The New Portuguese Golden Visas

Author:Mr Rogério Fernandes Ferreira, Mónica Respício Gonçalves and Catarina Caldas
Profession:RFF & Associados

I. Introduction Urged by the necessity of attracting foreign investment to the country, the Portuguese Government has recently created a new regime for the granting of so-called "golden visas" to citizens of third countries, willing to invest in Portugal. Such regime (known in Portuguese as "ARI - Autorização de Residência para Actividade de Investimento") is foreseen in Law n.º 23/2007, of July 4, as amended by Law n.º 29/2012, of August 9, as well as in Order n.º 1820-A/2012, of September 4, foreseeing the applicable procedures and practical requirements which have been recently simplified by Order n.º 1661-A/2013, of January 28. This legal framework allows citizens of third countries (who are not members of the European Union or members of the Convention who implemented the Schengen Agreement) to obtain a Portuguese residence permit, with the purpose to allow the development of an investment activity in Portugal. This includes citizens of third countries who hold share capital of a company with head-office in Portugal, or in another Member-State of the European Union and with a permanent establishment in Portuguese territory. II. Concept of investment activity For the purposes of granting the "golden visas", an investment activity must be performed, directly by the individual or through a company, for a minimum period of five years. The investment activity can correspond to one of the following: Capital transfer in an amount equal to, or higher than € 1.000.000,00, including investments in the share capital of companies; Creation of at least 10 jobs, which is deemed fulfilled when there is proof of the register of all workers in the Portuguese Social Security system; or Purchase of real estate property with a minimum value of € 500.000,00, which includes the following situations: (i) Purchases in co-ownership schemes, provided that each co-owner has a minimum value of € 500.000,00, or the signing of promissory-contracts where a non-refundable deposit has been paid for € 500.000,00 or more, provided the final deeds are exhibited before renewing the residence permit; (ii) Properties which have encumbrances of more than € 500.000,00; (ii) Properties which are leased for commercial, farming or touristic purposes. III. Minimum presence in Portuguese territory Apart from the five years minimum investment period, to be counted as of the date of the granting of the residence permit, and for the...

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