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Portugal’s Golden Visa offers new avenues of investment

by Sable International | Jul 22, 2015
  • The Portuguese government is set to make improvements to its popular Golden Residence Permit Programme (GRRP) to make it even more accessible and attractive for investors. This will ensure the smooth roll-out of the residency-by-investment scheme after some commentators inaccurately referred to delays ahead of these changes as a “freezing” of the programme.

    Improving the programme

    The issuing of residency cards was temporarily suspended last week to give lawmakers time to enact procedures to ensure that the new provisions of the GRPP are properly regulated. The SEF – the governmental body in charge of GRPP - is continuing to accept and process applications and all related GRPP documents.

    Andy Rissik, of Sable International, sees the changes as a positive movement: “The fact that they are expanding investment opportunities and ensuring that the logistics of the program are aligned to existing residency law is a sign that the government not only sees this as a successful program today, but vital to ongoing capital investment into Portuguese property market as well as the capital markets.”

    More investment options

    Several new categories will shortly become available for investment:

    • The buying of a property equal to or greater than €350,000 will now be accepted for housing bought in urban renewal areas (as defined by law), or houses that were finished being built 30 years ago. This value includes not only the property but also the investment in the refurbishment works.
    • Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €350,000, applied in research activities conducted by institutions integrated in the Portuguese scientific and technological system.
    • Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €250,000, applied to investment or supporting artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage.
    • Transfer of capital equal to or greater than €500,000 for the purchase of units in mutual funds or venture capital geared to the capitalisation of small and medium enterprises.
    • The creation of a minimum of 10 jobs - as opposed to 30 as was previously required.

    The amended laws also allow the possibility of a 20% reduction in the minimum investment amount if you are buying property or making a capital investment of over €1,000,000 in low density population areas. These are areas with less than 100 inhabitants per square kilometre, or areas where per capita GDP is 75% lower than the national average.

    Better logistics

    There has been a commitment to significant improvements to the logistics of the programme:

    • Applications will now be decided upon within 90 days, while renewals will be decided within 60 days. 
    • Children over 18 years of age studying outside Portugal may be considered as dependents. 

    However, Rissik cautions that the government is still dealing with a backlog and there will probably still be some delays. “The reality is that this is the European summer and government authorities are on skeleton staff. Initial applications could still take between four and six months, although we strongly expect to this improving and moving towards the 90 day target committed to by the government within the next few months.”

    There will also be some delays for those who are awaiting their ARI cards, but things will return to normal in a few weeks. The Minister of Internal Affairs has assured all applicants and would-be applicants that the regulations of the new law are prepared and will be approved soon.

    The new and improved programme is aimed at getting more people involved in one of the most prominent residency-by-investment schemes, and local lawyers have dismissed the uncertainty over the alleged suspension of the programme as unfounded.

    If you are interested in applying for our Golden Visa Portugal programme, complete our pre-qualification questionnaire to get started and one of our consultants will contact you shortly.

    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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