As has been the case in each September since the program opened, last month was relatively slow for Portugal’s golden visa. 78 main applicants and 145 dependents received residence permits during the month on the back of investments amounting to EUR 43.5 million.
For as far back as we have records, September investment activity has been weaker than the two months immediately preceding and following it. The relative performance of that month in 2020, therefore, is best measured by comparing it to the Septembers of previous years, rather than to August this year. Viewed from that perspective, the program’s outlook appears decidedly more promising; September 2020 was the highest-grossing September in the program’s history.
So far in 2020, the the golden visa has raised EUR 540m, which places it on a trajectory to reaching about EUR 720m by the end of the year. That would make 2020 a statistically unremarkable year; no mean feat considering the global context in which those funds were raised, and downright admirable when contrasted with the program’s Greek rival.
Overall since November 2012, 9,200 main applicants have invested in excess of EUR 5.5 billion under the golden visa, overwhelmingly in the form of immovable property valued at EUR 500,000 or more. Recent years, however, have seen a rising trend of investors opting for “alternative” investments (categories other than Subparagraph 3); a mere four years ago, only one in 15 applicants chose alternative options, a share that has reached one in three this year.
While the biggest alternative category is Subparagraph 4 (27%), the fastest-growing is Subparagraph 7 (EUR 350,000 in VC/investment funds), which nearly one in 20 investors have picked this year, compared to just one in 100 last year.
Though their dominance of the program has been much-reduced since the early years, Chinese applicants remain the leading source of investors. In September, 19 of them received their ARIs, more than twice as many as the second-biggest group, the Vietnamese, who accounted for nine golden visas. So far this year, one in four investors have been Chinese, while – on a cumulative basis since 2012 – they make up just over half of the total.
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.