With the changes to Portuguese law resulting from the approval of the “Mais Habitação” program – legislative and fiscal measures to deal with the housing crisis – the Golden Visa for real estate investment and transfer of capital to credit institutions will end.
According to the new law, new applications for Residence Permits for Investment Activities (ARI) will not be accepted for acquiring or rehabilitating real estate worth 500,000 euros and 350,000 euros, respectively, and for capital transfers worth 1.5 million euros or more. However, five other eligible investment options are still available:
* Creation of at least ten full-time jobs;
* Capital transfers of 500,000 euros or more for investment in scientific and technological research carried out by institutions that are part of the national scientific and technical system;
* Capital transfers of €250,000 or more to invest in or support national artistic production, heritage or culture;
* Capital transfers of an amount equal to or greater than € 500,000, intended for the incorporation of a commercial company with its registered office in Portugal, combined with the creation of 5 permanent jobs, or to increase the share capital of an existing commercial company with its registered office in Portugal, with the creation of at least five permanent jobs or the maintenance of at least ten jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years;
* Capital transfers of €500,000 or more for the acquisition of units in investment funds (non-real estate collective investment entities) set up under Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years at the time of the investment and at least 60% of the value of the assets, made to commercial companies based in Portugal.
The opportunity for new forms of investment: funds
With real estate having been the most popular investment option in recent years, new investment opportunities are now emerging that are increasingly attractive from a financial point of view. Investing in regulated funds has become a simple, safe and profitable alternative because, in addition to obtaining a visa, it also gives access to a lucrative return on capital. Investors can choose to finance projects in areas of their interest, including innovative companies or start-ups focused on data science and technology, renewable energies and sustainability sectors, among many others.
To qualify for the Golden Visa program in Portugal through the investment fund option, the applicant must be a non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss citizen with a clean criminal record. Depending on the fund, there may be additional requirements for applicants. In addition to Portugal being an attractive place to live with an affordable lifestyle, choosing to invest in a regulated fund in our country has many advantages:
* Lower tax rates: investing in a fund doesn’t involve hefty fees and taxes like buying a property (transfer tax, stamp duty, annual municipal taxes).
* Safe and secure investment: funds registered in Portugal are regulated by (1) the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), (2) the Bank of Portugal and (3) the external Fund Management Company. In addition, (4) the Portuguese Tax Authorities monitor the fund to ensure it complies with Portuguese legislation.
* Tax advantages: although rental income from real estate is subject to a flat tax rate of 28% in Portugal, investing in a fund can be more tax-efficient. Some cases allow exemption from withholding tax on income generated by the fund, mainly if investors are not tax residents in Portugal.
* Diversification: Portuguese law requires funds to have a certain level of diversification. Some limitations determine the percentage that a specific asset or investment must represent in the fund’s total portfolio, alleviating the risk for investors.
* Potential gains: some funds can have significantly higher annual returns and capital appreciation than other investment options under the Golden Visa.
* Delegation of management: owning a unit in an investment fund is hassle-free, as management is delegated to the fund managers.
It also follows that the Portuguese Golden Visa offers easy access to all the countries in the Schengen area. After a period of residence of five years – with a stay requirement of just seven days a year – the investor can apply for Portuguese citizenship for themselves and their spouse, dependent children and parents. The Portuguese passport allows you to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
Please find out more from our Immigration team.
The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.