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Portugal's Visa Changes
One door closes and another opens…
Over the last two weeks, several announcements have been made relative to Portugal’s Visa Options. It appears a new door is opening, and another may close.
In January 2022, Portugal instituted changes to its Golden Visa program. In summary, it increased the amount required for non-real estate investments and curtailed real estate investment in major cities and along much of the coastline. It was not that the program was not successful. In fact to date, €6.5 billion has been invested in Golden Visas and Portugal’s program is considered by many the most attractive one available in Europe.
Instead, the Portuguese government was responding to two challenges. First, 90% of the Golden Visas issued came from real estate investments driving up housing costs for Portuguese citizens/residents. Second, the EU has expressed concerns for many years related to all the countries that have offered Golden Visas… matters related to transparency and corruption.
Meanwhile, SEF1 (the agency responsible for processing visas in Portugal) used the changes announced in January as a reason to withhold processing Golden Visas for several months. In fact, it appeared most Golden Visa applications were in limbo until June. However, despite these delays, 120 Golden Visas were authorized in September 2022. And for the first time, Americans surpassed the Chinese for the number of Golden Visas issued so far this year, spending €277.5 million for 483 golden visas.
But based upon comments made by Prime Minister António Costa in early November another change is in the offing. At the Web Summit, Europe’s premier tech event held each year in Lisbon, the Prime Minister said:
“There are programmes that we are currently re-evaluating and one of them is that of Golden Visas, which probably, has already fulfilled the function it had to fulfil and that at this moment is no longer justifiable to maintain.” — PM António Costa
Digital Nomad Visa
At the same time, Portugal has introduced a new visa. The new visa officially called the “residence visa for the exercise of professional activity provided remotely outside the national territory” allows:
Who are self-employed or employed by a company outside of Portugal;
And who earns four times the Portuguese minimum wage (approximately €2800/month)
to reside in Portugal for one year. (One can also apply for a five-year residency permit which is eligible for renewal.) The application seems fairly simple, in fact, one company advertises that they can help you apply in only five minutes.
“Portugal is a country for immigration. Every year, we receive thousands of immigrants, seeking opportunities in our country. A country that wishes to welcome immigrants as it wishes its emigrants to be welcomed, too” – The Minister in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister and for Parliamentary Affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes
So if you are considering moving to Portugal, consider all the options:
The D7 Visa is for those who are retired or have a passive income of about €705/month;
The Digital Nomad Visa; or
The Golden Visa…while it lasts.
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Editor’s Note: 20 January 2023 update on the status of Digital Nomad Visa approvals.
Coincidentally, various “reorganization” schemes have been announced related to this large, sprawling agency.