The Portuguese Golden Visa Programme was created in 2012 to attract foreign investment into the country and has been one of Europe’s and world’s most popular residency-by-investment schemes, granting investors and their family members the right to live, work, and study in the Portugal and visa-free travel within the Schengen Area for a period of 5 years by undertaking one of the qualifying investments.

Thus, this Programme offers several attractive investment routes suiting various investment goals — such as purchasing real estate, investing in venture capital, research, or an existing business.

Since the introduction of the Golden Visa Programme in Portugal, the most popular option scheme is the purchase of residential properties being the majority of the investment completed in the main and key areas of the Portuguese territory, like the capital city of Lisbon, Porto, and some overspilled investments in the Algarve region.

As such, from January 1st 2022, the Portuguese Government implemented slight changes to the Programme, with the most notable changes being in the real estate investment for the purpose of encouraging the investors to look at all areas of the country rather than just the major cities.

However, despite these changes, looking at the SEF ARI (Residence Permit for Investment Activity) report, it is possible to observe that the investors’ confidence or willingness to continue investing in Golden Visa has not been affected. On the contrary, this year has shown an upward trend where, in light of the Portuguese real estate market and comparing the months of January to August in 2022 with the same period in 2021, the total investment in the Golden Visa Programme is about € 397.730 million, which is higher than the € 295.181 million invested during the same period last year.

As a matter of fact, in both time intervals compared, we see that the preferred investment target to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa remains the same: Real Estate.

Since its launch, the Portuguese Golden Visa has been a true success with 9,389 investors and 16050 family members benefiting from the Programme. Portugal’s Golden Visa statistics show that as of 2018, Portugal holds the 3rd position in the world in terms of top residency-by-investment programmes — only after Spain and Quebec.

The reasons for the Programme’s success are multiple. From the fact that Portugal ranks first as the best country in Europe for expatriates due to its great quality of life, excellent climate and freedom, among others.

In fact, Portugal’s beauty, authenticity and great diversity are reasons enough to succumb to its charms. It is truly extraordinary how such a small country holds such a varied landscape, history culture, tradition, architecture and gastronomy. Not to mention, of course, the famous hospitality of its people.

Having that said, we present 8 reasons why Portugal should be your first choice for your immigration process since, if living in Portugal for more than 6 months per year is not an option, the Golden Visa is probably still your best bet:

  1. High-end real estate at appealing prices – Renowned for its strength and dynamism, the Portuguese real estate market rivals any of its European counterparts. Its prices, including in Lisbon, remain highly competitive when compared to other countries in Europe, and when it comes to the housing quality, we are in a league of our own. When investing, there are so many options and your choice depends only on your lifestyle and your reasons for buying. Charming, typically-Portuguese architecture in historic districts, or contemporary construction in new areas of the cities, are but a few of the many opportunities to be discovered;
  2. Attractive return on investment – Portugal is one of the most popular destinations in global tourism and, while its intrinsic qualities alone justify its popularity, it is also true that its international profile is due to the innumerable, well-deserved distinctions that the country has received, including its nominations as “World’s Leading Destination” by the World Travel Awards, since 2017. However, Portugal is more than just a tourist attraction. It is, more than ever, highly sought-after by students, expatriates, remote workers and the retired, not to mention prestigious international events, making this country the perfect place to invest in property and tourism, with high potential for a return on investment;
  3. Citizenship or permanent residence by investment – The Golden Visa Programme in Portugal is one of the most attractive and successful in Europe, and 90% of visas are obtained through the purchase of a home, according to the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). The Golden Visa also allows non-European citizens and family members the right to obtain authorizations for permanent residence or citizenship, granting free movement within the 26 countries in the Schengen Area;
  4. Quality of life at reasonable prices – Portugal has one of the best price-quality relationship in Europe, including in its capital, Lisbon. It’s one of those places where we feel right at home even as foreigners, and where a quiet life lack none of the increasingly cosmopolitan style of its cities, with unparalleled art, culture, shows and open-air activities in breath-taking surroundings. This feeling is showcased in the Expat Insider Survey 2022, which ranks Portugal as the 4th best country in the world in quality of life;
  5. Safety & Security – Considering the current times that we are living in, with the war between Russia and Ukraine, safety has become more and more important for citizens, and in that sense, in the country ranked as the 6th safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index 2022, and the 5th country in the European Union, you have the safety and privilege of being able to enjoy a peaceful and relaxed way of life. And if you are afraid of living in a foreign country, the good news is that this country is the highest-ranking country when it comes to friendly and kind people;
  6. Free healthcare system – In the past few years, Portugal has witnessed a significant growth in the creation of hospitals and private clinics of an international standard. In addition, the country has a National Health Service that is accessible to all citizens. It is thanks to this that Portugal is ranked the 27th on the 2022 list of the best health systems in the world by the World Health Organization;
  7. Excellent infrastructure – If you are one of those people who likes to explore a country, from top to bottom, then Portugal is the place for you. You can do so quickly and comfortably thanks to the excellent infrastructure of road and rail networks. The country has four airports and a vast public transport system in the main cities;
  8. 276 days of sun per year – If you love the sunshine, Portugal is the place for you. Lisbon is actually one of the sunniest places in Southern Europe, with almost 3,000 hours and 276 days of sun per year. Further south, the Algarve also enjoys plenty of time in the sunshine, meaning a lot of time to hit all those great beaches. Paired up with the refreshing sea breeze, Portugal’s bright climate makes it perfect for expats looking for some all-important vitamin D. This is especially true if you plan on setting up home near one of those Southern beaches. In fact, Lisbon has the warmest winter nights of any major European city – something to note if you like your midnight wanders.

For all the reasons mentioned above, despite the changes implemented by the Portuguese Government, the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme continues to be a strong bet by foreigners, as this type of visa allows them to live, work and study in the country for periods of 2 years; have free circulation in the Schengen Area, constituted by 26 European countries; prove their stay in Portugal for only 14 days, consecutive or not, for each period of two years; have no direct tax implications/obligations for income generated outside Portugal; and have eligibility for permanent residence or citizenship after 5 years of legal residence.

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