This article is the ultimate 2023 source regarding Portugal’s Golden Visa changes that took place in January 2022 and the most recent information on the Portugal Golden Visa. The Golden Visa is coming to an end. If you would like to know more, you can consult our article Portugal Golden Visa is Ending for the latest updates.
Is the Portugal Golden Visa ending?
The Portuguese Government announced on 16 February 2023 that it would end its golden visa program. On 30 March, the Council of Ministers met to present the final proposal. The update can be seen below.
Update 14 April: Final Proposal on the Golden Visa Ending Revealed
On 14 April, following the various announcements and public discussion of the future of the Golden Visa regime, the final proposal of the Government was revealed, which will now be subject to discussion in Parliament.
Put simply, the final proposal states the following:
- The new law will not apply retroactively to people who have already been granted a Golden Visa.
- The stay requirement rule of 7-day-per-year will remain in place.
- People who have applied for a Golden Visa but have not yet received it are protected.
- The renewed visas will have the same flexibility as the ARI, even though they will be reframed under the D2 Visa.
- The law will go into effect when published in the official journal.
- Considering the various stages of the legislative process, we expected that this approval process would take at least 35 days, assuming everything progresses smoothly.
The main news is that in its final version, the Government overturns any possibility of retroactivity of this law, guaranteeing that all requests submitted until the entry into force of the new law will be met in accordance with the rules still in force. Alongside this, it guarantees that application renewals are obtained under the law that is still in force today. While they provide for the reframing of this visa into a different type of visa, the stay requirement, of an average of 7 days a year, will remain the same.
The final proposal also guarantees that family reunification requests associated with Golden Visa are also duly protected.
The proposal indicates that the future law will come into force the day after its publication, with no grace period foreseen for the revocation of the Golden Visa in Portugal. This is a subject that may still be debated and changed, but for now, it is reasonable to assume that this is the last call for a Golden Visa.
Applications remain valid until the new law comes into force
On 14 April, the Portuguese government released the proposal for the new law. This states that Golden Visa applications that are submitted until the date when the new law comes into force will remain valid and will be processed under the current regime. It also states that there will be no retroactive effects. This includes the minimum stay requirement of staying in the country for seven days a year, on average.
“On the date on which this law enters into force, any pending applications for the residence permit for investment shall remain valid. For the permit renewals, applicants shall comply with a minimum stay, continuous or not, of seven days during the initial year and fourteen days during the subsequent two-year periods.”
— Government Law Proposal, p.70
The Portugal Golden Visa is to remain open until at least the end of June
The Parliament has scheduled the discussions concerning the law proposal to take place on 19 May, later than what was first expected. Considering the legislative process and the extent and complexity of the issues at stake, we estimate that the procedure will not be completed before the end of June. Global Citizen Solutions will give a balanced view on all future updates, monitoring the progress daily, and will update our timeline and expectations continuously.
The legislative process for the new law to come into force
The legislative process that we can expect to unfold is the following:
- Parliamentary discussion: There will be a general discussion of the law proposal in the Parliament plenary session.
- Committee Review: The relevant committees will then review and examine the proposal and will hear from experts and stakeholders.
- Voting in Parliament: Parliament can propose amendments, and the proposed law will be debated and voted upon.
- President Ratification: The President can ratify or veto on political grounds. This means that the proposal is sent back to the Parliament to be reassessed accordingly or sent to the Constitutional Court for a technical assessment of compliance with the Constitution.
- Constitutional Court Validation: If the Constitutional Court is called upon to rule, it will do so on legal provisions that have raised doubts in the President. The deadline for this analysis is 25 days. Depending on the contents of the Court’s formal announcement, the President can send the proposal back to Parliament to be revised with a constitutionality veto or enforce it and, therefore, send it for publication.
- Official Publishing in the Diario: The law will enter into force after publication in the exact terms in which it is foreseen in its vacatio legis, that is, the period that the law itself determines it to enter into force.
Final Call to Apply for the Portugal Golden Visa
If you are interested in applying for the Golden Visa program, you can still do so. Applications are open as usual, and there will be no retroactive impacts until the law is published. You can get in touch with us today to kickstart your Golden Visa application.
30 March Update on the Portugal Golden Visa
On 30 March 2023, at a press conference held by the council of ministers/ Ministerial Council, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, announced the government’s final position regarding the Housing Package Policy and the future of the Golden Visa.
Without prejudice to a more in-depth analysis, namely of any document supporting these decisions now announced, here is a summary from the conference:
1. Authorizations granted
Upon renewal, authorizations will be granted based on existing requirements but will be reframed in a traditional type of visa, as opposed to the Golden Visa.
