On February 16th, 2023, the Portuguese government announced the Golden Visa program’s end in an attempt to fix the country’s housing problem. According to Prime Minister António Costa, it is "a measure to combat real estate speculation". The government hopes that more houses can enter the market for more affordable prices due to this decision.
It means that after this decision is approved by Parliament and signed by the president, Portugal will not grant investors any more new Golden Visas. Those who already have Golden Visa will be able to renew it only if they or their children use the property they invested in as their own home. Another option to qualify for the renewal is to rent out the property.
Of the 11,535 Golden Visas that Portugal granted in 2022, 10,593 were ceded through real estate investments. Since the Golden Visa program’s launch in 2012, foreign investors have invested €6,041 million, of which €534.1 million (1,485 Golden Visas) came from the purchases of urban rehabilitation projects.
In his speech, Prime Minister António Costa only addressed real estate market problems. However, it was later clarified that the government is suggesting scrapping the program entirely. Those who were granted Golden Visas for causes not related to real estate investment will be able to renew their residence permit on the appropriate ground outside the Golden Visa program. For example, if you invested in cultural projects, it will be possible to renew your residence permit on the ground of cultural patronage.
Voting in parliament and signing a decree by the president will take from one and a half to two months. The governing party represents the parliamentary majority and can approve changes without further amendments. However, it can be expected that the draft will become more detailed before it will be approved.
The Portuguese Golden Visa program was the fastest route to the citizenship in EU through investment, as its holders could apply for citizenship after five years without actually living in the country. People looking to move to Portugal can now use other types of visas such as D7 and D3, also known as the "passive income" and "high qualified professional" ones. There is also a special visa for Digital Nomads. These visas give their holders the opportunity to apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years as well, however, to do this, you have to live in Portugal for at least six months a year.
If you prefer to move to the EU through the investment route, you may be interested in the Greek Golden Visa program. Greece is about to double the minimum real estate investment requirements in the most popular investment regions from €250,000 to €500,000 in May 2023. Considering the time needed to find a reliable investment property opportunity and prepare the documents for the Golden Visa program, potential investors should make up their minds as soon as possible in order to get the residence permit by the old rules. You can find the information on where to invest and where to look for good investment properties to meet the minimum Golden Visa investment criteria in our detailed guide on the Athens real estate market. Here you can learn more about renting out your property in Greece on Airbnb.
Contact us today, to know more about investing in real estate in Greece or about other options to get the residence permit in Portugal