After ten years of running a successful golden visa program for investments, Portugal has announced closure of golden visa program for real estate investments effective from Oct 7, 2023 after the decree signed president. The Golden visa program will remain open for all other investment routes, for example investment funds, capital transfer, artistic and cultural production, job creation etc.. Applications made after this date will be frozen and will not be processed. The measures were taken urgently to avoid severe housing crisis in the country. Rents and housing prices have doubled in the country, due to large number foreigners buying properties for golden visa and don’t live, making housing unaffordable to locals. The program suffered huge backlogs, scandals and slow processing times stretched for more than 12 months. Many investors are still waiting for their appointments even after a year.
The Golden visa program has brought 7 billion euros in investment since launching the GV scheme on Oct 8, 2012 with 89% of residence permits were issued for real estate. The Portuguese nationality law also provides path to naturalize for citizenship to golden visa holders after five years, who are residents spending atleast more than 14 days every year. Any extensions to existing golden visa holders will be converted to normal residence permits. Portugal will open a new visa routes to for entrepreneurs and startups.
The European commission has warned Portugal and other countries to phase out schemes by 2025 as these schemes poses security risks, along with money laundering and tax evasion. With this, Portugal is joining long list of countries such United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Moldova, Montenegro already terminated golden investment schemes in Europe.