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March 6, 2024
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3 popular myths about the Portugal Golden Visa new rules debunked

Following the enactment of the controversial Mais Habitação bill by the Portuguese government in October 2023, rumours quickly circulated suggesting an end to the Golden Visa Program. However, despite widespread speculation, the Golden Visa remains active — albeit with certain caveats.

Let’s delve into the realities and misconceptions surrounding Portugal’s updated Golden Visa.

Alina Mishurenko
Alina Mishurenko

Editor-in-chief, content creator

Portugal Golden Visa Latest News

3 popular myths about the Portugal Golden Visa new rules debunked

Myth #1

Investors can still buy property in Portugal and get a Golden Visa

Foreigners can no longer acquire residence permits by investing in Portuguese real estate. This change sparked extensive debate and controversy within the Portugal Golden Visa Program.

The Portuguese government aimed to address the country’s housing shortage and escalating prices through this measure, seeking to curtail foreign investment in real estate.

However, despite these efforts, housing prices in Portugal continue to rise steadily, with the average price per square metre in Lisbon reaching €5,500 in early 2024, as reported by the Idealista portal.

Capital transfer is no longer an option either. Currently, investors have five options to obtain a residence permit in Portugal:

  • investment in art and cultural heritage — €250,000+;

  • purchase of investment fund units — €500,000+;

  • investment in research projects — €500,000+;

  • investment in business with the creation of 5 jobs — €500,000+;

  • opening a company and creating 10 jobs.

Myth #2

SEF accepts residency applications

The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) was replaced by the new Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA).

Effective October 29th, 2023, SEF is disbanded. This restructuring aims to streamline the visa issuance and residence permit card processes. Previously, the SEF struggled to meet legal processing deadlines.

Responsibilities for immigrant reception, integration, migration, and asylum policy management now fall under AIMA. The Institute of Registries and Notary is tasked with issuing passports and residence permits for foreigners.

While the Golden Visa conditions remain unaffected, this change impacts the residency application procedures. For instance, AIMA intends to digitise all immigration services promptly and has recently enabled investors to apply for residency online.

Myth #3

Portugal investment funds are not profitable

Participation in an investment fund remains a viable pathway for investors seeking to obtain the Portugal Golden Visa. The potential returns from investment funds under the Portugal Golden Visa Program often surpass those from other eligible investments. Many qualified funds target annual internal return rates ranging from 10—20%.

Typically, an investment fund pools funds from multiple investors to invest in diverse projects for profit. Managed by a designated company, these funds allocate investments based on strategy, expertise, and risk preferences.

For eligibility in the Portugal Golden Visa Program via fund investments, the minimum required investment is €500,000. While some funds may accept lower investments, they may not fulfil the requirements of the Golden Visa Program in such instances.

Upcoming changes in citizenship applications after the Golden Visa

Positive developments in Portugal’s immigration policy include the option to apply for citizenship after five years of residency request rather than after obtaining residency, as previously mandated. This signifies a departure from the previous requirement of waiting five years after the issuance of residence permit cards.

The new rules are described in Article 15 of the Law No. 37/81. However, they don’t clarify whether the countdown for investors starts at the residency application or submitting biometrics for a residence permit card.

The proposed amendments have been already accepted and published in the state’s official website, Diário da República. The publication usually means the law is to come into effect on the next day; in this case, it is March 7th, 2024.