You Can Still Get a Portugal Golden Visa… For Now

It’s your last chance for a Portuguese residential Golden Visa… I mean it this time.

Back in early spring, the Portuguese Prime Minister announced that his government planned to abolish the residential option for the country's famed Golden Visa program. It's now mid-September—and the program is still open for new applications.

For that, we can thank Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who vetoed the bill on 25 August, sending it back to parliament.

There’s no doubt parliament will override the veto, but in the meantime it's still possible to start an application for a residential Golden Visa.

The current system allows applicants who purchase a residential property valued at €280,000 or more to gain a five-year residency visa. That in turn allows the visa holder free travel rights within the European Union.

The Golden Visa has been so popular that it's brought in more than €7 billion worth of investment from foreigners wanting a piece of Portugal. Half of those visas have gone to Chinese nationals, followed by Brazilians, Americans, Turks, and South Africans.

News that this pathway will be withdrawn led to a burst of applications in the first half of this year—861 new visas were issued before the end of June.

Some commentators have assumed that the president's veto reflects a desire to keep the residential investment option open.

Unfortunately, that's not the case: his concerns are about the other aspects of the “More Housing” bill, which also addresses a severe lack of affordable housing in Portugal. All his suggested changes relate to those aspects of the legislation, not Golden Visas.

Nevertheless, as the flurry of solicitations from agencies that facilitate Golden Visa applications show, the program is still open for anyone who wants to apply. As long as the key elements of the application are completed before the legislation becomes law, your application will still be grandfathered in.

Portugal was a hot topic at our recent Overseas Bootcamp conference in Denver. Experts familiar with the situation told the audience that getting in the queue for the last residential Golden Visas requires the following:

  • An application must have been filed with the Portuguese immigration agency. That doesn't mean that all the supporting application need to have been submitted. That can continue even after the bill is passed, as long as the process was in motion beforehand.

  • A residential property transaction must have reached the stage where money has changed hands. The final deed of transfer need not have taken place, as long as the purchasers funds have been transferred to the seller’s escrow or other account pending finalization of the transfer.

There isn't a lot of time left to start absolutely from scratch. Fortunately, however, our friends at Real Estate Trend Alert keep a close watch on the Portuguese property sector and have potential investment properties available to those serious about pursuing this route to Portuguese residency. RETA and International Living’s in-country experts are also in close contact with Portuguese consultants who can help to facilitate a visa application.

Of course, the residential golden visa isn't the only option for residency in Portugal. The D7 independent means or retirement visa is still an option, as is the D8 digital nomad visa. The income requirements for the D7 are only a little more than €1,000 a month in total income. The D8 requires a minimum monthly income from non-Portuguese sources of around €3,400.

But if acquiring long term residency rates along with a fabulous Portuguese home or investment property has been a dream of yours, it's still time to make it happen.

What Is Portugal’s D8 Visa?

Portugal Ends Golden Visa Program: What It Means For You

Seven Places to Retire in Portugal for Under $30,000 per Year