January 12, 2022
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How Many Resident Permits Did Portugal Issue by Investment in 2021?

865 investors received Portuguese residence permits in 2021. The residence permit program by investment brought Portugal about 461 million euros. Learn citizens of which countries have received the most “golden visas” and what they have invested in.

Lyle Julien
Lyle Julien

Investment programs expert

Statistics on the residence permit program in Portugal for 2021

How Many Resident Permits Did Portugal Issue by Investment in 2021?

The program statistics are published every month by SEF, the Portuguese immigration service. The reports contain information on:

  • how many people received a residence permit;

  • citizens of which countries received the most residence permit cards;

  • how much money Portugal made from the program during the reporting period;

  • what investment options were most often chosen by the program participants.

How many investors received a residence permit in Portugal

2,036 foreigners received Portuguese golden visas in 2021. 865 of them were investors themselves as the main applicants. The dynamics of approved applications differs by month. Portugal approved the biggest number of applications in February: 100 investors became residents of the country. In July, 41 applicants received residence permit cards, which is the lowest approval rate throughout the year.

2036 people

Became Portuguese residents under the investment program

Residence permit in Portugal by investment: what options did investors choose

Source: SEF

Chinese citizens received the most golden visas: Portugal issued 270 residence permit cards to investors from China. The second largest number of participants is from the United States. Americans received 99 residence permits by investment.

The third place was shared by the citizens of Russia and Brazil as 61 investors from each country became Portuguese residents in 2021.

Top 3 countries by number of Portuguese residence permits received in 2021

Investor’s citizenship

Number of residence permits received

cn-flag China


us-flag USA


ru-flag Russia


br-flag Brazil


What did the program participants invest in?

The annual income from the residence permit program was about 461 million euros. This is 29% less than in 2020.

Portugal offers investors eight investment options:

  • purchase of real estate for €500,000;

  • purchase of a property over 30 years old for renovation for €350,000;

  • transferring of capital to Portugal;

  • purchase of shares in investment funds;

  • investing in research projects;

  • supporting culture and art;

  • investing in a local company and creating five jobs;

  • opening a business and creating 10 jobs.

87% of the program participants chose to purchase real estate: 516 investors bought objects worth at least €500,000, another 241 purchased buildings for renovation. The total amount of transactions with the purchase of real estate amounted to about 410 million euros.

410 million euros

Was invested in Portuguese real estate in 2021

The second most popular option is the purchase of investment funds shares. It was chosen by 79 investors. The capital transfer option was preferred by 16 program participants, another 8 invested in local companies and created five jobs each.

Three investors started their own businesses and created 10 jobs for Portuguese residents. One program participant financed scientific projects in the country, another one invested in culture and art.

Residence permit in Portugal by investment: what options did investors choose

Source: SEF

Why investors prefer to buy real estate

Purchase of real estate is a profitable investment. Portuguese property prices are increasing by an average of 7% per year. And between 2011 and 2020, property prices rose by 50%. We talked about this in the article “How Property Prices Have Changed In The EU Over The Past 10 Years.”

The possibility to return investment is the main advantage of purchasing real estate. The investor owns real estate for five years, then he has the right to sell the object and return the money. If real estate prices in the country continue to grow steadily during the ownership of the objects, the investor will also make money on the difference in value.

Transparency during purchase of real estate. The Portuguese government plans to assign each property with a building identification number, or NIP. Buyers will be able to see all information about the property in real time: from the location of the property to its cadastral value.

The first NIPs will begin to be assigned in the second half of 2022. First, objects located in rural areas will receive identification numbers. Then urban real estate will follow.

From April 4th, 2022, real estate buyers will be able to complete the purchase and sale transaction via videoconference. Such services will be provided by the employees of the Portuguese registry offices.

Benefits of the Portuguese residence permit for investors

Residence status in a country which is a member of the European Union. Together with the investor, family members can obtain a residence permit in Portugal: a spouse, children under 26 years old and parents over 65 years old.

Portugal is a country with a developed economy and a high standard of living. The investor and his family will be able to permanently live, work and study in the country. Portugal is also one of the safest places in the world, ranking fourth in the Global Peace Index in 2021.

Visa-free travel in the Schengen area. Residents of Portugal travel without visas to the Schengen countries and can stay in any state of the region for up to 90 days in half a year.

Ayzere and Amir,

a couple from Kazakhstan

Ayzere and Amir are from Nur-Sultan. The spouses moved to Portugal to travel across the Schengen countries and provide their children with European education. Ayzere also wanted to open a medical center in the new country of residence. Immigrant Invest lawyers helped the family to get residence permits in Portugal in six months.

Learn a case

The prospect of citizenship in an EU country. The investor and his family have the right to apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years of holding a residence permit card. The passport gives even more opportunities for travel: the Portuguese travel without visas to 187 countries, including the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia.

The ability to conduct business in a European country, receive income from renting out real estate, store capital in European banks.

An optimization of taxation. A new Portuguese resident can get tax holidays for 10 years and a special tax status of the Non-habitual resident.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of the residence permit program in Portugal. If you want to move to Portugal or travel to the Schengen countries without a visa, contact investment program experts for advice.