It remains unclear what the consequences of this will be, but it is indicated that the reduced period of stay of seven days per year may be at stake, given that this advantage of the Golden Visa program does not exist in traditional visa types.
2. Authorizations pending approval
Pending process will be assessed according to the general regime for granting a visa instead of in accordance with the Golden Visa program. It is not yet known which pending cases that the government intends to apply this measure.
The government’s reasoning behind bringing the Golden Visa program to a close it that it is no longer justifiable to continue the scheme. Investors will, eventually, be redirected to traditional visas.
The practicalities of the measures were not clearly defined, so we are still in a phase of speculation. However disruptive these measures are – and conflicting with various principles that shape the Portuguese legal system and Constitution – we anticipate a lengthy process in the coming months. From the discussion in Parliament, approval to becoming law – and it will unlikely succeed – we cannot ignore that there is a negative effect which shakes investors’ confidence.
21 March Update: Housing Bill Deemed “Unfeasible” by the Portuguese President
The Portuguese President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, stated on 21 March that the Mais Habitação (More Housing) bill – which, besides other measures, seeks to end the Portugal Golden Visa program – was “unfeasible” and “inoperable.” He used the following analogy, relating to a melon, to describe the contents of the bill, stating, “People used to say that you only know if the melon is good after opening it” while commenting that the content was so large that it was difficult to get to grips with.
He hinted that the Portuguese government may have proposed the bill to instigate more focused attention to the party platform, as opposed to formulating legislation that could realistically be passed, labeling it as a “poster law.” He explained this term as, “laws that appear to proclaim certain programmatic principles, but the idea is not exactly that they pass in practice.” He went on to add that poster laws serve as “a pole of fixation for what it promises.”
The President went on to mention that it may have been better not to have spoken about the housing affordability problem, as the apparent solution is unworkable.
De Sousa’s comments are extremely significant as his opinion and position on the matter are usually taken into consideration, even before the law is sent to him. The President’s words will encourage those who argue that the final proposal on 30 March marks only the beginning of the discussion.
20 March Update: Government of Madeira “Refuses” to Comply with Mais Habitação Bill and is Considering “Alternative Proposals”
Miguel Albuquerque, the President of Madeira, one of the two autonomous islands of Portugal, has criticized the Mais Habitação (More Housing) bill. Amongst other measures, the bill seeks to end the Portugal Golden Visa program.
He stated that the regional government of Madiera refuses to apply the measures of the Mais Habitação program, stating that they were “counterproductive” and “statist.”
Albuquerque stated that Madeira’s autonomy grants the island a range of powers that include the “capacity and authority to legislate on the subject.” He has asked for a specific solution that takes into account the regional reality of Madeira, as the current bill would create economic disaster on the island, where the economy is highly dependent on tourism and foreign investment.
Regarding the end of the Portugal Golden Visa, he stated that the program was ending in order to address the real estate situation in Lisbon and Porto and that it does not make sense to extend these measures to the Autonomous Regions where the economic repercussions would be significant.
De Sousa recently visited Madeira and called for calm and negotiation, asking parties involved to display a “wait-and-see” approach as there are alternative proposals and legal courses of action being considered. Should discussions not go as he hopes, Albuquerque has warned that he is prepared to join forces with the Azores, Portugal’s other Autonomous Region, which is in the same situation.
It is worth noting that the Autonomous Regions do have the capacity to resist decisions from Lisbon. However, their ability to do so in relation to the Portugal Golden Visa is another matter, as residence permits are issued directly by the Portuguese Republic. The governments of Madiera – or the Azores – cannot issue residence permits on their own, therefore relying on national legislation.
You can consult our article on the Portugal Golden Visa Ending for more information and the latest updates.
Why choose Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa?
- Global approach by local experts: A team of experienced local case executives, immigration lawyers, and investment specialists based in Portugal.
- Independent service: We are not a marketing agency for any projects. You will access all eligible routes for the Golden Visa so you can decide on the best option, and your investment will benefit from the legal due diligence services of a reputable Portuguese Law Firm.
- 100% approval rate: We have the unique distinction of never having had a Golden Visa case rejected and have helped hundreds of clients from more than 35 countries.
- All-encompassing solution: Our dedicated onboarding and immigration teams will assist you throughout the process and beyond with a single channel of communication.
- Transparency: Our fees are clear and detailed, covering the entire process with no hidden costs.
- Privacy: Your personal data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server.
To see the full list of reasons why to work with Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa, you can find out more here: Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your Golden Visa Portugal Application?
