Non-EU investors in search of a definitive residency visa in Portugal are increasing their interest in old properties. And not only in the type of properties but also where they are located.
With the new rules of the Portuguese government, investment in the restoration of properties with more than 30 years, started to become more interesting for investors. After the changes, the minimum amounts required to apply for a golden visa through such types of restoration investments are now 280,000 euros or 350,000 euros, depending on their location.
Finding Alternative Investments After the Portugal Golden Visa New Rules
After the Portuguese government reformulated the rules of the Golden Visas program as of 2022, it is no longer possible to invest in residential properties, in investors’ favorite cities or regions. In the case of Portugal, villas or apartments in large urban centers such as Lisbon, Porto, part of the Algarve, or in some coastal areas, are no longer possible.
But one way out has been to opt for the modality of “rehabilitation” of properties that are more than 30 years old. For the residential type of properties, that is necessary to be outside the big centers, but in the commercial segment, it is possible to invest in the urban areas of higher valuation and still get the golden visa.
The 280,000 Euros Investment Option – The Cheapest Golden Visa Route?
All the new rules, end up being a new incentive to invest in less densely populated areas.
The combination of investment in old buildings plus their location in a designated low-density area make the minimum investment needed, of “only” 280k Euros.
Some players in the market are calling it the Portugal 280k investment route and saying it has been a very sought-after modality. In fact, one, if not THE cheapest, to have in the EU zone, which enables access to the Schengen area to non-EU citizens.
Note – in the initial investment of 280,000 euros, can be included the cost of restoration work.
The Current Most Popular Low-Density Areas Being Searched For
The new legislation was proposed by the government as a way to encourage investment in the interior of Portugal, Madeira, and Azores Archipelagos.
And in this sense, older persons in their retirement days, and looking for more relaxed areas outside of the main city centers are becoming more interested in such investment routes. Foreigner investors, in search of tranquility, have been interested in properties in areas such as Vila Viçosa, Borba, Alqueva, Alcácer do Sal, some interior areas of the Alentejo, Costa Vicentina, Melides, Comporta, …
In the North, the highlight is the entire wine-growing area along the banks of the Douro River. In the Algarve, the appetite of investors is growing for Monchique, for having a beautiful thermal water resort.
If you are willing to understand more about these new designated low-density areas, the video below does a good job of explaining it in detail:
Alternative Investment Routes Inside the Main City Centers
As it is not always possible to find the dream house that is more than 30 years old in the eligible areas, to secure a visa there is also a tendency to look for commercial properties and, especially, hotels. These, because they are commercial investments, and not residential, are still covered by the areas of large urban centers or other regions such as Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve.
Furthermore, with the recovery of tourism, investment in hotels should register an expressive growth.
The changes in the Portuguese Golden Visa Program would tend to direct the investments to hotels, apart-hotels, and tourism apartments, either through the purchase of assets or participation units in funds.
The interest in other modalities for obtaining visas does not mean that the demand for residential property in Portugal has decreased. The problem is that the supply is now lower than the demand in the middle and upper-class segments.
The Real Estate Market Still Growing
In general, Americans, like other nationalities are more interested in properties within urban centers with more movement and social life, and end up looking for properties located in Lisbon, Porto, Cascais, Sintra, or some cities of the Algarve.
But they also want more comfort and balance between the professional and the leisure side. Thus, they look for houses with space for a home office and an external area with a pool, a yard, and parking spaces for cars, a type of property that is rare in the market. Or apartments with large balconies, also hard to find.
Despite the changes in the legislation of the Portuguese Golden Visa program, making the acquisition of residential property eligible only outside urban centers, the real estate market is still booming in these areas. Demand is high for real estate in downtown Lisbon, Parque das Nações (Expo area), Oeiras, Estoril, Cascais and Sintra. In Porto, Foz do Douro, all the riverside areas and the historical area are the main choices.
Explaining a Bit More About Golden Visas
There are several golden visa programs available today. Some of them are very well known while others are less known. However, all of them offer the same thing — they allow foreigners to come to the host country and get either a residence permit, apply for citizenship, or both.
A lot of people think that getting second citizenship or a travel visa to most countries in the world, is almost a mission impossible. But that’s not true! In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for foreign nationals to obtain a golden visa through a variety of different programs.
