Portugal’s golden visa last month raised EUR 27.5m from 52 main applicants. In terms of total investment, May was the slowest month since 2016, with the exception of December 2020, which also saw an influx of only EUR 27.5m as the country was at the height of its pandemic outbreak and in full lockdown.
The slowdown in May defies expectations of market observers, who had anticipated rising application volumes from investors hoping to front-run the upcoming price increases and geographical limitations that will take effect in January.
Among the 52 main applicants approved in May, Chinese investors accounted for nearly half (24), followed by four South Africans, three Canadians, three Americans, and two Vietnamese. Americans have now been among the Top 5 applicant nationalities for 10 of the last 11 months.
Cultural heritage milestone
Officially, Portugal's golden visa offers eight distinct investment options:
- Subp. 1 - Capital transfer (EUR 1m)
- Subp. 2 - Creation of 10 jobs
- Subp. 3 - Real estate (EUR 500,000)
- Subp. 4 - Real estate (EUR 350,000 for older properties)
- Subp. 5 - Scientific research contribution (EUR 350,000)
- Subp. 6 - Cultural heritage contribution (EUR 250,000)
- Subp. 7 - Venture capital/investment funds (EUR 350,000)
- Subp. 8 - Business investment with min. 5 jobs (EUR 350,000)
In practice, however, 99% of applications, since the program's opening in 2012, have been concentrated in just three of the eight options;
- Subp. 3 - 85.1%
- Subp. 4 - 8.8%
- Subp. 1 - 5%
In the last three years, the share of applicants who chose the investment fund option (subp. 7) has grown the fastest, though only in relative terms; the absolute proportion remains at just 0.85% of the total.
Until May, two of the eight qualifying routes had not received any applications whatsoever: Subparagraphs 5 and 6, a contribution of EUR 350,000 to scientific research and one of EUR 250,000 to cultural heritage, respectively.
In May, however, the SEF approved the first EUR 250,000 cultural heritage contribution-based golden visa, leaving the scientific research contribution option as the sole unused category.
At a cumulative 9,767 approved main applicants, the program continues to inch ever-closer to the 10,000-investors mark, a milestone it is likely to reach in the next 2-5 months.
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 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.