Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa 2021 Updates

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal was initially lauded for its efficient response to slowing down the virus spread. At first, Portugal recorded approximately a tenth of the number of cases with a mortality rate of just 3% compared with over 10% in Spain, Italy, and the UK. With regards to Coronavirus and the Portugal Golden Visa, initial disruptions to the program included pausing face-to-face biometric visits before resuming operations in July 2020. Other than that, it’s been business as usual for Portugal’s esteemed residency by investment initiative.

In this Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa article, we cover the following:

  • Program updates in relation to COVID-19-related disruptions
  • Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa program changes
  • COVID-19 mobility restrictions

**Click here for the LATEST travel updates related to COVID-19**

Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa Program Operation Status

  • The Portugal Golden Visa program is operating as usual. 
  • The application, including NIF (tax number) issuance, the initial SEF application, the opening of a bank account, and Notary, are open as usual.
  • Face-to-face interviews for biometrics have been resumed, but you must book an appointment beforehand. 
  • All documents related to the Portugal Golden Visa application are now submitted online. After the request is approved, you must appear in person for a biometric interview.

Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa program changes

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Portuguese government’s proposed Golden Visa scheme changes, which were to block investors from purchasing property in Portugal’s urban centers from 2021, were initially suspended. However, the government has recently ratified the legislation, which is set to roll out on 1 July 2021. 

What this means is, investors will no longer be able to snap up €500K properties in Portugal’s populated cities including the Silver Coast, coastal areas of the Algarve, Porto and Lisbon. All other investment routes to a Golden Visa will remain open. 

In fact, industry experts predict that this new legislation will even out gaps in the property sector, and drive more investment in Portugal’s low-density areas. According to the Portuguese foreign authority, SEF, Portugal Golden Visa statistics have shown an increase in investors choosing the Portugal investment fund golden visa route to residency.

Check out the latest changes to the Portugal Golden Visa Program here.

Latest COVID-19 related travel updates

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, the Portuguese government has implemented travel measures to minimize the spread of the virus within Portugal. These measures are in effect under Portugal’s State of Emergency, and are updated every 15 days.

General duties, due to be re-assessed on 15 February 2021, are as follows:

  • Stay at home unless it’s exceptional circumstances or you need to travel for work.
  • Compulsory nation-wide lockdown rolled out across the country. Stay at home except for an emergency or if you have another specific reason. 

January 2021 travel updates: Entry and Exit Requirements

Trips to the Madeira Islands

Passengers flying to Madeira islands have to present a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours before embarkation or take the test upon arrival.

Trips to the Azores islands

Passengers flying to the Azores islands are subject to one of the following options:

  • Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test, conducted up to 72 hours before the flight departure
  • Perform a test on arrival and stay in isolation until the results come out

Flights to and from the European Union and Schengen Area

Air routes are subject to each individual European country’s decision, so it’s always better to check the border restrictions of each respective country before traveling. A good start is to check out Europa’s travel updates in relation to each country in the EU and Schengen Area.

Flights to and from Portugal

You can travel to and from Portugal if you belong to one or more of the following categories:

European Union countries;

  • Schengen Associated Countries – Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland
  • Australia, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, 
  • Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay.

You don’t need to present your COVID-19 test on these flights unless the destinations are the archipelagos of Madeira or the Azores. Note that for the purposes of the recommendation, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican should be considered residents of the European Union.

Flights to and from the United Kingdom and to and from Brazil are suspended until further evaluation.

What are the rules for passengers entering Portugal?

All passengers, whether national or foreign, who travel from countries outside the EU and the Schengen area must present proof of test to COVID-19 at the time of departure, with a negative result, carried out in the last 72 hours.

Before departure traveling from EU countries and the Schengen area with an incidence rate of 500 cases or more per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days have to:

• Present, on departure, proof of a COVID-19 test, with a negative result, carried out in the last 72 hours before departure
• Fulfill isolation for 14 days in their own home or a place indicated by the Health Authorities, with the exception of passengers traveling on essential trips and whose layover in the national territory does not exceed 48 hours;
• Traveling from EU countries and the Schengen area with an incidence rate between 150 and 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, must present proof of a COVID-19 test, with a negative result, carried out in the last 72 hours before departure.

To view the list of countries in the European Union and the Schengen area who belong to this list, check out ECDC’s updated information here.

Benefits of having second residency or citizenship

While the coronavirus pandemic has brought on social uncertainty and economic instability across the globe, it has simultaneously demonstrated the value of having a plan B in life. In times of such a global mobility crisis, citizenship or residency by investment gives people the freedom of choice to start over in a new country and build a future for themselves and their families. It further protects one’s personal, professional and financial interests.

There are numerous advantages to holding another citizenship or being able to operate and reside in another country.

These benefits include:

Property ownership opportunities

Property ownership opportunities

Freedom of travel, with visa-free restrictions in 100+ countries

Freedom of travel, with visa-free restrictions in 100+ countries

Fiscal and asset protection back-up-plan

Fiscal and asset protection back-up-plan

Tax residency privileges

Tax residency privileges

Optimal social systems such as school and healthcare

Optimal social systems such as school and healthcare

How we can help you today

We understand that everyone is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether directly or indirectly. With all travel and relocation plans paused, our way of living and social norms are being challenged.

Whether the Portuguese Golden Visa, the Spain Golden Visa program or another scheme, we understand that it can be a time-consuming affair as well as a stressful experience to reach a big decision like applying for residency in a foreign country. But in the face of this global pandemic, with many international borders shut to foreigners, time now is of the essence.

As consultants in investment migration, we can help you apply for several residency-by-investment programs. Our step-by-step strategy, tailor-made to each unique client, means we are there for you every step of the way.


For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please book a call with a Global Citizen Solutions expert or get in touch with us by filling out the form below.

Frequently asked questions about Coronavirus and Portugal Golden Visa

How has COVID-19 impacted applications for the Portugal Golden Visa?

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Portuguese government and SEF have continued to run the Portugal Golden Visa program, accepting applications on a rolling basis. The only difference is that applications are now digital, including the issuance of a Portuguese Tax File Number (NIF).

Can applicants still apply for the Portugal Golden Visa this year?

Recent Portugal Golden Visa data shows that the program is as popular as ever. In fact, in December 2020, 49 residence permits were issued, with a whopping €27 737 718,69 pouring in investments. So despite COVID-19, the Golden Visa program is still going strong.

How can I stay on top of travel updates related to the Portugal Golden Visa?

For the latest travel updates related to entering Portugal, please consult the Portugal SEF page.