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Navigating the Portugal Golden Visa Program: A Comprehensive Guide



Introduction

The Portugal Golden Visa program, initiated in 2012, has been a beacon for global investors seeking residency and potential citizenship in a country known for its comfortable climate, safety, and stability. As of 2023, the program has undergone significant changes, with the elimination of popular investment pathways and the introduction of new requirements.




Recent Program Changes

On April 15th, 2023, the Portuguese government introduced the "More Housing" bill, aiming to reform various aspects, including the Golden Visa program. After months of debates and speculation, a final decision on July 19th, 2023, initially indicated the closure of the real estate and bank deposit pathways. However, on August 21st, Portugal's President, Marcelo Rebelo, vetoed the changes, sending the bill back to parliament for rewording. As a result, the real estate and bank deposit pathways will remain open, at least until October.




Eliminated Investment Options:

- All real estate investment options, whether direct or indirect, are eliminated.

- The bank/capital transfer option is also no longer available.



Remaining Investment Routes:

1. €500,000 in collective investment structures, not directly or indirectly related to real estate.

2. Investing in existing companies and contributing to job creation with a minimum investment of €500,000.

3. Donations and other liberalities in the artistic and/or scientific domains.



Other Implications:

- Pending SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service) applications will be evaluated based on the laws at the time of submission.

- The minimum stay requirement to maintain residence permits will remain at an average of 7 days per year.

- Renewals of residence permits will follow the same initial rules as before.

- Family reunions will be guaranteed under the same terms as main applications.



Effective Date:

- The law will take effect the day after its official publication in the Assembly Gazette.



Understanding the Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa program attracts investors by providing a clear path to citizenship after five years of residency. While recent changes have impacted some investment options, Portugal's appeal remains strong.



Why Portugal?


1. Path to Citizenship: After holding a residency permit for 5 years, foreign residents can apply for Portuguese citizenship, granting access to live and work throughout the European Union. Portuguese citizens enjoy visa-free access to 186 countries.


2. Low Stay Requirements: For the first year, Golden Visa holders need to spend only 7 days in Portugal to retain their visa status. Subsequently, for the next 4 years, a minimum stay of 14 days per year is required.


3. Quality of Life: Portugal offers a safe and stable environment with a Mediterranean climate, diverse geography, and rich cultural heritage. The laid-back lifestyle and affordable cost of living contribute to a high quality of life.


4. Tax Benefits: The program provides tax benefits, including exemptions for non-habitual residents on income taxes for up to 10 years. Capital gains on cryptocurrency are currently not taxed.




Golden Visa Investment Options (2023 Highlights)


1. Research and Development Activities: €500,000 minimum investment in R&D at public or private research institutions.

2. Investment in Existing Companies: €500,000 investment in existing Portuguese companies with job creation.

3. Artistic Production or Cultural Heritage: €250,000 minimum investment in artistic production or the recovery/maintenance of Portugal’s cultural heritage.

4. Qualifying Investment Funds: €500,000 minimum investment in qualifying investment funds focusing on capitalizing Portuguese companies.



Program Details and Requirements


- Open to Third-Party Nationals: Available to non-EU, non-Swiss, non-EEA citizens without legal issues with Portuguese authorities.

- Short Stay Requirements: 7 days for the first year, 14 days for subsequent years.

- Dependents: Spouses, parents, spouse’s parents, children under 21, and children under 24 who are students can be included as dependents.

- Visa-Free Travel: Golden Visa holders enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen Zone.



Golden Visa Tax Benefits

- High threshold for tax residency (183 days).

- Non-habitual residence status with exemptions on income taxes for up to 10 years.

- Exemption from foreign-earned income taxes for non-habitual residents.



Investment Pathways


1. Business Investments

- Set up companies in Portugal with no minimum requirement but must create at least 10 jobs.

- Invest €500,000 in existing Portuguese companies, contributing to job creation.


2. Capital Investments

- Invest €500,000 in Portuguese private equity firms or venture capital.


3. Donations

- Make a €250,000 donation to preserving cultural heritage or a €500,000 donation to a Portuguese research institute.



Maintaining Golden Visa Status

- Hold investments for the 5-year residency duration.

- Jobs created through investments must be maintained for 3 years.

- Social Security contributions required throughout the investment period.



Dependents

The program allows spouses, children under 18, unmarried children under 26, and parents over 65 to be included as dependents.



Required Documents

Documents include a valid passport, background check, health insurance, legal documents, bank statements, proof of funds transfer, and declaration documents. Each investment pathway may have specific document requirements.



Details of the Portugal Golden Visa Closure

- No retroactivity; investments made post-February 16, 2023, are secure.

- No 183-day residency requirement; a 7-day stay requirement remains.

- Introduction of cultural investment visas for artistic and cultural heritage preservation.

- Investors have a short window until the law officially goes into effect, approximately 45 days.



