The conditions of acquiring legal residency in Portugal in 2020 remain among the most attractive ones in Europe. The Government of the country makes every effort to attract foreign investors who can contribute to the development of the national economy. Putting roots in a reputable European jurisdiction is an inviting opportunity indeed.
Unfortunately, the favorable conditions have become a little less favorable due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the intension of the Portuguese Government to make some changes to the ‘golden visa’ program. Are these factors capable of setting objective barriers to carrying out your investment plans? Let us find an answer to this question.
We have already written about the GRPP (Golden Residence Permit Program) scheme that is rightfully referred to as a gate to Europe for foreign investors. It provides for the most rapid and most transparent method of acquiring legal residency without too much red tape. When applying for this Program, you first obtain a temporary residence permit in Portugal, then after five years you obtain a permanent residence permit, and after a short while, you are granted full citizenship of the country.
The required investment amount is rather affordable if compared to some other European jurisdictions. The basic sum you have to bring to Portugal is 500,000 EUR but there are a few less expensive investment opportunities as well. Apart from purchasing real estate in the country, you can also make investments into business, science or art in Portugal thus obtaining the right for legal residence in the country. There are few conditions to meet in order to qualify for the ‘golden visa’ and they are far from strict. Thus, the factors hindering the acquisition of a residence permit in Portugal are not related to the country’s immigration legislation in any way.
Cancellation of the ‘golden visa’ program for Lisbon, Porto, and other seaside cities
Investors became worried when they heard about the Portuguese Government decision made on February 6 this year. Many publications in the Internet had scary headlines while their authors had not actually taken enough time and effort to find out what was really going on. The truth is that the devil is not so black as he is painted and there is no need to panic. What was the essence of the Government decision? Here are the facts that you should know:
- On February 6, in was resolved that the GRPP required some reconsidering but no specific decisions were made.
- According to our information, NO changes to the Program are going to be introduced before January 2021.
- The ‘golden visa’ program is not going to be terminated in all likelihood. The worst thing that may happen is the increase in the required investment amount or introduction of some additional conditions.
- Even if something changes, there will be a transition period when both the old and the new rules will apply. Simply speaking, the applications submitted before December 31, 2020 will be processed by the old standards in 2021 even if new ones are adopted neat year.
- All our sources say in unison that the pandemic is going to make the Government reconsider the introduction of tougher requirements or at least postpone it for several years. The reason for this is quite simple: the ‘golden visa’ program brings money to the state budget while the national economy will inevitably suffer from the pandemic.
Another piece of news that has set the investors worrying is the closure of SEF (Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) offices on April 3. Unfortunately, many news portals switched to the ‘panic mode’ and nearly buried the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program. They should have inquired into the issue instead. If they had, they would have seen the following:
- SEF offices are closed due to the quarantine and NOT because the ‘golden visa’ program has been terminated. They are expected to re-open on July 1 when the pandemic should be under control.
- The COVID-19 situation in Portugal is actually not so serious as in many other countries of the world. As of today, the numbers of infection and death cases is lower in Portugal than in thirteen other national states.
- If you are currently in Portugal and your visa expires before July 1, it will be automatically extended until July 30.
- If an urgent need arises, SEF officers will provide online assistance and help solve any pressing issues.
Therefore, the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program is alive and kicking. The coronavirus pandemic has made everybody adapt their plans and modes of operation but life goes on anyway. Portugal remains an attractive jurisdiction to use as a gateway to the European Union.
Please note that a large part of our services can be obtained remotely: your personal presence is often not required. This is why we recommend using the pause in the SEF operations for selecting the property to buy in Portugal and for collecting the necessary application documents.
The conditions of acquiring a residence permit in Portugal via the GRPP
These are quite simple and transparent. This does not mean, however, that you can do everything yourself. Going through the bureaucratic procedures on your own would be too demanding. Thus, you should apply for our assistance in obtaining Portuguese residence via investment, which will help you save time and effort and besides, guard you against any unnecessary spending. Please contact our specialists via firstname.lastname@example.org and discuss your plan of actions with them.
You will need to supply the following application documents:
- A valid foreign passport.
- A police clearance.
- A standard medical insurance policy.
- Several photographs.
- The NIF (Numero de Identificacao Fiscal) – tax identification number.
- A statement confirming that you are prepared to take legal responsibility for all family members included in the application for residence.
- A standard immigration application.
- Confirmation of the A2 level of the Portuguese language (required only when obtaining a permanent residence permit and citizenship).
- A document certifying purchase of real estate in Portugal such as a purchase agreement.
The available investment options:
- Option №1. 500,000 EUR or more: no other requirements apply.
- Option №2. 400,000 EUR: a 20% discount on the first option on the condition that you purchase property in a sparsely populated or not-so-well-developed area of the country.
- Option №3. 350,000 EUR: the condition is that you should purchase property that was constructed over 30 years ago and that requires restoration/ refurbishment.
- Option №4. 280.000 EUR: A 20% discount on the third option on the condition that you meet both requirements specified in Option 2 and 3.
