For years, the Portugal Golden Visa program has been a popular option for non-EU citizens seeking residency in the country. The program, which grants residency to investors who meet certain criteria, has boosted Portugal’s economy, bringing in millions of euros in investment each year.
However, following a ministerial meeting held on 16 February 2023, the Portuguese government presented a package of measures to respond to various concerns within the scope of the housing policy in Portugal. It was in this context that the measure of apparently ending the Portugal Golden Visa program was grafted.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Portugal Golden Visa ending, what to expect following the announcement, and what it means for current and future investors.
We will cover the following:
- Golden Visa ending: Fact Check
- The most recent update from 9 March 2023
- Portugal ending its Golden Visa program: Overview
- What comes next after the Portugal Golden Visa ending announcement?
- The future of the Portugal Golden Visa program
Golden Visa Ending: Fact Check
To date, nothing has changed. On 16 February, the Portuguese government proposed a change to the law that would end the Golden Visa program. This proposal is in public consultation at the moment.
A proposal is not the law. The Parliament is the only body that can vote to amend the law, and only the President of Portugal can ratify it. Until this happens, Portuguese law stands.
Beware of speculative information
Since the announcement on 16 February, there have been speculative accounts suggesting that Golden Visa applications that have already been submitted are frozen. There is no official basis for this speculation, and the Portuguese government must abide by the law.
When could a new law come into force?
The very earliest a new law could come into place is in mid-April, and under the Portuguese Constitution, a new law cannot have retroactive effects. SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Border Force) is obliged to follow current Golden Visa legislation. This is why it is business as usual, and you can still apply for the Golden Visa.
Can I still apply?
The very earliest that the Golden Visa can end is mid-April. You still have time to lodge your Golden Visa 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.
- 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.
- Alongside this, you 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.
- 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.
Spouse or partner
Child or parent
Clean criminal record
Note. Tax identification, criminal record, and certificates need to be legalized.
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. Click here to see how we can help you with your Golden Visa application.
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 Madeira 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.
Update 9 March 2023
The Portuguese government announced on 9 March that the decision for potential changes within the scope of the Golden Visa would no longer be decided and announced on 16 March. The public consultation period has now been extended until 24 March.
The government is awaiting the opinion of the Association of Municipalities, which should only be issued on the 21 March, so the government’s decision-making has been postponed until 30 March. By 30 March, we should then have an announcement of the government’s intentions to submit a proposal to Parliament and its content.
This postponement is a positive sign, as it reveals that there will be greater weighting on this topic, perhaps as a result of the pressure that has been felt from stakeholders.
Portugal Is Ending Its Golden Visa Program: Overview
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.
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.
Is there a deadline for the Portugal Golden Visa ending?
It has not yet been announced when the implementation of the amendments will take place or what the exact content of the final amendments to the legislation will be. However, the current legislation regarding the Golden Visa is expected to remain unchanged for the next 30-45 days at least.
There is a high risk that the Golden Visa will face complete termination in the short-to-medium term, but there is room for interpretation that the residency program could still exist in some form or other.
The important takeaway is that there is still time to apply for the Portugal Golden Visa. If you are interested in applying, time is of the essence, and we advise you to begin your application now.
Other residency visas were not discussed, such as the D7 Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa. If some of the proposed measures are approved, they may require changes in the current law.
Regarding existing Golden Visa cases, the Portuguese government aims to renew these but add extra requirements that address the housing issue. This renewal proposal is also open for debate as it also has legitimate legality issues.
The Future of the Portugal Golden Visa Program
The legislative processes that take place in the Assembly of the Republic have the enormous advantage of being highly transparent, allowing for their progress and various discussions to be followed, which will bring stability and allow all stakeholders to adjust expectations and act accordingly.
We understand that communications of this nature generate uncertainty and anxiety, so it is essential to maintain serenity and discernment. We are committed to analyzing the position each client is in within their investment cycle and proceeding with the application, benefiting from the legislation which is still in force.
Any decisions can be analyzed and questioned from a political or legal point of view, and this must be done appropriately, with consistency and seriousness.
Global Citizen Solutions engaged in the public consultation stage of the Golden Visa ending
Global Citizen Solutions created a task force commission composed of immigration, economic, and real estate experts, which resulted in a proposal submitted to the Portuguese government.
The main objective of this document is to raise awareness amongst policymakers of the potential loss of the Golden Visa if carried out as announced by the government. At present, Global Citizen Solutions is engaged in the public consultation stage regarding the future of the Golden Visa program.
We offer alternative proposals for real estate and funds and investment options that do not contribute to the current housing crisis in Portugal. With this final proposal submitted to the government, we aim to provide detailed information for the best governmental decision-making regarding the Golden Visa. If you would like to read the document, you can find it here.
The document is in Portuguese. We recommend that anybody that does not understand Portuguese use https://www.deepl.com/translator to translate the document (or alternatively, CHatGPT).
Frequently Asked Questions about the Portugal Golden Visa Ending
Is the Portugal Golden Visa really ending?
Yes. The announcement made by the Portuguese government on February 16, 2023, confirms that the Portugal Golden Visa program is indeed ending. However, to date, nothing has changed. On 16 February, the Portugal government proposed a change to the law that would end the Golden Visa program. This proposal is in public consultation discussion at the moment.
When is the Portugal Golden Visa program officially ending?
We don’t know when the Portugal Golden Visa program will end yet. There is no official deadline. The law still needs to go through some procedures before it‘s official. The very earliest that the Golden Visa can end is mid-April. You still have time to lodge your Golden Visa application. It‘s possible that different parts of the law may go into effect at different times.
What should investors do if they are currently in the process of obtaining a Portugal Golden Visa?
These new measures will only apply to new applications. All applications that have already been filed, even if not yet pre-approved, are not affected by this change in the law. Under the Portuguese Constitution, a new law cannot have retroactive effects. SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Border Force) are obliged to follow current Golden Visa legislation. This is why it is business as usual, and you can still apply for the Golden Visa.
Can I still apply for the Portugal Golden Visa?
Yes, however, it is advised that applications are submitted within the next 60 days (by 21 April 2023). The very earliest that the Golden Visa can end is mid-April. You still have time to lodge your Golden Visa application. It is likely that there will be a transition period further extending the deadline, although more information on this will be available following the announcement on 30 March 2023.
Contact the team at Global Citizen Solutions, who can help with your application process. What can be done today in terms of your application? The team can begin gathering the documentation needed for obtaining your NIF and opening your bank account in Portugal.
Will current Golden Visa holders be affected by the end of the program?
The government will likely present a final draft on or just after 30 March, and then Parliament will vote on it. If the law passes, according to the announcement on February 16, 2023, current Golden Visa holders will need to use their property for personal use or rent it out long-term to renew their visa. We will keep you updated on any changes to the program and what it means for investors.
Will there be a new investment program to replace the Portugal Golden Visa program?
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 30 March.
Can there be retroactive effects?
Under the Portuguese Constitution, a new law cannot have retroactive effects.