The Portugal Golden Visa program is ending soon, and this is your final chance to apply. If you have decided to seize this final opportunity here’s what we can do for you. You’ll have three teams working in parallel to help you streamline your application while coordinating with each other. To provide you with an example, we will ensure that you won’t make the investment until all your documents and preparations are ready for your application to be viable and ready to be submitted. In times like these, time is of the essence. Global Citizen Solutions can ensure that your Golden Visa application process is a smooth one.
Why Work With Us
Start your application today and secure your Portugal Golden Visa.
The Portugal Golden Visa program is ending soon, and this is your final chance to apply. If you have decided to seize this final opportunity here’s what we can do for you.
You’ll have three teams working in parallel to help you streamline your application while coordinating with each other. To provide you with an example, we will ensure that you won’t make the investment until all your documents and preparations are ready for your application to be viable and ready to be submitted.
In times like these, time is of the essence. Global Citizen Solutions can ensure that your Golden Visa application process is a smooth one.
Portugal Golden Visa Changes in 2022
The Portuguese government rolled out new regulations concerning the Portugal Golden Visa. The changes took effect on 1 January 2022. This law restricted the ‘qualifying’ areas for real estate investment within Portugal and made several investment options more expensive.
The government explained these changes as a necessity to evenly spread foreign investment to other parts of Portugal. With the Lisbon and Porto real estate market thriving, the government focused its attention on developing the property market in Portugal’s interior areas.
As of 1 January 2022, the following changes are in place:
Real estate changes
- Investors cannot invest in residential property in popular urban areas such as Lisbon, Porto, and much of the Algarve, as well as coastal towns like Setúbal and the Silver Coast.
- Applicants can only buy residential property in designated interior areas of Portugal worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project. If the residential property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20 percent discount applies.
- Investors can purchase commercial property anywhere in the country worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a commercial rehabilitation project. If the commercial property is located in a designated ‘low-density’ area, then a 20 percent discount applies.
- Investors can buy residential and commercial property anywhere in Portugal’s autonomous islands of Madeira and Azores, worth at least €500,000 or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project.
Capital transfers changes
- The capital transfer amount requirement increased from €1 million to €1.5 million.
- The Investment fund minimum subscription requirement increased from €350,000 to €500,000.
- Investment in scientific research increased from €350,000 to €500,000
- Investment into an existing Portugal-registered business increased from €350,000 to €500,000
- An investment into the arts and cultural heritage worth €250,000 stayed the same.
It’s important to note the difference between interior areas and low-density areas. Check out the map below explaining the differences.
*Note that it’s possible for an area to be interior and high-density. In this case, you can purchase a residential property, but no discount applies.*
For a more comprehensive overview of what interior and low-density areas in Portugal qualify for a Golden Visa, check out our guide to the Portugal Golden Visa Low-Density Investment Options.
What are the implications of the Portugal Golden Visa changes in 2022?
While stakeholders vocalized opposition against the changes, they’re not necessarily seen as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Rather, the Portugal Golden Visa changes were designed to drive investment in Portugal’s interior areas, relieving pressure from metropolitan locations and encouraging foreign investment into other areas of the country.
From 1 January 2022, investors cannot buy residential properties in popular urban areas of the country like Lisbon, Porto, and much of the Algarve, as well as in coastal towns like Setúbal and the Silver Coast. Only residential property investments in interior parts of the country qualify (there are no location restrictions on commercial real estate).
In the wake of the changes, alternative investment routes to Portuguese residency have become more popular, namely the investment fund option. However, the real estate investment route continues to be the most popular option.
What has not changed?
The following Golden Visa investment options have not changed under Portugal’s new immigration law in 2022:
- €250,000 investment to artistic production or national heritage.
In a nutshell, if you submitted your Golden Visa application before 1 January 2022, you would have been exempt from new legislation. This includes future renewals of your status.
Property sector affected by Portugal Golden Visa new rules
There was hope that the Portugal Golden Visa suspended changes would not go ahead as professionals from the property sector expressed concerns that the changes could harm the property market. However, the Golden Visa’s new rules were put in place to help boost low-density areas and balance out the property market in the country.
Fantastic Portugal Golden Visa low-density areas with high growth potential, such as the Douro Valley, Aljezur, and Peneda Gerês, provide excellent property locations for investors and their families. For only €280,000, individuals can invest in low-density renovation projects and become eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa scheme.
Did the Portugal Golden Visa changes impact existing investments in Porto and Lisbon?
If you were in the process of purchasing a property in a thriving urban area, you would not have been impacted by the Portugal Golden Visa updates. However, from 1 January 2022, if you are interested in purchasing a property in Lisbon, Porto, or parts of the Algarve, you can only buy commercial property, not residential.
