Portugal’s Golden Visa is Dipping to a Multi-Year Low

Portugal’s visa program is touted as one of the world’s most successful. But this year’s results tell a different story.

The program’s income is dipping. There has been a gradual reduction in investment influx, resulting from a full lockdown mid-pandemic.

So far, the slowest month for Portugal has been May 2021 (with EUR 27.5M and 52 main applicants).

April showed a better performance at 48.37 million. The only month to be as slow as May was last December, also at 27.75 million euros.

Market Expectations

Most observers expected Portugal’s program to do better.

They expected rising application volumes, especially with the soon-to-come limitations to Portugal’s program.

To recap briefly, Portugal aims to impose geographical limitations on where investors can buy qualifying GV property.

The government is also introducing a price hike to its main program, pushing its entry barrier even higher.

Those effects won’t kick in before January 2022. Until then, investors have 6 months to sign up and qualify for the current “cheaper” packages.

What’s the Applicant Demographic?

Let’s go back to May 2021.

Of the 52 accepted main applicants, Chinese investors were the majority (at 24). Next were South Africans (at 4), Canadians (at 3), Americans (at 3), and Vietnamese (at 2).

Currently, Americans seem to be the only first world applicants in the top five, and they’ve been holding their position for most of the past 11 months.

Where are the Investments Going?

Portugal’s Golden Visa program comes with eight sub-options. Of those, only three are explored by 99% of applicants.

Since 2012, those would be:

  • Option 3 (EUR 500,000 in real estate), taken by 85.1%.
  • Option 4 (EUR 350,000 in older properties), taken by 8.8%
  • Option 1 (EUR 1 million in capital transfer), taken by 5%

Growth in Other Options

The past 3 years showed growth in option number 7 (EUR 350,000 in venture capital or investment funds).

Regardless, even with that growth, the proportion of investors remains minimal – representing 0.85% of all.

Some options didn’t receive any signups at all. One is option 5 (EUR 350,000 for scientific research).

However, option 6 (EUR 250,000 towards cultural heritage) did receive one applicant this May. This represents the first ever for that option.

So overall, seven of Portugal’s eight options are in-effect.

Only one hasn’t been explored thus far, and few incentives seem to exist that would make investors join that option.