Portugal is considering ending its Golden Visa program in the coming years. This is an authorization for entry and residence in Portugal that is granted to citizens from outside the European Union or outside the Schengen Area in exchange for heavy investments in the country. It is officially known as the Authorization of Residence for Investment Activity (ARI) program.
The ARI was created in 2012 to attract foreign investment. In exchange, whoever is in possession of a Golden Visa can reside in Portugal, travel within the Schengen Area without a visa, and access the Portuguese education, health, and justice services. The ARI is currently seen as one of the most popular programs of residency by investment in Europe.
What is happening?
This November, the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa announced that the program had accomplished its mission and that there was no reason to keep it going. During the past ten years, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has attracted more than 6 billion euros in investment from around the world, mainly from China, Brazil and South Africa.
Will the program end?
For now, the Portuguese Prime Minister has only announced that several visa schemes offered by Portugal are currently being evaluated. An official decision about the Golden Visa will be announced when the evaluation is completed.
At this time, it is still possible to apply for residency in Portugal through a Golden Visa. The Portuguese legislative system is not fast. Should any changes occur, there will be time to adapt.
Regardless of the program’s future, António Costa has also highlighted the continuity of tax benefits for those that invest in Portugal, particularly in the tech sector.
What are the advantages of applying for a Golden Visa before it ends?
A Golden Visa gives someone the right to work and study in Portugal for five years, while having full access to health and justice service. During this period it is also possible to travel freely within the Schengen Area. After five years, people with a Golden Visa can apply for full Portuguese citizenship. A Portuguese passport allows its owners to travel to more than 180 countries in the world without the need of a visa.
It is not necessary to move to Portugal to keep the residence permit. It is enough to stay in the country for an average of seven days per year. This being said, Portugal is a particularly appealing country for foreigners due to its high English proficiency and tax benefits.
Portugal has Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with many countries, including the USA. If a US citizen with a Golden Visa earns income outside Portugal and pays taxes (for that income) in the US, he or she does not have to do it again in Portugal.
What is needed to apply?
To obtain a Golden Visa one needs to invest in Portugal. There are several ways to do this: namely through venture capital funds, like Lince Capital, real estate, or research projects.
Then it is necessary to gather the necessary documents for the application, and visit Portugal for a meeting with the Immigration and Border Service (SEF) to register biometric information. It is also necessary to pay the application processing fees (the current prices can be consulted in the SEF website).
What are the most common investment routes?
- Venture Capital Funds: investing at least €500.000 in a venture capital company. Venture Capital Companies, such as Lince, are public companies with the objective of investing in projects with strong growth and development potential.
- Real estate for residential purposes: a Golden Visa can be obtained by purchasing real estate property with a minimum value of €400.000 (if new) or €280.000 (real estate with more than 30 years in need of renovation). Since January 2022, the Golden Visas attributed through real estate purchases are limited to properties in low population density areas. Lisbon, Porto, Algarve and coastal cities like Setúbal are not an option.
- Acquiring Real Estate for Commercial Purposes: investing at least € 500.000 in an established commercial company or by using that same amount to create a new commercial company. At least five new jobs must be created and maintained during five years.
Other options include investing in scientific and research projects and creating new jobs.
About Lince Capital
Investing in venture capital funds registered in Portugal is one of the most common routes of obtaining a Portuguese Golden Visa. Lince’s portfolio is diverse with companies from various industry sectors such as real estate, healthcare, and technology. If you require more information about Golden Visas, please feel free to contact us.