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Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ Emerges as the Most Popular Residence-by-Investment Program in 2015

8 July 2015

Lisbon - Portugal has reduced the minimum qualifying capital requirements for the Golden Residence Permit Program, making it one of the most affordable residence-by-investment programs in the European Union.

Henley & Partners, the global leaders in residence and citizenship planning for wealthy individuals and families, announced that Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program is the leading residence-by-investment program in 2015, corroborated by their industry report the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2015 (GRCP). This announcement comes after Portugal reduced the minimum qualifying capital requirement for their residence program to EUR 350,000.

Henley & Partners’ annual GRCP report uses scientific methodology to systematically analyse the leading residence-by-investment programs and citizenship-by-investment programs available throughout the world. It features expert analysis and commentary from leading figures in the investor immigration industry, including immigration and citizenship lawyers, economists, country risk experts and academic researchers.

Of the leading residence programs reviewed in the report, Portugal’s program ranked first in the Global Residence Program Index (GRPI). The programs were ranked according to 10 indicators: Reputation, Quality of Life, Tax, Visa Free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Total Costs, Time to Citizenship and Citizenship Requirements.

Eric Major, CEO of Henley & Partners, commented, “Out of the ten indicators measured in the Report, Portugal ranked top on the total costs indicator due to the total investment requirement now being significantly lower than other residence programs. This came after Portugal announced that it reduced the minimum investment required for obtaining a Portuguese residence permit. These changes make the Portuguese program one of the most affordable immigration-by-investment programs in the European Union.”

However, new restrictions have been introduced for the program in connection to these reduced capital requirements. For example, regarding real-estate, only properties older than 30 years or located in areas of urban regeneration will qualify for this new minimum purchase level. If this condition is not met, then the original qualifying level of EUR 500,000 is still in effect. In addition, the costs for the refurbishment works of the purchased property will be included in the minimum qualifying investment. Lastly, the revised minimum cost can be lowered further if the property is located in a lesser populated area.

In addition, children over 18 years old are no longer obligated to be studying in Portugal in order to qualify for family reunion.

New qualifying investment amounts have been introduced, including research activities (at least EUR 350,000 investment); artistic production or natural heritage (at least EUR 250,000 investment); or funds invested in the capitalization of SMEs (at least EUR 500,000 investment).

Major added, “The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program, often referred to as the Golden Visa, continues to be one of the most popular residence programs offered by Henley & Partners. This is mainly attributed to the low investment requirements, high quality of life, compliance standards and due diligence. With the minimum qualifying investment cost being lowered further, we expect the demand for the Portuguese residence program to accelerate.”

Portugal boasts an excellent reputation, with a very high Human Development Index ranking, and is considered one of the world’s most globalized and peaceful nations with a great quality of life. It is among the oldest countries in Europe with a rich history, a lively culture, stunning beaches and beautiful countryside. Portugal is a full member of the European Union.

The tax burden on residents of Portugal is one of the lowest in the GRPI, both on corporate and personal levels. A Portuguese residence permit offers visa-free access to all Schengen States. The country’s compliance standards and due diligence are comparably high.