On April 14th 2023, the Portuguese government has submitted the final version of the draft law regarding the golden visa program before the Parliament. This draft law (and important to highlight, it’s still a project), will now be discussed in the Parliament (in two stages: general and specific discussions), voted and approved in the Portuguese Parliament, followed by the President of the Republic veto, sent to Constitutional court or sent to publication to enter in force.

It is important to mention that further discussions in the Portuguese Parliament are to take place and certain aspects of the proposed legislation may still be altered. and published to come into force, but this is definitively an improvement when compared to what was previously spoken on the power points and press conferences that the government held since 16th February 2023.

Although this still needs several improvements and clarifications, there are already some relevant bullet points to highlight, as follows:

  •  New applications for the Golden Visa will be accepted until the new law comes into force – we don’t know when this will happen, reason why the sooner we submit the applications, the better
  • There will be no retroactive effects on the processes already submitted (meaning that even if your process was submitted after 16th February, and until the law coming into force and being published, it will be accepted by the immigration office;
  • Pending applications and future renewals, at that renewal stage, will be converted into a “special D2 Entrepreneurs Permit” – on this point, the only clarity already given by the draft of  the law is that the minimum stay requirements will be the same as applicable normally for the golden visa (an average of 7 day per year stay requirement as before), so there’s no need to spend most of the time in Portugal as it happens with normal “D2 visas/permits”;
  • New applications for residence permits relating to investments or support for artistic production, recovery or maintenance of cultural heritage country will continue to be possible even after the program is terminated – meaning that the program remains but only for this “special cultural investments”;
  • The provisions of this draft are equally applicable to the granting or renewal of residence permits for family reunification.

About timing the draft law was subject to general debate on the Parliament on May 19th, held in Plenary session, which ended with the general vote (on the general lines of the initiative) that approved it. This is followed by a specific debate and vote (article by article), which may be held in Plenary or in Committee.

The final text is submitted to a final overall vote, which is always held in Plenary. The approved initiative is called a Decree of the Assembly of the Republic. The Decree, signed by the President of the Assembly of the Republic, is sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation.

After promulgation, the Decree takes the name of Law, is sent to the Government for referendum (signature of the Prime Minister) and then sent to the National Press for publication in the 1st series of the Official Gazette.

The President of the Republic can exercise his right of veto, either because he considers that the law approved by the Assembly of the Republic contains rules that go against the Constitution (in which case he requests the opinion of the Constitutional Court), or for political reasons that should be stated in a reasoned message. In the case of rules that are considered unconstitutional, the Assembly may approve amendments to the diploma and send it back for promulgation. However, whatever the reason for the veto, the Assembly can always confirm the text of the diploma previously approved by an absolute majority of the Members in office (or a two-thirds majority for certain matters). If so, the President of the Republic must promulgate the diploma within 8 days.

This being said, and knowing that the next relevant date is July 19th and after that we still need to wait for the President’s opinion it is most likely that we have around 15-20 days ahead until the new law is approved and enter in force.