EuropePolicy Updates

Portuguese Golden Visa Reforms Postponed Until September as President Vetoes “More Housing” Bill

  • President indicated he did “not see any unconstitutionality in the measures, not even in the so-called coercive lease.”
  • The new law is likely to take effect in September, after which real estate investment will no longer be an option.

President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, today rejected the government’s Mais Habitaçao (“More Housing”) bill, sending it back to Parliament for amendments on political – rather than technical or constitutional – grounds. The decision means it will take at least another month before the bill can be passed, which, in turn, indicates the country’s golden visa program will also continue in its current form until then.

In his letter to Parliament, the President listed eight specific risks and criticisms of the bill, none of which mentioned the golden visa program.

Another option that had been open to the president was to send the bill to the Constitutional Court for review, a possibility many market observers had indicated was likely because of the provisions around forced renting of empty homes. However, the President indicated he had not found any point in the bill to be unconstitutional.

“When Parliament resumes work in the middle of September, they will vote again on the diploma, reconfirming it – probably with no significant changes – and the President will be obliged to approve it,” writes Lisbon-based immigration lawyer Sara Sousa Rebolo of Prime Legal in an explanatory note to clients today.

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Once Parliament gives the bill its final approval, the new golden visa rules will take effect. The investment options to remain available to applicants are:

  • I) The creation of at least ten jobs;
  • II) Transfer of capital equal or superior to EUR 500,000, applied to research activities by public or private scientific research institutions, integrated into the national scientific and technological system;
  • III) Transfer of capital equal or superior to EUR 250,000, applied to investment or support for artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage through central and peripheral direct administration services, public institutes, entities that integrate the public business sector, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, inter-municipal entities, entities that integrate the local business sector, municipal associative entities and public cultural associations, which pursue attributions in the area of artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
  • IV) Transfer of capital equal or superior to EUR 500,000, intended for the acquisition of shares in specific collective investment organisms, which include certain types of funds, which are incorporated under Portuguese law, whose maturity, at the time of investment, is at least five years and at least 60% of the value of the investments made in commercial companies based in the national territory;
  • V) Transfer of capital in an amount equal or superior to EUR 500,000, intended for the incorporation of a commercial company with a registered office in the national territory, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial company with registered office in the national territory, already incorporated, with the creation of at least five permanent jobs or the maintenance of at least ten jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years.

As before, the minimum investment amounts for options 1, 2, and 3 may be reduced 20% when the investment activity is carried out in low-density territories, defined as areas with fewer than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer or GDP per capita of under 75% of the national average.

Under no circumstances, directly or indirectly, may investments take the form of real estate.

Applicants who wish to qualify for a Portuguese golden visa under the old rules, such as by investing in real estate, will have to file their applications before the new law takes effect, which is likely to happen in September.

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