Since 9 October 2012, foreign citizens wishing to enter and reside in Portugal have been able to do so under a Golden Visa/Golden Residence Permit rule. It is a fast track for foreign investors from non-EU countries to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal (“Golden Visa”).
Third country citizens attempting residency under the same laws were subject to vague regulations. As of October 2012, the acquisition of an immovable Portugal asset entitles those individuals to a residency title.
Various investment methods and levels of investment will grant legalisation to foreign citizens from origin countries that are not European Union members:
On 22nd December 2020, Portugal’s Council of Ministers approved an amendment in a decree-law which will change the parameters of where investors can purchase property to qualify for the Golden Visa (ARI) residency programme. The official legislation is yet to be published, but we expect this will be released in the coming months.
The objective of the changes is to increase foreign investment across the interior of Portugal, specifically in low-density regions. Up until now, the majority of Golden Visa investment has been focussed within the main metropolitan hotspots, namely Lisbon and Porto and coastal regions such as the Algarve. From July 2021, investment in coastal locations including Lisbon and Porto will no longer qualify. The Government also stated there will be a transition period which will run to 2022, which we expect will be to allow investors to complete their applications.
This presents a six month window of opportunity to Golden Visa investors who wish to invest in the country’s prime locations before the new changes come into effect. An influx of last-minute investors purchasing in Lisbon and Porto in a bid to meet July’s deadline is expected over the coming months.
On the 30th of September 2013, the Spanish Parliament approved a new law (Law 14/2013), which seeks to encourage new business initiatives within an international scope and regulates how to obtain a residence permit when investing in Spain. By means of the new Law, non-European citizens could be entitled to obtain said permit (allowing to travel within the 26 country Schengen zone), whenever they are prepared to carry out a significant capital investment in Spain.
Only certain types of investment are included in this group. Those would be the following:
Real estate investments in several properties are also valid, as long as the full invested amount is at least 500,000.00 EUR. The investor is free to use or rent out the real estates either for long term, short term or as touristic apartments.
The initial visa is valid for 2 years and can be extended and renewed as residency every 5 years. If the initial visa is applied for through the Consulate or Embassy then the initial period is 1 year with first renewal of 2 years and following renewals of 5 years. The requirement for renewal is that the person is under the same circumstances as when obtaining visa on the first place.
Applicants will also need to meet certain other requirements for becoming resident, i.e. hold a public or private health insurance, have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members, showing a clean criminal record and not having debts with the Spanish public administration.
In principle the minimum real estate investment is 500.000 EUR per person for a residence permit, but in case of a family, further study should be carried out to prove that the head of the family is able to show commitment to support the rest of the family (spouse, children and ascendants/parents).
Acquisition of real estate may be done through an investment company vehicle, whenever the company is not incorporated in a tax haven jurisdiction, and that the applicant for the residence permit holds the majority voting rights, being entitled to appoint the majority of the members within the Board of Directors and the participation is for at least 500.000,00 EUR