Apr 24, 2020

Purchase a luxury apartment in Beloura, Sao Pedro Penaferrim and obtain legal residency in Portugal – 530,000 EUR

Becoming a legal EU resident by acquiring a Portuguese ‘golden visa’ is a dream for many well-off people who live outside the European Union. In light of recent events, however, it may seem that this chance is almost gone now. The coronavirus pandemic continues, the SEF (Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) offices are closed, and the Portuguese Government has announced changes to the Golden Residence Permit Program… We admit that the situation has become less favorable than it was only a few months ago but we would like to assure you that obtaining legal residency in Portugal in exchange for investment is still quite possible! Below we will discuss the recent changes and show what they amount to, in fact.

Reasons why Portuguese residency is so popular with investors:

  • It gives free access to all EU countries without the need to obtain visas.
  • It provides for a possibility to establish a business company in a stable and predictable jurisdiction.
  • Some substantial tax incentives are available to new residents of Portugal. The brightest example is a ten-year tax break on the NHR (Non-Habitual Resident) program that you can apply for if you hold a ‘golden visa’. Those who acquire Portuguese residency via naturalization do not qualify for this program.
  • You can open an account in any European bank without any problems. The procedure is going to take little time and the bankers will ask you very few questions.
  • There are no permanent residency requirements. You have to stay in Portugal for a week during the first year and then for a couple of weeks during four more years in order to retain your legal resident status. After five years of holding the ‘golden visa’, you become eligible for permanent residency and then full citizenship of Portugal. If you choose to acquire Portuguese citizenship via naturalization, you will have to reside in the country minimum 183 days each year for several year in a row.
  • Your children can attend Portuguese schools and then enter the Old World universities. A degree from a European university will open a great number of doors to the holder.
  • Faster acquisition of full citizenship: you can also become a citizen of Portugal via naturalization but if you opt for this opportunity, you will normally have to wait for ten to fifteen years before citizenship is granted to you.

It is obvious that the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program offers a number of essentially important advantages. Below we will provide a description of the real property that you can buy thus acquiring the right for a ‘golden visa’. Before we do so, however, we would like to discuss the problems that appeared a short while ago and that presumably shut the door for potential investors.

Why can your dream to become a legal resident of Portugal fail to come true?

There are no objective reasons for that. Full stop. You will have heard rumors about the end of the GRPP, the prohibition to sell real property in Lisbon and Porto to foreigners, and the closure of SEF offices. If you believe these rumors, you might conclude that all you can do now is acquire Portuguese residency via naturalization. But believing so is similar to believing in ghosts, Loch Ness monster, and flying saucers. All of these beliefs are equally ungrounded. 

We are not going to deny that some new difficulties have arisen over the recent months. But we insist that all these difficulties can be overcome and acquiring a Portuguese ‘golden visa’ is still possible.

Changes to the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program and its presumable termination

The Portuguese authorities declared their intention to introduce some changes to the GRPP on February 5, 2020. This declaration gave rise to dark rumors. According to the insider information that we have, there are no reasons to panic at all. Here is how things stand at the moment:

  • No changes will come into effect before January 1, 2021.
  • The applications for residency submitted before this date will be reviewed in accordance with the old (that is, currently existing) rules. The application consideration process takes time and you may receive your ‘golden visa’ in the early 2021 but if you have filed the application before the end of this year, all the new requirements will be disregarded.
  • No ‘golden visas’ issued after February 5, 2020 and before January 1, 2021 are going to be revoked or cancelled.
  • We can claim with a high degree of probability that the new restrictions that were intended to be implemented are going to be abolished of postponed for an indefinite period of time. The reason for this is quite obvious: all national economies will incur some losses due to the SARC-CoV-2 pandemic and the economy of Portugal is not an exception. The Portuguese GRPP brings income to the national budget that is going to suffer as it is. Pushing away extra money that foreign investors bring to the country’s economy would be highly unreasonable on the part of the Portuguese Government without doubt.  

The COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of SEF offices

First of all, we would like to note that Portugal is doing much better in combating the deadly virus than many other countries of the world including most European states. The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus is less than a thousand in Portugal while the number of infected people is about 20,000 as of today. Over 30,000 people have died of the virus in the United States and over 20,000 have died in Spain and in Italy while hundreds of thousands are infected in these countries. Portugal looks safe indeed in comparison.

As far as the closure of Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) offices is concerned, some ‘experts’ have claimed that it marks the end of the Golden Residence Permit Program. These claims cannot be further from the truth, as a matter of fact. Why Portugal is so successful in fighting the pandemic is probably because strict quarantine measures are taken in the country. It is true that the SEF offices have been closed all throughout the country since April 3. But they are closed exactly due to the quarantine requirements and only temporarily. It is expected that by July 1, the pandemic problem will cease to be so acute and all SEF offices will resume operations after this date.

