PORTUGAL – Golden Visa Process to be Resumed
Portugal’s government on 16 July approved new administrative rules and procedures that will allow authorities to resume the granting of Golden Visas to investors.
The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) suspended issuance of Golden Visas (investor permits) from 1 July 2015.
The government has stated that once the country’s president has rubber-stamped the new procedures - expected in coming days - the handling of golden visa applications will return to normal.
Why was the Golden Visa Suspended?
The Portuguese authorities' decision was based on a legal void created by legislation, introduced 1 July, which did not address certain aspects that were set out in the old law. The new law was introduced following a corruption investigation at the immigration department in November 2014, and allows for several additional investment activities which may lead to a Golden Visa.
What is the Golden Visa?
Portugal’s Golden Visa programme, launched in 2012, offers investors permanent residence in return for certain investment activitiies. Holders of the Golden Visa may apply for citizenship after a period of six years provided they have been in Portugal for at least seven days a year while holding the visa.
The Golden Visa itself allows visa free travel throughout the Schengen area. For wealthy non-EU nationals wishing to acquire EU citizenship, the Golden Visa is an attractive option due to the relatively low investment bar and the relatively light requirement to actually be physically present in Portugal prior to the citizenship application.
- Plan for significant delays in the processing of Golden Visa applications until the new regulations are implemented and any backlog of applications is cleared.