Obtaining visas in foreign countries is notoriously difficult. Most places require you to have lived there for around five years and then you may have to wait even longer to apply for a passport. Wrapped up in all of this are tests, fees, paperwork, and more paperwork. Portugal has created the golden visa program as a way to help investors get a visa quickly, without nearly as many hoops to jump through. This article aims to explain to you what the Portuguese Golden Visa Program is and who can apply for it.
What Is It?
So, firstly, what exactly is it? The golden visa program is a government initiative to attract foreign investors to invest in projects based in Portugal. These projects are often real-estate but could be a number of other things that benefit Portugal’s economy. The government’s incentive to attract investors is to give them a visa in exchange for their investments.
This visa, the portugal golden visa 2021, has the main benefit of allowing the holder to travel freely within the Schengen zone. Effectively, you get European citizenship by investing in Portuguese projects, which would otherwise be very hard to obtain. This is essentially what the Portuguese Golden Visa Program is.
How Does It Work?
This program works by incentivizing foreign investment in Portugal, in exchange for a visa. Many foreign nationals may want to have access to the perks of being part of the European Union but do not have the time to wait for gaining citizenship via traditional means. These types of visas exist in other countries too and are a proven way of pumping money into a country that may be struggling.
It is effectively a trade, you scratch Portugal’s back and they’ll scratch yours by offering all the benefits you would get as if you were a European national. You would still be subject to various background checks before being accepted but would require a lot less paperwork and time than the traditional Portuguese citizenship application. That is how the Portuguese golden visa program works.
Why Does It Exist?
Generally, when countries offer these types of programs, they are in need of investment. Perhaps they just want to boost their economy or need to outsource some housing projects which they can’t afford to take on themselves. Governmental budgets are tighter than ever and finding ways to get more money into the economy is always welcomed.
With Portugal, they are looking to modernize their cities as quickly as possible. Urban regeneration is one of the most common investments as part of this scheme and that is what they were hoping for. The scheme exists to promote investment in the Portuguese economy so that the lives of the people living there can be improved.
Who Can Benefit?
Okay, so you understand the background, but who can actually benefit from this scheme? Well, primarily the principal investor would benefit from making an investment. However, there are other people, related to the investor who can also benefit from this program. The spouse of the investor will also get all the same benefits as the principal investor. This means that they too can travel within the Schengen zone freely, without the need for a passport or additional visa.
What’s more, these benefits are also applied to any minors who are dependent on you as well as your parents or your spouse’s parents if they are also financially dependent on you. You could also have this applied to any of your siblings if they are minors and under your guardianship. The golden visa program is pretty comprehensive in its coverage of you and your family.
How Do You Qualify?
There are several different ways you can invest to qualify for the golden visa program in Portugal. Initially, it was about being able to transfer one million euros into an investment project. The other options were to start a company that created at least ten jobs in Portugal or purchasing a Portuguese property with a value of at least 500,000 euros.
Since 2012, there were a few other ways to qualify added to the program. They are investing; 350,000 euros in research activities, 250,000 for supporting the arts or preservation of a natural heritage site, or 350,000 in the redevelopment of properties that are over 30 years old. These additional options have opened up the opportunities for qualifying for the golden visa program in Portugal and make it considerably cheaper too.
The Numbers So Far
You might be wondering how successful this program has been and how many people have actually benefitted from it. Over the last eight years, Portugal has raked in 5.3 billion euros in foreign investment, 90% of which was made in property development. Nearly 9000 residence permits have been issued for investors and there have been over 15000 residence permits issued for the family members of the investors.
This program has done well and achieved what the Portuguese government was hoping to, namely boosting investment in Portuguese property. The numbers so far show that the golden visa program has been a big success for Portugal.
Going For Gold
Most countries look for ways to invite foreign investment so that they can improve their economy. For European Union members they have something very special to offer to foreign investors that you couldn’t get without either marrying a European National or living in the country for at least five years.
Many people with large bank balances do not want to have to wait and will take advantage of schemes like the golden visa program in Portugal.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand; what it is, how it works, why it exists, who benefits from it, how you can qualify, and how many investors have taken it up to far. If you are looking for a way to become a European National or want Portuguese citizenship, then investing in one of the specified areas above would be a good way to do it. This program is a win-win for you and Portugal.