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Dayane Martins

Dayane Martins

Immigration Specialist

Jul 28, 2023

Portugal's Golden Visa Program: The 2023 Revamp

Portugal’s Golden Visa has always been a coveted investment route, offering the freedom of movement within the Schengen Area and a path to Portuguese citizenship. However, as of 2023, the landscape is changing. In February 2023, whispers of potential terminations circulated through the Golden Visa community. Fast forward to July 19th, 2023, and the Portuguese government has presented their final draft for legislation, Law Proposal n.º 71/XV/1.ª, under the "Mais Habitação" program. Instead of termination, we're witnessing a transformation that will alter the way investors approach the Golden Visa program.

Revisiting the Golden Visa Program 

The Golden Visa program will continue, but with redefined parameters. The new rules are still up in the air, awaiting approval from the President of the Republic and potential constitutional scrutiny. Until this law  officially comes into force, all current investment routes under the Golden Visa program remain accessible. This means potential investors still have a chance to invest in real estate properties, directly or indirectly, for a very limited time.

The Changing Landscape: What Will No Longer Qualify?

Three previously popular routes to obtain a Golden Visa are being phased out:

1. Purchasing any kind of real estate across Portugal. Whether it's a new or old property, commercial or residential, all have been excluded from the new law proposal.

2. Indirect investment in real estate through investment funds.

3. Capital transfers of €1.5 million or more into a Portuguese bank account.

These changes mark a significant departure from previous investment strategies, removing property-based and substantial capital transfer options from the equation. 

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The New Faces of the Golden Visa: How to Qualify?

Despite the removal of some familiar investment paths, several exciting opportunities will continue to be available. 

The five main avenues that are expected to remain as routes towards a Golden Visa are as follows:

1. The creation of at least ten job positions will also continue to qualify for a Golden Visa.

2. Capital transfers of €500,000 or more for investing in research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions involved in the national scientific or technological system will continue to qualify for a Golden Visa.

3. A transfer of €250,000 or more for investment in artistic output or support of the arts, or for reconstruction or refurbishment of national heritage will also qualify.

4. The Investment Funds modality remains, albeit under new phrasing. Now, investors will need to transfer €500,000 or more into collective investment organizations incorporated under Portuguese law. These organizations must have a termination date of at least five years from the time of investment, and at least 60% of the investments need to be made in commercial companies based in Portugal.

5. Incorporating a company with an investment of €500,000 or more, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs. Alternatively, you can reinforce the capital of an existing Portuguese commercial company, with the creation of five jobs or maintenance of at least ten jobs (with a minimum of five being permanent) for a period of three years.

The required amount for the first three options can be reduced by 20% if the activity is conducted in low-density territories, defined as areas with fewer than 100 inhabitants per Km2 or a GDP per capita of less than 75% of the national average.

At each renewal period the investments will be evaluated to ensure they positively impact Portugal's cultural and scientific activities, foreign investment, and job creation.

A crucial point here is the evaluation of investments for these Residence Permits. Competent entities such as the "Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal, E. P. E (AICEP)", "Banco de Fomento", "Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação, I. P." and others will verify the compliance of the investments with the proposed entrepreneurial project.

Pending Golden Visa Applications

For those with pending Golden Visa applications or renewals, the proposal provides some clarity. Existing applications and renewals approved before the publication of the new rules will be unaffected, even if the investment modality is one being phased out. The new proposal also safeguards access to Permanent Residence Permits and Portuguese Citizenship through the Golden Visa for both investors and their family members.

Renewals of Golden Visa applications will convert into a Residence Permit for Entrepreneurial Immigrants, but these holders will only need to comply with a minimum stay requirement of seven days in the first year, and fourteen days in subsequent two-year periods as it currently stands.

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An Important Reminder

It's worth noting that new wording in several articles of the Immigration Law now allows for Residence Permits to be denied or cancelled if the holder is subject to restrictions within the EU. This potentially indicates increased scrutiny for applicants from countries like Russia, Belarus, and North Korea.

While the proposed changes to Portugal's Golden Visa program mark a significant shift, the heart of the program remains the same: to attract foreign investment and provide a valuable path to Portuguese residency and citizenship. These changes are an opportunity for investors to explore new ways of contributing to the Portuguese economy and society.

At moviinn, we know that changes like these can be overwhelming, especially when navigating an investment landscape as intricate as Portugal's Golden Visa program. Our team of experts is continuously tracking these updates and ready to provide the guidance you need.

If you're uncertain about how these changes might affect your plans or need help adjusting your strategy, don't hesitate to reach out to us. moviinn is here to provide up-to-date information, clear up any confusion, and guide you on your path to Portuguese residency and citizenship. 

Contact us today for more information and assistance with your Golden Visa application. moviinn will continue to update and inform our clients and website users about any changes and laws entering into effect. Book a complimentary call with us today. 

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