A report by The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017–2018 shows that Portugal currently has the world’s top residence-by-investment program.
In fact, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program was announced as the best residence-by-investment program across the globe for the third year in a row. The program achieved a score of 79 out of 100 after being assessed on ten indicators: citizenship requirements, compliance, financial requirements, processing time and quality of processing, quality of life, reputation, taxation, time to citizenship, total costs, and visa-free access.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, an international immigration and citizenship law expert and Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, was also keen to point out: “The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs report is an indispensable tool, not only for all those interested in alternative residence or citizenship but also for professionals such as private client advisors, private bankers, and lawyers, as well as for governments operating investment migration programs.”
Why is Portugal such an appealing country for investors and what benefits does Portuguese residence bring? This brief guide will shine the spotlight on the country’s Golden Residence Permit Program and also look into other investment opportunities available within the nation.
A closer look at Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program
Through investment, non-EU nationals can gain access to Portuguese residence permits. The program is not available to Portuguese nationals or nationals of the EU and the European Economic Area. This provides them with the opportunity to obtain residence status and contributes towards their eligibility for a citizenship application following six years as a legal resident.
When residence holders have possession of a permit, they’ll be entitled to:
- Benefit from family reunification. They may also gain access to a permanent residence permit and Portuguese citizenship in accordance with the current legal provisions.
- Enter Portugal without the need for a residential visa.
- Live and work in Portugal — bearing in mind that the minimum residence requirement to qualify for the renewal of a Golden Residence Permit is seven days in the first year of residence for entitlement to the first renewal and then 14 days over the two subsequent two-year periods required for the next renewals.
- Apply for Portuguese nationality, via naturalization, in compliance with Nationality Law requirements.
- Travel visa-free within the Schengen Area.
The program was highly sought after soon after it was implemented. Between the scheme beginning in 2012 and BBC News spotlighting the program on March 19th, 2014, the Portuguese government stated that 734 permits had been issued — generating over EUR 440 million in the process through property sales, investment in capital, and the creation of new jobs across Portugal.
Why is it attractive to invest in Portugal?
Even if you’re not eligible for the Golden Residence Permit, there are many reasons Portugal should appeal to you as an investor.
First of all, Portugal boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the EU today. Its business-related costs and labor costs are both considerably lower when compared to many other Western European nations too, while the country also has one of the lowest crime rates throughout all of Europe.
The country itself is situated ideally with strategic geopolitical relations with Africa and the Americas on top of those with Europe. Not only is the nation an EU member, but it also still has close ties with Angola, Brazil, Macau, and Mozambique and can be a gateway to other Portuguese-speaking markets.
For those who are conducting business in Portugal, it’s good to know that the country is well-developed in IT and physical infrastructure. Meanwhile, property investors will have many appealing locations to choose from; Portugal plays host to many sites of natural beauty, owing to its various rivers, mountains, and clean sandy beaches.
For investors of property, it must be considered that their customers may be from many walks of life. For instance, Portugal proves very appealing to tourists — surely helped by the fact that the nation enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year — and has a quality of life that is favorable to those looking for a peaceful destination to retire to. This is not forgetting the sports fans, who are likely to find Portugal attractive for being the largest area covered by golf courses in the whole of southern Europe.
It’s all about variety when it comes to choosing where in Portugal to invest in. The capital city, Lisbon, is a cultural melting pot, helped by the fact that the annual Web Summit conference attracts tens of thousands of business people to the district every year. Meanwhile, the island of Madeira was shown in a recent INE report to have the second highest rate of recent property value growth and the Algarve is an area of Portugal that is regularly in demand.
Considering the reasons above, it comes as little surprise that Portugal catches the attention of investors. Will you be next to invest in the country?