Portuguese President Enacts Changes to Golden Visa Program

Portuguese President Enacts Changes to Golden Visa Program

Anastasiia Zapevalova
1 October 2023

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa officially signed into law the highly debated "Mais Habitaçao" ("More Housing") bill. This legislative package introduces significant changes to the Portuguese Golden Visa program, basically banning the real estate investment option. The law will now undergo parliamentary and governmental scrutiny before publication and will come into force in about a week.

Now that real estate investment is off the table, the market experts expect the fund investment option to become the preferred route for most investors seeking residency in Portugal.

There will be several ways for applicants to qualify for the Golden Visa:

  1. Creating at least ten jobs
  2. Investing at least €500,000 in research activities by public or private research institutions
  3. Investing at least €250,000 in artistic production, cultural heritage recovery, or maintenance.
  4. Investing at least €500,000 in certain investment funds based in Portugal with a minimum maturity of five years, and a requirement that at least 60% of investments are made in national-based commercial companies.
  5. Investing at least €500,000 in a company based in Portugal, either by starting a new one and creating five permanent jobs or by adding money to an existing company and making sure it creates at least five permanent jobs or maintains at least ten jobs. You must keep this investment for at least three years.

For options 1, 2, and 3, the minimum investment requirements may be reduced by 20% when the investment is directed towards low-density territories, defined as areas with fewer than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer or a GDP per capita less than 75% of the national average. Investments in the form of real estate are strictly prohibited under the new regulations.

Among other measures are the suspension of registration for new local accommodations outside low-density territories, an extraordinary contribution levied on such businesses, the mandatory rental of properties vacant for over two years, and the imposition of caps on the value of new rental contracts for properties already on the market.

Additionally, the legislative package offers capital gains tax exemptions for property owners selling to the State, an increase in the deduction for dependents under the Family IMI, adjustments to the autonomous rate of property income, and tax exemptions for homeowners transitioning their properties from local accommodations by the end of 2024.

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