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Revamped Portugal Golden Visas scheme still attractive, experts say

Investment amounts increase sharply next year, while Lisbon, Porto and some coastal areas will be off-limits for buying property.

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Investment amounts increase sharply next year, while Lisbon, Porto and some coastal areas will be off-limits for buying property.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:41 am

Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme will remain attractive despite more demanding criteria for investors, according to property experts.

Changes to the Portuguese golden visas, due to take effect at the beginning of 2022, increase the minimum investment to qualify for the scheme, which has been one of the most popular in Europe since its introduction in 2012.

Investors will have to put up 1.5 million euros for capital investments – compared to the previous 1 million euros; for investment funds, at least 500,000 euros will be required – up from 350,000 euros; property investment sums remain the same with the minimum being 280,000 in a low density area.

Property investments in Porto, Lisbon and the coastal areas soared thanks to the golden visa scheme, but now the Portuguese government wants to redistribute these funds and only allow applicants to purchase properties in less popular and populated areas.

Howard Bilton, chairman of The Sovereign Group, said that “Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme has been extremely successful. In return for relatively low levels of investment in Portugal, permanent residency is granted which leads to citizenship after five years.”

He said the popularity of the programme is largely due to its very flexible residency criteria.

Importantly for many investors, there is no requirement to spend more than a few days per year in Portugal to maintain residency under this scheme. Normally it is necessary to live full-time in a particular country for the required qualifying period before there is a chance of citizenship.

The changes are fast approaching, and Bilton believes there probably won’t be enough time to go down the property investment route to take advantage of the cheaper criteria.

“There is still time, just, to complete a fund investment, so for those who wish to limit their investment, now is the time to act,” he said.

Jason Porter, director at Blevins Franks, said that the property investment route has been the preferred one, making up 93.8 per cent of the 5.3 billion euros invested since 2012.

Porter also said that “the re-classification of Lisbon, Porto and high-density coastal areas like the Algarve as non-qualifying, will mean interested parties will need to look more at low-density areas and property over 30 years old requiring significant refurbishment.”

Manuela Robinson, associate director at Blacktower Financial Management in Algarve, said: “Once it was announced that there were going to be changes in the scheme from January 2022, the demand for golden visas increased, but now that we are almost at the end of 2021, it really has gone absolutely crazy as many people have left it until the last minute.”

While Robinson believes that, overall, the scheme will remain popular, she said that less popular routes may pick up more traction from 2022, CLBrief reported.

“Capital investment has never been nearly as popular as property, and even though it will also be subject to changes, I believe it will continue to grow but perhaps at a slower pace. The Golden Visa has been offering non-EU high-net-worth individuals easy access into the Schengen spaces and a route to EU citizenship and will carry on doing so, I strongly believe that it will still remain attractive,” Robinson said.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:41 am

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