But What exactly are golden visas? Why would someone want to apply for one? And how do they work?
They still are a bit ununderstood by some investors. That’s why it’s crucial to explain more about Golden Visas.
Demystifying Golden Visa Programs
A golden visa is an immigration visa granted to foreigners who want to settle permanently in another nation. They are usually referred to as “golden” because they grant permanent residency and could possibly get you another citizenship after some years.
While many people assume that only wealthy individuals can afford such applications, this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s true, that all of them require applicants to invest money into the local economy before they can receive any kind of residency status or citizenship.
However, there are different types with certain requirements that could benefit various types of persons.
With the number of programs available today, the most popular ones are the ones giving access to the Schengen zone in Europe. So, Golden Visa programs like the ones from Portugal, Malta, Spain, and Greece are yearly the most sought.
Wrapping up, a golden visa program is basically a special immigration scheme that allows foreign citizens to live and work in another country. These programs are usually designed for investors or highly skilled individuals willing to relocate to another location.
Main Benefits Of Using These Programs
These Golden visa schemes are popular among foreign investors because they allow them to live and work across a specific region, and acquire a status that lets them into some geographic areas, like Schengen. The option to get a residence permit or even second citizenship is really tempting and useful to most non-EU citizens. But what are the other benefits of such schemes?
- First, they’re relatively inexpensive if compared to other immigration schemes.
- Second, even though some programs could be complex, they’re generally fast and simple to apply when compared to other immigration processes.
- Third, they’re flexible, allowing applicants to change their plans at any time.
- Finally, they could be ideal if you are willing to leave your country temporarily. Investors, workers, students, entrepreneurs, and others looking to travel abroad while working could benefit greatly from that.
How To Find Out If You Qualify For a Golden Visa
It’s important to know if you actually qualify for one. You should check whether you meet the requirements of the particular program you want to apply for. And those will depend on the various program conditions.
The best way is to find the official sources for each country. For example, in Portugal, you will find most of the official information needed would be from SEF.
And once you know that, you can move forward with the application process.
How To Apply For a Golden Visa
A golden visa program allows a foreigner to live and work in a specific country. These programs are usually sponsored by governments or private companies.
To qualify for a golden visa, you must meet certain requirements. Most of the time, you must already reside in the country.
You may also need to pass a background check, provide proof of financial stability, and prove that you have no criminal record.
Once you’ve met all of those requirements, you can then apply for a golden visa.
Golden visas programs could be divided into two categories, depending on the benefit you can get:
- Residence permits
- Citizenship by investment
Is a Golden Visa Right for Me?
Are you looking for a job abroad? Do you want to live in another country but don’t want to leave your family behind? Then Golden Visa programs could be the right solution for you. For example, in Europe, such a visa allows you to work or invest in any European Union (EU) member state without being forced to return to your home country after a certain period of time.
If you’re planning to move to another country permanently, a Golden Visa may be right for you. However, if you only want to visit another country temporarily, you shouldn’t apply for a Golden Visa because it’s not a long-term solution.
Some Recent Stats for the Portuguese Golden Visa Scheme
In February, March, and April, for example, for the first time, the leadership of the United States in obtaining visas, overtook China. In April, the emission of new residence permits was 26 for the U.S., 15 for China, 13 for Turkey, 11 for India, and 8 for Brazil. Somehow the undisputed Top 5, with the exception of Russia that no longer sits in this top 5, due to the EU imposed bans.
Despite initial fears when the new measures went into effect, the truth is that this may even be one of the best years for the Portuguese Golden Visa program, according to some specialized market consultants. In April alone, the country received around €59 million in investments through the program, representing a significant increase compared to the same month of 2021, but also an increase in the recent months of 2022. In January, it was less than €10 million worth of investment.
Since the creation of the scheme in 2012 until April 2022, 10,636 visas have been issued and 17,614 family members have benefited from the Golden Visa program. Of this total, 5,092 were Chinese, around 5 times more than the second most issued country, Brazil.
In these ten years, the program has enabled the inflow of 5.6 billion Euros in real estate acquisition and 611 million Euros in capital transfers, totaling 6.2 billion Euros in the Portuguese economy.