Immigration program participants:
- The main applicant.
- His or her spouse.
- Their children under 18 or under 26 if they are full-time students.
- Their parents (if they are the main applicant and his/ her spouse dependents).
The following requirements have to be satisfied:
- The main applicabt has to be over 18 years of age.
- All applicants have to have clean criminal records.
- The applicants have to be citizens of a non-EU country.
- The applicants have to hold medical insurance policies.
- In order to preserve the temporary resident status and then acquire the permanent resident status the applicants have to spend minimum 7 days in the country during the first year of holding the permit and minimum 14 days during each of the following four years.
Residency in Portugal: A description of the region where the property for sale is located
Albufeira is a small town with only about 20,000 people living there. There are no big factories, nor mines, nor international trade centers in the town. The place mostly lives off tourism and the related business activities. This means that the town infrastructure is designed mainly to service guests who are often quite demanding.
Is it a disadvantage in terms of establishing permanent residence in Albufeira? We believe it is not. All the social objects necessary for a comfortable life can be found in the town. There are schools, kindergartens, medical centers, pharmacies, sports grounds, and other suchlike facilities. Besides, there are several well-equipped beaches in the area, many entertainment facilities, hotels, nightclubs, and so on. The number of cafes and restaurants in Albufeira is larger than a small town really needs.
As far as tourist attractions are concerned, there are not too many of them in the area but some sites do deserve you attention. The bridge called Ponte Medieval de Paderne and the Torre da Medronheira tower, for example, are certainly worth seeing. There are not too many medieval castles near Albufeira so this is not the best place for educational tourism. However, if you are fond of relaxing on the beach and/ or walking around green areas, you are going to love the area.
The environment defines the type of the prospective buyers who may be interested in purchasing the apartment that we are offering here. They are a young couple who have a lot of time before they reach the age of retirement. They want a comfortable place to live and to have a choice of entertainment facilities in the vicinity. They are not particularly interested in immersing into the ‘old’ Portugal with its medieval spirit. If you do not fall into this category of people, please write to us to email@example.com and we will find something else for you.
The sites in the area that we recommend visiting are as follows:
- Albufeira’s Igreja Matriz. A beautiful church even if it is not very large. You can really feel the heavenly bliss when you go inside and start to understand the fact that we often underappreciate the gift of life. The padre gives random organ concerts when he feels like it.
- Paderne Castle. A castle of the early Middle Ages. Only ruins of the castle can be found today but you feel mesmerized and filled with the medieval spirit at this site anyway. There are numerous myths and legends related to the castle and the town residents believe that many of them are actually true stories.
- Estatua de Sao Vicente de Albufeira. A monument to Saint Vincent, Portugal’s patron saint who lived in XVI century. He preached Christ even in Japan where he lost his life because of that. Martyrs are remembered with especial admiration.
- Torre da Medronheira. A tower that was constructed to protect the town from pirates. It does not look as grand as it used to but this is the case with most medieval buildings in Portugal: the country is losing the material memory of the old days. There is not much time left to see what still remains in place.
- Muralha do Castelo. The remnants of another ancient castle. The ruins look far from attractive but they will tell you more about the history of Portugal than an experienced guide can do. A true lover of medieval times should like the site.
- Ponte Medieval de Paderne. A bridge that has been there since the Middle Ages. Tourists love seeing it. It has the flavor of an old Portuguese village even though it is not more than a tourist attraction these days.
- Falesia Beach. One of the most famous beaches in the area. It differs from other local beaches by the acid-red rocks that surround it. The sand is white and very pleasant to the touch. Crowds of tourists during the high season, of course, spoil the scenery.
- Praia dos Arrifes. Probably, the most beautiful beach around Albufeira. It is famous for its implausible coral riffs that make you feel as if you are on a different planet.
- Montechoro Strip. The main street of the town and the most vibrant one. It is crowed and noisy there at any time of the day. If you are after night fun and adult adventures, you must go there. If you are not, you had better take a walk along this street during the daytime.
- Zoomarine Algarve. A classical aqua park offering the standard package of attractions: dolphins, sea-bears, birds, and some water ride facilities. Nothing special but if the kids want to visit it, why not spend a couple of hours there.
Let us now say a few words about the dining opportunities in Albufeira. There are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants in the town, which is not surprising at all since it is a tourist place. If you settle down there, you will have no problems eating out. The choice of dining places is large and you can find restaurants with various national cuisines. There are expensive luxury restaurants, those with moderate prices, and very affordable little cafes.
You should probably be cautious when visiting the places that are meant for tourists primarily. As the tourist will probably never come back to such restaurants again, the service as well as the quality of the food there is, well… Both could be better. At the same time, nowhere in the area can you find a restaurant or a café that serves gone-off meat or rotten vegetables. Eating anywhere in Albufeira is perfectly safe.
Below we are going to recommend several dining options to you. Each place boasts its own national cuisine and each has something special about it. At the end of the list, you will find two fine dining restaurants that should interest true gastrophiles.
