According to a survey carried out by Henley & Partners, Portugal has the best Golden Visa Programme. In their Global Residence and Citizenship Program, Portugal ranks first with 82 points out of 100, followed by Austria, USA, Switzerland, Monaco and Dubai.
In order to evaluate the different immigration programmes for investment all over the world, factors like fiscal climate, life quality, reputation, time to obtain the visa and requirements to obtain citizenship were taken into account by a jury of 11 independent experts.
Eric Major, CEO of Henley & Partners, believes that the Golden Visa Programme has helped Portugal to get out of the financial assistance programme, increasing not only the investment in the real estate sector but also Portugal’s international reputation.
The Golden Visa Programme and the Tax Regime for Non-Habitual residents have been successful strategies followed by the Portuguese government in order to attract international investment to Portugal.
Since the end of 2012, when the programme started, 2,290 golden visas have been issued by the Portuguese government, reaching a peak in October 2014 with 211 visas issued in that month. During the first 4 months in 2014, a monthly average of 93 Golden Visas were issued vs. 89 in the same period in 2015. The vast majority of visas have been obtained through investment in property.
Recent changes to the existing Golden Visa Programme widened its spectrum, making it now possible to obtain Portuguese Citizenship through an investment in Science, Arts, Culture and the rehabilitation of properties. From now on, an investment of 350,000€ in Science, Arts and Culture will grant access to Portuguese Citizenship as well as investing 500,000€ in one or more properties and renovating it/them (purchase price + rehabilitation costs).
The Portuguese programme runs for 6 years. After 5 years the residence permit is issued and in year 6 citizenship is granted.
A recent study from the Portuguese Resorts Association (Associação Portuguesa de Resorts) shows that in 2014 a total amount of 4,6 billion euros was invested in the national real estate market, creating 60,000 new direct and indirect jobs and generating a tax income of 230 million Euros.