Golden Visa Stats & Investments Evolution

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Golden Visa Stats & Investments Evolution
Reading time: 7 minutes
Published: 10th May 2022, 11:03am
Updated: 20th May 2022, 5:10pm

The Portuguese Golden Visa Programme was created in 2012 to attract foreign investment into the country and has been one of Europe’s most popular residency-by-investment schemes, granting investors the right to live, work, and study in the country and visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. 

Changes through time

The Golden Visa programme rules in Portugal have changed over time. Even though its first iteration was exclusively for investors that would invest €500.000 or more into real estate or capital funds, later it opened up another bracket of €350.000 minimum investment as long as the investment was placed following certain requirements. At the beginning of 2021, the Portuguese Government announced there would be further changes to the programme, that would be put into effect from January 1st, 2022 forwards. 

Among other effects, these changes would limit the Residency Permit For Investment Activity (ARI) in the sense that residential property in certain areas of the country, such as major cities like Lisbon and Porto, would no longer be valid for the Golden Visa. 

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Moving Forward with the 2022 Golden Visa rules

From January 2022, the Portuguese government implemented slight changes to the programme that would encourage investors to look at all areas of the country instead of just looking at the major cities. It is still possible to apply to the Golden Visa programme through real estate investment in high population density areas such as Lisbon and Porto, however, the property has to be licensed for commercial or touristic purposes. In this case, a Touristic Property Licence would include hotels or serviced apartments that hold a touristic licence for 10 years or more. The property needs to be managed by one entity for that period and the investor is the freeholder of the unit and can sell the property at any time.

We have previously covered this subject in the “Portugal Golden Visa Programme 2022” article, following our CEO and Managing Director David Poston video addressing these changes and the following steps for the visa, which you can watch below.

First trimester shows an upward trend

Comparing the first three months of 2022 with the same period of last year, we can see that the changes haven’t affected the investors’ trust or will in searching for the best high-return opportunities in Portugal’s real estate market. The total investment into the Golden Visa programme this first trimester is roughly €124.75 Million, which is higher than the €122.2 million invested during the same period of last year. 



Looking at the residency through investment permits emitted, this year is also surpassing the same period of last year, with 261 permits issued in January, February and March, against the 228 of the same three months in 2021. The top nations with the most residency permits in first quarter (Q1) reports show slight year-to-year differences not only in the nations applying the most but also in volume of applications between top nations. While in 2021’s first quarter we see China (100), USA (19) and Brasil (18) topping the approved permits list, in 2022 we find a different leader in the USA (52), followed by China (43) and Brazil (17).



In both time intervals compared, we see that the preferred investment target to apply for the Portuguese Golden Visa remains the same: Real Estate. However, the preferred investment model shifted from 2021 to 2022. In 2021’s Q1 we see that the €500K real estate investment option is the preferred one with 147 approved residency permits through this option against the 58 permits approved though €350k investment option. In 2022, this inverts. The real estate investment with more approved permits is the €350k option with 113 permits approved against the €500k option with 82.


Second quarter of 2022 

With the second quarter of 2022 already underway, the upward trend seems to continue. Looking at the SEF ARI (Residence Permit for Investment Activity) report, the number of residency permits issued surpassed last year’s April with 121 against 98. 

The total amounts invested are also higher than last year’s with €59.8 million invested in April 2022 being more than 2021’s April total of €51.2 million. 

The USA continues to lead the top nations with approved applications in 2022, with 26 approved residency permits in April, followed by China (15) and Turkey (13).

The Golden Visa investor’s preferred target continues to be real estate. Capital Transfer Golden Visa investments summed around €11.4 million in April, while Real Estate investments were roughly €48.3 million in total. The €500k real estate investment option also surged back after playing second choice in the first quarter to the €350k investment option. In April there were 49 approved applications through the €500k option, leading the €350k option’s 43 residency permits issued. It will be interesting to see if this was an isolated event or if the €500k Real Estate option establishes a trend that continues through 2022’s second quarter.

As SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Borders) releases the 2022 ARI reports, we can see the evolution of the Golden Visa programme after the recently implemented changes to the rules, by the Portuguese Government. Navigate to our news page for more news about Portugal and the real estate investment sector. >

12th May 2022
Tomás is born and raised in Portugal, with a degree in Marketing Management,…
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