Brits now eligible for Golden Visas
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, British citizens are now eligible for the acclaimed Portuguese Golden Visa programme.
One of the most successful residency programmes of its kind, it has now attracted more than €5.6bn in investment with around 25,000 visas granted since its launch in 2012. Though there are several ways to be eligible for this visa, investment via real estate leads the way, accounting for 94% of all investments.
The Golden Visa programme allows those who invest in an eligible property to apply for EU residency for themselves and their immediate family. Typically, non-EU citizens will need to invest €500,000 in real estate to be eligible. However, those investing in areas of urban regeneration or in low-density areas like the Azores will benefit from a lower minimum investment of €350,000.
After five years as a Portuguese resident, British citizens will then have the option to apply for full Portuguese citizenship and obtain an EU passport.
Why are Brits so interested in the Golden Visa programme?
“For UK investors this is about more than bypassing long queues at the airport, though that is certainly advantageous,” comments David Moura-George, Portugal Director at Athena Advisers. “It’s more about the ability to work, study and live freely in the EU as well as creating European lineage in the family which can be passed onto future generations.”
First and foremost, becoming a Portuguese resident will allow Brits to live, work and study freely in Portugal. Plus, they will benefit from unhindered travel throughout the 26 European countries which make up the Schengen zone.
Investors can also apply for EU residency for their immediate family too such as their children, spouses or dependent parents, allowing the whole family to benefit from the programme. Plus, the entire family just needs to submit one application which makes it quite a straightforward process.
Another advantage of the Portuguese Golden Visa programme is that you do not need to relocate to Portugal to maintain your residency – you simply need to visit seven days a year, on average. However, if you do decide to reside in Portugal you can also take advantage of the Non-Habitual Resident tax incentive which reduces your tax exposure.
What about the Golden Visa changes?
The news that Brits can now apply for the Golden Visa programme was accompanied by another Golden Visa update: it has been announced that the programme is set to change from July 2021.
“The exact details of the changes have yet to be confirmed but it is generally expected that they will mirror those proposed at the beginning of 2020,” adds Moura-George “In a bid to drive investment to the centre of Portugal and the islands, last year, the government proposed that those investing in a property in a coastal area, like Lisbon or Porto, would no longer be able to apply for a Golden Visa.”
If you are interested in applying for a Golden Visa by investing in Lisbon real estate, we recommend that you begin your property search and application promptly as it can take 4-6 months for your Portugal residency cards to be issued.
If you would like to find out more about the Portuguese Golden Visa programme and our portfolio of eligible properties in Lisbon and beyond, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our Lisbon property experts are available for virtual meetings and we can also offer property viewings via video call and introduce you to trusted lawyers in Portugal who can help you with your Golden Visa application.