Portuguese immigration issues 318 'golden visas'

In the last year, Portuguese immigration has issued 318 'Golden Visas' under its Golden Visa and Golden Residence Permit Schemes. Most have been issued to Chinese nationals who have invested in property in Portugal. Portugal says it foresees issuing 400 Golden Visas each year.

Portugal opened its 'Golden Visa' scheme in 2012. Citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who purchase a property in Portugal worth at least €500,000 are thereby entitled to apply for a Portuguese temporary residence permit known colloquially as a Golden Visa.

This is much more expensive than say the Latvian Immigrant Investor visa which, for the time being, has a minimum investment of 25,000 Latvian Lats ($47,357, €35,590). If you do not actually wish to spend very much time in Portugal anyway it may be worth considering a cheaper visa scheme such as the Latvian Immigrant Investor visa scheme.

248 visas taken by Chinese nationals

A Portuguese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has told journalists that the great majority of the Portuguese golden visas; 248 of them, went to Chinese nationals. Fifteen visas were granted to citizens of the Russian Federation and nine each to citizens of Angola and Brazil which were both once Portuguese colonies where Portuguese remains the national language.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Francisca Seabra told Bloomberg TV that the programme had delivered a 'decisive stimulus' to Portugal's property market. She said that foreign buyers seeking residence visas have spent €198m so far on Portuguese property.

To qualify for a 'Golden Visa' applicants must

  • Purchase real estate worth at least €500,000 or
  • Transfer a minimum of €1m to a Portuguese business or company as an investment or
  • Create a minimum of ten jobs in Portugal
Where two people are applying for Golden Visas, they must both make the minimum qualifying investment.

Dependent family can come too

Those who receive Golden Visas are allowed to bring their dependent family (spouse and children) with them. The Portuguese government will initially grant a visa for one year. This visa will then be renewed twice for two years on each occasion providing that the holder can show
  • That the investment remains in place and
  • That the holder has fulfilled the minimum residence requirements
These are not onerous. The holder must show that he/she has spent seven days in Portugal in the first year and fourteen days in each of the next years.A Golden Visa can allow its holder to apply for permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship.

Applicants must also be able to show that

  • They have a clean criminal record
  • They have not been banned from the European Union.

Free movement in Schengen Area

Portugal is part of the European Schengen Area. This area, established by the Schengen Treaty in , now comprises 26 continental European countries, mostly within the European Union. Internal border controls have been removed between Schengen countries which allow great freedom of movement for those with a right to reside in any Schengen country. Holders of Portuguese Golden Visas are allowed to travel anywhere within the Schengen Area for 90 days in any six month period.

Sanwar Ali of Workpermit.com said 'Last week workpermit.com reported that the Latvian Immigrant Investor visa scheme might close for new entrants from January 2014. This scheme is more expensive but will provide an alternative for wealthy investors. And many people might say that the weather is better in Portugal too!'.

If you would like to apply for a visa WorkPermit.com can help. WorkPermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with 25 years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.