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Changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa Program: Real Estate Option Restricted, Birthright Citizenship Allowed

The government of Portugal has announced several important changes in the country’s Golden Visa Program. One of them is a restriction to purchase property in Lisbon and Porto under the real estate option of the Program. Foreign investors seeking Portugal’s residency will have to consider buying properties outside these most popular cities. Another amendment concerns birthright citizenship ― from now on children born to foreign parents who have lived in Portugal for a year will be eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

Portugal Golden Visa Program was introduced in 2012 and has achieved immense success among investors from around the globe, becoming one of the most popular residency by investment scheme of its kind. It allows applicants to receive a resident status without having to reside in Portugal, and offers countless benefits, such as visa-free access to over 180 countries, favourable tax regime, freedom of movement within the European Union, excellent healthcare, education and business opportunities, and many others.

The real estate option of the Golden Visa has been in high demand and covers more than 90 percent of the total investments generated under the Golden Visa Program. Qualifying applicants can purchase either selected property in any part of the country with a minimum value of €500,000 or property constructed over 30 years ago, located in an urban rehabilitation area and valued at least €350,000. The investment threshold can be reduced to €280,000 if the property is located in a low-density area (less than 100 people per km2).

The majority of investments is targeted towards the property in developed areas. Two largest cities of Portugal, Lisbon and Porto, are a particular investors’ interest and account for two-thirds of the total real estate investments. As a result, the prices for property prices in these cities are steadily increasing.

To encourage investors to purchase real estate in other cities as well as rural areas, the Portuguese government has proposed excluding Lisbon and Porto from the Golden Visa Program destinations. According to a publication on 6 October 2020 by the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (Aiecep Portugal Global), the Portuguese government is likely to enforce these restrictions already in at the end of this year. These restrictions were due to come into force earlier this year, however due to the pandemic they had been postponed. Therefore, it is expected that applicants purchasing property in Lisbon and Porto will soon not be able to qualify for Portugal’s residency by investment.

Another significant news is the birthright citizenship of Portugal. Starting from 11 November, children born in Portugal to foreign parents, at least one of whom has resided in the country for a year, are eligible for Portuguese citizenship. Earlier new-born children were granted citizenship only if one of their parents had lived in Portugal for two years or more. The effect this change will have on Portugal’s Golden visa holders is that if a parent has held the Golden visa for over a year, their newborn child will be able to get Portuguese citizenship at birth, even if the parent has only resided in Portugal for the minimum 7 days required by the program. This amendment makes Portuguese Golden visa the only such program offering jus soli without the long residency requirement.

Would you like to purchase high-quality property in the most popular and top-ranked Portuguese cities before the country’s government has implemented the restriction? Contact GLS Private Office, and we will assist you in applying for your Golden Visa of Portugal.

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