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 resumed since the temporary suspension expired on July 1, 2020.  
  • 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 January 2021, are as follows:

  • Stay at home unless it’s exceptional circumstances or you need to travel for work or school.
  • Compulsory curfew rolled out across the country, between municipalities at high, very high, and extreme risk. Movement is restricted between municipalities between 11:00pm of January 8 and 5 am on 11 January, except for medical reasons, urgency or other specifically provided reasons.
  • Public road ban circulation, between the weekend of 9 and 10 January, between 1pm and 5am the following day,

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 relations 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.

Flights from the United Kingdom

Only passengers on flights from the United Kingdom who are nationals or legally resident in Portugal are allowed to enter national territory.

This is subject to the following:

  • All passengers must present a negative COVID-19  test
  • Upon arrival in the national territory, citizens who do not have proof of negative test results must do a test on arrival.In this case, citizens will have to remain in isolation, under the terms defined by health authorities.
  • On flights from the United Kingdom to Madeira, passengers who are not tested negative should do so on arrival and between 5 and 7 days and should await the results in  isolation.

Flights between Portugal and other destinations will only be permitted for essential travel. In this case, passengers must present a negative test to COVID-19 (RT-PCR), carried out within 72 hours before departure time. This test is not asked in Portugal for those who are in transit and do not have to leave the airport facilities.

What is considered essential travel?

“Essential travel” is defined as trips allowing the transit, entry into and departure from Portugal for the following persons:

  • Citizens of a European Union member state, Schengen Associated countries and their family members;
  • Citizens repatriated through consular assistance;
  • Third-country nationals travelling for professional purposes, study, family reunions, health and humanitarian reasons and under the reciprocity principle.
  • In essential travels, national and foreign citizens with legal residence in Portugal and also diplomatic personnel accredited in Portugal who, exceptionally, do not present the test, will have to do it on arrival, at the airport, and at their own expense. Foreign passengers who embark without the test performed, will be refused entry into national territory, with the airline being the subject of a fine.

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.