Residence permits are granted in Portugal in exchange for investing in the country. This is one of the main regulatory changes to the ‘golden’ visa regime that came into force on Monday 1st October 2018. There are also other rules, notably on the transfer of capital to set up a company in Portugal or on changing the type of investment as part of the renewal of authorisations.
According to the new regulatory decree, which is available in full in Portuguese, "a residence permit for permanent investment activity shall be issued to citizens holding a residence permit for investment activity and their family members who meet the requirements laid down in Article 80 of Law No 23/2007 of 4 July 2007, as drafted in accordance with Article 85(2)(b), (3) and (4) thereof, with the exception of the regime provided for in Article 85(2)(b), (3) and (4) of the same, diploma".
Permanent residence, no minimum period
"The permanent residence permit was created only for holders of 'gold' visas, and these are exempt from the requirement of a minimum stay of two months a year in Portugal," attorney José Miguel Albuquerque, associate at PLMJ Law Firm, told Portuguese news agency Lusa.
"The regulatory decree exempts [from the rule of a minimum stay of two months], but does not conclude anything," he added about the minimum requirements for staying in Portugal.
The gold visa programme is now five years old, and the first people to receive one back then have now passed a minimum period that allows them to advance with the application for a permanent residence permit in Portugal.
According to the lawyer, the law will grant a permanent residence permit to holders of golden visas if they continue to invest in Portugal.
That is to say, they maintain their investment and the "in return they are exempted from the periods of residence", explained José Miguel Albuquerque.
Participation in venture capital funds and companies
Another of the amendments to the decree, which regulates the law that came into force almost a year ago (28th October, 2017), deals with investments in shares of venture capital funds and in companies based in Portugal that help create jobs.
For those who invest in stocks and shares in venture capital funds, the regulation makes it necessary to have a "declaration issued by the management company of the investment fund, ensuring the viability of the capitalisation plan, that it can mature for at least five years, and the application of at least 60% of the investment in commercial companies established in the national Portuguese territory," according to the law.
There is now also a statute on the "transfer of capital for the establishment of a company in Portugal, with the creation of five permanent job positions," said the lawyer.
The amount to be invested for the creation of a startup or licensed company is 350,000 euro, with the obligation to create five permanent positions.
The lawyer explained that another amendment to the law is based on the change in the type of investment.
Within the framework of the renewal of the visa, the regulatory decree clarifies that the holder of the Residence Authorisation for Investment activity (Autorização de Residência para atividade de Investimento or ARI) "can change the type of investment", but cannot lower the invested value.
"Investors can alter what they invest in, but they can’t invest less money," he said.
For example, the case of an investor who has invested using the criterion of capital transfer for the sum of one million euro and decides to keep the investment in Portugal can exchange it for the necessary purchase of real estate, but the value cannot be lower.