If you are not particularly interested in investing in real estate, the Portugal investment fund Golden Visa is a very attractive investment route. For a minimum investment of €500,000, you can become a Portuguese resident with the fund investment option.
Portugal Digitalizes Golden Visa Applications
The Portuguese government has also announced that Golden Visa applications will now be digitalized. All documents are to be submitted digitally, including the issuance of the Portuguese individual tax number (NIF). The change will help reduce bureaucracy and create a faster Golden Visa application process.
Portugal Golden Visa timeline
Portugal Golden Visa: A Brief History
Launched in 2012, the Portugal Golden Visa scheme is one of the most popular residency-by-investment schemes in Europe. The scheme allows investors and their families to obtain residency permits in exchange for a qualifying investment. Since its launch, the Portugal Golden Visa has been a true success, with 11,384 investors and 18,617 family members benefiting from the Golden Visa program.
Portugal Golden Visa statistics show that, in terms of top residency-by-investment programs, Portugal is recognized as offering the best program in the world. The reasons for the program’s success are multiple. Portugal is one of the best European countries for expats due to its outstanding quality of life, excellent weather, and freedom.
In addition, the program offers several attractive investment routes suiting various investment goals — such as purchasing real estate, investing in venture capital, research, or an existing business.
For more information on Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme, visit our Golden Visa Portugal 2023 Ultimate Guide.
Golden Visa Delays Causing Applicants to Take SEF to Court to Speed Up the Process
As part of the Golden Visa process, applicants need to attend an appointment at SEF to provide the required legal documents and for SEF to collect their biometric data. Once the Golden Visa application is analyzed by SEF and receives the go-ahead, SEF then indicates the dates available to schedule the appointment. The legal provision (Article 105) states that SEF has three months to inform the applicant of their decision and indicate the dates available for the applicant to make an appointment (this can be extended to a further three months in exceptional circumstances).
The SEF Procedure Manual (in Portuguese) foresees a deadline of 10 to 60 days for the scheduling of the biometrics collection. However, it is unclear as to whether this refers to making the appointment or whether the appointment itself should occur within this time frame. This process of scheduling an appointment is taking much longer, up to 18 months, due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine (SEF had to process over 60,000 residences in the first half of 2022 for Ukrainian citizens), and the high number of applications for the program.
Many investors have taken cases relating to delays in obtaining a Golden Visa to court to speed up the process, with reports stating that, to date, SEF has lost 18 cases. It is this deadline provided in the law for appointments that the courts have made favorable decisions for foreign investors, whereby the delays in the process are not legal.
You can read more in our article: Portugal Golden Visa Delays Causing Applicants to Take SEF to Court to Speed Up the Process.
How can we help you?
As professionals dedicated to assisting you in acquiring the Portugal Golden Visa, Golden Citizen Solutions will continue to closely monitor any changes as they unfold and keep you updated on the matter.
In the meantime, you can always stay up-to-date on Portugal Immigration Policy 2023 and the latest updates by visiting the Portugal Immigration and Border Service website (SEF).
Frequently Asked Questions about the Portugal Golden Visa Changes
Is the Portugal Golden Visa still available?
While the Portugal Golden Visa is coming to an end, there is still time to apply for the program, but you should start the process now – time really is of the essence in this case.
Is the Portugal Golden Visa ending?
Yes. The announcement made by the Portuguese Government on February 16, 2023, confirms that the Portugal Golden Visa program is indeed ending.
Can you still get a Golden Visa in Portugal?
The very earliest that the Golden Visa can end is mid-April. You still have time to lodge your Golden Visa application.
What are the Portugal Golden Visa changes in 2022?
The Golden Visa changes in 2022 relate to the real estate and capital transfer investment options. Since January 2022, applicants have been blocked from buying residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and much of the Algarve, as well as in coastal areas like Setúbal and the Silver Coast.
The capital transfer amount requirements have increased from €1 million to €1.5 million. Alongside the capital transfer price change, requirements for the investment fund route, the research option, and investing in an existing Portugal-registered business have increased from €350,000 to €500,000.
What do the Portugal Golden Visa new rules mean for my investment options?
It has not yet been clarified if there will be an alternative investment program put in place of the Portugal Golden Visa program.
Will the Portugal Golden Visa program be canceled?
Yes. The the Portuguese Government announced, on February 16, 2023, that the Portugal Golden Visa program is due to be canceled.
Does Portugal's Golden Visa lead to citizenship?
While the Portuguese Golden Visa program is a residency-by-investment scheme, it is possible to secure Portuguese citizenship and permanent residency. You must hold your investment for five years and apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship.