The Portugal Golden Visa scheme is one of the most popular in Europe.
Golden Visa applicants from around the world have invested more than €5 billion into real estate in Portugal since the scheme began in 2012, with over 25,000 people obtaining residency this way.
It’s an attractive option to gain residency in Europe and free travel throughout the Schengen Area, but the new developments to the Golden Visa might cause some concern for potential investors.
This guide to the Portal Golden Visa changes should set your mind at rest, explaining what’s actually changing and what won’t be affected.
When is Portugal’s Golden Visa changing?
In 2020, there were worries that Portugal would suspend its Golden Visa programme entirely, but in February 2021, the Portuguese government announced that this wasn’t going to happen.
It was previously suggested that changes to the Golden Visa requirements would take effect in July 2021, with a potential transition period until the end of the year.
This has since been extended, so the changes will only officially come into effect from 1st January 2022, with the scheme and applications remaining the same until 31st December 2021.
This gives prospective investors an extra window of time to invest in property in Portugal and apply for a Golden Visa under the current regulations.
What are the Portugal Golden Visa changes?
There are really only two major changes to the Golden Visa scheme’s qualifying criteria.
Firstly, the minimum investment amount is increasing, and secondly, there will be some geographical restrictions for real estate investments.
Check out the primary changes to Portugal’s Golden Visa below:
|Investment type||Minimum required in 2021||Minimum required in 2022|
|Capital investment||€1 million||€1.5 million|
|Property investment||€500,000 for acquisition or €350,000 for renovation||Same amounts, but for properties in ‘interior areas’, Madeira, and the Azores only|
|Job creation||€350,000 capital increase + create 5 new jobs and maintain for 3 years||€500,000 capital increase + create 5 new jobs and maintain for 3 years|
|Science and research||€350,000||€500,000|
This means that if you want to apply for a Golden Visa through investing in real estate in Portugal, you’ll no longer be able to invest in certain areas from January 2022.
Major coastal areas like Porto, Lisbon, Setubal, and coastal parts of the Algarve won’t be eligible for a Golden Visa after 31st December 2021.
Only low-density areas further inland will be eligible for the scheme.
The aim of easing some of the pressure on the high-density popular areas and directing foreign investment into further parts of Portugal.
On the plus side, you may only need to invest as little as €280,000 for a property in an approved low-density area, especially if it needs refurbishing.
Other than investment amounts increasing and property location limits, the Golden Visa criteria is mostly remaining the same, so applicants can access all of the usual benefits.
How will the Golden Visa changes affect investments in Portugal?
Other investment routes won’t be restricted by location, and will only be affected by the minimum increase from next January.
For real estate investment, if you’re already in the process of buying a property in one of the planned areas for exclusion, this won’t be affected.
You can continue to invest in property in areas like Lisbon and Porto and apply for the Golden Visa this way until 31st December 2021.
Any applications made before 1st January 2022, will be governed by the previous conditions at the time of application.
The Golden Visa changes won’t apply retroactively, so you can continue to renew your Golden Visa and add family members as normal.
Which areas of Portugal are eligible for a Golden Visa in 2021?
As mentioned, all areas of Portugal are still eligible for Golden Visa property investment until the end of 2021.
You’ve got until 31st December to purchase a property and apply for a Golden Visa If you intend to invest in high-density areas like the following:
However, it’s worth noting that the geographical restrictions appear to apply only to residential properties – meaning you could still invest in commercial properties for tourism in these areas.
If you’re unable to invest until 2022, there are still plenty of low-density areas with a potential for high growth that’ll be eligible for a Golden Visa.
According to a map of affected areas by Investment Immigration Insider, some coastal municipalities with parishes further inland may still be eligible, including parts of the Algarve within:
Since Portugal is quite a narrow country, even areas further inland won’t be too far away from the coastal beaches.
However, you’ve still got an opportunity to invest in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve if you’d rather get your Golden Visa through purchasing property there.
Get in touch with our real estate team based in the Algarve today to find your ideal investment property in Portugal and finalise your Golden Visa before time runs out.
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