EuropeIntel & Data

Americans Displace Turks to Become All-Time 3rd Biggest Portugal Golden Visa Investor Group. Now, the British are Coming Too

January was a rather average month for Portugal’s golden visa program. The SEF issued visas to 93 main applicants and 153 of their family members and recorded some EUR 43.4 million in corresponding investments. 44 of the approvals pertained to ordinary Subp. 3 real estate investments, 31 to Subp. 4 renovation-based real estate investments, and the remaining 18 to fund investments.

As had long been anticipated, Americans last month finally surpassed Turks to become the Portuguese golden visa program's third-largest investor nationality overall, on a cumulative basis since the program's opening ten years ago. That is no mean feat, considering American applicants did not even start showing up in the monthly top five (much less the all-time cumulative top five) until January 2021, i.e., more than eight years after the program opened.

In 2022, American golden visa applicants gained 216 approvals, thus becoming the single-largest investor group that year. 2022 was the first year in the program's history in which Chinese investors were not the top applicant group.

See also: Americans Moving to Portugal: It’s Not as Simple as You’ve Been Told

If the first month of 2023 is anything to go by (naturally, it's too soon to say if it is), Americans are on track to set records also in 2023: Of the 93 main applicants who gained approvals in January, 21 (23%) were Americans. They were followed by Chinese (11), Brazilians (10), British (10), and Lebanese (8).

There are indications that the British may be about to emulate the Americans in becoming a top-five applicant group in a relatively short time. The British never showed up in the monthly top five until 13 months ago. Since then, however, they have appeared a further five times, four of which they recorded a double-digit number of approvals. In the last three months alone, 45 UK citizens have received golden visas.

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Portugal golden visa practitioners tell IMI the British contingent is composed largely of two broad groups, which often overlap: Those who wish to regain residency rights in the EU (with an eye to eventually gaining Portuguese, and therefore EU, citizenship), and those relocating to take advantage of Portugal's Non-Habitual Resident tax regime, one of the 11 regimes covered in our new report:

11 Special Regimes for

Low-Tax Living in High-Tax Europe

How you or your client can legally pay a single-digit tax rate and live in eight otherwise high-tax Western European countries.

The report is for those attracted to Western Europe for its lifestyle proposition but deterred from residing there full-time by high levels of taxation. The report will show how you (or your client), by participating in special tax regimes that Western European governments have expressly designed to soften the fiscal blow for foreigners, can have your cake and eat it too.

Our guide covers 11 preferential tax regimes in Western Europe: 

– Greece
– Ireland
– Italy
– Malta
– Portugal
– Switzerland
– United Kingdom 

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.