SEF Immigration Update
The legislative change to the Golden Visa program in Portugal, which came into effect on January 1st, 2022, has had serious repercussions on the process for applying for a Golden Visa in the country. The increase in the minimum investment required for eligibility resulted in a freeze of new applications on the Investment Residence Permits (ARI) platform of Portugal’s Borders and Immigration Service (SEF) website. The change in regulation combined with the restructuring of SEF prevented the submission of new applications through the SEF portal since December 31st, 2021 in anticipation for the new regulation for this type of investment.
However, EQTY Capital finally received the good news that SEF has reopened its application portal to new Golden Visa Investors. Vanessa Rodrigues Lima, Head of VRL Legal and co-founder of PAIIR – Portuguese Association of Immigration, Investment and Relocation – informed us that as of May 13th 2022, the SEF portal has started accepting new applications. Although the minimum investment stated on the website has not been updated with the new legislative requirement of €500,000, investors will be able to complete their application for a Golden Visa on the platform. In addition, SEF has resumed the booking of biometric appointments, issuing them in chronological order. The backlog of appointments, going back to applications filed a year ago, is expected to be fixed relatively quickly due to the low volume ofapplications filed since the beginning of the year as a result of these issues. Delays are nonetheless expected for the renewal of residence permits, resulting in theGovernment extending the expiration date on current residence permits to allow foreigners currently living in Portugal to remain in the country during the extendedperiod.