Portugal Golden Visa changes in 2021

A recent decree law in Portugal has changed the date that the Golden Visa scheme rules will be changed, as well as the criteria to be met by investors.

Golden visa changes in Portugal in 2021
Golden visa changes in Portugal in 2021 / Photo by Anup Allamsetty on Unsplash
25 February 2021, Redaction

Portugal's well known Golden Visa Scheme began in 2012 and over the years has proven to be one of the best and most respected residency by investment programmes in the world. However, in spite of its success, at the end of 2020, the Portuguese Government announced that the Golden Visa, also known as the Residence Permit for Investment Activity (ARI) programme, will end in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, in an attempt to channel investment to the inland areas of the country. The new rules were originally meant to into force from 1st July 2021, however, decree-law no. 14/2021 published this month sets a new date, contrary to what had been announced. The restrictions will now apply from 1st January 2022 and there will therefore be no transitional period. Let's take a closer look at Portugal's Golden Visa changes.

In the decree-law, António Costa's Socialist Government begins by explaining that it has decided to change the Golden Visa scheme in Portugal so that it "can be directed preferentially to inland territories, investment in job creation and urban and cultural heritage regeneration". Concerning housing policy, the document states, it is also "the Government's commitment to promote the balance and quality of the territories, whether in metropolitan, urban or rural regions, guaranteeing access to decent housing conditions for all".

What will change in the Golden Visa programme?

The recent decree law for Golden Visas in Portugal also alters the legal regime of entry, stay, exit and expulsion of foreigners from national territory, and indicates new minimum amounts that involve investment activity: this refers to any activity exercised personally or through a company that leads to the materialisation of the transfer of capital and for a minimum period of five years, as stated in the law.

New Golden Visa criteria

  • Capital transfer equal to or greater than 1.5 million euros;
  • Capital transfer equal to or greater than 500,000 euros which is applied to research activities developed by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated in the national scientific and technological system;
  • Capital transfer equal to or greater than 500,000 euros aimed at the acquisition of participation units in investment funds or venture capital funds focused on the capitalisation of companies, which are incorporated under the Portuguese legislation, with a minimum maturity of five years at the time of the investment and at least 60% of the value of the investment is made in commercial companies based in national territory;
  • Capital transfer equal to or greater than 500.000 euros, destined to the incorporation of a commercial company with head office in national territory, together with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, or to the increase of the share capital of a commercial company with head office in national territory (already existing), with the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of 5 permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of 3 years;

The details released by the government also make it clear that buying property with a value equal to or greater than 500,000 "only applies when the dwellings are located in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira, or in inland territories", highlighting the exlusion of Lisbon and Porto from the scheme,

The new rules apply to "all applications for residence permits for investment requested after the date of entry into force of the present decree-law", in this case 1st January 2022, and not 1st July 2021, as had previouy been stated. Take note that British citizens will now also be able to apply for the Golden Visa in Portugal, due to the fact that the UK has now officially left the EU, enabling them to obtain residency in a European country if they choose.

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