Law no. 56/2023, implementing the measures of the “Mais Habitação Program“, was published on October 6, 2023. It introduced extensive changes to the legal framework that governs the granting of residence permits for investment activities, as well as the legal framework concerning the entry, stay, exit, and removal of foreigners from the national territory. The significant changes, effective from October 7th, 2023, are summarized below:
Residence Permits for Investment Activities (“Golden Visa“)
- Starting from October 7th, 2023, new applications for residence permits for investment activities under the following categories will not be accepted:
- Investment activities involving the transfer of capital totaling €1.500.000,00 (one and a half million euros) or more.
- Investment activities comprising the acquisition of immovable property valued at €500.000,00 (five hundred thousand euros) or more.
- Acquisition of real estate with construction completed for at least 30 years or located in an urban rehabilitation area, involving rehabilitation works costing €350.000,00 (three hundred and fifty thousand euros) or more.
- This prohibition does not affect the renewal of residence permits for investment activities granted under the previous legal regime. The same rule applies to the granting or renewal of residence permits for family reunification.
- This also applies to citizens holding residence permits for investment activities and their family members who meet the requirements of Article 80 of Law no. 23/2007, dated 4th July, in its current form, and who wish to apply for a residence permit for permanent investment activity, except for the provisions of Article 85(2)(b) and (3) and (4) of the same law.
- The renewal of residence permits leads to the conversion of the said permit into a residence permit for entrepreneurial immigrants. Holders must fulfill a minimum stay of 7 consecutive or interpolated days in the 1st year and 14 consecutive or interpolated days in subsequent 2-year periods.
Pending “Golden Visa” applications – what happens now?
- Applications for the granting and renewal of residence permits for the investment activities identified above (now revoked), awaiting a decision from the competent authorities on the date of the law’s entry into force, remain valid.
- These renewal applications will be converted from a residence permit for investment to a residence permit for entrepreneurial immigrants. The competent authorities will verify that the investment aligns with the respective entrepreneurial project.
Amendments to the Legal Framework for Entry, Stay, Exit, and Removal of Foreigners from National Territory:
Without altering the information pertaining to the eligibility for residence permits for investment activities primarily based on property investments, the following investment activities are still allowed under this law:
- Transfer of capital equal to or higher than €500.000,00 (five hundred thousand euros), earmarked for acquiring shares in non-real estate collective investment undertakings established under Portuguese law. The investment’s maturity, at the time of the investment, must be at least 5 years, with at least 60% of the investment value realized in commercial companies based in the national territory.
- Transfer of capital amounting to €500,000.00 (five hundred thousand euros) or more, intended for establishing a commercial company with its registered office in Portugal, coupled with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, or for augmenting the share capital of an already established commercial company in Portugal, with the creation of at least 5 permanent jobs or the maintenance of a minimum of 10 jobs, with at least 5 being permanent, for a minimum period of 3 years.
- The investment activity’s amount or minimum quantitative requirement may be reduced by 20% when conducted in low-density territories, in relation to the subsequent investment activities:
- Creating a minimum of 10 jobs.
- Transferring capital amounting to €500.000,00 (five hundred thousand euros) or more, allocated to research activities conducted by public or private scientific research institutions integrated into the national scientific and technological system.
- Capital transfers of €250.000,00 (two hundred and fifty thousand euros) or more, dedicated to investments in or support for artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of the national cultural heritage, facilitated through central and peripheral direct administration services, public institutes, public business sector entities, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, inter-municipal entities, local business sector entities, municipal associative entities, and public cultural associations, having responsibilities in the domain of artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of the national cultural heritage.
- *The above-mentioned investment activities need to be evaluated every two years concerning their impact on scientific and cultural activities, as well as on the promotion of foreign investment and job creation. They should not, at any point, be aimed directly or indirectly at property investments.
Changes to the Resident Permits
- A restriction measure has also been introduced, allowing for the refusal to grant, renew, or even revoke residence permits for third-country nationals subject to EU restrictive measures due to violations related to security, immigration, human rights protection, or non-compliance with EU laws and regulations.