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Attention: Last Chance for Portuguese Citizenship through Real Estate Investment - Golden Visa

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

A final window of approximately 45-60 days is expected to remain open, during which you can still purchase properties and apply for Portuguese citizenship based on your real estate investment.

Despite rising interest rates failing to curb the surge in housing and rent prices in Portugal, and growing public discontent from the overall increase in the cost of living, the Portuguese government introduced a comprehensive set of measures known as the "Mais Habitação" (more housing) reform. The overall goal is to significantly increase the supply of apartments available for long-term rent in the local market, reduce real estate speculation, and support public housing initiatives. However, the original bill faced extreme opposition from many, including the Portuguese political system, and even from the President of the Republic, who went as far as suggesting that he will veto some of the measures proposed.

Golden Visa – Residency by investment

One of the measures proposed includes the termination of the "golden visa" program, which allows investors to obtain Portuguese citizenship through real estate investment. The Portuguese golden visa program is widely popular due to its low investment threshold, starting at 280,000 euros, and the absence of a significant stay requirement in Portugal. As of 2021, the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto have been removed from the program, and many of our clients have made investments in the interior and less populated areas of the country, such as the gorgeous Alentejo region, which still has significant potential for development.

As mentioned, the original bill proposed included several highly controversial clauses, including the retroactive rejection of gold visa applications submitted after February 16, 2023, and before the law was finally approved by parliament. Another clause would have forced buyers who have already received their residence permit to spend at least 183 days per year in Portugal, vs the original requirement of only 7-14 days. Finally, the bill aimed to completely halt the possibility of obtaining citizenship through investment after its approval.

Opponents of the proposal, including constitutional law experts, lawyers, and developers, labeled these modifications to the citizenship law as unconstitutional, a "national disgrace," and damaging to investor confidence in Portugal. The President has clarified that if such measures are approved, the issue will be transferred to the constitutional court or, alternatively, he will veto the bill.

These calls did not fall on deaf ears, and last Saturday (April 15, 2023), the government submitted a revised version of the bill to parliament. The main changes in relation to the possibility of obtaining a gold visa are:

  • Until the final approval and publication of the law in the records, the old regulations will remain in effect, and it is still possible to submit applications for citizenship under the gold visa regime. Experts estimate this period to be between 45-60 days during which property can still be purchased, and applications submitted for citizenship under the Gold Visa route.

  • New visas that will be approved or renewed under the gold visa regime will be converted to a D2 visa, but there will be no special requirements, and investors will be able to continue under the previous conditions.

  • After the law's approval, it will still be possible to obtain citizenship by investing in cultural heritage projects and assets, but such investments will require approval by a competent authority who will confirm that the investment indeed resulted in such a contribution.

It is important to note that this proposal can still undergo changes in parliament until its final approval. However, the most likely scenario is that the gold visa program will end after this period. Therefore, those interested in obtaining a European passport and making an excellent investment should act immediately.

Requirements for Eligibility for Citizenship through Investment in real estate:

Investment amounts range from 280,000 euros to 500,000 euros, depending on the area and type of property. You can obtain a gold visa in Portugal based on:

  • Investment in residential real estate for at least 280,000 euros in a property to be renovated (including renovation costs) or at least 400,000 euros in a new property without renovation. As of January 1, 2022, investment in this route is only possible in certain areas.

  • Investment in non-residential real estate for at least 500,000 euros in big cities and coastal areas or 400,000 euros in interior/sparsely populated areas.

To obtain citizenship, the buyer must own the property for a minimum of six years or replace it with another property at the required investment value during this period.

A gold visa provides the status of a resident from the moment it is issued, allowing you to live and work in all countries of the European Union. After five years, you can apply for citizenship without a language test.

The gold visa is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and it must be renewed every two years. During the first year, the buyer must spend at least seven days in Portugal. From the second year onwards, at least 14 days are required.

Where to Invest:

For residency by investment, we recommend our clients to focus on properties in the Alentejo region, southeast of Lisbon. This region covers more than a third of the country's territory and is one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal, steeped in thousands of years of history from periods of war and peace. The local culture and traditions are deeply intertwined, and the residents are welcoming and kind.

One example of a property immediately available for investment in the Gold Visa route is a newly renovated house with three bedrooms in a closed condominium of several houses in Alentejo, designed for rural tourism. It comes with seven dunams of land, a large garden, patio, barbecue grill, swimming pool, playground, spa, and common public area. The common area is situated on a hill built in 1933 with an ancient ruin from the eighteenth century, which has been restored as a recreational space. The project includes houses with four and five rooms starting from 280,000 euros.

Evora in Alentejo

Once more it is safe to say that the only element we must keep in mind, is that many people are now scouting, moving and investing in Portugal for citizenship, for relocation, for remote working, for retirement and for leisure. If you wish to invest, reach out to us with your questions. We hand-pick properties that are the best investment for you. And as a reference, check out our current properties for sale. Call up or text our WhatsApp number: +351.962.621259 for any questions you have.

Read also: Why Americans are moving to Portugal

In Portugal: Live better. Live longer!

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