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Portuguese Golden Visa programme: Approvals now at 80%

by Samantha Carter-Vawda | Apr 18, 2017
  • Portugal's Golden Residence Permit Programme allows South African and other non-EU citizens the chance to purchase an offshore property while earning EU residency rights. There have been some important and encouraging changes to the popular programme. If you'd like to secure EU residency for you and your family, or are already part of the programme, you should read on.
    golden visa

    Portuguese authority processing more applications than ever

    It’s been a fantastic last couple of weeks. We have now received 80% of our initial client residency application approvals, with 20% still pending approval. This includes the backlog that stretches back to 2013.

    We are pleased to report that the changes implemented at SEF have really streamlined Portuguese authority’s process on the back end. This has helped Sable International with managing the ongoing communication with our clients.

    SEF’s massive application backlog, dating back to 2013, had an adverse impact on processing times. The central Lisbon office was by far the busiest office and this is where a lot of the delays were caused. In addition to streamlining their processes, SEF have taken additional steps to keep up with the large volume of new applications. Two dedicated teams have been hired to focus purely on the back log while the new applications are processed by another team.

    It has been a challenging process trying to manage our client’s expectations with the Golden Residence Permit Programme (GRPP), as approvals depend solely on the Portuguese immigration officials. This all seems to be behind us now and you can look forward to more speedy resolutions of past and future applications.

    South Africans starting thinking of plan B

    South Africa’s downgrade to junk status by both Fitch and S&P following Jacob Zuma’s shock decision to replace Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has sent the Rand and the South African economy on a gradual, but inevitable, slide. Each day the currency creeps lower, it becomes harder for South Africans to protect their wealth.

    The time to move money offshore is upon us and it’s better to do it now than wait until it becomes prohibitively expensive to do so. This makes offshore investment programmes like the GRPP more attractive than ever.

    The fantastic thing about the GRPP is that not only are you making a sound offshore investment, but if your application is successful you will gain EU residency. This opens up a host of immigration solutions not usually available to South Africans and their families.

    Less paperwork for applicants renewing their Golden visa

    After receiving your residency card, you will no longer need to resubmit unabridged birth certificates for your visa renewal. This streamlining is the latest in the long list of changes SEF has made to make the programme more efficient and less bureaucratic.

    Amendment to required documentation needed for submission

    SEF has confirmed that they no longer require proof of medical insurance when submitting your application to the Portuguese authorities, going forward.

    Please feel free to contact our office to arrange this, should you need assistance.

    Change regarding the application submission process

    You can only make your application with SEF once you’ve taken transfer of your property. Once the property is in your name, you may complete your biometrics with SEF.

    Delay in SEF payments after approvals

    Due to the high amount of approvals over the last couple of weeks, SEF payments have been delayed by two months. We understand this is frustrating, but please rest assured that our attorneys are doing everything in their power to expedite the process.

    If you’re interested in investing in the GRPP and would like to discuss the programme in more detail, please contact me on +27 (0) 21 657 2141 or +27 82 226 6904. Alternatively, email our team on

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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