COVID-19 impact on Portugal Golden Visa

COVID-19 update: Portugal’s relative success

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

How has the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted Portugal and the Portugal Golden Visa Program?

In recent months, Portugal has been lauded for its efficient response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With about a quarter of the population in neighboring Spain, Portugal has 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.

Explanations for Portugal’s relative success in handling the pandemic have varied. Some have attributed it to the country’s clean air, the decades-long supply of anti-tuberculosis vaccinations, geography, and luck. One thing is for certain, the Portuguese people have done their part to flatten the curve by showing a high level of selflessness and spirit of compassion in the response.

Digitalization of Portugal Golden Visa application

Residency by investment programs are vital sources of capital for big and small nations alike. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact the global economy, countries offering residency by investment are finding innovative ways to move forward with applications with as little disruption as possible. Several countries like Portugal are now accepting applications electronically.

In the face of COVID-19, the Portuguese government and SEF remain open for business and applications for the ARI program [the Portugal Golden Visa] are proceeding as normal. All documents are now to be submitted digitally, including the issuance of the Portuguese Individual Tax Number [NIF].

Golden Visa Portugal operation status:

  • NIF (tax number) issuance – Open as usual
  • Initial SEF Application – Open as usual
  • Bank account opening – Open as usual
  • Notary – Open as usual
  • Interview for biometrics for main applicant and family– Open

Portugal Golden Visa scheme changes on hold?

The Portuguese government’s recent proposed Golden Visa scheme changes, which would have blocked investors from purchasing property in central Lisbon and Porto from 2021, have reportedly been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This date will most likely be pushed back now for an indefinite time as it is not within the government’s priority to legislate anymore.

COVID-19 and the global mobility crisis 

COVID-19 has presently triggered a global mobility crisis, in which tensions are high and borders are indefinitely shut. Globally, we are all considering the future of our mobility and freedom of movement.

The rapid spread of the virus across the globe has meant travel bans between countries have been implemented and other inter-country travel restrictions are in effect. These mobility restrictions are a new phenomenon for most of us today.

While people stay at home and practice social distancing, many have also begun to realise the importance of having other options on the table, in order to safeguard assets and enjoy a future freedom of movement.

Latest COVID-19 related travel updates

As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, the Portuguese government has implemented air travel measures from all flights to and from non-EU countries to minimize the spread of the virus within Portugal. These measures are updated every 15 days.

September 2020 travel updates: Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • U.S. citizens cannot travel directly to Portugal for tourism. The government of Portugal prohibits non-essential tourist travel for U.S. citizens directly to Portugal from the U.S.
  • Only citizens of the European Union/Schengen associated countries, their family members, or foreign nationals legally residing in a Member State of the European Union, and travelers from third-countries specifically authorized may enter Portugal. Certain exceptions to this prohibition allows for travel for professional, study, family reunification, health or humanitarian reasons.
  • Entry into Portugal is allowed for: Portuguese nationals, holders of residency permits, and holders of other long-term visas issued by Portuguese authorities may enter the country.
  • Third country national holders of residency permits or long-term resident visas issued by EU member states may transit Portugal to return to their country of residence.
    US citizens who are lawful residents of EU member states may enter Portugal.
  • Long-term visa holders are allowed but should contact the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate to confirm that their visa qualifies

The Portuguese government has also implemented general measures for people visiting or living in Portugal:

  • Mandatory quarantine for sick people and those suspected of being infected with COVID-19.
  • All gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited.
  • Restaurants can stay open until 1 a.m.; however, restaurants may accept new customers only until midnight.
  • Restaurants within 300 meters of schools and all food courts must limit seating to groups of 4.
  • Bars and discos will open and operate under the same rules and measures as cafes and bakeries (use of dancefloors is prohibited).
  • No consumption of alcohol in public spaces, except in restaurants, cafés, and bars.
  • No sale of alcohol after 8pm and no sale of alcohol by gas stations.
  • Social distance measures enforced, to include mandatory use of protective masks in closed public spaces.

**These measures are effective from 17 September 2020, and will be effective until further notice. 

Can’t Skip Hope

As we stay at home and practice social distancing, it’s a good opportunity to recharge our batteries, reflect, and take it slow, for the good of the world. We’re in this together. #cantskiphope

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 benefits.
  • Freedom of travel, with visa-free restrictions in over a 100 countries.
  • Plentiful business opportunities.
  • Fiscal and asset protection back-up-plan.
  • Tax residency privileges.
  • Optimal social systems such as school and healthcare.

COVID-19 and Portugal in the world press

Stay informed with international news coverage on COVID-19 in Portugal.

This month:

COVID-19 rules in Portugal – Update – The Portugal News

Portugal: UK COVID-19 quarantine restriction hits tourism in the Algarve – Euronews

Portugal travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place? The Independent

Past coverage:

Portugal to Lift Coronavirus State of Emergency From May 3The New York Times

Specialists defend ‘opening Portugal by regions‘ – Portugal Resident

Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher, says study – ‘but not in Portugal’ affirms health chiefPortugal Resident

Swift action kept Portugal’s coronavirus crisis in check says ministerThe Guardian

COVID-19: Why has Portugal seemingly fared better than Spain? Al Jazeera

Coronavirus in Europe: Why has Portugal not been as badly hit by COVID-19 as neighbour Spain?Euronews

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 COVID-19 impact on the 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 July 2020, 108 residence permits were issued. 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.