This is our latest update on the Portugal Golden Visa changes announced on February 16, 2023.
Last week, the Portuguese government announced its intention to cancel the Portugal Golden Visa program.
This announcement came as a shock to most, including our team.
To help clarify the situation and next steps, here is all the latest information from lawyers in our network
Disclaimer: Digital Émigré is not a law firm. All information published on this website is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.
#1. Why the changes?
Inflation and the rise in housing prices have led to serious social issues in Portugal, especially a huge rise in housing costs – leaving many residents unable to afford homes.
Cancelling the Golden Visa program is part of the government’s entirely understandable response to these growing social issues.
#2. What’s the timeline?
The first step is a discussion period in Parliament among all relevant stakeholders.
This discussion period will last until March 16, 2023. After that, there will be a period of 15 to 20 days for a vote of approval on whichever outcome is decided from the discussion period.
Next, Parliament will send that outcome to the President of the Republic for ratification. He may approve it directly, or send it back and ask for further adjustments.
#3. What are the potential outcomes?
Lawyers envisage three potential outcomes after the parliamentary process has been completed. They are as follows:
- The Golden Visa program could be cancelled immediately, with immediate effect
- The program could be cancelled with a grace period of 1 to 9 months
- Significant changes could be made to the program, either immediately or after a grace period.
In terms of significant changes, the main target would almost certainly be the real estate route – which is likely to be cancelled altogether.
Investment funds may be next in line, especially those involved in real estate development.
The government may decide to maintain other Golden Visa investment routes deemed more useful to Portugal’s society and economy, such as starting a business, capital transfer, or investing in cultural production.
#4. What does this mean for Golden Visa investors?
First, nothing will change for at least the next 45 days while the discussion period takes place.
Second, lawyers have informed us that anyone already in the Golden Visa program won’t be affected in any way.
That includes those who have already invested and are waiting for residence permits to be issued, or already have the permit and will need to renew it.
Portugal is a democratic country with a strong rule of law. It typically operates a system of ‘grandfathering in’ for changes like this.
In the meantime, Golden Visa investment is still going on as normal. If you’re bold and ready to move fast, this could be your last ever chance to get into Europe’s best residency by investment program.
Read our guides to the different available routes:
- Investment Funds Route (500,000 EUR) – fastest turnaround times, best route to get your visa application submitted ASAP.
- Real Estate on Madeira Island (350 – 500K EUR)
- Cultural Production Route: Invest in Portuguese Films (200–250K EUR)
If you’ve been considering the Portugal Golden Visa, you now have two possible courses of action:
- Proceed as normal, in the knowledge that the Golden Visa scheme is still fully operational for at least the next 45 days, and Portugal will “grandfather” you in if any changes happen after you make your investment.
- Wait for another 45 days until we have definite news from the government (however, there’s a risk of the program being cancelled altogether, in which case you’d miss your chance to secure residency).
We’ll keep this page updated as soon as we have more information on the Portugal Golden Visa changes.
If you’d like an introduction to a Portuguese lawyer for further discussions, please contact us.
Alternatively, there’s another investor visa that remains completely unaffected, being subject to entirely different legislation.
It offers similar benefits at an investment threshold of 175,000 EUR, lower than the Golden Visa,
If you’re interested in learning more about that option, you can book a free call here.