• Matt Galati

Portugal Government to Amend Golden Visa Program, Restrict Coastal Real Estate Investment in 2021

This week, Portugal’s Council of Ministers announced significant changes to its Golden Visa Program as it applies to real estate investments, with such changes scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2021.

Importantly, the move will restrict the granting of Golden Visas based on previously qualifying investments made in coastal areas. That said, Portuguese authorities are expected to announce transitional rules in effect through 2022, which would protect investors in the process of migrating to Portugal now and for the next few months.

By way of background, the Portuguese Golden Visa grants temporary residency (paving the way to unrestricted permanent residency or citizenship) through eight separate investment options. Among these, the purchase of real estate at € 500,000.00 (or € 350,000.00 in certain urban areas) has proven to be the most popular among immigrant investors. The changes announced this week do not contemplate seven of those routes, including subscribing to Portuguese investment funds or capitalizing companies which create Portuguese jobs.

The Council’s move has been widely interpreted not as being antagonistic towards the Golden Visa but instead as encouraging investment away from current hotspots such as the cities of Lisbon or Porto, instead funneling immigrant capital towards Portugal’s less-densely populated interior and its island municipalities such as the Azores and Madeira. Notwithstanding these changes, many industry stakeholders describe the changes as being “not bad news” and one leading law firm predicting growth in the other options available to prospective immigrants. For context, the United States made a similar change to its EB-5 program a year ago.

Notably, the Council’s decision comes on the heels of new data establishing that USA-based investors are now fueling their exponential growth in the Golden Visa program – a tend unthinkable a year ago. We accordingly remain bullish on the Portuguese Golden Visa, especially for Americans seeking a much-needed Plan B.

For more information regarding the Portuguese Golden Visa, especially those Americans now facing the sting of being shut out of international mobility amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us today.

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