Portugal Golden Visa Changes to Take Place in 2021

Portugal’s successful Golden Visa program that was initiated back in 2012 is considering undergoing some important changes. It was suggested by the authorities in the last few years that Porto and the capital Lisbon should be taken out of the extent of the program. The logic behind is to prevent further overload in investments in these two cities and to compensate the lack of investment in other areas. Majority of investments through Portugal Golden Visa Program is channelled towards Lisbon and Porto which leads to a big difference in popularity between these two cities and the rest of the country. In order to vitalize other investment options and areas, Portugal is to exclude Lisbon and Porto from its Golden Visa program.

The Effective Start of New Rules is 2021

Although these radical changes are now facts and not speculations, there is no reason to panic and cancel applications. Until 2021, these changes will not take place and all the processes will remain the same. Since Portugal’s constitution does not allow retroactive changes, the applications submitted before 2021 will not be affected by the changes.

Investor Interest is Still High

The speculations around the changes within Portugal Golden Visa Program circulated in the media for a while, and it caused a bit of a stir among investors. Many projection about the fiscal performance of the program in 2020 forecasted that investors will quickly lose interest upon these future changes. However, investors seem to accurately understand that these changes will not be in effect until 2021. The recent information published by Portugal’s Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) suggest that there is only a slight decrease in investments compared to 2019. In the first two months of 2020, 151 main applicants and 282 dependents received approvals for their applications, making the total number of successful applicants 433.

Possibly – and probably – because of the pandemic of COVID 19, Chinese investors do not lead the charts for the first time since the program’s inception. In total, Chinese investors account for more than half of the applications made to the program. This year, on the other hand, Brazilians took the lead from Chinese.

Potential Changes Seem to Shift the Interest of the Investors

By far the most popular investment option within Portugal’s Golden Visa Program was the EUR 500,000 real estate investment option. One of the aims of the government in changing the program is to shift the focus into other investment options like revitalizing different neighbourhoods and restoring the older properties. The trend in later applications suggests that the policies started to receive positive reaction even before their effective starting date. In the first two months of 2020, 27 per cent of investors chose other methods of investment which is 3 per cent higher than the previous year.

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