End of Golden Visas inches ever closer
Prime Minister António Costa - Photo: EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

End of Golden Visas inches ever closer

PM admits “they may no longer be justified” as Portugal opens arms to ‘digital nomads’

After all the negative publicity surrounding them, and the calls to end them, prime minister António Costa has admitted Portugal’s Golden Visas may no longer be justified.

Speaking to journalists at the end of a two-hour visit to the Web Summit this morning, he said they have very possibly “served their purpose”.

“There are programmes that we are currently re-evaluating and one of them is that of Golden Visas, which, probably, has already fulfilled the function it had to fulfill and that at this moment it is no longer justifiable to maintain,” he said in the company of minister of the economy, António Costa Silva.

The European Commission has been trying to shut down this regime for some time, accepting that it has posed “a risk to security, transparency and values that underpin the EU project”.

Portugal’s new focus looks likely to be much more focused on visas that spell ‘growth’, without the threat to internal security.  This can be seen in the new special tax regime for ‘digital nomads’ which the PM was extolling this morning at the capital’s tech summit.

How the new digital nomad visa works

Starting this week, the new visa is aimed at remote workers who make four times the national minimum wage (currently €705, rising to €761 in January).

There are two possibilities: people can apply for a temporary-stay visa of up to one year, or a residency permit that can be renewed for up to five years.

Says Business Insider: “You can apply at a Portuguese Consulate in your home country or at Portugal’s immigration agency, Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras. On top of proof of income for the past three months, applicants must submit tax-residency documents and a contract of employment (or proof of self-employment).

“One of the program’s biggest selling points is that recipients can travel visa-free throughout the Schengen Area, a region containing 26 European Union member countries where travelers can move freely without dealing with border control.

“Portugal has had an influx of foreign residents since the pandemic started, many of whom have used the D7 visa, or ‘passive-income visa’, to set up shop in the country.”

D7 visa requires applicants make only €7,200 – or about $7,011 – a year to qualify. But unlike the digital-nomad visa, the foreign income must be the result from passive revenue streams made in other countries such as pensions and rental income. But once resident, a D7 visa holder is free to work in Portugal.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com