Portugal is currently thinking about scrapping the golden visa scheme entirely, after ten years of running the most successful golden visa program in Europe.

Update: The proposal of scrapping Golden visa program was rejected in the State Budget 2023 with the voted out by Social Democratic Party during the discussion in Parliament on November 22nd.

Portugal is considering giving up its “golden visa” scheme aimed at attracting wealthy investors, Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday citing the program already fulfilled its function, there is any justification for maintaining it, according to new agency Politico / Lusa.

“Golden visa program already fulfilled its function”
-PM Antonia Costa

The Portugal authorities have not yet announced a set date for terminating the golden visa. program. The sacking of the golden visas does not affect those already applied or renew residence permits.  The sacking of the golden visa can have turbulence within the property market such as

  • Property market contracting because of fall in property prices in major cities and inner regions.
  • Portugal GDP likely to shrink and loss of foreign investment or capital amidst rising energy costs and war
  • Last minute rush of application adding to further backlog and waiting times.
  • Property developers will feel the pressure to complete projects without investment.

The investor residence schemes (or “golden visas”), which allow third-country nationals, subject to certain conditions, to obtain a residence permit to live in an EU country.The ARI Golden visa scheme was launched in Oct 8, 2012 since then thousands of third country nationals and their family members have acquired residency against purchasing property. The Golden visa scheme also provides a path to non-EU nationals a path to acquire Portuguese nationality though naturalisation. Portugal made legislative amendments in 2022, exempting Lisbon, Porto and Algarve from golden visas moving the investments to inner regions in Portugal.

Portugal is not the only country to scrap its program. UK has already terminated its investor visa route, along with Cyprus, Moldova already terminated golden passport schemes. Montenegro is terminating end of this year.

Applicants are required to buy a property (hotel/apartment) for at least 280,000 euros or more to apply for golden visa. The program suffers from long waiting times sometimes stretches from 6-12 months due to backlogs.

The Non-Habitual Residence Tax Regime (NHR) was introduced in 2009, with the aim of attracting talent and high net worth individuals. Portugal is a top choice for Ultra and High Net Worth Individuals who wish to take up residence in the European Union.

The SEF Sep 2022 report published shows a total of 6.5 billion euros raised through GV scheme since 2012, with more than 11,000 residence permits approved for investing mostly in properties by Chinese, Brazilians and Turkish nationals. In 2022, Americans are the top investors in PGV. Russian nationals are blocked to apply for golden visas due to the Ukraine war.

Portugal has been facing pressure from European commission to quickly phase out golden visa schemes.  The Covid crisis, Geopolitical tensions amidst rising energy prices ,,Russia-Ukraine war also have a big impact on the functioning of GV programs operating in the member states.

It is very real, doors are fast closing for golden visas. The landscape is fast changing and dont miss out on the golden opportunity to invest in Portugal.