Portugal Plans to Scrap Popular Golden Visa Scheme

Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, said that the country will likely scrap the Golden Visa scheme according to local media.

Golden visas were launched by Portugal in 2012 to attract investment to  Portugal. The scheme brought in 11,180 investors seeking residence and ultimately citizenship in Portugal. Over 50% of those were from China.

The scheme has been criticised in Portugal as it’s thought to have contributed to rising property prices. Locals have been pushed out of the market in big metropolitan areas like Lisbon by foreigners pushing up property prices.

The European Union also criticised the Portuguese golden visa programme. They fear that it could be a source of money laundering and corruption.

The Scheme Has Fulfilled its Objective

Costa said today that the scheme may have fulfilled its original objective to improve Portuguese industry.

He told reporters ” We are evaluating whether the programme makes sense. It has probably already fulfilled its function and there is no justification for maintaining it.”

There are many other ways to get residency in Portugal. This includes the D7 visa and the recently launched digital nomad visa. Those don’t require investment or property purchase in Portugal. The main advantage of the Portugal Golden Visa was that you could maintain residency and get citizenship without spending time in the country. It’s possible to spend as little as 3 weeks in Portugal over 5 years and then become a Portuguese citizen.

That’s the main reason that the Portugal Golden Visa became so popular in the last 10 years. No other country offers a world class passport by spending so little time in the country.

It’s Still Not too Late

Anyone who still wants a Portuguese Golden Visa can still get one. The scheme is still operating right now. It’s likely to operate for at least a few more months. Therefore anyone who wants to take advantage of the Portugal Golden Visa should get their application in soon.

At the start of this year Portugal changed the rules for the golden visa. They removed the possibility of buying residential property in Lisbon, Porto and most of the coastal areas. These were the most popular areas with Portugal Golden Visa investors. It’s still possible to buy rural properties and commercial properties anywhere.

It’s also possible to buy any property on Madeira or The Azores, where, of course, you’ll easily find a coastal property.

Portugal Still Wants New Residents

Portugal still has much to offer high net worth investors. The D7 visa and the new digital nomad visa make it easy to get residency. The digital nomad visa only requires proof of income of €2,820 per month.

Portugal has one of the best climates in Europe. It has fine beaches and amazing food. It also has the Non Habitual Resident Programme (NHR). The NHR scheme makes it possible for people with certain types of income to live in Portugal tax free. A bit of structuring is necessary before making the move to make sure you qualify. But it’s well worth the effort to live in a beautiful, sunny country.

Portugal is still keen to attract residents despite the possible end of the Golden Visa programme. Costa said this week that Portugal wants to be an “open country where everyone is welcome and can develop their life projects”.

If you’d like to increase your freedom by getting a second residency and passport please get in touch with us. We help high net worth clients structure their affairs to minimise their taxes and maximise their personal freedom. Please contact us using one of the options on the contact page or drop us a message using the form below.