Portuguese cuisine: Platinum — Wine & Tapas. A pearl of Albufeira loved both by locals and by tourists. It is famous for its cheeses, sausages, fruits, and, of course, the wide choice of wines.
Seafood: Cais ao Mar. Shrimps, lobsters, oysters, and fish that are served there are all works of culinary art. The seafood that you have had at home is probably going to lose all its value for you when you try the things offered in this restaurant. We highly recommend it to everybody.
Steaks: Manzo Steakhouse. A splendid stylishly decorated restaurant that all meat eaters are going to love. We do not know what the chef does when he cooks the meat but it tastes great! It is absolutely delicious! The prices are rather high though.
Indian cuisine: Jaipur. The best curry is served there. We would like to make a special note about the prices that are quite affordable in this restaurant. The service is also perfect. The only bad thing about this place is its extreme popularity. You had better book a table in advance if you would like to dine there.
Pizza: Giania. A fine choice of fillings and original spices used there will convince you that popular dishes can be made into works of art too. We recommend this place to you without any reservations.
Italian cuisine: Ristorante Pizzeria La Terrazza Del Mare. An Italian corner at the edge of Europe. If you go up to the terrace in the evening and watch the sunset, you can make a short trip to nirvana.
Chinese cuisine: Golden Garden. Many people who visit this restaurant once want to come back again and again. Fine cuisine, oriental-style service, and moderate prices make this place so attractive.
Cafe: BJ’s Cafe Bar. This café is famous for its club sandwiches, wonderful breakfasts, and a large choice of cocktails. This is not a Michelin-starred restaurant but it is likable anyway. Everything tastes great and the prices are okay.
Fine dining restaurant: Windmill – Adults Only. A stylish, cozy, and extravagant restaurant inside an old windmill. Ignore the ‘adults only’ sign and bring your family over there. You will not regret it!
Fine dining restaurant: Al Quimia. A fantastically stylish place untypical of a resort town. If you go there for dinner, it will make a wonderful impression on you. Perfect dishes, perfect service. You will not want to leave when the dinner is over.
Portugal is not regarded as a culinary center of Europe the way France is. However, many top-class chefs work there and besides, the prices are quite affordable in most cafes and restaurants in the country. Thus, there will be no threat of famine for you when you go to Portugal!
Residency in Portugal: A description of the property for sale
The task of choosing the right place to buy abroad can be very difficult especially when you are looking for a comfortable house or apartment where you are going to live instead of renting it out. A wide range of factors need to be taken into consideration: the property price, its location, the number of rooms and their sizes, the utilities available, the technical characteristics of the building, and so on and so forth.
‘The bigger the better’ approach is by far not the wisest one. A family of four to six people does not really need a place larger than 150 to 170 square meters (1,600 to 1,800 square feet). Why should you want extra space that nobody is going to use anyway?
With this in mind, the T2+1 class apartment that we are bringing for your consideration is of the optimal size. It may not look perfect but perfection is unattainable anyway. The characteristics of this place taken together make it a very nice option to consider. You can look at other options too, of course, but please be aware that such offers do not stay on the ‘for sale’ lists for a very long time.
Here are the main properties of the apartment that we are advertising here:
- Total area: 151 square meters (1625 sq. ft.).
- Location: Downtown Albufeira, a gated condominium.
- Distance to the beach: 2 to 3 minutes on foot.
- All the necessary infrastructure is within walking distance: pharmacies, hospitals, trade centers, hypermarkets, shops, gas stations, cafes, restaurants, clubs, discos, and all other sorts of entertainment facilities.
- Good access to transportation vehicles.
- A lift.
- Two and a half bathrooms.
- It is a penthouse.
- It is newly refurbished.
- It has a spacious terrace.
- A parking place is reserved.
- Climate control systems in every room.
- A fully equipped kitchen.
Speaking about the interior design of this apartment, we can say that it is reserved and sound. Accent has been placed neither on bright colors nor on dark ones. At the same time, the design has a character. We find that a young or a middle-aged family will welcome the style of the apartment.
The large open terrace that comes with the apartment deserves a special note. This feature is quite seldom to be found but this penthouse does have its own terrace. You can use it to watch the sunset or to throw barbeque parties with friends. In any case, after you spend some time in this apartment (and on the terrace) you will not want to ever leave the place.
This is a nice apartment indeed but please bear in mind that we have other investment options to suggest that will make you qualified for applying to the Golden Residence Permit Program.
Important! SEF officials have recently confirmed that all the existing applications will be processed in the order that they have been submitted when the Service offices are re-opened on July 1, 2020.
So, are the conditions for applying for Portuguese residency optimal at the moment? They are not as the coronavirus is raging around the globe. At the same time, they remain among the most attractive of those that exist anyway. It would be wise to use the times of ‘suspension’ efficiently and start preparing for application right now. Please contact us via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and start the preparation process with the assistance of our experts. We treasure the trust that our clients put into us and we will do our best to provide services of the highest quality to you.
We sincerely wish good health to you and your loved ones!