The investment fund option of the Portuguese golden visa continues its inexorable rise, as does the prevalence of American applicants.
In the first eight months of this year, 51 of the program’s approved main applicants were fund investors. That’s a remarkable figure on several levels:
- The number of main applicants approved under the fund investment option in 2021 already exceeds that of the entirety of 2020, a year in which Portugal approved 48 such cases.
- That also means the fund investment option has already set an all-time record for the number of approvals in a single year, with one-third of the year still to spare.
- In relative terms, the fund option’s improvement is even more pronounced; While fund investors accounted for 0.56% of approved applicants in 2019 and 4.06% in 2020, they make up 9.07% so far this year.
Taken together, "alternative" investments (anything that isn't the standard EUR 500,000 real estate acquisition) as a proportion of total investment in the program stands at 36% so far this year (up from 33% in 2020), another all-time high.
In August, Portugal's SEF approved 64 main applicants under all categories (up from 41 in July), raising EUR 35.3 million in the process (up from EUR 22.2 million in July). Year-to-date, the SEF - which some observers say are sending golden visa applicants to the back of the visa-line in favor of HQA and D7 applicants - has approved only 550 main applicants for the golden visa in 2021, 40% fewer than the 915 it approved in the first eight months of 2020.
With 19 approvals, Chinese investors, as we have come to expect, topped the nationality rankings also this month. More noteworthy, however, was that Americans ranked second, contributing 9 approved main applicants.
While a rare observation prior to the pandemic, Americans have featured among the top 5 applicant nationalities every single month this year, and in 14 out of the last 15 months. So far this year, 46 have been approved, roughly in line with figures from 2020, a year that saw a total of 75 American investors granted golden visas. Proportionally, though, the American presence is being felt more strongly in 2021; While 6.3% of approved applicants last year were Americans, they have accounted for 8.4% so far this year.
The precipitous rise of American investor migrants has been the most pronounced market trend to emerge from the pandemic. IMI devoted the first episode of its Mobility Standard podcast to the topic, one that we also analyzed in detail in our Investment Migration After COVID report this year.
Portugal's golden visa is edging ever closer to passing its 10,000th applicant approval, a milestone of which it is only 61 approvals short and is likely to reach this month or next.
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.