Of course, it is too early to say that the offices are certainly going to be reopened on the said date. Nobody really knows how exactly the situation will progress. What is important, however, is to understand that the current suspension of SEF operations is not an indication of the end of the GRPP. The Portuguese authorities will resume acceptance of application for residence via the ‘golden visa’ program sooner or later.

Every cloud has a silver lining, as you know, and the temporary suspension of SEF operations can be used wisely, in fact. The preparation for submitting an application for a ‘golden visa’ takes considerable efforts and collecting the required documents takes time. It would be a very good idea to use this pause to make yourself ready to apply when this opportunity returns. Please contact our experts at [email protected] and start preparing for application while there is time! When the SEF offices are open again in a couple of months, you can proceed with applying for a ‘golden visa’ immediately.

Residence in Portugal through investment: a description of the property location

Sao Pedro de Penaferrim region (the municipality of Sintra) is not the largest region in Portugal. Its area is only 26.4 square kilometers (10.2 sq. miles) and the population is 14,000 people. This is not the place where you will find vibrant nightlife nor wild parties. Besides, the region is located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away from the ocean coast, which means you have to drive to reach the beach. Neither are there large industrial objects nor advanced financial infrastructure in the area so doing business on site is also problematic. 

Why do we recommend this apartment to you then? There are some good reasons for that indeed. First of all, we are offering an apartment that is located in an elite residential complex popular among celebrities. In particular, Cristiano Ronaldo the footballer, Dania Neto the supermodel, and Jose Socrates the ex-prime minister of Portugal have accommodations there. You must agree this is a nice company to have as your neighbors.

Another reason for purchasing the apartment is the large quantity of historical sites that you will find in the vicinity. If you are above the go-go age, you will enjoy seeing a number of tourist attractions in the area.  

One more factor that speaks for this apartment is its overall high quality. It can be described as ‘affordable luxury’ without any unnecessary ‘show-off’ elements.

The interior design is wholesome and complete. The highest quality materials have been used for the decorations with an accent of bright wood colors. The style of the apartment is just flawless. In addition to that, it is located in a gated condominium with a swimming pool so you can enjoy calm evenings there in a good company of the rich and famous.

The most interesting sites to see in the area:

  • Castelo dos Mouros. A moor castle that dates back to the IX century A.D. It was an example of advanced engineering at the time when it was constructed but with the invention of artillery, the castle lost its strategic importance.
  • Chalet da Condessa D’Edla. A fascinating exotic house built by King Ferdinand II for his wife. Elegant interior design and a nice garden add to the attractiveness of this site.
  • Convento dos Capuchos. Capuchins’ monastery that surprises by its small and very uncomfortable cells where the monks used to sleep when they were not praying.  
  • Palacio Nacional e Jardins de Queluz. A classical Portuguese palace resembling the French Versailles in a way. The palace served as kings’ residence for 200 years (the building was completed in 1767). This monumental piece of Rococo architecture is among the most famous such pieces in Portugal.
  • Quinta da Regaleira. This estate is famous for its amazing garden in the first place. The house is built in the neo-gothic style typical of the early XX century but it has a national flavor. The rumor has it that the mason order members used to love this place. If you are fond of mysteries, you will be interested in visiting the site.
  • Vila Sassetti. A XIX century villa very popular with tourists. It looks gorgeous and luxurious from the outside but it feels very comfy and cozy inside.
  • Ancient Duck Houses at Park of Pena. An astonishingly beautiful park where you can take long walks enjoying the nature and watching the ducks, the geese, and the swans swimming in the ponds. A perfect place for a lover of peace and quiet.
  • Penedo de Adrenunes. This is a sort of a ‘joint venture’ of humans and wild nature. It is somewhat similar to Stonehenge but it is definitely much more romantic. You must see the place if you still feel romantic inside notwithstanding your age.
  • Ponte Romana da Catribana. The time when this building was constructed remains unknown. The tourist guidebooks say it was built in the early Middle Ages. We cannot be sure if this estimation is correct but we confirm that it feels like you are in a medieval city when you visit this site.
  • Farol do cabo da Roca. This is only one of many lighthouses that you can find in Portugal. However, when the sun goes down, the daytime noise disappears, the wash reaches your ears, and the moon glade appears on the water you start feeling as if you were travelling to a different reality. The site is breathtaking indeed.

Residence in Portugal through investment: the restaurants in the area

There is quite a number of places to eat in Sao Pedro Penaferrim region. As this is quite a pompous location, we will not mention fast food diners nor inexpensive cafes but dwell on fine dining restaurants instead. There are many of those in the area and all of them offer perfect design, perfect service, and perfect dishes.

