During this period of pandemic, the interest of foreign citizens in the Portuguese Golden Visa Program did not fade. On the contrary, the month of May was even the month with the highest number of applications for Golden Visa since its creation in 2012.
One of the factors that may be on the basis of this record is the fact that most investors increasingly understand the extreme importance of having a second passport in the globalized world in which we live.
Having the possibility to easily travel to another country with your family and stay there legally can be a great advantage in a context of spreading of a disease.
The urgency of having a second passport at a time when most of the investments that can be used to obtain a Golden Visa require some physical/presential intervention by the investor has increased their interest in alternatives in which their intervention is not necessary.
Within this panorama, the interest in transferring capital in the amount of EUR 350 thousand or more for the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital has raised.
In our opinion, this growing interest of investors is due to five reasons:
1) Investors are familiar with this form of investment. They feel more secure in acquiring shares in investment funds because the rules for this type of investment are internationally similar and there are no substantial discrepancies;
2) They know that the investment funds they are dealing with are regulated by the Securities Commission (CMVM) and that they have to go through an extensive bureaucratic process until they are fully constituted. Regulatory scrutiny makes them feel secure about the seriousness of the players;
3) Unlike the other investment options available of equal value (350 thousand euros), this option does not require prior knowledge of the market or certain sectors of activity in Portugal. Both the acquisition and execution of real estate rehabilitation works with a value of 350 thousand euros or more; the transfer of 50 thousand euros, for the incorporation of a commercial company with head office in Portugal, combined with the creation of five permanent jobs, or for the reinforcement of the share capital of a commercial company with head office in Portugal, already incorporated, with the creation or maintenance of jobs, with a minimum of five permanent jobs, and for a minimum period of three years, are types of investment that require the intervention of several intervening parties and knowledge about the real estate and construction sector in the first case and about the corporate and labour sector in the second. For this reason, they seem, from the outset, more complex for the investor who cannot be present in Portugal to monitor the development of his investment;
4) The speed of investment is often pointed out by investors as one of the main advantages. Although the return on investment (ROI) may not be as attractive as in the case of real estate investment, the truth is that the process for subscribing to an Investment Fund may take less than a week to be completed, thus allowing the investor to start the process of acquiring the Golden Visa very quickly; and
5) It entails the payment of less tax than other investment options.
On this last point, it is important to understand that the process of obtaining Golden Visa can only start when the investment is completed.
The Residency Program through the Portuguese investment foresees a total investment period of five years, so the subscription in the fund should continue until the end of that period.
In addition to maintaining the investment for five years, the minimum periods of stay in Portugal will have to be respected. The Applicant is required to prove compliance with the minimum period of stay in Portugal for a total of thirty-five days over the five years of investment.
The complete process of the Golden Visa until obtaining the passport or permanent residence permit for an investor and his/her family, has a set of 11 steps, more specifically:
1) Application of the Main Applicant (Investor), through Immigration and Border Services (SEF) and payment of the analysis fee;
2) Application for Family Members, through SEF and payment of the analysis fee;
3) Pre-Approval of the Main Applicant’s Application, after the analysis by SEF;
4) Pre-Approval of Family Member Applications, after analysis by SEF;
5) Schedule the collection of biometric data – according to the availability of applicants and SEF;
6) Submit valid original documents and collect biometric data upon appointment at SEF;
7) Final approval, after examination by SEF and payment of the Approval Fee;
8) Issuance of the first residence card, valid for one year;
9) First Application for Renewal (biometric data collection and presentation of the necessary documents) and payment of the examination fee (to be presented between 90 and 30 days before the expiry date of the card);
10) Second Renewal Application (biometric data collection and presentation of the necessary documents) and payment of the analysis fee, (to be presented between 90 and 30 days before the expiry date of the card);
11) Permanent residence and Portuguese citizenship application. After holding a temporary residence permit for 5 (five) years (Golden Visa), the Applicant may apply for Permanent Residence Permit or Portuguese Citizenship and thus have access to the Portuguese passport, which is considered to be one of the strongest in the world..
Golden Visa allows the investor to legally enter Portugal and travel freely through other countries in Europe and the Schengen Area. The Golden Visa Program not only allows the investor to obtain all these advantages, but also for spouse, children, parents and in-laws.