Since its introduction in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has been seen as good value for investors looking to gain residency in the country—and within Europe as a whole—with more than 20,000 individuals contributing to the scheme worth approximately 4.8 billion euros. However, over the past 8 years, the program has evolved and developed, changing the way in which investors can gain access, and introducing benefits that go beyond citizenship.
In 2020, the landscape has shifted again, with the Portuguese government now removing Golden Visa access through property purchases in high density areas such as Lisbon and Porto. The aim is to bring renewed emphasis on low density areas, promoting urban renovation, cultural development, and job creation across the entire country. However, investors can still access Portuguese citizenship through investment funds.
In 2018, Portugal passed a law stating that anyone wishing to apply for the Golden Visa program could now do so by entering a qualifying venture capital fund (Fundo de Capital de Risco). These FCR funds deliver all the same benefits investors would expect from applying for a Golden Visa through real estate, however, there are certain other benefits exclusive to the investment fund route.
Investment funds are managed by corporate experts in specific fields, offering well-defined mandates that focus on sectors such as energy, technology, and even real estate. Additionally, through years of investment experience, venture capital fund managers are experts at identifying high growth potential.
Here then, we take a brief look at how investment funds can meet the Golden Visa requirements for Portugal and the associated benefits of European citizenship.
What are the Portuguese Golden Visa Requirements for Investment?
Applying for Portuguese citizenship through investment means identifying a fund eligible for the Golden Visa program. Ensuring that your chosen fund meets the necessary technical requirements is crucial, and investors interested in doing this should seek professional guidance to check whether funds are appropriately regulated by the Portuguese CMVM.
Thanks to Portugal’s rapidly improving financial outlook, this particular sector is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. In fact, the very first investors to apply using this system have already had Golden Visa applications approved, so you can expect a fast turn-around at the moment as the market grows.
How Much Does It Cost to Invest in Portugal for Citizenship?
Investing in a fund for Portuguese citizenship is cheaper than applying through real estate. To invest in a fund and be eligible for the Golden Visa program, a minimum of €350,000 is required, significantly less than the €500,000 real estate minimum.
Benefits of the Golden Visa Program in Portugal
The benefits of the Golden Visa program for any type of investor are clear, and both property investors and fund investors can claim the following through the Golden Visa program.
- Portuguese Passport
- Portuguese Citizenship after five years of legal residency
- Visa-free access to the Schengen Zone
- Access to high-quality education and healthcare systems
- 10-year tax relief program
However, there are also benefits related specifically to Portuguese citizenship through investment funds, offering investors security and accountability comparable with applications based on real estate. For anyone considering investing in a fund, then you may expect the following benefits that are assured thanks to Portugal’s comprehensive compliance measures:
- Professionally Managed Funds — All eligible funds are managed by professionals with expert knowledge of each sector. Funds are available across a variety of sectors and industries.
- Smaller Investment — The initial investment as stated in the Portugal Golden Visa requirements is significantly reduced from a minimum of €500,000 to €350,000.
- Tax Efficient Investment Vehicle — Unlike applying for the Golden Visa program through real estate, dividends and capital gains may be tax exempt.
- Minimum Hurdle-Rates — In some cases, fund managers will only be compensated if your gains rise above a minimum hurdle-rate—usually around 5%.
- Support by the Portuguese Government — Certain funds are supported through the IFD (Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento) using subsidies or other financingtools.
- Strictly Regulated Investments — All eligible funds are strictly regulated by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM) for increased transparency.
While investors may be disappointed to hear of the new restrictions on real estate investments in high-profile cities within the country, Portuguese citizenship by investment offers a viable alternative for anyone looking to apply for the Golden Visa program. Additionally, it can bring multiple benefits and a level of security not necessarily found within the previous real estate investment scheme.
For more information on Golden Visa requirements in Portugal, setting up an eligible venture capital fund, or for more detail on the new real estate rules, contact Planeur today. With more than 30 years of experience, we are perfectly placed to deliver the support and guidance you need.