Portugal Golden Visa 2021 – Expected Changes and Benefits

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is among the most successful citizenship by investment initiatives in the world.

And in 2021, its popularity is only set to increase thanks to new changes by the Portuguese government.

As it stands, over twenty thousand Golden Visa investors and their families have gained residence in Portugal through the program, with that figure rising year upon year.

On top of its benefits for investors, the scheme has been a major success for the Portuguese government, raising billions of Euros in revenue over the years. The program has helped stimulate the revival of the Portuguese economy and driven lots of demand for real estate in Lisbon and other cities.

The Portugal Golden Visa program started in 2012 and was originally created to attract foreign investment into the country to aid recovery following the 2008 financial crisis. Due to its popularity over the years, it has been hugely successful, creating jobs, reducing unemployment, and improving currency circulation in the country.

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Why Choose The Portugal Golden Visa in 2021?

  • Visa-free access to the 26 Schengen region countries – Portugal’s EU membership allows residents to live, work and travel between these countries without a visa.
  • Great quality of life – as one of the cheapest countries in Europe, you can enjoy a luxury lifestyle in Portugal without the hefty price tag. It’s a safe and peaceful place to live, with a high standard of education and affordable healthcare.
  • Return on investment – Portugal’s economy has been growing for the last seven years. Investing in the country in 2021 means that you are likely to see an increase in the value of your investment in a few years, real estate is one of the most promising investment sectors in the country.
  • Easy to qualify – one of the conditions to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa is making an investment in the country, and while most applicants prefer investing in real estate, there are many other avenues that you can invest in to qualify. Investment opportunities start from around €350,000, significantly less expensive than other Golden Visa programs.
  • Excellent business opportunities – Portugal is a great country to set up a business. Wages are competitive and you can get a variety of young professionals in the country. In addition, the majority of people in the country speak English. You can therefore fill vacant positions in your company with competent persons easily and quickly.
  • Short minimum stay – once you receive your residency permit, you’re relatively free to live and work elsewhere. Portugal requires all its Golden Visa beneficiaries to reside in the country for at least two weeks per year. This ensures that your residency permit remains valid and fulfills the renewal requirements.
  • Become a Portuguese citizen – the Portugal Golden Visa is valid for five years and provided you fulfil the minimum stay requirements and hold your investment for the full five-year period (meeting all the other set conditions), you can easily apply for citizenship in Portugal. You will then receive the Portugal passport in a few months after application.
  • Family Benefits – Golden Visa perks can also extend to the rest of your family. Your spouse, dependent children and parents can benefit from the Golden Visa without having to make an individual investment.
  • Tax Benefits – Golden Visa holders may also be eligible for Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residents tax status. With this, you are allowed to pay little to zero taxes for up to ten years on income earned outside of Portugal. This applies to incomes such as royalties, pension, self-employment income among other sources of income.
  • Dual citizenship – with residency or citizenship in Portugal, you can also apply for dual citizenship (if your country of origin allows). Normally, the Portugal Golden Visa program is targeted at foreigners from non-EU countries, thus conveying dual residency or nationality.

Qualifying For The Portugal Golden Visa 2021

The Portugal Golden Visa is an European Union approved program. There are a set of conditions that one must meet in order to qualify.

As an economy stimulation program, the Portugal Golden Visa targets high net worth individuals from all over the world who would want to invest in their country in return for residency and a second passport six years later.

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Make Your Investment

The first thing you have to do to qualify for the Golden Visa is to make your required investment. There are many options to make this invest.

Real Estate

The most common option for Golden Visa applicants is an investment in real estate. Real estate investment offers two main options. The first option requires that the applicant acquires property worth EUR 500,000. The property could be commercial or residential. Many Golden Visa applicants purchase the property so that they can earn income from it.

The other real estate option to qualify for the Golden Visa is investment in a property worth €350,000. This property has to be at least 30 years old and in need of repairs or located in a region designated for urban rehabilitation.

When applying for the Golden Visa, you will need to show proof that you have made your investment. This means that you will need to provide purchase documents and any other legal documents required to show that you have made your investment.

As a Golden Visa beneficiary, you should hold your investment for five years. This is a requirement to ensure that your permit is valid and renewed.

Start A Business

Another way to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa program is to start a business in the country. Your company must create at least ten permanent full-time jobs in order to qualify.

When applying for the Golden Visa, you will need to show the ten employees you have employed are registered with social security as employees in your business to qualify. When seeking renewal for your residence permit, you need to show that your business has maintained the minimum number of employees to qualify for renewal.

