Changes are on the horizon, with the program potentially being eliminated for new applicants and renewed only if certain conditions are met for existing visas. There is a high risk of the program being completely terminated in the short-to-medium term.
However, the details are yet to be shared, and the process for approving any proposed changes involves a series of procedures.
- In a bid to combat the housing crisis, Portugal decided to possibly end its “Golden Visa” residency by investment scheme, which grants residency status to foreigners who purchased property worth a certain amount
- The news of the “Portugal Golden Visa program ending” has led to a rush of applications from investors eager to secure their investment and residency status before the program is closed for good
- However, Portugal still welcomes remote workers and entrepreneurs with its D7 and Digital Nomad visas
- While the “Golden Visa” program may be over, there are still other options available for those seeking to invest in Portugal or work remotely
The Move Claims to Tackle Portugal’s “Housing Problem”
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time the Portuguese government has made significant changes to the Golden Visa program.
At the beginning of 2022, restrictions were put in place that limited the program’s effectiveness in combating the rising housing prices in the country.
These restrictions included not allowing applicants to buy residential properties in Lisbon, Porto, or the coastal regions, and only allowing commercial properties to qualify for the Golden Visa program.
Essentially, the changes made at the beginning of 2022 meant that the Golden Visa program had little to nothing to do with the residential housing market in Portugal.
Therefore, while the reasons stated by the Prime Minister may be genuine, there is speculation that other factors are at play. It is unclear what the underlying motivation is for the proposed changes to the Golden Visa program.
The Next Steps: Will It Be Imminent?
It’s important to note that the Portuguese government cannot make changes to the Golden Visa program on its own. The assembly of the Republic must approve any proposed changes, and there is a certain duration that needs to pass for a public hearing process.
The current law is expected to remain unchanged until at least the end of March 2023, and possibly more. But, there is a risk that the program may be terminated completely in the short-to-medium term.
Since 2012, the Portuguese government made multiple significant changes to the program, and they always provided a fair notice period before the changes took effect. It would be reasonable to expect a similar approach with the current hinted changes.
The news has led to a rush of applications before the changes take effect.
What You Need to Know If You Already Have a Golden Visa
The fate of current Golden Visa holders in Portugal remains uncertain as the government’s proposed changes to the program continue to develop.
According to the announcement made on February 16, 2023, current Golden Visa holders will need to use their property for personal use or rent it out long-term in order to renew their visa. However, the final draft of the changes will not be presented until March 16, and it remains to be seen if the government will maintain these conditions.
Despite the uncertainty, most law firms expect that the Golden Visa renewals will have no issues, and existing cases will continue with the conditions they initially signed up for.
Alternatives to Golden Visa
Portugal’s decision to end the Golden Visa program doesn’t mean the end of alternative solutions within Portugal or outside of Portugal.
Portugal still provides alternative solutions for entrepreneurs and remote workers seeking to relocate to the country. The D7 Visa and Digital Nomad Visa are still available for those who want to establish residency in Portugal.
D7 Visa is an option for individuals who can show regular passive income, while the Digital Nomad Visa targets professionals who work remotely. These programs allow applicants to obtain residency in Portugal and enjoy the country’s benefits and lifestyle without investing in a property. While they don’t offer the same level of flexibility and benefits as the Golden Visa, they remain viable options for those who want to relocate to Portugal.
Outside of Portugal
For those who are interested in obtaining residency or citizenship by investment, Portugal is not the only European country that offers this opportunity. Many countries have similar programs that allow foreign investors to obtain residency or citizenship in exchange for investments in the country.
In Europe, Spain and Greece are two other countries that offer their own version of the Golden Visa program. Each program has its own set of rules and regulations, and interested parties should do their research or consult a professional in order to determine which program best suits their needs.
Portugal’s move to shut down the Golden Visa program marks a significant change in the country’s immigration policies, but other options remain available for those seeking to invest in Portugal or work remotely.