20 de June, 2023
O Golden Visa Portugal the residence permit program for foreign investors in Portugal, is still being debated in the Portuguese parliament. At this moment the bill to change the program is in the specialty discussion phase. The final vote on the proposal is scheduled to take place on July 19. It is still not possible to say for sure if the program will be fully closed and when this might occur. After passing through parliament, a final bill will be sent to the president, who will have the prerogative to approve or not the proposal, and it may return to the parliament for further adjustments.
The debate about the end of the Portuguese investment program began on February 16, when a package of measures for housing issues in the country was announced in Portugal. Among them was the extinction of the Golden Visa, allegedly with the aim of curbing real estate speculation. The topic has been raising a lot of doubts among investors. In this article we try to clarify some questions and bring you updates on the subject.
The Golden Visa Program is a residence permit intended for non-EU nationals who wish to invest in Portugal.
This type of visa has several advantages. The main one is the possibility of staying less time in the country compared to other types of visas.
In other words, it is possible to live in another country and spend only 7 days per year in Lusitanian soil to renew your residence permit.
After 5 years since the investment, it is possible to request Portuguese citizenship based on the time of residence. Furthermore, it is possible to include your family members in this benefit.
Yes, there is still time to invest and apply for residency in the country until the new law is published. All applications received until the new legislation comes into effect will be accepted. If you intend to acquire the Golden Visa, it is recommended that you plan as soon as possible, as this may be the last available opportunity.
Talk to a specialist at Atlantic Bridge and get to know the investment options that suit your objectives.
Yes, but it is not yet known if it will be in all options and all over the country.
In March 2023, after a public consultation, a bill was sent to parliament for discussion and voting, with the proposal to end the program.
The subject is currently under discussion under discussion in the specialty and it is speculated that this phase may last until September.
Real estate investments on mainland territory as well as capital investments through deposits will probably no longer be eligible for the Golden Visa.
Some parties (such as IL and PSD) defend a revision of the proposal to extinguish the VG, or at least in its current terms. The PS suggests putting an end to real estate investments, but keeping the
possibility of granting this visa “for business investment purposes with job creation or investment in culture and scientific research“.
Thus, the PS proposes the maintenance of the following options:
The Socialist Party also wants to introduce a rule to exclude completely from gold visas people from third countries that are the target of EU sanctions, i.e. immediately, the Russians and Belarusians.
In the plenary, it is also discussed the possibility of of the program on the islands of the Azores and Madeira as well as the inclusion of a transitional period until the program is extinguished of the program, as happened when the program was previously changed. This transition period could be until the end of 2023 or, in the best case scenario, until mid-2024.
It should be said, however, that these are proposals and that nothing is actually decided as yet.
When the discussion in the specialty is finished a final draft will be forwarded to the President of the Republic, who may:
(1) ratify the proposal,
(2) return it to Parliament for amendment, or
(3) ask the Constitutional Court to evaluate it.
So the end of the Golden Visa program will not be immediate. Possibly the whole process will still take a few more months. Possibly until the end of the year.
Yes, the program is still valid. It is important to repeat: the bill still has to go through the Portuguese Parliament and the President of the Republic. Only after its publication in the Diário da República will the law become effective.
Therefore, as the legal change has not yet happened, submissions to the program are still allowed.
The Government has signaled that it intends to renew existing Golden Visa cases, but that it may add extra requirements in order to renew the residence permits of these investors.
As the state’s biggest concern relates to the country’s housing problems, it is possible that those who have invested in real estate, “will only be able to access the renewal if the property in question is intended for permanent home ownership, for descendants, or is placed on the rental market,” as António Costa stated earlier. Again, this is a possibility that is not yet confirmed.
Yes. Created in 2012, the Golden Visa Portugal has gone through changes before. The last of these was announced in December 2020, but was not implemented until January 1, 2022. The government gave investors a sufficient grace period before implementing the changes.
On that occasion, the former investors had all their rights assured according to the law in force at the time of their application for access to the program. For this reason as well, we believe that the same will happen this time. In other words: previous or current applicants will not be affected by the changes or the possible closure of the program.
At this moment it is not yet possible to say if any modality will be maintained, or if the program will continue to be valid in the Azores and Madeira islands.
Unfortunately there are still many unanswered questions. Which changes will actually be approved and when will they take effect? Nobody knows yet.
It is not yet possible to say whether the program will actually be terminated, or only investments in real estate will be excluded.
Still, the general expectation is that the current law will remain unchanged in the coming months, giving those who are interested in the Golden Visa the possibility to apply for the program.
In practice, we have observed a large increase in demand for the Golden Visa Portugal. Many investors are anticipating joining the program before the changes come into effect. The same behavior happened in 2021, before the Golden Visa changes were implemented on January 1, 2022.
Investors have been making decisions based on current law to benefit from legal protection.
A very pertinent question at the moment:
“If I make the investment and the Golden Visa regime is changed, can I get my money back?”
In some cases this is possible. There are investment companies offering this guarantee, in case the law changes quickly and there is no time to apply for the program. This is because the Golden Visa application is made following the investment.
This is a good option for those who want to take advantage of the window of opportunity and benefit from the current law while they can.
The Golden Visa programs have been going through a rigorous review. Not only in Portugal, but also in other countries that have golden visa legislation in place. It is worth remembering that by acquiring a red passport, the applicant gains free access to the countries that are part of the European Union.
There is no denying the importance of the Golden Visa Portugal in attracting foreign funds to the country. In the last 10 years, the program has helped promote the revitalization of Portuguese cities. In the meantime, almost 500 million Euros have been invested only in buildings that are more than 30 years old or located in urban rehabilitation areas. That is, buildings that have been renovated to become eligible for the program.
In addition, we cannot forget that part of the more than 5 million euros invested in real estate was also destined to the acquisition of property focused on commerce and lodging, helping to boost the local economy.
In all, the Golden Visa program has attracted almost 7 billion euros to the country. And this cannot be ignored.
In 10 years, Portugal has raised a total of more than 6.5 billion Euros through the Golden Visa program. More than 11,000 visas have been granted to applicants, and more than 18,000 residence permits have been authorized for their family members. The figures are provided by the Foreigners and Borders Service(SEF):
Across Europe, it is estimated that Golden Visa programs have turned over 22 billion euros, according to the European Parliament.
The Atlantic Bridge team has been on the lookout for every new development on the subject, to keep its customers informed of any changes in the program.
For those who are interested in the Golden Visa Portugal, this is the time to accelerate the decision and apply for the program under the current rules. It is important to anticipate the closing of contracts in order to file with the SEF as soon as possible.
We are able to offer Golden Visa eligible products from companies that guarantee the investment, as described above. And if you still have questions, talk to our consultants.