Golden Visa Update - A New Era
After months of waiting since the 16th of February 2023, the Portuguese Parliament finally voted on the proposal ‘Mais Habitação’ (More Housing). This proposal included the changing of the rules to qualify for a Golden Visa in Portugal. There was a misconception that the programme would be cancelled completely however, the benchmark in the residency by investment industry is set to remain, which is good news.
The primary changes to the programme are as follows:
- Direct acquisition and ownership of any form of real estate is no longer an eligible route to a Golden Visa.
- Funds remain eligible however cannot directly or indirectly invest in real estate.
There is no retroactive effect importantly and the right of renewal, family reunification, and permanent residency applications are safeguarded. All future renewals will be approved under the conditions of thecurrent regime requiring seven days per year stay in Portugal during the residence period in order to maintain and renew residency status.
Existing applications and approved Golden Visa’s obtained through now non-qualifying investment routes will be converted to D2 Visa’s with the original Golden Visa requirements as mentioned above. How the practical application and conversion will occur is being clarified currently and lawyers are actively working on a process document.
The amendments will come into force the day after their publication in the official government gazette with no grace period (adaptation period) being applied.
The remaining investment options are:
- Invest €500,000 or more to venture capital or investment funds that are not investing directly or indirectly in real estate.
- Create a business with at least 10 jobs for Portuguese citizens
- Make a scientific contribution of €500,000 or more
- Donate at least €250,000 to artistic production or cultural heritage
- Invest in a business and create or maintain five jobs for locals
For ongoing applications, there will be no impact in the short term. Portuguese authorities will continue to process existing applications. Until this new law comes into effect nothing changes. Although those interested need to be sensible in terms of time frames.
Over the coming weeks, the President of the Republic will receive the approved Housing Bill and one of the following will occur:
- Ratification: the official journal publishes the proposal and the next day the bill becomes law
- Propose Further Amendments: the President does not accept the proposal as-is and requests further amendment from the Parliament
- Requests a Second opinion: the President accepts the document but requests the evaluation of the Consitution Court
The President has up to 20 days to make a decision but could take less time. There is no consensus how long he will take. If he rejects or requests a second opinion, naturally the law will be significantly delayed.
With the above in mind, if you have already started the process and applied for a Golden Visa, your application will be considered under the laws in place at the time of your submission.
If you have started your application but not yet submitted there is a very small window of opportunity to do so. Please reach out to your lawyers as well as EQTY as we would be glad to assist where possible to meet your objective.