Portugal reduces the Golden Visa process to 5 years for foreign investors

16 August

The Portuguese government has just unveiled the new process for its popular Golden Visa programme, reducing the length of time required to become a citizen.  The programme, which enables non-Eu nationals to obtain first temporary residency with travel across the Schengen area, leading to citizenship and ultimately a Portuguese passport, now only takes fives years to complete compared to the previous six years.

Since its birth in 2012, the Golden Visa programme has seen an influx of just under €3.9bn from foreign investors around the globe.

Portugal's Golden visa process outlined

Once within the programme, investors will be apply to apply for citizenship just before the end of their fifth year, which then takes up to six months to be granted and based on the applicant proving they have an intermediate level of the Portuguese language. An investor's immediate family members can also acquire citizenship through the programme.

The largest contributors to date have been the Chinese, totalling 3890 visas since its establishment in 2012. However their growth rate has been in decline recently, with Brazilians overtaking and coming out on top with a growth rate of 300.71% from March 2016 to June 2018. Not far behind are South Africans with a growth rate of 209.76% within these two years. Russia and China have a slower growth rate and Turkish investors are also keen investors in the programme.

Number of investment and investors in Portugal's Golden Visa programme

There are several ways of qualifying to apply for the programme, detailed below:

• Invest a minimum of €500,000 in real estate

• Transfer €1m in capital

• Create at least 10 jobs in the county

• Invest a minimum of €500,000 in small and medium-sized companies

• Invest a minimum of €350,000 in scientific investigation

• Invest a minimum of €250,000 in artistic production, preservation or conservation of cultural heritage

Although the new regulations have been approved, the government is yet to work out the fine print of this and roll it out - it is expected to become available within the coming months.

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