Portugal hiking golden visa investment from January

Despite increase Portugal golden visa program provides a simple doorway for permanent residency in Europe

By Suresh Rajan

The Portuguese government will soon change the regulations for the Portugal Golden Visa program, which grants permanent residence to foreigners who invest in the country.

The new measures, which will take effect on January 1, 2022, increase the minimum investment amount required by almost all forms of visa application for the Portugal Golden Visa.

Furthermore, Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve will be removed from the list of regions where investors are eligible to purchase residential properties.

Read: Indians among top nations getting Portuguese visas (September 17, 2021)

The changes are considerable, and we have seen growing interest in the Portugal Golden Visa from foreigners across the globe, including Indian nationals, who are making applications in the last few months in order to take advantage of the current investment amounts.

As of January 1, 2022, minimum investment amounts will increase by up to 50% for some types of investment, according to an official statement issued by the Portuguese government.

Minimum investment for capital transfer is being increased from €1 million to €1.5 million.

Minimum investment for capital transfer for investing in research activities as also the acquisition of units of investment funds or venture capital funds will go up from €350,000 to €500,00.

However, minimum investment for capital transfer for investing in artistic output or supporting the arts, or for reconstruction or refurbishment of the national heritage remains at €250,000.

Since the advent of the Portugal Golden Visa program in 2008, the most popular path to obtaining this visa has been through real estate acquisition. In recent years, growth in the Portuguese real estate market has ended up inflating residential property values, especially in Lisbon.

To reduce inflation and to expand urbanization to other regions, the government is implementing these very significant changes for those who want to invest in Portugal.

Starting on January 1, 2022, the Portuguese government is removing regions such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve from the areas eligible for the purchase of residential properties under the program, with the intention of attracting more investments and people to rural areas and to smaller urban centers.

It is noteworthy that these changes apply only to the purchase of residential properties. Commercial properties in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve (offices, shopping centers, and hotels) will continue to be eligible under the Portugal Golden Visa program in 2022, with no change in the minimum investment requirement for commercial real estate, currently starting at €500,000.

Another increasingly popular way to invest in Portugal is through investment funds. The fund market is highly regulated, making it a safe option that offers peace of mind for international investors, since the fund manager, the Depositary Bank, and the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM) oversee the entire process.

The minimum amount to invest in the investment fund option that qualifies for the Portugal Golden Visa is currently €350,000; however, on January 1, 2022, that amount will increase to €500,000. The investment fund option has increased in popularity since the pandemic has made traveling abroad more difficult.

Although it is possible to purchase a residential property without a face-to-face visit, many people do not feel comfortable completing such transactions with only virtual visits, making investors take a closer look at the investment fund, which does not require travel.

Even though it is probably too late for new investors to start the process now and to take advantage of the current regulations before January 1, 2022, this fund modality is still very attractive even at the higher investment level.

Read: Portugal Introduces New Changes to Its Golden Visa Program, Effective From January 1 (November 19, 2021)

In addition, the Portugal Golden Visa program offers other great investment opportunities—such as the hotel rehabilitation passive investment program—that will be unaffected by the changes coming in January.

The Portugal Golden Visa program is now and will continue to be a simple doorway to families looking to achieve permanent residency in Europe and to diversify their investments abroad.

(Suresh Rajan is the Executive Chairman and Founder of LCR Capital Partners)

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