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Golden Visa Portugal – News and 2015 update

The Portuguese Government announced that it will reformulate the regime currently in force for the granting of ARI/Golden Visa to nationals of non-European Union and non-Schengen countries carrying out investment activities in Portugal.

The above proposed reformulation have now been approved by the Portuguese parliament and is pending from publication at the Portuguese Official Gazette.

Said reformulation aims to issue resident permits to individuals who invest:

  • € 350,000.00 or more in scientific investigation activities, arts projects or in the recovery or maintenance of national cultural or heritage estate in Portugal
  • an amount equal to or higher than € 500, 000.00 for the acquisition of real estate (as per current regime, please see below) and or for developing urban rehabilitation works (a new possibility opened by this amended regime).

Investors in less populated regions of Portugal (basically in Portuguese inland or in interior regions as opposed to the most densely populated areas of the sea costs) can also expect a reduction of 20% of the minimum amount of investment required to obtain an ARI/Golden Visa.

ARI/Golden Visa Regime Currently in Force

Who May Apply

For the granting of an ARI/Golden Visa currently it is required that an investment activity is conducted in Portugal either directly by an individual or through a Portuguese-based company for a minimum period of 5 years.

Such investment activity may correspond to:

  • Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 1.000.000,00, including any sorts of capital investments, such as in the share capital of companies or any other securities or financial investments; or
  • Creation of at least 10 job positions, which is deemed fulfilled when there is proof of the register of all workers at the Portuguese Social Security system; or
  • Acquisition of real estate properties with a minimum value of € 500.000.00, including the following situations:
  • Purchases of several real estate properties as long as the joint value is equal to, or higher than € 500.000,00;
  • Purchases made in a joint ownership regime as long as each of the co-owners invested at least € 500.000,00;
  • Signing of promissory-contracts where a non-refundable deposit has been paid for € 500.000,00 or more, provided the final deeds are exhibited before renewing the residence permit.

Once the property is purchased the applicant is free to encumber or mortgage it above € 500.000,00 and, without restrictions, lease it or in any way commercially manage the property.

Minimum Presence in Portuguese Territory Required

The temporary residence permit is valid for the period of one year from the date of issue and may be renewed for successive periods of two years, showing his passport, as long as the conditions required for the issue of such “ARI/Golden Visa” remain in place.

For purposes of the periodic renewal of the “Golden Visas” applicants must demonstrate that they have stayed in Portugal for at least, the following periods of time:

  • 7 days, not necessarily consecutive, within the first year of duration of the “Golden Visa”; and
  • 14 days, not necessarily consecutive, within each subsequent two-year periods.

How to Apply for a Golden Visa

The application for the “ARI/Golden Visa” must be made in person at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (“Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” – SEF). For such purpose a number of documents is needed, such as, without limitation, a passport with a Schengen Visa for entrance in Portuguese territory and a certificate showing a clean criminal record.

 Advantages of the Portuguese “Golden Visa”

The Golden Visa programme in Portugal has proved to be the most popular scheme in Europe with huge numbers investors attracted due to its flexibility, benefits and comparatively low costs.

ARI/Golden Visa holder and also the members of his or her family may enter and stay freely in Portugal and/or in all other European Union countries parties to or signatories of the Schengen Treaty. Foreign investor and/or his or her family members can reside and work or study in Portugal while still keeping residence in any another country.

As from the 5th year of residence in Portugal the ARI/Golden Visa holder is entitled to apply for Portuguese citizenship.

The Golden Visa allows for foreign earned income not to be taxed in Portugal. It will also allows its bearer to travel freely among all European countries within the Schengen zone.

Portugal has one of the finest weather and coast line among south European countries. Real estate prices are considerably lower than any other country in the region. Portugal is also known for its excellent infrastructure, public health service and low crime rate.

The amendment to the Portuguese ARI/Golden Visa Programme now envisioned by the Portuguese Government and the clarification in an even more flexible sense of doubts raised by the previous legislation will certainly render this Portuguese ARI/Golden Visa Programme even more attractive for non-EU citizens wishing to have a place in an European country for business, living and or leisure and also, if that may be the case, for acquiring in due course and in a rather easy manner a Portuguese nationality. Moreover, the combination, for those wishing to acquire also a tax residence in Portugal, of the ARI/Golden Visa regime with the specific and most favourable regime applicable to the “non-habitual Portuguese-residents” for a 10-year period may render Portugal even more attractive for non-EU foreign investors.

Thus, it is no surprise that, in accordance with the Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister, the Portuguese ARI/Golden Visa Programme has brought 1.27 billion Euros of investments to Portugal in only two years.

 

For further information’s please do not hesitate to contact:
João Valadas Coriel (Managing Partner)
Paulino Brilhante Santos (Partner, Head of Taxation and International Projects)
Sofia Quental (Senior Lawyer)