Prior to the changes, there was something of a “Golden Visa rush” among aspiring applicants, who scrambled to get their applications successfully submitted until the last minute. On top of that, there was the added uncertainty of the global pandemic, which has raised concerns about international travel, as well as delays and confusion with the SEF (Portuguese Border and Immigration Service), making certain aspects of the program quite logistically difficult.
For consultants, lawyers and also, for us at Nomad Gate, it was a bit of a different story. While we’re trying to help people get all the information they need to complete their applications before the deadline, we’ve also spent the last year trying to figure out exactly what the new rules will look like and what prospects they will have brought.
After a change to Portugal‘s Golden Visa rules came into effect earlier this year, the whole industry has an idea of what 2022 and beyond will look like. However, we still feel there is some confusion, particularly regarding property investments and which areas are eligible for the new rules.
The new rules: what’s the problem?
In case you’re unfamiliar with the new rules, residential real estate investments are only eligible in areas considered “inland,” a classification determined by a published list of municipalities and parishes. For these are not even all inland, there are actually a few coastal municipalities on the list. In addition, the Azores and Madeira follow the same rules as the “inland” zones, even if they are not classified as such.
Then there are the added variables of “low density” and “high density”, which impact the minimum investment amounts (i.e. low density areas give you a discount of 20 %). These are not determined at the parish/municipality level like the ‘inland’ classification, but rather at what is called the NUTS 3 level, a sort of division of Portugal for statistical purposes. Whether something is considered low density or not also depends on GDP and population density, two factors that can change over time. Confused yet?
If you’re a potential Golden Visa applicant, it wouldn’t be surprising if these rules were difficult to understand. In fact, while doing our own research, we noticed several charts appearing on the internet that were factually incorrect, and many top advisors were consistently wrong.
Finally, there are other variables such as whether the property is a rehabilitation project or not, and also whether the property is for commercial use – in the latter case the rules haven’t even changed, which we also lead us to ask where Airbnb falls under this, and all the other types of questions.
We realized that the new rules presented more questions than answers and could potentially deter people from applying for the Portuguese Golden Visa.
First of all, we have made it our mission to provide the most accurate Portuguese Golden Visa real estate map on the internet. However, this was quite a laborious task, and it is not surprising that many other sites made mistakes in the construction of their own maps, since Portugal consists of 308 municipalities and 2 autonomous regions, among which there are more of 4000 parishes, or freguesias.
In order to construct the map, we had to determine which parts of Portugal were considered low density or high density, as well as inland and non-inland. Not to mention that this map will need to be updated regularly as the GDP and population density of different regions change.
In the end, we succeeded and are proud to present you with a detailed map that shows where exactly you can invest in real estate, whether residential or commercial, low or high density.
Although the map gives a good overview of the regions that will be attractive in the coming years, it is still not the most user-friendly way of knowing what the minimum investment will be for an exact address or parish. After all, with an average population of around 2,500 people per parish, I doubt most aspiring candidates would be able to locate random parishes on our map without an extremely detailed Portuguese geography lesson.
That’s why, considering that the Nomad Gate team is a bit of a data geek, we decided to build our own search toolwhere you can enter an address (be it a street, city or even parish) and it will tell you everything you need to know about that area for Golden Visa purposes, including :
● Density (high or low)
● Whether Golden Visa residential investments are allowed or not
● Minimum investment amounts for rehabilitation projects and regular real estate
● Information on the municipality, such as the official site.
● Links to urban rehabilitation areas of the municipality
● Commercial real estate investment options available for Golden Visa in the region (if applicable)
What does the future hold for us then?
Well, putting real estate options aside for a moment, I expect fund investing to remain popular for investors concerned with the ease of managing their investment remotely from 2022 and beyond. Of course, as long as they don’t care about the new minimum investment requirement of €500,000.
For other investors who appreciate ease of management, while wanting a lower entry price and a sense of owning something more tangible, investments in commercial property (such as hotel developments starting at just 280,000 €) will probably gain popularity.
For anyone else looking to focus on investing in residential property, and perhaps intending to live there as well, there are still a few pockets of the Algarve that qualify as an inland region. , as well as the trendy islands of the Azores and Madeira. .
Other possible trending areas could also include the Alentejo region and parts of northern Portugal. Again, the best way to find out the options is to use our search tool which will show you in detail which areas are eligible and at what prices.
We hope that, since we are already more than halfway through 2022, the rules are now clear enough for future investors as well as specialists in the investment migration industry. At least we hope our search tool, map, and step-by-step guides will help fill in any knowledge gaps people might have.
Finally, a huge source of help is the excellent community support you can find with the Nomad Gate forum. Many people shared their personal experiences, questions and thoughts about the program, as well as life in Portugal in general. This is definitely a good place to turn to if something unexpected suddenly happens during the application process. If you have any questions regarding the Portuguese Golden Visa, feel free to post them on our forums and the community will be happy to assist you.