Great news for the Portuguese economy: Since its Residency by Investment program started a decade ago, the Golden Visa Portugal has raised foreign investments amounting to EUR6.7 billion in the country, an achievement that has only been surpassed by one other program: the Golden Visa Spain.
In November 2022, the Golden Visa Portugal raised about EUR 65.65 million from 121 investors and 138 family members. By the end of the year 2022, there were a total of 1,130 applicants and 1,396 family members who had received the Golden Visa Portugal. The top applicants were the Americans, followed by the Chinese, Brazilians and South Africans. The American demand for the program has surged since the pandemic arrived and has tripled in just two years.
Investment preferences have also changed with these new demographics. In the past, real estate purchases accounted for eight out of ten approvals. However, in 2022, this option made up only 56%, 27% went for renovation of properties, and about 10% aimed at venture capital and investment funds. This last category has seen the greatest relative growth, increasing more than x4 in the last two years.
This increase in foreign investments and change in option preferences may be attributed to the changes made to the Golden Visa Portugal in 2022.
A primary driver for this high demand may have been a hint made by the Prime Minister of Portugal in November, 2022 that the Golden Visa Portugal program may be terminated. However, there has been no official decision, nor have any legal amendments been announced.
On January 1, 2022, several changes took place in the Portugal Golden Visa program:
- Real estate restrictions: only real estate properties in the Autonomous Region of the Azores and Madeira or in inland and rural or low-density areas would be considered. Residential property in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto or in coastal towns of the mainland were no longer an option.
- The required minimum investment amount for the Investment Fund minimum subscription was increased from EUR350,000 to EUR500,000, while the Capital Transfer option increased from EUR1million to EUR1.5million.
- The Research and Development amount increased from EUR350,000 to EUR500,000, while the Job and Company Creation minimum incorporation amount was increased from EUR350,000 to EUR500,000. The number of jobs remains at five.
Until the changes become officials, applications are still being received and processed accordingly.