North Americans, First Investors In Portugal

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  • 3,229 North Americans obtained residency certificates last year.
  • Lisbon and Porto are the leading cities for investing in housing. Cascais and Estoril are also called the new california.
  • Tax incentives, lower cost of living, security index and health system are the main reasons why Americans choose to live in Portugal.
  • The evolution of the Golden Visa legislation to €500,000 has relaunched other products such as investment funds.
  • Consulting firms such as Portuguese leader KLEYA confirm that the increase in income is the result of the legislative change to Golden Visas.

Lisbon, Portugal – July 11, 2022 – Portugal has tripled the number of people leaving the United States. According to the Foreigners and Borders Service, in 2021 it has increased from 1,609 to 3,229 North Americans officially registered as residents. Vasco Rosa da Silva, CEO of KLEYA, the first one-stop consultancy in Portugal, explains the main motivations for this exponential increase: “The very interesting cost of living in the country and the public health system are the main reasons that motivate the Americans to move to Portugal with the security index and the possibility of using the Schengen area; to be able to travel to European countries.

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North Americans are the leading foreign real estate investors in Portugal ahead of the Chinese, French, British and Brazilians. They spent 134 million euros in the city of Lisbon alone in 2021. Porto, Cascais and Estoril are the other favorite places to invest and live in Portugal for North Americans before and after the change in the Golden Visa legislation applied since January 1, 2022.

Favorable environment for investing in Portugal

In 2021, the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade reported that foreign investment increased by 229% compared to 2019. In euros, this percentage is a figure close to 3 trillion (2,700 million euros ). António Costa e Silva, Portuguese Minister of Economy, recently stated that “In the first two months of 2022 alone, we managed to attract a net balance of 2,200 million euros”. According to Costa e Silva, the exponential progression of the figures will make the Portuguese economy “more robust and dynamic”.

This overall foreign investment figure includes data from all investment sectors (industrial, foreign exchange, variable income, real estate, etc.). KLEYA reports that the technology and digital sectors generate high search volumes. Both categories reach levels close to that of traditional sectors such as tourism and real estate.

“The biggest challenge for a company betting on Portugal to find skilled labor,” said the CEO of KLEYA. “Therefore, alongside foreign investment, an increasing number of expatriate workers will arrive in Portugal.” KLEYA partners with different companies to facilitate the integration of their clients in the country. Partnerships provide services that assist the client in the processes and procedures of their relocation to Portugal. These services include legal, tax and tax procedures, obtaining work permits, finding residence and all other logistical tasks necessary for the move. The Non-Habitual Residents (NHR) regime also facilitates the entry of skilled workers into Portugal.

Investment x-ray and Golden Visa

In terms of global real estate investment, there is a decrease in capital entering Portugal. In 2022, the country reached an average of 40 million euros per month, compared to 60 million per month in 2021. Foreign capital raised through the Golden Visa has decreased due to an increase in investment needs. The minimum investment required to obtain a Golden Visa has increased from 350,000 euros to 500,000. New geographical restrictions also contribute to the lack of investment capital. However, as real estate investment slows, demand for investment funds increases. The real estate market has calmed down after the madness of the last quarter of 2021 before the change in legislation.

“Residential real estate investment is now directed towards low-density regions; therefore Lisbon, Porto and much of the Algarve are outside the Golden Visa,” said Rosa da Silva. “The diversification of the investment is a very positive sign. The Golden Visa legislative change aims to limit the gentrification of the coast in relation to the lack of investment in the interior in real estate. Now, real estate investment has been diverted to the commercial real estate sector, which can be done in Lisbon, Porto or the Algarve”.

According to the CEO of KLEYA, this is a great opportunity for regions and communities furthest from major centres. Portugal is an attractive destination for foreign companies to set up their highly innovative hubs. “Digital nomads” are gaining popularity with their increasingly prevalent work and lifestyle. The Portuguese country offers a wide range of opportunities as well as security, full civil rights and freedoms and an unbeatable lifestyle.


About Kleya

Kleya is an independent one-stop-shop offering integrated solutions tailored to the global needs of retirees, investors, expatriates, offshore workers, entrepreneurs and students, among others, who wish to live in Portugal.

Kleya is one of the companies in the Beyond Insurance division of the Ageas Portugal group. This partnership, established in 2018, positions Kleya as an international benchmark for the group in improving the quality of life of those who have chosen Portugal as their host country. In 2020, the Ageas Portugal group acquired the entire share capital of Kleya.

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