Portugal’s golden visa is widely regarded as one of the best visa schemes in the world. In return for investing in property or business in the country, applicants will receive five years of residency with the opportunity to later apply for citizenship. What’s more, you will also gain free movement around the Schengen zone, something that is highly valuable post-Brexit.
However, the Portuguese government has announced that from 1 January 2022, some fairly major changes will be introduced. But remember, if you make an investment before the end of this year, you won’t be affected by these changes!
Don’t miss out on the current golden visa rules – our trusted legal partners can help you buy in Portugal before the 1 January. Get in touch today.
How do you qualify for the current golden visa scheme?
You can find everything you need to know about Portugal’s golden visa in our article here, but in summary, you need to invest in Portugal through one of several means:
- Buy property worth over €500,000 (or €350,000 for older properties)
- Deposit €1 million into a Portuguese bank account
- Invest €350,000 in a fund, such as a venture capital fund
- Establish a company with at least €350,000 and create at least five jobs
- Invest €350,000 in research and development
What changes are being introduced in January 2022?
So, what will change from 1 January 2022 and how will it affect property buyers?
1. If you invest in certain areas, you will no longer qualify for the golden visa
Although Portugal’s golden visa scheme is hugely popular, it has also come under some scrutiny. Many Portuguese citizens argue that the scheme has contributed to rising house prices in popular areas like the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto, as this is where investors tend to buy.
So, from 1 January 2022, if you purchase property in Lisbon, Porto, certain areas of the Algarve and other coastal areas (including the Silver Coast and Setúbal) you will no longer qualify for the golden visa, even if your purchase is over €350,000/€500,000. The idea is to encourage investors to head to the less populated inland areas and the islands of Azores and Madeira.
However, you will still be able to invest in these areas and obtain a golden visa if it is for commercial purposes. Ricardo Ferreira, director and managing partner at Martínez-Echevarría & Rivera law firm, said: “if you want to get a shop or a farm, you can still get the golden visa in coastal areas”.
2. The minimum investment in funds will increase to €500,000
Another popular way to obtain a golden visa in Portugal is by investing in a fund, such as venture capital fund. Currently, the minimum amount required to invest is €350,000, but from 1 January 2022, this will increase to €500,000.
3. The minimum research and development investment will increase to €500,000
Similarly to the investment in funds route, those looking to obtain a golden visa through investing in research and development will need to invest €500,000 as a minimum from 1 January 2022. This is an increase from the current minimum of €350,000.
4. The minimum bank account deposit will increase to €1.5 million
Again, the minimum amount needed to obtain the golden visa through capital transfer is also increasing from 1 January 2022. Currently, a deposit of €1 million into a Portuguese bank account is sufficient, however, from the new year, you will need to deposit €1.5 million.
5. The minimum incorporation amount will increase to €500,000
If you’re an entrepreneur hoping to start a business in Portugal, from the 1 January 2022 you will need to establish a company with a minimum of €500,000 rather than €350,000. The number of jobs you must create will remain the same, at five.
So, which areas will still qualify for the golden visa after 1 January 2022?
If you want to have a holiday home or forever home in the Algarve, it’s not all doom and gloom. Parts of inland Algarve will still qualify for the golden visa scheme after the 1 January 2022. These include Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique and Vila do Bispo. For the full list of areas that will not be affected by the golden visa changes, just click here and go to pages 2-4.
You will also still be able to make golden visa investments in the Loulé parishes of Alte, Ameixial, Salir, the Union of Parishes of Querença, Tôr and Benafim, the parish of São Marcos da Serra in the borough of Silves, and the parishes of Cachopo and Santa Catarina da Fontes do Bispo in the municipality of Tavira.
The islands of Madeira and the Azores will also still qualify for the golden visa.
You can read all about inland Algarve in our other article, here.
Additionally, tourist complexes, including those with apartments and villas, will not be affected by the golden visa changes. Ricardo Ferreira said: “if you buy in the resort areas, such as Vale do Lobo, in the next year, you can still get the golden visa. Why? Because all of the resorts are for what we call touristic purposes. They’re there to rent. Sometimes they even work closely with hotels”.
So, in conclusion, most of the changes involve an increase to the minimum investment amount. Our advice: if you do want to purchase a property in the Algarve, Lisbon, Porto etc, you should do so sooner rather than later to take advantage of the current, cheaper, golden visa scheme.