Portugal’s Residence Permit Program — also referred to as the Portugal Golden Visa — is one of the most sought-after immigrant investor schemes in the world. As a five-year residency by investment scheme for non-EU nationals, it has pumped over €4 billion into the Portuguese economy.
While the Portugal Golden Visa Program offers several investment routes, including investing a minimum of €350K in property, the most economical investment route is to make a €280K investment in the rehabilitation of real estate in low-density areas.
While the investment criteria are strict and the list of rehabilitation projects are limited, it can be extremely rewarding to choose this investment path to Portuguese residency.
Update: Important changes to the Portugal Golden Visa starting from 2022
The Portugal Golden Visa will receive an extensive makeover, starting from 1 January 2022.
With regards to real estate investments, the following will apply:
- Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other high-density coastal towns will NOT QUALIFY for any property investments under the Golden Visa scheme
- Real Estate investment in low-density areas will continue to qualify, starting from €280K (rehabilitation) and €400K (any property acquisition)
The 280k low-density golden visa investment option
Investors can opt to invest in real estate in need of rehabilitation and restoration starting from €350,000. The property in question must at least be more than thirty years old and undergoing renovation.
A cheaper option is to invest €280K+ in renovations projects in low-density areas. These designated areas are split according to the region’s population. If the area hosts less than 100 occupants per 1,000 square meters, it counts as a ‘less densely populated area’. Another requirement to look out for is the gross domestic product per capita – it must be equal to or less than 75% of the national average.
Low-density areas include the interior regions in Portugal, with the exception of coastal areas south of the River Lima and North of the River Sado.
Note that investing in property in Madeira and Azores is notably encouraged by the Portuguese authorities. The autonomous territories of Portugal fall under the ‘NUT III areas’. Meaning, investors who opt to buy a property or invest in a renovations project in Madeira or Azores will automatically receive a 20% discount from their investment amount.
Advantages of investing in low-density areas
There are many benefits to investing in low-density areas and being rewarded with the golden visa.