Portugal is among the few European countries that offer visas for investors. To be eligible, investors should come from countries outside of the EU and the money they invest should come from another country.
This plan is known as the Portugal Golden Visa scheme. It began in 2012 and has seen over 20,000 applicants receive their visas. Further, it has generated billions of Euros for the Portuguese government and stimulated growth in the country’s real estate market.
Chinese investors make up a large portion of the Portugal visa applicants. However, over the years, investors from other countries such as Brazil and South Africa have shown strong interest in the Portugal Golden Visa program.
Most recently, Hong Kong investors have shown great interest and applied for the Portugal citizenship investment.
Here are some reasons why Portugal has become a hot spot for Hong Kong investors.
Increasing real estate value and high returns for visa investors
The first step towards gaining the visas for investors in Portugal is by purchasing real estate property in designated areas for prices of € 500,000 and € 350,000. With this investment made in Portugal, you can now qualify to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa plan.
Hong Kong investors are willing to sell their other properties in Hong Kong to invest their money in Portugal.
To them, Portugal represents a growing real estate market. In Portugal, due to the rising numbers of foreigners seeking to become visa investors, real estate prices are rising. As such, an investment in a city apartment now, will be worth much more in the five years that one is obligated to hold on to it for the visa plan to be successful.
Properties away from the city are also growing in value. As property prices in the major cities have risen, the government is now encouraging visa investors to buy old and rundown properties for consideration. As this goes on, it will stimulate growth in these areas that do not seem to attractive now.
For many Hong Kong investors seeking the Portugal visa, potentially high returns from their real estate investments is a big driver.
Political stability in Portugal
For the last year, Hong Kong has been faced with political instability, so some high net worth individuals and investors are seeking more politically stable regions and countries to move to.
In Europe, Portugal not only presents both an opportunity to thrive as an investor and a politically stable country to call home.
As uncertainty over the direction of the political settlement in Hong Kong continues, many Hong Kong investors are finding that the Portugal Golden Visa route to citizenship provides peace of mind.
Allows for dual citizenship
Another aspect of the Portugal visa scheme that interests Hong Kong investors is the fact that you can still maintain your Hong Kong citizenship.
The Portugal investor’s visa program allows investors to hold dual citizenship when they receive it. As such, one can still live and work in their home country and have a place to run to when they need a break or things get ugly in Hong Kong as many are anxious, they will.
As an investor, you can also live and work anywhere in Portugal and the EU region as long as you have the Portugal visa.
Free access to the EU region with a Portugal visa
With Portugal being part of the European Union, the investors visa allows Hong Kong investors free access to live and work in any part of the EU.
With the Portugal visa, the EU considers you a citizen of the region and as such, you have 26 countries that you can travel to, live and work in comfortably.
Other countries in the region that may offer similar visa plans are more expensive than Portugal. As such, investors are able to access the EU region cost effectively and legally. This provides you the opportunity to access more investment opportunity and different kinds of services that you may require.
Affordable visa categories
The Portugal visa is easy to apply to and qualify to receive through the Golden Visa plan. This plan has different affordable categories that you can take advantage of, according to your strengths as an investor.
At the top, an investor can qualify to apply for citizenship investment by transferring € 1,000,000 from their bank account in their home country to a Portugal bank account.
The most popular of categories that most Portugal visa investors opt is the € 500,000 category. In this category, you will have to buy a real estate property worth this amount to qualify to apply for the Portugal visa. Attach ownership documents of the said property when you apply for the visa.
A more affordable and now growing category is the € 350,000 category. This category offers investors a myriad of options on what to invest in. You can invest in 30-year-old property or put your money in a regulated private equity fund. You can also choose to invest in any of the research programs ongoing in the country. For the flexibility and affordability of this category, many applicants are choosing it as their entry point into Portugal.
The Portugal visa program is unambiguous and has no strings attached. If you meet all the requirements for whichever category you choose to invest through, you will get the visa
Hong Kong investors thus have options to choose from, on how one can gain the Portugal visa. Once you qualify to apply for the program, send in your application and wait for review and you will receive your investment visa in a few months.
Portugal Visa accepts family and dependents
This is another reason that has led to the popularity of the Portugal visas for investors program. When leaving a politically unstable country, you do not want to leave your family and dependents behind.
