Photo of Lisbon courtesy of Deensel
Author: Tiago Camara, Co-Founder and Partner, PTGoldenVisa
August 9, 2021
Portugal has a long history of bringing the world closer together. The global maritime exploration of the country in the 15th century, which mapped the coasts of Africa, Canada, Asia and Brazil, connected continents and cultures like never before. Five hundred years since the first explorers set out across the Atlantic, diversity has remained a central part of our welcoming culture and unique hospitality. In 2021, the world is closer than ever – and if the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is the viability of a remote, global life. Portugal’s rich history has made it one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
Our delicious food, gorgeous beaches, golf courses and enviable Mediterranean climate attracted nearly 28 million visitors to Portugal in 2019 alone. Colorful, blooming cities like Porto and Lisbon – one of the oldest capitals in Europe after Athens – complement the rolling green hills of the rural hinterland and of course the paradise of golden sand and blue sea along our Atlantic coast. So it’s no wonder that Portugal is the best island destination (Madeira), the best city break destination (Lisbon) and the best beach destination (Algarve) in the World Travel Awards. The Iberian Peninsula really has it all.
Despite the pandemic, the Portuguese economy even grew by around two percent in 2020. Currency stability, high returns on real estate and local investment funds, and the ability to diversify portfolios make Portugal a very attractive market for foreign investors. The country has very affordable cost of living that is believed to be nearly 30 percent lower than the UK and between five and 10 percent lower than Spain Communications.
Portugal’s golden visa program
The Portuguese Residence Permit Program, also known as the Golden Visa, is a program that gives investors access to Portuguese residence and citizenship. It is the only system that allows foreign investors to claim citizenship for themselves and their families without having to move: only 14 days are allowed in Portugal every two years. After five years, investors can apply for citizenship. Not only does the program offer good returns, it also enables investors to secure the future of their families for generations to come.
The Portuguese passport is consistently one of the most powerful and travel-friendly and grants visa-free access to more than 170 countries. Since Portugal is part of the Schengen area, a Portuguese residence permit grants investors freedom of movement from day one as well as the opportunity to set up companies in 25 other European countries.
In addition, once the residence permit program has been approved, investors will immediately receive free use of Portugal’s public hospitals, as well as access to European universities and labor markets. Applying for a golden Portuguese visa offers a plethora of opportunities – from exciting business prospects to long-term retirement plans and the education and careers of the next generation – to wealthy individuals currently facing the obstacles associated with a weak passport are or are political instability in their home countries.
Portugal has one of the most accessible residence permit systems in Europe. The Portuguese Golden Visa program invites investors to apply for citizenship in fewer years than comparable programs in Spain (10 years) and Greece (seven years), with no relocation to Portugal. The golden Portuguese visa is fast, flexible – and cheap.
Investment options: real estate
The most popular investment option for a gold visa is real estate. A minimum investment of € 280,000 can be invested in properties that are over 30 years old and in need of renovation in remote areas, some of which offer guaranteed rental income, but may not offer a high increase in value. Better returns are achieved by real estate in one of the largest cities in Portugal such as Lisbon or Porto, where 30 year old properties in need of renovation require a minimum investment of € 350,000 to qualify for the golden visa.
These properties are often well-located apartments with the potential for short rental periods geared towards tourism. The high demand for this type of property is driving prices up by up to 10 percent annually. Yield-oriented investors are advised to invest their money in new real estate or unscheduled projects in large cities, where value growth can increase by up to 15 percent per year and rental income by up to five percent per year. The minimum investment in such a property is 500,000 euros.
Route of mutual funds
But investment funds are also becoming increasingly popular as a tax-efficient way to diversify investments and bring returns of around five to seven percent per year. The minimum investment in qualified closed-end investment funds is € 350,000. This avenue is intended for those who typically prefer to invest in funds and are interested in having professional fund managers put their money and diversify their investments into several different projects rather than just one property.
New Golden Visa Investment Options
Ninety-eight percent of applicants were approved through either real estate or mutual funds. The Portuguese Golden Visa program has no gray areas.
From January 2022 it will no longer be possible to invest in residential real estate in large cities and coastal areas. Investments in residential real estate only qualify investors for a golden visa in the interior of mainland Portugal and the islands (at least € 500,000 or € 350,000 plus renovation). Investors interested in a residential property near one of the capital cities or desirable coastal areas should move as quickly as possible due to the high demand.
PTGoldenVisa is an integrated service provider for foreign investors in Portugal, offering a credible, confidential end-to-end service based on our expertise in law, business and international trade. Our focus on the Portuguese program sets us apart from other golden visa companies – we are not a marketing department promoting numerous residency programs, but a team that supports clients throughout the five years leading up to being granted citizenship.
Portugal has one of the most accessible residence permit systems in Europe
We are proud to have an approval rate of 100 percent for all submitted applications – proof of our extensive local knowledge. Our team will guide you through everything from investment advice, legal assistance, tax optimization and representation, to liaising with the Portuguese authorities regarding your residence visa, to advising you on all aspects of your personal and business presence in Portugal. Whether you want to open a bank account or need property management services, you can count on our team who work with integrity and professionalism.
Our real estate investment service is comprehensive in itself. We are a customer-centric real estate agency that offers our investors the most profitable and reasonable investment opportunities that can range from luxury villas – jewels of contemporary architecture with private pools in tourist hotspots – to modern apartments in the heart of Lisbon. All of your golden visa advisory needs are met, from legal requirements, banking services, tax optimization and property management. The broad scope of our integrated services makes our business different – and special.
Global life in the new normal
We at PTGoldenVisa have done everything in our power to align our services to the restrictions of the pandemic – and are very pleased with the results. We normally operate from offices in Portugal and Dubai and have adapted the corporate structure to allow applications for residence permits to be made remotely. We know how important the choice of investments is. Therefore, it is our priority to provide as much information as possible so that our customers feel confident and comfortable with their decision.
Customers were able to evaluate potential real estate investments through detailed videos, 3D presentations, virtual tours, location and financial analyzes as well as live video streams from the property. For those applying through mutual funds, we have coordinated working with fund managers. We also provide online legal services, including remotely opening bank accounts. In 2020 we successfully served more than 150 customers remotely. The pandemic has sparked interest in vacation homes for investors, particularly in terms of the privacy and security that a villa can offer. PTGoldenVisa is helping with an increase in off-plan luxury villas near major cities. Due to the low supply and high demand, these projects offer capital growth of 15 percent per year.
Most importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought instability and insecurity into both the economy and our social lives. More than ever, people are rethinking the future and viewing golden visas as a path to safety and security. Our golden visa program is more popular than ever. Although the tourism industry is hit by travel restrictions around the world, the capital appreciation of real estate in Portugal’s cities – 14 percent in the first quarter of 2021 – means the Golden Visa program has remained a safe investment. Great returns, a fantastic culture and future security await. Portugal looks forward to your visit.