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Portugal: Investment Visa Rules Expanded

(Sept. 16, 2015) Portugal recently altered the requirements for the issuance of permanent visas, to attract more foreigners to invest in the country. The change expanded the possibilities for obtaining a “gold visa” that enables foreigners to permanently live in Portugal and freely travel throughout the European Union. According to the new rules introduced by Law No. 63 of June 30, 2015 (Lei No. 23/2007, de 4 de Julho as amended by Lei No. 63/2015, de 30 de Junho, art. 3(d), Procuradoria-Geral Distritol de Lisboa website), a gold visa is available to aliens who live outside the European Union and are willing to:

  • acquire real estate that includes a structure that is at least 30 years old and is located in an urban regeneration area, and carry out rehabilitation work on the real estate acquired, amounting to €350,000 (about US$396,500) or more (id. at IV);
  • transfer capital in an amount of not less than €350,000, to be applied to research activities undertaken by scientific research institutions, public or private, that are part of the national scientific and technological system (id. at V);
  • transfer capital in an amount of not less than €250,000, which must be applied to investments in or the support of artistic productions or to the recovery or maintenance of the national cultural heritage, (id. at VI); or
  • transfer capital in an amount of not less than €500,000 for the purchase of units in mutual funds or venture capital funds for the capitalization of small- and medium-size enterprises, which, for this purpose, present a related capitalization plan that is considered viable (id. at VII).

The old criteria to obtain a gold visa continue in force. They include:

  • transfer of capital in the amount of €1 million (id. at I);
  • creation of at least ten jobs (id. at II); or
  • acquisition of real estate worth €500,000 or more (id. at III).