Some clarity regarding the future of Portugal’s Golden Visa. (Finally!)

Portugal is planning to end its Golden Visa program

Despite announcing the imminent closure of their Golden Visa Program on February 19, 2023, the Portuguese government has opted to keep the program open in a surprising – if very welcome – about-turn.

Let’s get into the details below…

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is here to stay (albeit with some major changes)

In the words of the legendary band Black Sabbath, Portugal’s Golden Visa is going through changes

…Where even to start with the shambolic handling of this issue by the Portuguese government.

In February, the socialist politicians were adamant that the program was going to get shut down without a sunset clause, thus leaving over 6,000 investors in the lurch. 

Then they were going to completely change the Golden Visa’s residency permit renewal requirements, and force investors to either live in their properties, or rent them out long-term…

And they were going to introduce a retroactive clause affecting investors currently being processed, despite the industry and legal sector warning that this would be unconstitutional…

Only to make a complete about-turn on the decision some months later, as touristic development projects funded by Golden Visa investors were getting canceled en masse.

Now don’t get us wrong – the survival of the program is great news, both for current and future applicants. After all, the Portuguese Golden Visa offers both great affordability and a clear path to citizenship within five years. 

Assuming we ignore the fact that many investors have had to resort to taking SEF – the country’s borders and immigration service – to court to secure biometrics appointments. (Attending one of these is an essential step to obtain one’s actual residency card.)

Yet it also has to be asked how much the latest political shenanigans have tarnished the program’s reputation… However, given that EU Golden Visas are increasingly an endangered species, we may find that a large percentage of investors are willing to forgive Portugal for this momentary lapse of reason.

Let’s take a look at what the program’s investment options are going to look like going forward…

The incoming Portuguese Golden Visa investment options at a glance

Portugal is facing a serious housing crisis that is being blamed, albeit disingenuously, on the Golden Visa Program. On July 12, 2023, the controversial “Mais Habitação (More Housing) Bill was approved in the Portuguese parliament. 

(This is the exact bill that sought to shutter the entire Golden Visa Program.)

And the Golden Visa’s two most popular investment options to date – being Real Estate, and the Capital Transfer track – were its two main casualties:

Golden Visa Investment Options Minimum Capital Requirement
Subp. 1: Capital Transfer €1.5 million
Subp. 2: Job Creation Create 10 jobs or more
Subp. 3, 4: Real Estate €280,000 – €500,000+
Subp. 5: Scientific Research €500,000+
Subp. 6: Cultural Production / Heritage Preservation €250,000+ (€200,000 in low-density areas)
Subp. 7: Venture Capital (VC) / Investment Funds* €500,000+
Subp. 8: Business Investment + 5 Jobs €500,000+

*Real estate investing no longer allowed.

Furthermore, while the VC option was retained, funds may no longer invest in Portuguese real estate projects (which is what most of them focussed on previously).

Given that over 90% of Golden Visa investors have historically preferred the real estate option, this is a great pity. But on the bright side, the Cultural Golden Visapriced from only €200,000 for projects situated in low density areas – is substantially cheaper than even the cheapest real estate option used to be…

We expect things to settle down for a while now, but when it comes to the decisions of socialist governments, one can never be sure. So if you’re not up for the level of drama we’ve seen coming out of Portugal, then perhaps the Greek Golden Visa or Spain’s Golden Visa might be worth looking at, too.

The bottomline…

As we always say – if you spot a great residency and/or citizenship deal – grab it. These programs are constantly evolving, with many of them disappearing seemingly overnight.

Portugal is an excellent Plan B country in terms of its lifestyle, warm-hearted people and its low cost of living. But no place is perfect, and when it comes to dealing with Portugal’s bureaucracy, you’re going to need the patience of a saint.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

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