Golden Visa Portugal 2023

As of October 7th, 2023, significant changes have been implemented in the legal framework of the Residence Permit for Investment, commonly known as the Golden Visa. These changes align with the new housing law, Law no. 56/2023, which aims to redirect investment towards sectors that promote economic growth and job creation.

What changes?

The Golden Visa program has been updated to exclude investments in both residential and commercial real estate, as well as passive financial investments. Consequently, real estate investment is no longer a qualifying option for obtaining a Golden Visa.

Investors who applied for the Golden Visa before October 7th retain their rights under the previous regulations. This includes the ability to renew their Golden Visa even if their investment type is no longer eligible under the new law. Additionally, after five years of temporary residence, they still have the option to apply for permanent residency and are eligible to pursue Portuguese citizenship, in line with the existing laws.

What options are now available?

  • Job creation: The creation of at least 10 job positions;
  • Scientific research donation: Transfer of capital in an amount equal to or greater than 500,000 euros, intended for research activities carried out by public or private scientific research institutions integrated into the national scientific and technological system;
  • Cultural heritage donation: in an amount equal to or greater than 250,000 euros, intended for investment or support in artistic production, restoration, or maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services of the central and peripheral public administration, public institutes, entities within the public business sector, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, intermunicipal entities, local business sector entities, municipal associative entities, and public cultural associations pursuing tasks in the field of artistic production, restoration, or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
  • Investment Funds: Transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than €500,000, intended for the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital funds focused on the capitalization of companies established under Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years at the time of investment, and with at least 60% of the investment value being realized in commercial companies located in national territory.
  • Company creation: Transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than €500,000, intended for the establishment of a commercial company headquartered in national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent job positions, or for the increase in the share capital of an already established commercial company headquartered in national territory, with the creation or maintenance of job positions, with a minimum of five permanent positions, and for a minimum period of three years.

What do we recommend?

Golden Visa funds have seen a surge in popularity since their inception, becoming one of the most sought-after options. In 2023, from January to September, they accounted for 29% of the total Golden Visas granted—second only to real estate investments, which stood at 68%, as illustrated in the chart below. With the discontinuation of the real estate option, funds are poised to become the predominant choice for the majority of investors, and this is our recommendation.

One of the reasons for the funds' rising appeal, even when juxtaposed with real estate, is their highly favorable tax regime. For non-residents, income and capital gains from these funds are not subject to taxation in Portugal. Additionally, unlike real estate investments, there are no significant fees or taxes involved, such as transfer tax, stamp duty, annual municipal taxes, insurance, or property management costs. These costs often added a hidden financial burden on top of the minimum investment required and could significantly diminish profitability.

We have curated a selection of the best funds available in the market and can facilitate introductions to their fund managers. Please schedule a meeting with us to proceed.

Why is the Portuguese Golden Visa Still Worth Pursuing?

Despite recent changes, the Portuguese Golden Visa still remains one of the best options, unique within Europe, offering a path to citizenship without the requirement of permanent relocation. Unlike in Greece and Spain, where residency of 10 and 7 years, respectively, is required for citizenship, Portugal allows for citizenship after just a 5-year period without requiring a move to the country.

Golden Visa Statistics

Below, we present key statistics regarding the Golden Visa program in Portugal. From its inception in 2012 up to September 2023, the program has garnered approximately 6.5 billion euros in investment and has issued 11,383 permits. China leads the ranking with 5,407 permits, followed by Brazil with 1,256, the USA with 781, Turkey with 613, and South Africa with 574. Official figures from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) can be accessed here.