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Changes to the Golden Visa procedure

On 11 September 2018 was published in the Official Gazette of the Government of Portugal, Regulatory Decree no. 9/2018, of 11 September, which proceeds to the fourth amendment to Regulatory Decree No. 84/2007, of 5November, that regulates Law no. 23/2007, of July 4, on the legal regime of entry, stay, departure and deportation of foreigners from Portuguese territory.

The main changes reflect an effort to harmonize this regulation in the light of the new developments concerning eligible investments for purposes of obtaining a residence permit resulting from investment activity (the so-called “golden visa”) brought by Law no. 23/2007, of 4 July. In addition, there is an intention of simplifying bureaucracy which is revealed in a lightening as regards the documentation required for purposes of proving the completion of the investment.

In this context, we highlight the following: 

(i)   Creation of at least 10 jobs:

Within the scope of this investment activity, we highlight the elimination of the need for the applicant to submit the updated social security certificate, as it is now sufficient to submit the individual employment contracts executed with the workers without the need to attach the social security certificate evidencing this.

Nonetheless, SEF is always entitled to request an opinion from the social security authorities on compliance with the legal requirements due under the investment.

(ii)  Purchase of real estate properties in an amount equal to or above 500 thousand euros:

In this context, the previous wording of the regulation required the submission of evidence of completion of the investment in an amount equal to or greater than € 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand Euros). It turns out that this wording proved to be unfortunate in practice because this amount can be reduced by 20% in case of investment in low density territories.

The lawmaker has detected this inconsistency and has, therefore, amended the wording of the list of documents by requiring that both the bank statement and the promissory agreement of purchase and sale make reference to an amount “equal to or greater than the amount legally required” for the investment, instead of the previous wording that states the € 500,000.00 minimum amount. 

(iii) Purchase of real estate properties for renovation in a global amount equal to or above 350 thousand euros:

According to the previous wording of the regulation, the applicant was required to submit a discharge receipt in respect of the price of the works contract or, if this was not possible for reasons not attributable to the applicant, the latter could deposit the price of the works contract in a bank account held by the applicant at a credit institution authorized or registered in the Portuguese territory with the Bank of Portugal, free of liens or charges, and submit a statement from said credit institution confirming the actual transfer of an amount equal to or greater than the price of the underlying works contract.

According to the new wording of the regulation, the applicant will be able to resort to the bank deposit in any circumstance, and this is not only an alternative solution in the event obtaining the discharge receipt turns out impossible.

(iv) Purchase of participation units of investment funds in an aggregate amount equal to or greater than 350 thousand euros:

The regulation now clarifies, beyond any doubt, that it only the purchase of participation units of investment funds that allow the allocation of at least 60% of the value of its investments in Portuguese companies (i.e. with registered offices in Portugal) qualify for golden visa purposes.

Thus, in this context, the applicant will be required to submit a “statement issued by the management entity of the relevant investment fund confirming to the viability of the capitalization plan, the maturity of at least 5 years and the allocation of at least 60% of the investments in companies based in national territory”.

Amendments to the regulation shall enter into force as of 1 October 2018.