Changes in “golden visas” issuance were recently approved by Parliament, as a result of the discussion on the details of the 2020 State Budget.
Before we understand the impact of this measure, here is a summary of what “golden visas” are and who can request them.
Residence Permits for Investment Activity or “Golden Visas” – What are they?
The scheme regarding Residence Permits for Investment (“ARI”, in short, in Portuguese, or usually called “golden visas”) came into force on 8 October 2012 through Law nr. 29/2019, 9 August, providing foreign investors with the possibility to request a residence permit for investment activity through at least one of the investments currently foreseen by the Law and for a minimum period of five years, among which we point out the following investment activities:
- The transfer of capital in an amount equal or greater than 1 million euros;
- The creation of at least 10 jobs;
iii. The purchase of real estate in an amount equal or greater than 500 thousand euros.
Find out which other types of investment are included in the “visa gold” issuance scheme and which rights ARI beneficiaries are entitled to here.
Golden Visas: for who?
For “foreign investors”, meaning all Third State national citizens who carry out an investment activity, personally or by means of a company established in Portugal or in another E.U. State with a permanent establishment in Portugal. The ARI scheme or the issuance of “golden visas” is not applicable to citizens of Portuguese nationality nor to E.U. and EEE citizens.
What are the alterations which have occurred regarding “golden visas”?
On 5 February 2020 a legislative authorization proposal was approved regarding the ARI scheme which determined limitations in the issuance of “golden visas” regarding real estate investments in inland municipalities or in the Madeira and Azores autonomous regions, as well as a rise in the minimum amount of necessary investments and the minimum number of jobs which must be created.
The alteration measure regarding the issuance of “golden visas” intends to “help promote investment in regions with low population density, as well as investment in urban regeneration, in cultural heritage, in activities of high environmental or social value, in investment in production and in the creation of employment.”
This solution involves the end of the possibility of obtaining “golden visas” through real estate investment in areas such as Lisbon and Porto, as well as in the Coastal Intermunicipal Communities with the objective of relieving pressure on the real estate market and to contribute to greater territorial cohesion.
What is the impact of these alterations on “golden visas”?
Even though this measure limits “golden visas”, it does not bring the ARI scheme to an end.
The approved proposal does not impair the possibility of “golden visas” renewals issued under the current scheme, nor the possibility of the issuance or renewal of “golden visas” for the purpose of family reunification provided by the Law when the residence permit for investment has been granted according to the current scheme.
It is important to point out that the measure which will come into effect ensures that “golden visas” can continue to be attributed to the investors who promote the creation of companies and jobs in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas or in coastal cities in the country.
This legislative authorization has the duration of one year, which corresponds to the 2020 State Budget. If you need to know more about the “golden visas” issuance procedure, contact our legal services here.