THE PORTUGUESE GOLDEN VISA REGIME
Scope of Application
In order to attract foreign investment into Portugal and to help in the economical recovery, the Portuguese Government has created a regime for the granting of so-called “golden visas” to citizensvof third countries that wish to invest in Portugal.
Such regime, known “ARI – Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento”, ResidencevPermit for Investment Activities, is foreseen in Law no. 23/2007, of July 4, as amended by Law no. 29/2012, of August 9, whose applicable procedures and practical requirements have been simplified in the beginning of 2013 and further modified under Law no. 59/2017, of July 31, which broadened the scope of investment activities eligible for this type of residency permit.
This legal framework allows citizens of third countries (who are not members of the European Union or members of the Convention who implemented the Schengen Agreement) to obtain a Portuguese residence permit, with the purpose to allow the development of an investment activity in Portugal or using Portugal an investment platform.
The main advantage for the investor is the visa exemption for the Schengen area as well as other 170 countries around the world, the reduced mandatory stay period and the possibility of family reunification.
For the purposes of granting the “golden visas”, an investment activity must be performed, directly by the individual or through a company, for a minimum period of five years. The investment activity can correspond to one of the following:
• Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 1.000.000,00, including investments in the share capital of companies; or
• Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 350.000,00, applied to investigation developed by any institution or company whose object is scientific investigation; or
• Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 250.000,00, applied in cultural, artistic and heritage projects developed by any public institution or public company whose object is the production, refurbishment and maintenance of all national cultural heritage; or
• Creation of at least 10 jobs, which is deemed fulfilled when there is proof of the register of all workers in the Portuguese Social Security system; or
• Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 350.000,00, to participate in investments funds or venture capital based in Portugal, with a maturity of 5 years and 60% of the investment in companies with head office in Portugal; or
• Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 350.000,00, to incorporate or invest in a company based in Portugal creating or maintaining 5 permanent jobs; or
• Purchase of real estate property with a minimum value of € 500.000,00; or
• Purchase of real estate property located in urban rehabilitation areas (namely the historical areas of most cities) with a minimum value of € 350.000,00; or
• Purchase of real estate property with a minimum value of € 500.000,00.
Some of these investments, namely in companies may be reduced in 20% if they are directed to territories of low population density, which are include all the hinterland of mainland Portugal.
Effective presence in Portugal
On top of the five years minimum investment period, to be counted as of the date of the granting of the residence permit, and for the purposes of its renewal, the foreign investor must present proof, namely by showing his passport, that he has remained in Portuguese territory for a minimum period of seven consecutive or interpolated days within the first year, or fourteen consecutive or interpolated days within the subsequent two-years period.
The filing for the granting or renewal of the “golden visas” must be made in person at the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (“Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras” – SEF) of the applicant’s residence area.
It will be necessary to present proof before the SEF that the quantitative and time-based minimum requirements are fulfilled, through the presentation of the documents and declarations legally required for such purpose.
In addition, it will be necessary to file a statement where the applicant declares, under a commitment of honour, that he will fulfill the quantitative and time-based minimum requirements of the investment activity in Portuguese territory.
Family Reunification entitlement is granted when:
(i) the family members of the investor live abroad and either live with the investor in another country, or qualify as dependants of the investor;
(iii) the family members have entered legally in Portugal and either live with the investor, or qualify as dependants of the investor;
(iv) the descendents of the investor who are single, of age, financially dependent of the investor and studying in a university or school in Portugal or abroad.
This “golden visa” regime has attracted a large number of foreign investors to Portugal, who can play a relevant role in the Portuguese economy.
On the other hand, this is a great opportunity for foreign investors to take advantage of this regime, obtaining a Schengen Visa while purchasing premium real estate in Portuguese territory, known by its mild climate and beautiful coastline.
Since its creation in 2012 until 2017 (we still do not have updated and final number for 2018) the number of visas granted where around 5000, and respective family reunification around 8000.
Lisbon, February 2019
This information is intended for general distribution to clients and colleagues and the information contained herein is provided as a general and abstract overview. It should not be used as a basis on which to make decisions and professional legal advice should be sought for specific cases.