Portugal Golden Visa: What Will Change in 2021?
At the end of last year, it was announced that Portugal’s residency by investment scheme, widely known as the Golden Visa Program, would undergo considerable alterations, among which is the prohibition of real estate purchase in Lisbon and Porto. Approved by the country’s Council of Ministers in December, the corresponding law is to come in force on 1 July 2021.
The Golden Visa Program of Portugal was launched in 2012 and has gained enormous popularity among foreign investors, who appreciate its multiple advantages such as visa-free access to the Schengen Area countries, beneficial tax regime, the right to reside, work and study in Portugal without the obligation to reside permanently in the country, minimum stay requirements, the possibility of family reunification, high-quality healthcare and education systems, and superb infrastructure. Moreover, after five years of holding the Golden Visa an investor may apply for Portugal’s permanent residence or citizenship, which allows them to live and work in any country of the European Union, and travel visa-free to over 180 countries of the world. Almost ten thousand investors have received their Golden Visas of Portugal to date.
Under the Golden Visa Program, there are three main investment options: capital transfer, creation of employment opportunities for Portuguese nationals, and real estate purchase. The latter is the most sought-after investment option, generating over 90 per cent of the total program revenue. Such a strong demand in real estate acquisition in Portugal resulted in a dramatic spike in property prices, particularly in two largest cities of the country, Lisbon and Porto.
To restrain rapidly growing prices and incentivise foreign investors to buy real estate in less-favoured areas, the Portuguese government reported last year that Porto and Lisbon as well as other popular coastal locations would be excluded from the Golden Visa Program destinations. The Portuguese Council of Ministers considered and approved the corresponding legislation in December 2020. In January, it was announced that the new rules would come into effect on 1 July 2021. From then on, investors purchasing real estate in Lisbon, Porto and the coastal regions will no longer be eligible to participate in the program. To qualify for the Golden Visa, they will have to buy properties across the interior of Portugal, particularly in lower density areas. Apart from that, it is expected that the minimum prices for properties to qualify for the Golden visa of Portugal will also dramatically increase since 1 July 2021.
It is worth mentioning that Portugal’s government stated that a transition period for these changes in the Golden visa scheme would be set until 2022. This is supposed to allow investors to complete their current applications after the deadline expires.
It is important to take into account that with the UK having left the EU due to Brexit, the British nationals have become unable to relocate to Portugal freely from 1 January 2021. Now UK nationals are allowed to apply for the Golden Visa as non-EU citizens. The program will grant them the right to reside and work in Portugal as which was taken away by Brexit.
If you would like to buy excellent real estate in one of Portuguese vibrant urban centers or lively beachfront regions before the new regulations come into force, the time to act is now! Contact GLS Private Office, and we will help you find a suitable option, provide necessary support and render all possible assistance in submitting your Golden Visa application.