Portugal Golden Visa Changes, Updates & New Rules for 2023

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. We will keep you informed of all the latest updates and new rules concerning the Portugal Golden Visa to ensure you’ve got all the relevant information.

Is the Portugal Golden Visa ending?

The Portuguese Government announced on 16 February 2023 that it would end its golden visa program. The announcement marked the start of a phase of intentions in which the Government is submitting these measures to public scrutiny from a political point of view.

It is expected that at this time, the main stakeholders in all industries affected by the measures will be heard in order for them to give their perspective on the positive or negative impact that each one of the measures will have. The public consultation period has now been extended until 24 March.

What comes next after the Portugal Golden Visa ending announcement?

Following this period of the so-called public consultation that will end on 24 March, the Council of Ministers will meet again and approve its final version of the package of measures on 30 March 2023. We should then have an announcement of the government’s intentions.

The Portuguese government is not legally able to make changes to the Golden Visa program. The Assembly of the Republic is the body responsible for approving any proposed changes. To do so, they will need to receive a proposal outlining the measures for voting.

The following points provide information on the procedure for the ending of the Portuguese Golden Visa.

  • As mentioned, the process to end the Portugal Golden Visa involves a one-month public hearing. Following this, a proposal will be sent to Parliament on 24 March. This was extended from 16 March as the government is awaiting the opinion of the Association of Municipalities, which should only be issued on 21 March. The government’s decision-making has therefore been postponed until 30 March. The approval of this is expected to take between 15 to 20 days.
  • The President will react in one of three ways:
    • Ratify the proposal
    • Return it to Parliament for it to be amended
    • Ask the Constitutional Court to evaluate it
  • The governing party is able to approve the measures as they hold the majority. However, with this said, other parties can propose alternative wording during public hearings. These proposals can influence the final wording of the law on the topic.


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?


Why Work With Us

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. 

  1. Firstly our onboarding team can help you obtain your personal Portuguese tax number (known as a NIF) in two days. We can then open a bank account or an escrow, which takes between two to four weeks.
  2. Alongside this, your will meet your immigration and legal team to discuss your personal and family circumstances and help you gather all the documents required for your application. 
  3. Our investment teams will help you familiarize yourself with the market and assist you in understanding all the eligible options for the program, which includes real estate, investment funds, and cultural projects. 

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. 

Start your application today and secure your Portugal Golden Visa. 

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.

Portugal - Interior Areas & Low Density Areas - Global Citizen Solutions

*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 Timeline - Global Citizen Solutions

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. 

All Golden Visa applications that are submitted before the new legislation comes into effect will be exempt from new legislation, so subsequent changes to the program will not affect them.

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, more information will be available following the announcement on March 16th. 

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. However, the very earliest that the Golden Visa can end is mid-April 2023. You still have time to lodge your Golden Visa application.

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.