Portugal Golden Visa Program, Its Trend and Future

Updated: July 18, 2019

Portugal Golden Visa Program is one of the most successful programs out there. As of April 2020, the program approved close to 8,500 applications. This means a total investment of 5.1 billion Euros in Portugal since 2012.

Numbers and Statistics about the Period

As of April 2020, the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service) has issued 8,413 ARIs (golden visas) to main applicants and 14,429 golden visas to their dependents.

Chinese nationals remain the largest applicant constituency with 4,503 applicants. Their share of overall monthly applications had declined steadily in recent years – in April 2015 they made up 78% of the total; in April 2016, 67%; in April 2017, 42%; in April 2018, 31% of the total – but now appears to have stabilized.

At 886 applicants, Brazilians were the second most common applicants, followed by Turks, South Africans, and Russians. Overall – in cumulative terms – Brazilians now account for roughly 10% of all active golden visas, while the remaining top five countries constitute between 3.5% and 4.5% of the total.

Turkish fondness for Portuguese residence permits, on the contrary, is on the upswing. Only entering into the top five nationalities in 2018, Turks have already passed South Africa and Russia to become the third biggest investor constituency.

Future of the Program

There are some ambiguous official statements about the future of the Golden Visa Program in Portugal. Therefore speculation as to the program’s future has arisen to the surface. The program is, as can be seen in several global indices regarding the topic, successful. Yet, according to some authorities, there may be more profitable methods for the Portuguese government to offer citizenship or residency. Some suggest that golden visas as a whole may be on their way out in favour of start-up/entrepreneur programs, or even angel investment structures. On the other hand, Portugal’s socialist government indicate the lucrative program is here to stay.

It is only natural that the worldwide spread of Coronavirus COVID19 has temporarily slowed down the Portugal Golden Visa program. April 2020 figures from SEF show 53 Golden Visa applications got approved in the month; 15 of these were from Chinese applicants, followed by Brazilian, Iraqi, Russian, and Dominican applicants.

In conclusion, we expect the program to experience a surge in the coming months, as the world economy and international travel are normalized. 91% of the total investment made through the program came from real estate acquisitions, a trend we expect will continue well into 2021 and onwards.

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