The 2020 State Budget granted the Government legislative authorization to change the scope of the residence permit regime for investment activity, aimed at nationals of countries outside the European Union and better known as the Golden Visa Portugal program.

Under the terms of the aforementioned diploma, the scope of the authorization is to favor the promotion of investment in low-density regions, as well as investment in urban requalification, cultural heritage, activities of high environmental or social value, productive investment and the creation of jobs.

Thus, the Government has the prerogative to, in addition to restricting real estate investments to certain locations, more specifically to areas of low population density, increase the minimum value of investments and the number of jobs to be created to make the concession feasible, within the modality of business investment.

The possible amendments to the Golden Visa program will not affect renewals of the residence permit granted under the current regime or the respective grants or renewals of residence for family reunification.

However, the legislative authorization in question was attributed as an expiration date, the end of 2020. Thus, the Portuguese Government, which has already signaled its intention to use it, will have until December 31 to determine whether and how the amendments to the Golden Visa program will be implemented.

In this context, the movement of the European Commission to extinguish the Golden Visa programs in the countries of the bloc must also be considered. The justification would be the supposed “commercialization” access to the right to European nationality through residence permits for investment activity.

In Portuguese territory, however, the time requirement for obtaining nationality is the same for all residence permits, with no positive discrimination as to those linked to investment activity.

In addition, the European Commission alleges concerns about the use of Golden Visa for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing. However, until now, there seems to be no record of major situations in this regard.

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