The primary investor can have all their dependents also apply for the visa. They will not have to have any additional investment. For this visa, dependents include all the investors children who are below 18, their spouse and even parents. Children who are above 18 but are going to college are also accepted as dependents.
For this Portugal visa, dependents apply in the category known as family reunification. The investor’s application and that of the dependents under this category should be done at the same time. This makes it convenient as you can all move together when the time comes.
Easy to apply and get visas for investors in Portugal
The application process of the Portugal visa is easy to follow.
First, you need to qualify to apply for the investment visa. To qualify, an investor has many choices. They can invest any amount ranging from € 350,000 to € 1,000,000 in government designated investment areas. They can also incorporate a company within Portugal and provide a minimum of ten full time jobs. You also need to have a clean criminal record.
You will then be invited for an interview, where your fingerprints and signatures will be recorded.
Once you are qualified to apply, you can easily make the application online on the Portugal Immigration and Borders department website. You have to attach all the requisite documents and receipts to show that you have paid all required application fees.
The process is easy enough that anyone can do it by themselves. However, it’s recommended you use a legal representative to assist you in the application process. It makes it even much easier.
Hong Kong investors can easily access Golden Visa consultants or Portugal legal representatives from their country and also in Portugal. They will help in identification of the most appropriate investments to make to qualify for the visa plan. They will also help facilitate the interview process and follow up if needed. Consultants also provide much needed advise during the process.
After the online application, all that’s required now is patience. The application review takes between two weeks and six months. After this stage, you will then be invited to collect your visa and residency permit.
Attractive tax system for Portugal visa investors
Another reason why Hong Kong investors love Portugal is because of the favorable tax system for visa investors.
As a foreign investor, you can apply and get the Non-Habitual Resident tax status. This status ensures that you are exempted from income tax for ten years. This is especially if your income is earned from investments abroad. Further, if you work within Portugal, you will only pay a flat tax of 20%.
Also, as a visa investor, you will receive tax exemptions on capital gains when they are reinvested within Portugal.
The Portugal government also ensures that visa investors do not pay housing, wealth and inheritance tax.
Minimum stay requirements
Hong Kong investors who do not live or work in Portugal also love that the Portugal visa allows them flexible and minimum stay within Portugal.
The Portugal Golden Visa Program allows investors a minimum of seven days within the country to ensure that their status is maintained in the first year. After the first year, the visa should then be renewed. After that, the visa is renewed every two years. For these two years, investor visa holders are required to be within Portugal for a minimum of 14 days. After the first two years, the visa should then be renewed at the fifth year as the investor applies and for naturalization to become a Portugal citizen.
Leads to Portuguese citizenship
Hong Kong investors also like the Portugal visas for investors plan as it is a quick and easy way to gain Portuguese and thus European citizenship.
For only five years and a substantial investment, in the country, you can become a citizen and enjoy all benefits of Portuguese citizens. As a Portuguese citizen, Hong Kong investors can also freely live and invest in other European markets.
Low cost of living
Portugal is among the cheapest countries to live in within the European region. The cost of goods and services is considerably low in the country. Rents and household expenses are affordably low.
This is an attractive feature for many people who live in expensive countries in which category Hong Kong falls.
Further, Portugal has legislated on certain market and financial protections. The Central Bank controls inflation and also ensures that interest rates are kept low. This ensures investors that their financial risks are only as low as the interest rates. This will go a long way in attracting new investors into the country.
Portugal is among Europe’s fastest growing economy. This is mainly driven by tourism and increasing exports from the country.
Investors in Portugal buying real estate can take advantage of these markets to build value on their investments. They can use their newly acquired houses to lease to short stay tourists and expatriates within Portugal and make some good return and tax-free income.
With investors also allowed to incorporate companies in Portugal, Hong Kong investors can also take advantage of this benefit to create companies that will invest in the export markets. As a thriving industry, investors are likely to see a quick return and profits from their investment.
Hong Kong has faced numerous political challenges over the last year. This has led to a growing anxiety in the country and more people seeking alternative countries to live in. In this quest, Portugal has risen to become the most popular alternative.
Many Hong Kong residents have sought ways in which they then can get the Portugal visa. With all the above advantages, able Hong Kong investors have already invested and applied for the Portugal visa and are ready to enjoy all the benefits that it offers.