Capital or Cash Transfer

This investment option requires you to transfer up to €1,000,000 to Portugal. You can also do this in several different ways, but the easiest and most common is to open a bank account in Portugal and transfer the amount from your home bank account.

You will need to provide proof that you have the amount in a Portugal bank in order to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa.

The other method to fulfil the capital or cash transfer investment criteria is to purchase government bonds worth €1,000,000. You can also invest this amount in a company’s shares to be eligible for the Golden Visa.
When renewing your temporary residence permit, you will need to prove that you still own the shares to receive a residency renewal.

Invest in Research

Another investment you can make to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa is investing EUR 350,000 in a public or private research institution. The research institution then attests to receiving the investment to qualify you to apply for the Golden visa.

Venture Capital

You can also use venture capital as an investment avenue to qualify you to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa 2021. In this investment category, you will need €350,000. To qualify in this category, the company you invest in must be a Portuguese registered company. Further, you cannot exit from your investment position for up to five years.

You can also qualify by investing the same amount into a company to help increase its share capital and hire an additional five employees.

Support Art

Another qualifying investment method is channeling €250,000 or more to an artistic production or to the recovery or maintenance of a national cultural heritage. The government office in charge of national culture issues must attest that it received the money to qualify you to participate in the Golden Visa program.

In addition to making a financial commitment, other conditions you must meet to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa include:

  • A clean criminal record in both Portugal and the applicant’s home country. This also applies to once you have been granted a Golden Visa – you must not have been arrested within a one-year period prior to renewal.
  • A valid visa of entry into Portugal
  • Proof of income or financial independence.
  • Be a Non-EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.
  • Funds used in the investment must come from outside Portugal.
  • Maintain the investment for five years.

How To Apply For The Portugal Golden Visa

Provided you meet all necessary conditions to qualify you for the Golden Visa, it is now time to apply!

When applying for the Golden Visa, remember one important factor – the application process is much easier if you paid a consultant to help you with the help of a professional consultant. They will guide you through the whole process, help you find a suitable investment and follow up on the process for you. When your residence permit is ready, you will be contacted, and delivery arranged.

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Stages of the Portugal Golden Visa Application Process

1. Complete the paperwork

Once you’ve have decided to take advantage of the fantastic opportunity that is the Portugal Golden Visa, you will need to acquire and complete the application documents yourself. You will also have to do the same for any other family members who are also applying for a residence permit as part of your own Golden Visa application. If you have any questions about the information required on the form, your consultant should be able to help you out.

2. Open a Bank Account in Portugal and Apply for a Tax Identification Number

You will need to arrange a Portuguese bank account – again, your Golden Visa consultant should be able to help with this. Once this is done, you will receive a Portuguese tax identification number. You will need both of these in order to move your money to Portugal to make the required investments for the Golden visa.

Wire money to your bank account in Portugal, from your main account in your country of origin. Every Portugal Golden Visa investment needs to be carried out with money which has not been earned in Portugal.

3. Choose and purchase your investment property

At this stage, you need to make your qualifying investment. With the many available options of investment, you may choose whichever you want, but if you planning to invest in real estate, you will need assistance in the search and purchasing process – your consultant will help you here.

Once you have chosen and purchased your property, and paid the required duties, you should receive your ownership documents in four days – this is usually how long it takes to complete a real estate purchase in Portugal.

When the sale has been completed, you will then need to submit your ownership documents as proof of having made a valid investment to qualify for the Golden Visa application.

4. Face-to-face interview

After making your application, you will be invited into Portugal for a face-to-face interview with immigration officials. At this interview, your biometric details will be collected and recorded. Any family members also applying for residence will be required to undergo the same process.

You will need to provide certain documents to enter Portugal. Failure to present these at interview is grounds for refusal. Each additional family member will also be required to provide these.

5. Golden Visa Issuance

After the interview, the issuing process begins. It takes about four months to receive your temporary residence permit after the biometric interview.

Once it is ready the government will contact your legal representative, who will then collect the residence permit on your behalf and have it delivered to you.

Once you have received your residency permit, you will need at your convenience to fulfil the minimum stay requirement of at least one week to ensure that you meet your renewal requirements for the first year.

What Next After Receiving The Portugal Golden Visa?

When you receive your Golden Visa, there are certain conditions that you must meet to keep it valid.

