The Portuguese Golden Visa program was created in 2012. Since then, EUR 6,099,799,479.59 were invested in Portugal and consequently created indirect jobs and a huge stimulus in various areas of the business sector.
After nearly 10 years of a successful program, the government, lead by political pressure, decided to increase the minimum threshold of certain eligible investment activities and limit the areas where real estate investment can be executed. Two of the main investment activities were affected with these changes:
- Increase from EUR 350,000 to EUR 500,000 to subscribe investment funds;
- Real estate investment for residential purposes will be limited to interior areas of the country as well as Madeira and Azores islands. Urban areas, such as Lisbon and Oporto, will be available to buy commercial and touristic properties.
So far, the real estate investment was, without a doubt, the investor´s preference. Nonetheless, with the mentioned changes as well as the increase of remote applications caused by the pandemic, the investment in the subscription of investment funds progressed. Nowadays, investor´s often mentions that they prefer to invest in a financial product then to own a physical asset in Portugal that will, of course, lead to further expenses and that requires regular upkeep.
Realizing this phenomenon, investment funds started to be incorporated for the specific purposes of being an eligible investment to apply for the Golden Visa. Such funds are diversified and focused in different areas: real estate, start-ups, health care, self-store, rural investment, retail, hotels, student accommodation, among others.
In this regard, when an Investor presents certain fund to investment with the purposes of executing the Golden Visa application, it´s the lawyer task, among others equality important, to perform a due diligence to assure the Investor that fund meets the Golden Visa criteria, which are: (i) maturity, at the time of investment, is at least of five years; and (ii) at least 60%. of the value of the investments are made in companies based in Portugal. Thus, it is important to stress that in parallel with the selection of the investment which sometimes is a result of a financial advice from a competent service provider, the investor shall also put his/her best efforts to engage legal representation that will provide an exempted and experienced advise in all aspects of the application that must be covered throughout the five years.