The Golden Visa program launched by the Portuguese Authorities in the end of 2012, is a fast track for investors to obtain a fully valid residency permit in Portugal or the Algarve and consequently free access to the vast majority of European countries (Schengen area). The Golden Visa scheme has become a successfully running program and partly due to its reduced minimum stay requirements, is now probably the most attractive residency program for investors in the world.
After nearly 10 years of great success the Portuguese government decided to not only increase the minimum amount of certain eligible investments, but also limited the areas where real estate purchases can be executed. These changes came into effect on the 1st of January 2022.
The Golden Visa has the advantage for many international investors of offering total flexibility, meaning that the applicant can remain a resident of their home country and spend as much time as they wish in Portugal or anywhere in the Schengen Area.
Golden Visa holders can also renew their status after five years, for subsequent periods of two years should they wish to keep their temporary residency. But it's also possible after five years to apply for permanent residency (then passing a Portuguese test is required).
If you are interested in buying Real estate for Golden Visa purposes, now investments for residential purposes will be limited to the interior areas of the country, as well as Madeira and Azores islands. Urban areas, such as most of the coastal areas of the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto, will now only be available to buy commercial and touristic properties.
For the Algarve property market this also means that some areas are still qualified. Those properties, licensed for habitation, must be located in the municipalities of Castro Marim, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Monchique, Vila do Bispo, as well in the northern part of the Loulé council. Under the new rules "touristic" or "commercial" properties can be located anywhere in the region, and they still remain an option for Golden Visa investment.
In order to qualify for the Golden Visa and you are looking to purchase a residential real estate, this will only be possible in the designated areas worth at least €500,000, or €350,000 if the property is a rehabilitation project. One exception applies if the residential property is set in a designated 'low-density' area, then a 20% discount applies. Additionally commercial real estate can be located anywhere in the country and should be worth at least €500,000, or €350,000 when investing in a commercial rehabilitation project. If the commercial property is located in a designated 'low-density' area, then a 20% discount applies. Those changes to the Portugal Golden Visa scheme are designed to drive investment in Portugal's interior areas, relieving pressure from metropolitan locations and encouraging foreign investment into other areas of the country.
Apart from the residential property limitations, other investment possibilities to the obtain the Golden Visa have also experienced changes, but are also still possible, for example Capital transfers, investments in Funds or creating companies, but those will not be highlighted in this section.
The Portuguese government has additionally announced that Golden Visa applications will now be digitalized. The change should help reduce bureaucracy and create a faster application process; therefore all documents need to be submitted digitally.
If you are interested in achieving a Residency in Portugal and so Europe, and you are looking to buy a property in the Algarve, please consult our website or contact us for more information on touristic developments here in the sunny Algarve in southern Portugal on +351 289 301 294 or WhatsApp +351 967 612 696 or by e-mail.
We look forward to hearing from you!