in 2012, it has bought in €5Bn to the Portuguese economy. By far the leading share of Golden Visas have been issued to Chinese nationals (although their share has been declining recently), followed by Brazilian, South African, Turkish, and Russian citizens.

Who is eligible for the Golden Visa?

Any citizen NOT resident in the EU can apply for Golden Visa Portugal, provided they make a qualified investment in Portugal. However, this investment must be made prior to applying for the Golden Visa, which can be made on behalf of the foreign investor or through a company based in the EU of which it is the sole partner.

Then, when registering a foreign investor in the Golden Visa Portugal program, the latter can also request family reunification (benefiting from the same conditions of residence and free movement) to:

i) The spouse or legal partner

ii) Children who are under 18 years of age

iii) Dependent children under the age of 26, as long as they are single and enrolled as full-time students

iv) The parents of any spouse who is over 66 years of age (or 55 and dependent); and/or

v) Siblings under 18 years of age, from either spouse or partner, are legally responsible.

What are the general requirements for applying for Golden Visa Portugal?

Above all, among the general requirements for applying for Golden Visa Portugal are the following:

i) Prior to the request for access to the Golden Visa Portugal program, the foreign investor must make a minimum mandatory investment of € 250.000,00 in Portugal (among a set of options that will be detailed in the next point), and this investment must be maintained for a minimum period five years;

ii) Investment funds must come from abroad;

iii) The foreign investor must have a stay in Portugal of at least 7 days in the first year of Golden Visa validity, and of 14 days in each subsequent period of two years (consecutive or non-consecutive days); and

iv) Foreign investors should not have a criminal record or references in the Portuguese Immigration Service and services in the Schengen Area.

What are the investment options?

The foreign investor may choose one of the following investment options:

i) The transfer of capital to Portugal in the amount of € 1.000.000,00 or more;

ii) The creation of 10 new full-time jobs in a Portuguese company (there may be 8 job openings if they are in an area with low population density);

iii) The acquisition of real estate in Portugal with a value equal to or greater than 500 thousand euros (reduced to € 400.000,00 if it is located in an area of low population density);

iv) Acquisition of real estate, whose construction has been completed at least 30 years ago, or located in an urban rehabilitation area and carrying out rehabilitation works of the real estate acquired, in the total amount equal to or greater than € 350.000,00 (reduced to € 280.000,00, if located in a sparsely populated area);

v) Investment in the conservation of the National Heritage, or arts and culture projects worth at least € 250.000,00;

vi) Investment in research carried out by accredited institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system in a value of at least € 250.000,00;

vii) Capital transfer in the amount of € 500.000,00 or more, intended for the acquisition of investment units in investment funds or venture capital aimed at the capitalization of small and medium-sized companies that meet certain requirements.

What is the validity of the Golden Visa?

Once issued, the Golden Visa will be valid for a period of one year, after which it will be renewed for subsequent periods of two years up to a limit of 5 years. As for the time required to obtain a Gold Visa, it is legally expected to take up to 3 months, although in practice it can take more than 6 months. However, as long as all the necessary documentation for the application is properly presented, the greater the speed in obtaining this visa.

For more information on Portuguese Golden Visa, contact ADAM Global member AML – Sociedade de Advogados, SP, RL is a Portuguese boutique law firm, located in Lisbon. They provide services in all areas of law, having developed its activity mainly in the areas of Bankruptcy Law, Commercial and Business Law, Tax Law, Immigration Law, Criminal Law, Administrative Law, Labor Law and Social Security Law, being increasingly in contact with the investment market, national and international.

Contact an expert from AML – Sociedade de Advogados, SP, RL: marketing@adamglobal.com or call us at +971 4 341 9701

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