Is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program For Investors And Digital Nomads Still Available?

Is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program For Investors And Digital Nomads Still Available?

Approvals for Portugal’s “Golden Visa” program appear to be slowing down, with August representing the slowest processing month in two years.

Though there is currently a backlog of over 8,000 applications, just 64 were approved. Hundreds of applications continue to pour in, despite the processing delay. 

What is the Portugal Golden Visa? 

The Portugal “Golden Visa” is a special residence visa program for non-European Union nationals who have invested in Portugal by purchasing real estate, creating job opportunities for Portuguese Nationals, or making a capital investment.

Through the program, investors may become permanent residents and be eligible for Portuguese citizenship as early as five years after approval. To be eligible, applicants must have a clear criminal history, must own the money they will invest, and must continue to invest for at least five years. 

The Approval Slowdown

As approvals have slowed down, so have investments in the country. Of the recently approved applications, Americans accounted for 12, making up the highest nationality group. Six Russian nationals also received approval, after the Portuguese government had previously publicly excluded them from the program. Americans have consistently made up some of  the highest numbers of applicant and approval groups for the “Golden Visas.” 

It’s presumed that among the reasons for the backlog were upcoming changes to the structure of the program. Changes to the “Golden Visa” will likely include the requirement of higher property investment, mandatory job creation, and full-time residency. Though interest in the visa program remains high, it may certainly not be a permanent opportunity.

European Leadership has been critical of such programs and countries including Ireland, the UK and Cypress all abruptly shut down similar investment visa programs in 2023. Alternative visa programs that require significant investments in Portuguese cultural and heritage projects may still offer an opportunity for those wanting to live and work in Portugal.