Golden Visa – Amendments
The Residence Permit for Investment (ARI), aka “Golden Visa” was launched in October 2012, with the aim of attracting international investment. Since then, more than 10,100 investors have applied for this visa and more than 6 billion euros have been invested, of which 90%, more than 5 billion, took place in the real estate market .
Chinese nationals continue to be the main applicants, however there has been a decline, especially in this past year. In second place, the citizens of Brazil stand out, albeit in a smaller dimension. In addition to China and Brazil, nationals from countries such as Turkey, South Africa and Russia are part of the TOP 5 of Golden Visa applicants in Portugal. Having said this, other nationalities besides the TOP 5 are beginning to emerge, such as those from the United States and Jordan.
With the entry of the new year of 2022, this regime underwent changes that restrict the form of investment in Portugal, particularly in regards to the real estate investment.
By altering this regime, the government aims to shift and channel foreign investment to the interior of the country, thus alleviating the pressure that has been felt in the metropolitan areas, in addition to encouraging investment that benefit the creation of news jobs, urban requalification and cultural heritage.
The changes are essentially based on two pillars:
- An increase in the minimum investment amounts, and
- Restriction on the real estate investment.
INCREASE IN MINIMUM AMOUNTS OF INVESTMENT:
- Transfers of capitals are now of an amount equal to or greater than 1.5 million euros (the amount previously foreseen was equal to or greater than 1 million euros);
- Investment in research or scientific activities carried out by the public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system – Investment amount equal to or greater than 500 thousand euros (previously, an amount equal to or greater than 350 thousand euros was required);
- Investment funds or venture capital funds dedicated to the capitalization of companies, whose maturity, at the time of investment, is at least 5 years and, at least, 60% of the value of the investments is carried out in commercial companies based in Portugal – Investment in the minimum amount of 500 thousand euros (in the previous law, the amount foreseen was equal to or greater than 350 thousand euros)
- Creation of jobs – Investment amount equal to or greater than 500 thousand euros intended for:
- The constitution of a commercial company based in Portugal, combined with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, or
- The reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial company headquartered in Portuguese territory, already constituted, with the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of 5 permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of 3 years (the amount previously foreseen was equal to or more than 350 thousand euros).
RESTRICTIONS ON REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS:
This regime disalloes the possibility of real estate investment for housing in the Lisbon metropolitan area, in the Porto metropolitan area (with the exception of the Municipality of Arouca and the parishes of Junqueira and Arões in the Municipality of Vale de Cambra) and most of the Algarve (with the exception of the municipalities of Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique and Vila do Bispo, of the parishes of Alte, Ameixial, Salir, Union of parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim in the municipality of Loulé, the parish of São Marcos da Serra in the municipality of Silves, and the parishes of Cachopo, Santa Catarina da Fontes do Bispo in the municipality of Tavira)  .
It ought to be highlighted that when concerning real estate investment for tourism purposes, commerce and services, these territorial exclusions mentioned above do not apply.
However, still in the subject of real estate investment, there will be no change in the minimum investment value – which is currently from 500 thousand euros for real estate, or a global amount equal to or greater than 350 thousand euros for the acquisition of real estate, construction which has been completed for at least 30 years or located in an area of rehabilitation and carrying out rehabilitation works of the acquired real estate. The 20% reduction in values is also maintained if the property is located in territories considered to be of low density.
It should also be noted that these changes only affect new Golden Visa applications made from January 1, 2022.
Despite these updates, the Golden Visa in Portugal continues to be highly advantageous, as, in addition to allowing nationality application to be requested after 5 years, this modality does not mandate the individual to stay in Portugal for long periods of time. In fact, under this regime, the individual is only required to stay in Portugal for 7 days in the first year, and 14 days in each of the following years. The benefits also include family reunification and free movement in the Shengen Area without the need for additional visas.
 Investment data 2012 – 2021 provided by the SEF – https://www.sef.pt/en/Documents/NOVEMBRO_2021_ARI_CUMULATIVO.pdf
 Ordinance n.º 208/2017, 13th July