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Portugal’s Golden Visa - a silver bullet for relocating Brits?

Portugal’s Golden Visa - a silver bullet for relocating Brits?

British citizens worried about their options for moving to Portugal now that the UK has left the EU completely could find the Golden Visa scheme the perfect solution for realising their dream.

The Golden Visa is a type of residency-by-investment visa for non-EU citizens (also known as ‘third-country nationals’), which grants Portuguese residency to successful applicants who invest in property or other specified investments. 


Residency status is then renewable and after five years the holder can apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship. Not only do applicants obtain the usual residency entitlements in Portugal and the right to travel freely within the Schengen Area (most of the EU), but the benefits of their visa can be extended to family members too.


Since being launched by the Portuguese Government in 2012, the Golden Visa scheme has enabled thousands of non-EU nationals, including Chinese, Brazilians, South Africans, Turks and Russians, to get residency status in Portugal – and by default in the EU. 



It is one of Europe’s most popular residency-by-investment visas, thanks to its affordability, favourable conditions and of course, the appeal of residing and/or investing in the fantastic country Portugal.


Another quirk is that holders don’t necessarily need to move to Portugal full-time as a tax resident (i.e. spend more than 182 days a year there) while still benefitting from borderless travel around the EU. This is because holders are required to spend just seven days in Portugal in their first year and not less than 14 days in subsequent years. 


No time to waste!

From 1st January 2021, when the Brexit transition ended and the UK lost its automatic EU citizenship status, UK citizens are classed as third-country nationals in Portugal (and all other EU States). 


This means that British people now need a visa granting residency in order to live there. This may change in the future if the UK and Portugal reach a unilateral agreement that opens up reciprocal residency opportunities for their nationals.


For certain Britons wishing to move to Portugal this year, the Golden Visa could be an ideal option. Due to upcoming changes to the rules announced in December though, anyone interested in this route should not delay their application. Here’s why. Under the current rules, there are no restrictions on where in Portugal applicants can purchase their property to qualify for the scheme. 



However, the Portuguese Government has ruled that from 1st July, 2021, properties within densely populated metropolitan and coastal areas such as Lisbon, Porto and potentially parts of the Algarve, will not be eligible under new applications for the scheme. 


Instead, investment for a Golden Visa will be directed to Portugal’s less-densely populated interior and the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira.


There is still uncertainty about some details of the new rules, with expectations that parts of the Algarve may remain an option just with a higher investment value required. The Government has confirmed that there will be a transitional period from 1st July until the end of the year, which leaves room for some flexibility.


The message today is that anyone interested in purchasing in the more developed areas of the Algarve, or Portugal’s two largest cities, ideally should make their application in the first six months of the year.



Appying - the basics

Under current Golden Visa rules, how much applicants need to invest varies according to the location and age of the property. For a standard resale or key-ready property in a high-density area, such as central Lisbon, the property transaction must be worth at least €500,000. 


This requirement drops to €400,000 in areas deemed low density. The visa becomes even more affordable if the property is classed as a rehabilitation project. In this case minimum investment is €350,000 if in a high density area, dropping to just €280,000 in a low density area. 


Other investment options can be cash-based (money in the bank/ shares/ sovereign securities), setting up a new company, and investing in a government approved cultural or scientific fund or an existing Portuguese business.


To start the process or for more information, get in touch with the team today! You can give us a call on +351 289 513 434, 0800 133 7644 or email directly on info@idealhomesinternational.com