Conclusion

The Portugal Golden Visa program, despite recent changes, remains a compelling option for global investors. With its diverse investment pathways, tax benefits, and a clear path to citizenship, Portugal continues to offer an attractive blend of lifestyle and opportunity. Investors considering the program should act swiftly to leverage the remaining open pathways before the changes take effect. CREIMERMAN Immigration | Investments  offers support throughout the Golden Visa application process, ensuring a seamless and successful journey for prospective investors.


Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund: A Comprehensive Overview



Introduction to Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund

The Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund is a financial instrument introduced in 2017, allowing investors to channel funds into various asset classes such as stocks, bonds, or real estate projects. This investment pathway provides an avenue for individuals seeking Portuguese residency through the Golden Visa program.



Investment Fund Requirements

According to Portuguese Law no. 102/2017, the acquisition of units in investment funds or venture capital funds requires a capital transfer of €500,000 or more. The funds must comply with Portuguese legislation, have a maturity of at least five years, and invest a minimum of 60% in commercial companies with their main offices located within Portugal. As of October 2023, these funds must not have a direct or indirect relationship to the real estate market.



Benefits of the Portuguese Investment Fund Golden Visa


1. Management Delegation:

- Hassle-free investment with fund managers handling day-to-day management.

- Contrasts with the responsibilities of being a real estate landlord.


2. Potential Earnings:

- Higher potential earnings compared to other Golden Visa investment options.

- Depends on the fund's focus, annual yields, and capital appreciation.


3. Diversification:

- Portuguese legislation mandates diversification in funds, reducing risk for investors.

- Quotas set for the percentage of assets or investments in specific categories.


4. Tax-Efficiency:

- Potential tax efficiencies based on the fund and investor's tax structure.

- Exemption of withholding tax on fund-generated income for non-residents in Portugal.


5. Secure Investment:

- Regulation by various authorities, including CMVM, the Bank of Portugal, and the Portuguese Tax Authorities.

- Compliance with local legislation and approved investment plans.


6. Low Fees and Taxes:

- Avoidance of hefty fees and taxes associated with real estate acquisition.

- No IMI transfer tax, stamp duty, or annual municipal taxes.


7. Reasonable Investment:

- Lower investment amount of €500,000 compared to other Golden Visa routes like capital transfer (€1.5 million).



Cost and Associated Fees

The Portugal Golden Visa program requires a minimum investment of €500,000 through designated investment funds. The lock-up period for this Golden Visa type is six years, and the capital must be invested in Portuguese companies to qualify.



Fund Selection Criteria

When choosing an investment fund for the Golden Visa program, investors should consider:

- Portfolio composition.

- Evaluation of the fund's management company, team, and experience.

- Subscription/setup fees, which may vary from 1% to 5%, or a fixed amount.


Not all funds qualify for the Golden Visa due to real estate involvement. Only Growth/Buy-out funds and Venture Capitals are accepted.



Investment Funds Eligibility

Under the Portugal Golden Visa program, non-EU-EEA and non-Swiss citizens with a clean criminal record are eligible. Additional prerequisites may include proving experience in financial instruments, demonstrating access to ample funds, and providing the source of funds.



American Citizens Investing in Portuguese Funds

American citizens are eligible to invest in Portuguese investment funds for the Golden Visa. However, compliance with strict U.S. regulations, such as FATCA rules, may affect partnerships with some banks and funds.



Types of Investment Funds

Various investment funds are available for the Portugal Golden Visa program, including:


- VIDA Fund: Focus on project pipeline and a target IRR of 15%.

- Bluetech Fund: Innovation and technology fund targeting technological scale-ups.

- Greytech Co-Investment Fund: Focus on growth and buyout opportunities in mid-market companies.

- Pela Terra Farmland: Capital preservation investment with a focus on farmland.

- Saratoga Fund: Focus on unlisted SMEs/mid-caps centered on production.

- Finance Fund: Investment in renewable energy infrastructures.

- Football Strategies Fund: Investment in European football leagues.

- Venture Capital Fund: Invests in companies exclusively owning real estate projects.



Additional Funds and Their Characteristics


1. IMPACTO Fund: Transparent private equity fund with a target return of 3-5% net of expenses.

2. Container Fund: Dedicated to investing in high-value businesses across various sectors.

3. Active Cap CP: Invests in growth companies in Portugal with a target return of 15%.

4. Self Storage Fund: Invests in the acquisition of self-storage facilities.

5. Transcontinental Growth Venture: Focus on various investment opportunities.

6. Aquila Fund: An umbrella fund with sub-funds in real estate, collectible cars, and private equity.



Conclusion

The Portugal Golden Visa Investment Fund offers a diverse range of opportunities for investors seeking residency in Portugal. With benefits such as potential earnings, tax-efficiency, and low fees, this investment pathway provides an attractive alternative to traditional real estate-focused options. Prospective investors should carefully assess fund options, eligibility criteria, and compliance with regulations before making their investment decisions.





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