The History of Portugal’s Golden Visa: Quick Overview

The History of Portugal’s Golden Visa: Quick Overview


Table of Contents

Historically, Portugal’s Golden Visa has been one of the world’s most successful residency by investment programs.

It’s a strange fact, since its investor and capital gains have been steadily falling since 2018. But, its April performance has been picking slowly picking up.

The program raised just over 48.4 million euros. This represents an increase of 22% (compared to March), and it’s a 72% increase compared to April 2020.

Not Enough to Keep Up With 2021

The first three months of 2021 witnessed an acceptance of 326 investors, and investments up to 173 million euros.

If we were to project those income levels throughout the rest of 2021, Portugal’s GV would gain a total of 519 million euros. While sizeable, it’s still a setback from the previous year’s number (at 647 million).

Approval rates are also dropping.

By the end of this year, Portugal might not make 1000 new investors. This would put investor influx at its lowest since 2015.

For comparison, Portugal’s Golden Visa earned the following from 2018 to 2020:

  • 2018 – 839 million euros
  • 2019 – 742 million euros
  • 2020 – 647 million euros

Its approval rates (by investor) were as follows:

  • 2018 – 1409
  • 2019 – 1245
  • 2020 – 1182

Is There Hope for a Rebound?

Yes there is. Half the year still remains, and the program’s performance might pick up during that time.

The only problem is, Portugal’s GV has a history of fluctuating incomes across the year. But this doesn’t mean that the fluctuations would lead to less acceptances.

The lower approval rates at the start of 2021 can be attributed to COVID-19. The period through January to March was Portugal’s first mass wave of the pandemic, which may have affected processing times.

Also, the first quarter of a year isn’t enough to judge the program’s trajectory. If anything, the drop in performance may be a slight deviation.

What’s the Applicant Demographic?

Normally, main applicants come from China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey. But this April, the demographics are slightly different.

The top 5 are Chinese, Brazilian, American, Indian, and Russian.

Americans are an interesting new addition. They don’t show up often in Portugal’s GV counts. But this month, they account for 9 main applicants.

Chinese applicants numbered at 35 this April, making them the highest. Brazilian investors are next at 12. Indians come next at 6, and Russians come after that at 5.

What Investments are Applicants Picking?

Portugal’s GV offers 8 channels for investors.

Since 2017, Portugal GV investors have shifted from the EUR 500,000 real estate program (being the most popular). They’re now veering towards old property investments, which only require EUR 350,000 minimum.

For comparison, 93.35% opted for the former option in 2016, compared to just 65.95% in 2021.

There’s also a slight interest in the venture capital (or investment fund) option. This requires EUR 350,000 minimum. Thus far, 7.3% of applicants in 2021 picked that option.

This is compared to 0.56% in the year 2019.

Is Portugal’s GV Falling Behind?

Or maybe investors are opting for the cheaper real estate routes, thus reducing overall income?

The answer to that should be clear throughout the year, when the total number of investors and capital can be compared to 2020 and 2019.