83 main applicants along with 109 of their family members received Portuguese golden visas in November, figures released by the SEF this week show. Altogether, applicants invested some EUR 46.7 million during the month, largely in line with the result from October.
In each historical monthly tally, with the exception of February 2020 when Brazilian investors briefly took the lead, Chinese investors have been the top applicant nationality. This November, the Chinese were displaced from their pole position for the second time in the program's history - this time by Americans. 20 US investors received approvals in November, followed by 19 Chinese, and 10 Brazilians.
Of the 781 approved main applicants so far in 2021, 256 have been Chinese, 87 have been Americans, 59 Brazilian, 55 Russian, 29 Turks, and 28 South African.
In 2021, American participation in the program has already set records in both absolute and relative terms: 87 American main applicants have been approved so far this year compared to 75 in 2020, while US applicants' share of the program overall has reached 11.1% this year, almost twice the proportion observed in 2020.
The American rise has coincided with a decline in Chinese participation, which has dropped steadily, in both relative and absolute terms.
Investors are increasingly choosing "alternative assets", i.e., investment options other than the conventional EUR 500,000 real estate investment. The proportion opting for alternative routes to qualification has reached a record 39% in 2021, up from just 17% three years ago.
Within the alternative assets segment, the greatest relative increase is observed for the fund investment route, which this year will raise nine times more investment than it did just two years ago.
On the whole, however, 2021 will be a disappointing year for the golden visa, at least as measured in revenues. The year is likely to record the lowest total investment since 2013, its first full year of operations. The decline may partly be explained by the current long delays in golden visa processing.
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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.