Paul Girodo, Founder of Empowered Startups and Laura Blumes, Managing Director – Europe | www.empoweredstartups.com
Recent developments have shifted the RCBI landscape — the new program co-created with Portuguese authorities for HNWIs is positioned to be a game-changer.
The Portugal Angel Visa is tailor-made for HNWIs who want a smooth path into the EU. It allows investor-entrepreneurs to provide strategic direction to their own innovative startup while it is in concierge-style incubation within a business incubator partnered with a public body, with no minimum time in-country.
The Portugal Angel Visa differs from existing programs in several key ways:
#1: Clear path to Citizenship or Permanent Residency
- No minimum number of days in-country
- Fast-processing: 4-6 weeks until approval; priority oversight with local SEF Director
- Accompaniment through permit renewals prior to Permanent Residency/Citizenship
#2: More flexible than the Start Up Visa Program
- No quotas
- No quarterly government reports
- No business performance requirements
#3: More cost effective than the Golden Visa Program
- 25% of the total cost of Golden Visa
- No ongoing operational or maintenance fees
- Fully refundable if residency visa refused
#4: Smooth transition to a professional base of operations in Portugal
- 3-year business incubation, from business concept creation to product/market fit
- R&D project with a public research facility – creates IP and identifies potential local staff
- Professional integration through a business incubator
- Concierge-style management of start-up operations and administration
Political developments in the EU have accelerated uptake of the Portugal Angel Visa program. The recent call to curtail travel of residents of Saint Kitts & Nevis to the Schengen area signals the high likelihood that RCBI programs will remain politically volatile. The May 16th consultations with the EU’s RCBI stakeholders further signaled the coming shifts towards more stringent regulations, which may take effect for renewals of existing Golden Visa permits.
Sharp mobility firms have recognized the problem that the Portugal Angel Visa solves; HNWIS need a cost-effective and politically-shrewd path to the EU.
#5: The Portugal Angel Visa allows HNWIs to balance the competing demands of running their professional lives with seeding an option on a future in the EU.
Mobility firms based in the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Turkey, and China, amongst others, have been quick to move in capturing the potential of this remarkable opportunity to be first to market. They see that this new product is a game-changer; it expands their portfolio of offerings, without cannibalizing their existing sales.
The most commonly asked question amongst firms is – what steps do my clients need to take to qualify for the Portugal Angel Visa?
The Portugal Angel Visa: 5 clear steps for a smooth journey to PR or citizenship
Step 1: Plan Strategy
- Mobility counsel informs HNWI of Portugal Angel Visa and introduces HNWI to Empowered Startups
- HNWI meets Empowered Startups executives via videoconference to agree on an overall direction of the new venture
- HNWI engages Empowered Startups to begin work on their behalf
Step 2: Receive Residency Visa
Empowered Startups prepares key visa documents:
- Strategic plan for the HNWI’s venture
- Empowered Startups letter of support
- Letter of intent to contract with public R&D body
* All fees refunded if Residency Visa refused *
Step 3: Travel to Portugal
- HNWI travels to Portugal for immigration appointment
- HNWI meets Empowered Startups to finalize incubation strategic plan, and meet R&D partners
- 3-year Empowered Startups concierge incubation program begins
Step 4: Monitor Progress
- HNWI provides strategic direction, based on progress reports from Empowered Startups
- HNWI receives documents to support permit renewals from Empowered Startups
Step 5: Enjoy Options
- After final renewal required before PR/citizenship, HNWI chooses the future of their company emerging from incubation
- 24 months after second renewal, HNWI decides whether to apply for PR or citizenship
The Portugal Angel Visa is a win for all involved. It provides immediate and sustainable benefits to Portugal, it provides HNWIs with the freedom to travel, and its associated compensation plan for mobility firms is competitive.
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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.