94 main applicants and 105 of their family members obtained Portuguese golden visas in the first month of this year, figures from the SEF show. The number is a 12% improvement from December and a 71% increase on January 2021. Total investment during the month amounted to some EUR 48 million, up from EUR 42 million in December and EUR 33 million in January last year.
For the first time on record, the subparagraph 3 conventional real estate investment option accounted for an absolute minority (37%) of the selected investment options. 43% of applicants approved in January qualified through Subparagraph 4 (renovation property), while 15% picked the fund investment route. One applicant also qualified via the cultural heritage contribution option (Subp. 6), through a EUR 200,000 investment.
The share of investors who qualify under the "alternative assets" categories - any option other than the conventional Subpragraph 3 real estate investment - stands as 63% of the total after the year's first month, well-ahead of the 41% share recorded for 2021 as a whole.
If January figures are any indication of things to come, the investment fund option has a great year ahead of it; applicants approved in January invested some EUR 5.1 million in funds in January, which would amount to EUR 61 million on an annualized basis, or more than double the result from 2021.
January figures also show American interest in Portuguese golden visas remains elevated; 17 main applicants from the US were approved in January, up from just three in January last year. American participation in the program has risen steadily since the beginning of the pandemic, while that of the Chinese has fallen (at least in absolute terms). Only Chinese investors (19 of them) outnumbered Americans in January. They were followed by Indians (8), Russians (7), and Brazilians (6).
Now that Portugal's new golden visa rules have taken effect, putting some of the country's most sought-after residential real estate out of contention, veteran golden visa providers expect investment to be channeled towards funds and renovation real estate. See:
- Portugal Golden Visa: Here’s What Happens Next
- 15 Changes and Trends in Portugal’s Immigration System in 2022
- “When Clients Ask About a Program And It’s Not Portugal, I Talk About Portugal”: John Hanafin on the Mobility Standard
At the same time, in a post-pandemic market where applicants are increasingly willing to physically relocate, Portugal's golden visa is getting stiff competition from the D7 and HQA visas.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine - online or offline - for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.