Which one should you choose? You can make the final choice only when you have visited each of the restaurants. Each of them will have its own zest, its own selling point, its own house specials, and other properties that make it different from the competitors. Allow yourself some time the explore the opportunities and ultimately you will find the place that fits your taste better than others do.

The fine dining restaurants in the area that we recommend:

  • A Raposa. An exceptionally stylish place. Huge windows, high ceilings, vintage furniture, and a massive mirror. There you will find home-made dishes and everything tastes wonderful. The service is quite unusual.
  • Arola. A rare case when a hotel restaurant is so good. You can dine at the chef’s table there. Your bill is going to be rather high but this is always the case with Michelin-starred restaurants.
  • Seteais Restaurant. Classic Portuguese cuisine can be found there. Highest quality of all dishes, an amazing wine card, expensive-looking interior design, and elegance in every detail. Visiting this restaurant is a must for everyone who appreciates classics.
  • Penha Longa Mercatto. Probably the best Italian restaurant in the Larger Lisbon area. The interior design as well as the meat dishes deserve special attention.
  • Fortaleza do Guincho. Many places serve sea food in Portugal but this restaurant is exceptional. The chefs there are true artists when it comes to preparing fish. The only problem is that you cannot stop eating when you make an order: whatever you try, it is absolutely delicious. This is not the place to think about your calories. The Michelin star is well deserved.
  • LAB by Sergi Arola. A stylish and elegant fine dining restaurant. Please do not be surprised by the high prices: having a Michelin star in the ‘International Cuisine’ category will serve as a justification.
  • Spices. This is the best oriental restaurant in the region. If you think that ‘real’ sushi and maki are made in Japan alone, you might be wrong. Visit this place and you will see that the oriental food that is served here matches in quality the food you can find in Tokyo or Osaka.  
  • Miguel Laffan at Atlantico Bar & Restaurant. This place offers wonderful interior design and a marvelous view from the window. The dishes taste good and you never notice the waiter who is servicing your table. This justifies the high prices.
  • Gourmet Restaurant. One more Michelin-starred restaurant. It specializes in international, Italian, and Portuguese cuisine. We recommend going there in the evening and booking a table by the window.
  • Nau Palatina. This is a more affordable and a more popular place. TripAdvisor followers consider it the best restaurant in the region. It is small and cozy and you feel at home there. If Michelin stars shine too bright for you, try this place and you will want to come back again and again.

Why are we saying this? Just to make you see that there are areas in Portugal where you can live in luxury. Maybe there are fewer fine dining restaurants in Sao Pedro Penaferrim region than you can find in Paris, but the ones that are located in this part of Portugal are as good as the finest French restaurants.

Residence in Portugal through investment: the apartment for sale

We have saved the information about the apartment for sale in Portugal for the final section of the paper and there are some reasons for that. What makes a piece of real property elite? The exterior and interior design materials are important, of course, as well as the furniture, the household appliances and the views from the window. We believe, however, that the essential characteristic of an elite building is its location. We have described the location above and below you will find a description of the apartment details.

The objective properties of the apartment:

  • Its total area is 146 square meters (around 1,570 sq. ft.).
  • There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms there.
  • There is also a living room in the apartment. All the windows face south.
  • There is a separate storage room.
  • The apartment is located in a gated condominium.
  • All the infrastructure objects are within walking distance: trade centers, shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, a garage, and so on.
  • A parking lot for 1 car is available.
  • The parking area is easily accessible.
  • Free access to the swimming pool, the garden, and the gym.

The interior design:

  • The accent is made on bright colors and hues of the color of wood.
  • There are pictures and photographs on the walls.
  • There is a fireplace in the apartment.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped: air extraction, built-in stove, microwave oven, small appliances such as mincing machine, blender, and so on. There are also nice-looking cupboards in the kitchen.
  • Vintage-style furniture that is perfectly functional and sturdy.
  • Rugs and carpets on the floor.
  • Point-lights instead of large ceiling chandeliers.
  • A room equipped specially for children.
  • Large and soft beds.
  • Cozy and highly functional bathrooms.

You can purchase the apartment and let it on a lease, which is what many applicants for a ‘golden visa’ do. But if you ask us, we find this apartment very attractive and we would like to see you lodging there with your family. Yes, you will probably have to drive to work and the beach is outside walking distance too but the area is so comfortable for living that you will be happy to return to your apartment after a long day in the office (or at the beach).

We sincerely wish you good health and every success in whatever you do. The SEF offices are expected to reopen on July 1 and there is actually not too much time left before this date! Finding the right piece of property to invest into in order to acquire legal residency in Portugal is not an easy task at all and it certainly takes time. Please contact us via [email protected] and we will help you make the best choice of property and prepare all the necessary application documents so that you can be among the first ones who apply for Portuguese residency when this opportunity is available again. Strike while the iron is hot!