The Surge of Hongkongers for Portugal Golden Visa Program

Updated: 29 December 2021

Hong Kong is going through massive protests and the future of that little country seems a bit unsure at the moment. This led to many Hong Kong citizens to seek for a new home aboard which ended up in a lot of them looking for a Portugal Golden Visa.

What attracts the Hong Kong citizens to Portugal?

Portugal had one of the best Golden Visa scheme for years, but it is not necessarily the only country with one. What truly captivates many Hong Kong citizens is that fact that the country is simply a nice and cheap place to live in. It is rich in history and culture and offers all the modern commodities the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to. Perhaps more importantly, Portugal is considered as one of the safest countries on Earth which makes it very desirable for many from Hong Kong as they are struggling with some security issue at the moment.

How impressive is this new flock to the Portugal is?

Consulting agencies from all over the world report getting more and more requests from investors with a Hong Kong background. So far the actual number of applicants that are coming from Hong Kong after the latest increase in tension are unclear. What is clear however is the fact that people from Hong Kong searched for Portugal’s Golden Visa procedure with a whopping 260% increase in 2019’s June. The actual consultations that took place in July was the double of the figure from June. Citizens of Hong Kong are certainly keeping the consulting agencies that deal in Portugal Golden Visa quite busy these days.

Chinese interest in Portugal’s Golden Visa is not something new

It should be pointed out that Chinese interest in Portugal’s Golden Visa program is not something new. The Chinese, albeit more from the mainland, constituted the majority of foreign investors in Portugal for a long time. They would be followed by Brazil and Turkey. Out of the 7291 Golden Visas issued so far by the Portuguese since the beginning of their program a massive 4331belongs to the Chinese. They have contributed mostly to the infrastructure and telecommunications within Portugal besides the usual real estate. This number is now bound to increase with the new flock of Chinese in Hong Kong who are simply looking for a safer place to live in without sacrificing their modern needs.

What is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program?

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program is a residence by investment program which benefits many investors around the world like the Hong Kong investors nowadays. People who can invest a substantial amount to the several options provided by the Portuguese government can obtain residency in the EU country through this program.

Why is this Program Attractive for Hong Kongers?

Already a decorated program, Portugal Golden Visa is attractive for Hong Kongers recently, because of the unrest in their home country. Future of the Eastern Asian country seems a bit gloomy because of the political unstableness in the recent weeks or months. It no doubt affects the economic stance of the individuals. Naturally, people who work with large volumes of currencies internationally, tend to seek alternative solutions. This is where Portugal Golden Visa rushes to help to Hong Kong investors.”

How Much Does It Cost to Invest in Portugal for Citizenship?

The answer to this question depends largely on the method of investment chosen by the applicant (one key note, however, is that, the program does not directly grant citizenship. It will be explained later in this article). There are numerous investment options offered by the Portugal Golden Visa Program. Individuals who aim to obtain Portugal Golden Visa can transfer a substantial amount to Portugal through a bank deposit or company share purchases. The minimum investment requirement for this option is €1.5 million.

The most popular investment option of the program is the real estate investment option which has a minimum investment requirement of €500,000. If the investment made is in a low density area, minimum requirement gets reduced to €400,000. Similarly, if the investment made is in an area designated for rehabilitation and restoration, minimum requirement decreases to €350,000. If the building is also in a low density area, minimum requirement gets further reduced to €280,000.

The investors from Hong Kong can also choose to invest in scientific researches based in Portugal or make a cultural contribution to the accredited institutions. The minimum investment requirements for these options are respectively €500,000 and €250,000. Low density area discount of 20 per cent also applies to these options, too. In that case, the minimum investment requirements for these options are respectively €280,000 and €200,000. Last option Hong Kongers can take advantage of is the Portuguese funds in small or medium sized businesses. Investors who choose this option have  to make an investment minimum of €500,000.

How Can Hong Kongers Get Portuguese Citizenship?

As said in the previous heading, Portugal Golden Visa Program does not grant citizenship directly. First, the successful applicants get a residence permit. Later, there is a three step renewal process at the end of which the applicants can apply for permanent residency or citizenship. The first step of the renewal process is after the first year in which the applicant should spend seven days in Portugal. The application for renewal must be made at least one month prior to the residency card’s expiry date. In this period, there are several documents that have to be submitted again because of security concerns. Photographs have to be renewed, criminal records have to be updated and renewal fees have to be paid. The renewed residence card is valid for another two years.

During this period, residence requirement of the applicants also doubles, meaning that the applicants should stay in the country for at least 14 days per year. These can be separated days throughout the year. The renewal process after the third year is entirely the same with the first renewal process. In order to be able to apply for citizenship at the end of these processes, these renewals are crucial. After the second renewal, another residence card is given to the applicant which is, again, valid for 2 years. In this period, the residents should reside in the country for at least 2 weeks per year. So the minimum residence requirement for the last two renewals is the same.

These 14 days do not have to be back to back. After these 2 renewal processes, successful residents can apply for permanent residency, and ultimately they can apply for naturalization which grants Portuguese citizenship, visa-free travel perks, and EU membership which might be especially interesting and attractive for Hong Kong based investors and their business opportunities.

Is it Easy to Get Residency in Portugal?

This is a relative question depending on many factors. For instance, if the applicant had completed their substantial investment, submitted all of the documents in the right format, had a clean criminal record and transparent information about their financial situation, there is no reason that things will go wrong. However, Portugal Golden Visa Program owes its success partially to its quality due diligence system. In the current political climate of their home country, Hong Kongers should be extra careful in keeping their records clean and transparent. Therefore, the applicants should do their best to comply with the requirements of the program, and the rest is usually a smooth process.

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