  • Minimum stay requirements – ensure that you spend at least seven days in Portugal within the first year. For the next renewal, make sure that you are in Portugal for 14 days within the two-year validity period.
  • Hold onto your investment – you will need to maintain your qualifying investment for at least five years. Each time you renew your residence permit, you will be required to submit documents to prove that you still hold the investment.
  • Maintain a clean criminal record.
  • Maintain a clean immigration record both in Portugal and elsewhere.

Expected Changes on The Portugal Golden Visa in 2021

Portugal’s thriving economy has attracted thousands of Golden Visa applicants into the country since the program began. Their presence has brought in billions to the economy through tax.

The Golden Visa program has also benefited the real estate sector tremendously. It has ensured that real estate is a major sector in the Portuguese economy since it now contributes 15% of the national GDP.

However, the benefits of the Golden Visa program have mainly occurred in cities such as Lisbon and Porto, where most Golden Visa applicants have invested.

This has led to a lot of pressure on Lisbon real estate as demand grows each year. Consequently, locals can now not afford to live in the city, and once-affordable apartments are now turned into short stay apartments to cater to the growing number of tourists, making them expensive for locals.

As a result, the Portuguese government has decided to make changes to the Golden Visa program. Starting June 2021, Golden Visa applicants will no longer qualify for the program if their real estate investment is in Lisbon or other major cities.

After this, Golden Visa applicants will now need to invest in property outside the major cities in order to qualify – these applicants should seek to invest in less densely populated areas of Portugal. The government intends to open up other parts of the country to benefit as real estate in Lisbon and other cities has done.

However, until June 2021, Golden Visa applicants will still be able to qualify for the program by investing in Lisbon and Porto properties. Investors who had also successfully applied for the program in 2020 will not be affected by the changes which were passed in March 2020 by the Portuguese parliament.

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Portugal Golden Visa 2021

Can You Buy Property In Lisbon in 2021 For The Portugal Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa changes have been proposed to take effect from June 2021. Prior to this date, applicants will be able to qualify for the program with real estate investments in Lisbon and Porto.

Why Were The Changes Necessary In 2021?

Changes to the Golden Visa program were passed in parliament in 2020. They were initially supposed to be implemented in September 2020, but this was postponed to 2021 following complaints by investors who wanted to pull out of the application process due to these changes. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic depressed the economy of Portugal, just as elsewhere.

What Is The Purpose of These 2021 Golden Visa Changes?

The major aim of these changes is to ease pressure on supply and demand of real estate in major cities. Higher prices in the city have made it almost impossible for locals to afford living near their workplaces – the government hopes to lower the cost of living in these areas by reducing demand.

It also hopes to increase investments and opportunities in less densely populated regions. With cheaper properties to acquire, it is likely investors will see great value investing in these regions.

The government also intends to boost investment in urban regeneration, cultural heritage, and environmentally friendly or socially friendly activities. It also aims to see more job creation in these less densely populated regions away from the cities.

Will These Changes Affect The Popularity Of The Portugal Golden Visa?

In spite of these changes, it is unlikely that the Portugal Golden Visa will lose its popularity.

Investors seeking value will find that the regions outside of the city are ripe for investment and could generate higher returns than city center properties in the long run – not only are they cheaper, but they are also ideal for renovation to maximise ROI.

By providing cheaper investment options, the Golden Visa is likely to attract more and more applicants.

Will These Changes Be Implemented in July 2021?

The proposed changes are expected to be implemented from July 2021. However, there will be a transition period going into 2022, although the deadline for this has not yet been established.

This will help all involved parties to understand the changes and enable investors to seek advice.

Are Azores and Madeira Part of The Golden Visa Program?

Yes! Applicants who choose to invest in Azores and Madeira will also qualify for the Golden Visa program, as will those investing in the less urban regions of the Portugal mainland.

Conclusion

The Portugal Golden Visa program has been a popular residency-by-investment program. There are imminent changes to the program in 2021. Golden Visa consultants and real estate promoters are leading the charge in opposing the changes by suggesting that applicants will opt for other Golden Visa programs rather than invest in less urban regions.

On the other hand, there are other consultants who recognize the new changes as an opportunity for future investors in Portugal who will benefit from cheaper investments outside Lisbon and Porto.

2021 will be a defining year for the Portugal Golden Visa program.

Faced with the new conditions, it is possible that some investors may opt for other programs. But since its introduction, the program has been hugely successful for Portugal’s economy and its people and is likely to continue to do so long after 2021.

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