How to Apply for a Portugal Golden Visa

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Immigrating to Portugal has been popular for years, with the foreign residency rate increasing by 40% between 2011 and 2021. Some of that increase was due to the Portugal golden visa, an immigration program that came with features not available through some alternatives. As a result, many people interested in moving to the country want to know how to apply for a Portugal golden visa. If you’re among them, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Golden Visa?

Golden visas are a type of immigration program that allows select individuals to reside in another country in exchange for providing the nation with a specific benefit. One of the most common features is a required investment, such as purchasing a property worth a particular amount of money, making capital investments, or creating jobs. Some golden visa programs also have pathways for professionals with specific skills or who meet other criteria.

Generally, golden visas grant visa holders more rights than some alternatives. Along with the ability to purchase property, some may come with work rights, loosened restrictions regarding traveling out of the country, and longer timelines before renewal is required.

What Was the Portugal Golden Visa?

The Portugal golden visa program allowed non-EU nationals to fast-track their path toward permanent residency. It was specific to Portugal, enabling those who used the program to secure citizenship eligibility in as little as five years.

As with most golden visa programs, the Portugal gold visa program was investment-focused. Generally, it required a property or capital investment, though job creation or other pathways were available.

Who Can Get a Portugal Golden Visa?

As mentioned above, the Portugal golden visa program required a significant financial investment. The most common approach involved purchasing real estate with a specific minimum value, the exact amount of which could vary depending on the city where the purchase was made. Investing in qualifying investment funds, making large capital transfers to local banks, purchasing a specific amount of Portuguese company shares, investing in a Portuguese company, launching a sizeable Portuguese company, and creating jobs could also make a person eligible, though those weren’t the only paths.

However, while many people may be able to meet the criteria, applying for a new Portugal golden visa is no longer an option. The program is slated to potentially end, and new applicants aren’t being accepted.

How and Why the Program Is Ending

While the Portugal golden visa program ran for many years, it’s functionally coming to an end. According to a report by Fortune, Prime Minister Antonio Costa stated that Portugal would “eliminate the issuance of new golden visas” in February.

One of the reasons for the change is challenges relating to the Portuguese housing market. Real estate prices have risen dramatically in recent years, and many parts of the local population are struggling with housing affordability. As a result, there’s less reason to attract new real estate investors — something that the golden visa program did. Additionally, other factors that led to the creation of the program no longer apply, leading Costa to say that the program is “no longer justified.”

However, there are other visa programs in Portugal, including some that are pathways to long-term residency. As a result, people interested in moving to Portugal do have other options.