Important Changes to the Golden Visa in Portugal

Potential Golden Visa applicants – the Portuguese Government is introducing some major changes to its Golden Visa programme (known in Portugal as ARI).

The new rules will limit the number of Golden Visas granted in the cities of Lisbon and Porto, as well as in other coastal areas, including the Algarve. This is because Portugal now wishes to encourage more foreign investment in its interior regions and the islands of Madeira and Açores.

These changes will start to come into effect on 1 July 2021, when they will be introduced in phases.

The decision to promote more foreign investment in low-density regions (particularly in the areas of urban requalification, cultural heritage, productive investment, activities of high environmental or social value and job creation) was approved within the scope of the Portuguese State Budget for 2020.  This has been on stand-by since the start of the pandemic, but the Portuguese Government has now decided to move forward, whilst still accepting applications to renew residence permits already granted.

Due to the current crisis and the importance of Golden Visa investments to the real estate market, the Government will introduce a transitional period to allow the sector to adapt, rather than launching the new criteria at the beginning of 2021 as originally intended.

Although the restriction of the Golden Visa to the interior of the country (or to low density real estate investments) begins in July 2021, it will not start immediately, but will be introduced gradually up until the end of 2022.

During the transitional period, those interested in obtaining residence permits in exchange for making investments in real estate in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon, Porto and the coast can continue to benefit from the current regime. However, the monetary requirements for access to Golden Visas will become progressively higher, and at the same time the possibility of applying to metropolitan and coastal areas will gradually be reduced. It has not yet been disclosed what the new investment amounts will be.

With this in mind, we strongly advise all potential Golden Visa applicants who wish to invest in Lisbon, Porto or the coast to make their Applications as quickly as possible, before the changes take place.

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