In the first week of November, the Portuguese Prime Minister announced that the government is re-evaluating the Golden Visa regime, since perhaps it is no longer justified to maintain it.
The general reaction to this statement was of great dissatisfaction, since the golden visa regime has greatly benefited the Portuguese economy through foreign investment, especially in terms of real estate business, which simultaneously benefits other economic activities, like tourism or construction.
Will the threat of the end of the Golden Visa regime harm either foreign citizens who want to relocate to Portugal or the Portuguese economic activities that profit from this regime?
There are alternatives to the Golden Visa regime that are already available to foreign citizens who want to reside in Portugal, with practically all the advantages that a golden visa card offers – the increasingly popular D7 Visa.
The D7 Visa is a residency visa requested by third state foreign citizens at a consular section or consular post of the Portuguese Embassy in their country of origin (or residency), in order to obtain a temporary residence permit in Portugal.
Retired people or people who live from regular passive income from movable or immovable property, intellectual property, financial investments, or other type, if they can prove that they receive, at least, 12 national minimum wages per year, can apply to the D7 Visa.
The D7 Visa has numerous advantages over the Golden Visa.
Firstly, it is cheaper, given that the fees paid by the applicant to obtain the temporary residence permit are quite low when compared to the fees charged to obtain a Golden Visa permit.
On the other hand, obtaining the D7 Visa does not previously oblige the foreign citizen to carry out any type of investment. Proof of accommodation in Portugal can be made through the ownership of a property or by means of granting of a lease agreement, with a minimum duration of 12 months.
Furthermore, the holder of a temporary residence permit obtained through the D7 Visa benefits from the same advantages that a golden visa holder: to travel and move freely through the EU countries of the Schengen area; reside, work and study in Portugal; enjoy the Portuguese national health service; access to Portuguese law and courts; family reunification; possibility of applying for the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) status and enjoying this more favorable tax regime for a period of 10 years; and, after five years, apply for a Permanent Residence Permit or the Portuguese Nationality.
In short, it seems evident that the D7 Visa is an interesting alternative to the Golden Visa regime, quite attractive for foreign citizens who wish to relocate to Portugal, benefiting from all the advantages of a Portuguese residence permit.
At the same time, the possibility of the Golden Visa regime coming to an end will not severely affect the sectors of activity related to real estate, tourism, civil construction, among others.
The market, as always, will adjust to the new reality.
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