The Golden Visa was created in 2012 with the aim of attracting investors and instigating economic growth in the aftermath of the European debt crisis of 2011. With an unstable labour market, GDP deficit, and the undervaluation of the housing market – mainly due to restrictive protections in favour of tenants – the country needed investment to overcome the crisis. We can consider that this visa was a real catalyst for Portugal’s real estate renaissance.
From some political projects and strategies to move the economy, the Portuguese government created some incentives to attract immediate individual investment: it implemented one of the most competitive citizenship-by-investment programs in the world, the Golden Visa, where a non-European can benefit from a European visa by investing €350,000 in the Portuguese venture capital funds or €500,000 of unleveraged investment in real estate.
These new measures were a great success, as the Portuguese unemployment rate decreased by 50% between 2012 and 2019 to a rate of 6%, and the real estate index benefited from a residual growth of 30%, improving banks’ capital structures.
This economic growth, combined with an excellent quality of life – Portugal was also ranked among the safest and most peaceful countries in the world – attracted many companies and foreigners. As a result, tourism has grown significantly (126% growth between 2012 and 2019, reaching 27 million visitors in 2019).
Since the start of the program, Golden Visa has granted almost 10,000 visas to individual applicants. To this number, we can add 16,050 family members who have also benefited from the main applicant’s investment. This represents a total amount of direct investment of almost 6 billion euros in Portugal. The 5 nationalities that apply the most for the visa are: Chinese, Brazilian, Turkish, South African, and Russian.
Advantages of the Golden Visa
The beneficiaries of the Portuguese Golden Visa are entitled to a residence permit to live, work and study in Portugal, and are required to stay at least 7 days per year in the country. In addition, they have access to the Portuguese public health and education systems, and the right to travel without a visa within the Schengen Area, and also the right to apply for Portuguese citizenship after 5 years of legal residence.
How to obtain the Golden Visa
The most popular channels:
1- Real estate investments
Acquisition of a property with a value over €500,000 (options reduced to €350,000 for the renovation of properties over 30 years of age or in an urban rehabilitation area). The property can be used by the owner or freely rented.
2- Investment in a Venture Capital Fund
Purchase of units in a Venture Capital Fund eligible for a Golden Visa.
Venture Capital Funds are established and operate under the Portuguese legal framework and are tax exempt. They are regulated by the CMVM (Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários), managed, audited, and assessed by independent and duly licensed companies. Depending on the Fund, they will offer a minimum rate of return.
3- Other ways
Other ways to obtain the Golden Visa include the capital transfer of at least 1 million euros, creation of at least 10 jobs, investment of at least 350,000 euros in R&D (Research and Development) through a public or private research institution, investment of at least 250,000 euros in artistic productions, or investment of at least 350,000 euros in the creation of a Portuguese company with the creation of 5 jobs.
Changes in the programme as of January 2022
The Portuguese Government informed that some changes to the Golden Visa would be introduced in January 2022, namely in the real estate and fund investment route. The main changes to the program are:
- The minimum amount required for transfer in investment funds or venture capital funds will increase to €500,000;
- The acquisition of property for residential purposes will only be eligible in regions with low population density (excluding the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto and the coastal zone);
- The minimum amount required for the transfer of capital will increase from EUR 1 million to EUR 1.5 million.
INVEST WITH OPTYLON KREA
Optylon Krea is a pan-Mediterranean real estate development and investment management company that was created through the merger between Istanbul-based Krea Real Estate and Optylon Group (Portugal) in 2019. As a result of the merger, €1.6 billion has been invested in 26 thoughtful investments – residential projects, mixed projects, and shopping centres – taking place in 8 different cities across Portugal, Turkey, and Romania.
Optylon Krea’s team of passionate and technically knowledgeable professionals has an impressive track record and extensive knowledge of the international market. The company is led by a strong and diverse team of managers, accumulating nearly 30 years of experience in Real Estate Development, Investment Management, Investment Banking and Trading.
Optylon Krea has developed a formidable range of investments eligible for the Portuguese Golden Visa through its vast experience and contact network in the market. With a multidisciplinary team and experienced executives, they bring unprecedented value to investors, assisting a diverse international client base.
Areas of expertise
Optylon Krea has developed strong credibility as a real estate investment specialist, raising, managing and advising five Venture Capital Funds, with a total value of $200 million in the Turkish market and €75 million in the Iberian market, attracting both institutional investors and high net worth individuals.
Real Estate Development
Real estate development is at the heart of our investment management expertise. The Group has won 6 prestigious international property development awards over the years, such as Best Development Project, ULI Awards in 2002 and Best Development Manager, Euromoney Awards in 2007.
Leader in the short-term rental market
Headquartered in Lisbon, with offices in Porto and the Algarve, Optylon Krea’s alliance results in one of the largest local accommodation management companies in Portugal, LovelyStay. With its own Proptech solutions (comprehensive management platform and property market intelligence tool), the group’s company manages over 450 properties all over the country and has generated over 14 million euros to its partner owners in the last 6 years.
Learn more about LovelyStay at the link.
In addition, Optylon Krea also launched in 2016 its own brand of luxury serviced flats (or touristic apartments), Prima Collection – currently rated over 9/10 on Booking.com. Since then, the brand has developed 5 buildings in the center of Lisbon and is expected to reach new Mediterranean cities such as Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, and Istanbul in the coming years, where it will take its new investment and lifestyle concepts.
If you need more information, we have a team ready to help. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translated by Miguel Marinho Soares