Note on announced changes to Golden Visas

Note on announced changes to Golden Visas


Note on announced changes to Golden Visas

 In yesterday's Council of Ministers note, it was only possible to reap the following:

The Council of Ministers was dedicated exclusively to the theme of housing, and the measures adopted "will be put under public discussion for about a month so that, in the end, they can be approved definitively, some by the Government, others through a bill to the Assembly of the Republic, in the Council of Ministers of March 16", said António Costa


Fighting speculation

 Fourth, to combat real estate speculation, two measures were highlighted. first, the end of the granting of new Golden Visas, 'if existing ones are renewed, in the case of real estate investments, only for own and permanent housing or if it is placed on the rental market for a long term'.

 Another, to regulate rents in the market, the State will limit the growth of rents in new contracts, and these "should result from the sum of income practiced with annual updates and the value of the rise in inflation set by the European Central Bank".

 This leaves more questions than certainties:

  1. There will be for a period of one month a public discussion of the proposed measures
  2. For such discussion to take place, it will be necessary for these measures to be detailed and published.
  3. The final result will be approved in Council of Ministers on 16 March
  4. The possible termination or alteration of golden visas should include a proposal to amend the law of nationality to be deliberated by the AR, which will certainly not be fast.
  5. There is doubt about the meaning of the phrase "being renewed existing ones, in the case of real estate investments, only for own and permanent housing or if it is placed permanently in the rental market".

As you know, the investment visa is provided for in Article 90 of Law 23/2007, Approves the legal regime of entry, stay, departure and removal of foreigners from the national territory, which says

Article 90a

Residence permit for investment activity

 1 - A residence permit shall be granted, for the purposes of carrying out an investment activity, to third-country nationals who, cumulatively:

(a) meet the general requirements set out in Article 77, with the exception of paragraph 1(a);

(b) are holders of valid Schengen visas;

c) Regularize the stay in Portugal within 90 days from the date of first entry into national territory;

(d) meet the requirements set out in Article 3(1) (d)

2 - The residence permit shall be renewed for periods of two years in accordance with this Law, provided that the applicant proves to maintain any of the requirements of Article 3(1) (d).

Article 3



 1 - For the purposes of this Law, the following shall be considered:

(d) 'investment activity' means any activity carried out in person or through a company which, as a rule, leads to the implementation of at least one of the following situations in national territory and for a minimum period of five years:

(i) transfer of capital in the amount of EUR 1.5 million or more;

(ii) the creation of at least 10 jobs;

(iii) acquisition of immovable property of value equal to or greater than (euro) 500 000;

(iv) acquisition of immovable property, the construction of which has been completed for at least 30 years or located in an urban rehabilitation area and carrying out rehabilitation works for the acquired immovable property, in the overall amount equal to or greater than (euro) 350 000;

(v) transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than (euro) 500 000, which is applied in research activities carried out by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system;

(vi) transfer of capital in the amount of eur 250 000 or more, which is applied in investment or support for artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage, through services of the central and peripheral direct administration, public institutes, public enterprise entities, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, inter-municipal entities, entities that integrate the local business sector, municipal associations and cultural public associations, which continue attributions in the area of artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;

(vii) Transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than (euro) 500 000, intended for the acquisition of units of participation in investment funds or venture capital funds geared towards the capitalisation of undertakings, which are constituted under Portuguese law, the maturity of which, at the time of the investment, is at least five years and, at least 60 /prct. the value of investments is realised in commercial companies based in national territory;
(viii) transfer of capital in the amount equal to or greater than (euro) 500 000, intended for the formation of a commercial company established in national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or for the strengthening of the share capital of a commercial company established in national territory, already constituted, with the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of five permanent, and for a minimum period of three years;


Meanwhile, Law No. 2/2020 of 31 March, in its current wording, which approved the State Budget for 2020, authorized the Government to review the investment visa regime, defining that the meaning and extent of this authorization consists in promoting investment in the territories of the interior, as well as investment in urban requalification, cultural heritage, activities of high environmental or social value, productive investment and job creation.

This was done through DL 14/2021 of 12 February, which altered the types of investment eligible for GV and the minimum investment values, in particular the amendment made to Article 3(4) of Law 23/2007, which provides for gv: '4 - Properties acquired in accordance with subparagraphs (iii) and (iv) of paragraph 1(d) for housing, they only allow access to this regime if they are located in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira or in the territories of the interior, identified in the annex to Ordinance No. 208/2017 of 13 July. » (see attached map on page 2 of the attached document).

 In the moment we are in a moment of uncertainty, not being able to say exactly what will happen until the detail of the measures is published, but two certainties:
1st -  the termination of golden visas implies a change in the law, which would surely only take place in the second half of 2023, at worst.

2nd -  there will be changes in GV investments of the housing market.

3rd - if the government wants to change the content of the rights already acquired by visa holders, it will surely incur unconstitutionality.


Having said that, my view is that to maintain the best possible combination within the previous legislation and the possible new legislation restricting the purchase of real estate is to acquire units of funds that also offer the possibility of swap with real estate. 

As soon as the measures for public discussion are published, we will make a more detailed analysis.

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