Portugal Golden Visa Changes 2023 [Updated April 29]

Portugal Golden Visa changes 2023

April 29, 2023: This is our latest update on the Portugal Golden Visa changes originally announced on February 16, 2023.

On February 16, 2023, the Portuguese government announced its intention to cancel the Portugal Golden Visa program.

We’ve set up this page to publish the latest information from lawyers in our network.  

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On April 15, the Portuguese government announced the publication of its Mais Habitação (More Housing) draft bill.

Parliament still has to debate this new legislation over the coming weeks. But it already brings good news for Golden Visa investors.

If Parliament passes this bill in its current form, then the Golden Visa program will come to an end. That hasn’t changed (so far). But the specific details of those proposed changes are much more reasonable than we previously expected.

Let’s examine the key points from this announcement.

#1. ‘Grace period’ of at least 45 days

The Golden Visa program will stay fully operational until the bill has been approved in Parliament and ratified by the President. This process is estimated to take at least 45 days (starting from April 15). So if you want a Golden Visa, you can still get one if you’re in a position to move quickly.

#2. Pending applications to be honoured

If you submit your application up until the date when the new law comes into force, you’ll still be eligible for the program in its current form, and your application will be processed under current rules.

#3. ‘Grandfathering in’

After the original announcement on February 16, 2023, it looked like the Portuguese government would retroactively change the program conditions, making them more restrictive both for existing Golden Visa holders and those already in the process. It would also have cancelled all new applications submitted after February 16, which would have caused much chaos.

Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. From now on, the Golden Visa program will remain fully operational until the new law is approved and comes into effect (in whatever form that takes). All existing applicants will be grandfathered in under the same conditions they were originally offered.

#4. The 7-day physical stay requirement to remain

One of the Portugal Golden Visa program’s biggest attractions was its low physical stay requirement of just seven days. In the original February announcement, it looked as if the government would remove this benefit, instead forcing Golden Visa holders to stay at least 183 days physically in-country. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.

Portugal Golden Visa changes: background & context

#1. Why these 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. Winding down the Golden Visa program is part of the government’s response to these growing social issues.

#2. What’s the timeline?

The first step is a discussion period in Parliament among all relevant stakeholders, with a draft bill to be announced.

This process was completed and the new draft bill announced on April 15. Parliament will now debate this new bill, then send it to the President of the Republic for ratification. He may approve it directly, or send it back and ask for further adjustments.

Lawyers estimate that this will take around 45 days (starting from the original announcement on April 15). During that period, the Golden Visa program will remain in full force, accepting applications under the old conditions.

#3. What are the potential outcomes?

Lawyers envisage three potential outcomes after the parliamentary process for the new Mais Habitação (More Housing) draft bill has been completed. They are as follows:

  1. The Golden Visa program could be cancelled with immediate effect (on the day the bill is enacted)
  2. The program could be cancelled with a grace period of 1 to 9 months
  3. Significant changes could be made to the program, either immediately or after a grace period.

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, the government has now announced that nothing will change for at least the next 45 days (from April 15), while the new draft bill is debated.

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.

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:

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been considering the Portugal Golden Visa, you now have two possible courses of action:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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 will the latest information on the Portugal Golden Visa changes.

If you’d like an introduction to a Portuguese lawyer for further discussions, please contact us.

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