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  • Matt Galati

America First (Actually, Third) Among Portugal’s Golden Visa Applicants in 2020

Data sourced by Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (“SEF,” the Portuguese immigration agency akin to USCIS) and first published by Investment Migration Insider, reports that Americans climbed to the top 5 nationalities applying for the Portuguese Golden Visa in 2020. The U.S. trails only the global hegemon China, as well as the historically connected Brazil, among all nationalities. South Africa and Turkey round out the Top 5, giving the U.S. a somewhat surprising showing as a newcomer to the residency by investment sphere.


Despite the incredibly disruptive effects of COVID-19 on the global and country-specific economies and immigration trends, Portuguese Golden Visa program applicants in 2020 only decreased a mere 13% compared to 2019. Overall, the Portuguese Golden Visa program appears not nearly as impacted by the global pandemic as many other countries’ programs have been. Some might even say it is relatively thriving, given the obvious onset of insecurity investors must have felt during the last ten months.


It is an understatement to say that the United States has faced a very tumultuous year, not only because of the COVID-19 outbreak with disjointed federal and statewide decision-making surrounding safety guidelines, but -- especially more recently -- the U.S. has faced political instability not seen since the Civil War. Additionally, though foreign countries have been slowly lightening up the once-harsh travel restrictions to Americans, the EU has not added the United States on its recommended list of countries to gradually lift non-essential travel restrictions. The Portuguese Golden Visa reopens Europe to otherwise shut-out Americans and presents an attractive “Plan B” given ongoing troubles in the U.S.


We encourage Americans to consider outbound immigration as a medium-to-long-term solution to escaping the chaos of the current political and social rift in the United States, as well as to gain more freedom in travel and employment opportunities in Europe. For more information, please contact us today.

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