Investment in Portugal’s Golden Visa Stable Despite Pandemic, Interest in VC-Option Gathers Steam

Application volumes and processing speeds are holding up remarkably well for the program, despite widespread immigration office closures and a global pandemic.

The April statistical release from the Portuguese Borders and Immigration Service (SEF) show 53 main applicants (along with 93 of their family members) obtained golden visas in Portugal during the month no the back of investments amounting to some EUR 28 million. While noticeably lower than the 70 cases approved in February, the April number came within two applications of matching the figure for March (55) and actually surpassed it by EUR 800,000 in terms of total capital investment.

Raising any capital at all during a state of emergency is a commendable achievement in itself; bringing in investments amounting to almost 60% of its monthly average over the last 12 months, a herculean one.

In our monthly statistical reports on Portugal this year, we’ve also kept track of the degree to which applicants are inclined to pick what we call “alternative investments”, i.e., any investment category except that pertaining to subparagraph 3, which requires a EUR 500,000 investment in real estate. Historically (and, on a cumulative basis, presently), nine out of 10 applicants have chosen the conventional real estate investment route. In the last 18 months or so, that ratio has begun to shift noticeably in favor of alternative assets.

Subparagraph 4, which offers a lower minimum investment requirement (EUR 350,000) to those who acquire properties deemed in need of renovation, is rapidly becoming a category to be reckoned with; the share of investors who chose this option has nearly doubled since 2018, and stands at 22% of the total so far this year.

The equally priced venture capital/investment fund option, meanwhile, to which only seven applications were attributed last year, added another seven in the month of April, bringing the all-time total to 17 cases, ten of which were recorded this year.

In aggregate, alternative investments account for more than 30% of all applications so far in 2020, up from 24% last year and just one in three years ago.

In the first four months of the year, 259 main applicants and 515 dependents have received golden visas in Portugal. All told, the SEF has approved 8,466 applications since the program’s opening in November 2012, 88% of whom have invested in real estate.


Published: 7 May 2020

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