The purpose of this article is to provide a quick overview of some of the recent improvements to Portugal's Golden Visa program. These modifications were accepted on December 22, 2020, and were published on February 12, 2021, by Decree Law 14/2021.
The Golden Visa is a residence program for investors who meet certain criteria and qualify for residency for themselves and their family members for a term of five years by making one of the qualifying investments. The Golden Visa program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and it has already undergone changes since its inception in October 2012.
Property, capital, and employment are the three primary areas of investment that have been impacted by the recent modifications that took effect on January 1st of this year. In the vast majority of situations, the modifications amounted to little more than an increase in the investment minimum.
There are still two investment criteria for property investments, which have traditionally been the most appealing to applicants: € 500,000 or € 350,000. Investors with a minimum investment of €500,000 have complete freedom to choose any sort of property in any area. The € 350,000 category entails the acquisition and successful renovation of a property that is at least 30 years old or situated in a special legally defined urban rehabilitation zone. The most recent adjustments in this category have nothing to do with the required minimum investment levels.
The fact that the purchase of residential property is now confined to specific pre-approved regions of Portugal, which are regarded as more inner regions of the nation, is what changes this investment choice. These are places that are regulated by legislation.
In practice, this implies that non-residential property investments such as commercial, land, office buildings, and touristic property (such as hotels or serviced apartments) are still available across Portugal, including important cities such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.
This category's investment amount remains unchanged, as stated before. It should also be noted that, if the property is situated in a low-density population region, the legislation still allows for a 20% decrease in the minimum investment levels.
Subscription of participation units in Portuguese Investment or Venture Capital Funds is another alternative that has recently attracted a lot of investor interest. The minimum subscription amount has been raised from € 350,000 to € 500,000 for this category. There have been no other changes, which means that you can still invest in multiple Funds and that the requirements for Venture Capital Fund eligibility remain the same as before, namely, that the Fund must have a maturity of at least 5 years at the time of subscription and that at least 60% of the companies in which it will invest must be located in Portugal.
There was also an increase in the minimum amount for capital investments. Previously, a minimum capital investment of € 1,000,000 was required to qualify for the program in this category; however, this year, a minimum investment of € 1,500,000 will be required. The legislation still allows you to invest all or part of your money in government bonds or stock in Portuguese enterprises.
In a nutshell, the minimum investment amount has been raised from € 350,000 to € 500,000 in both the:
1. Job creation option, with this amount going toward the incorporation / growth of a company's share capital, which must then generate 5 new jobs and keep them for at least 3 years; and 2.
2. on public and private scientific research institutes participating in the national scientific or technological system's investment in science and research activities
We'd also want to point out that there are still other extremely attractive Golden Visa possibilities that aren't impacted by these changes in the legislation, such as investing in or supporting the arts and culture, which is still allowed with a € 250,000 donation.