In February 2023, Portugal proposed a “Mais Habitação” or “More Housing” bill that would, in part, suspend the entire Golden Visa immigrant investor program in an effort to address housing availability in the country, as discussed in an earlier blog post. Since that writing, there have been significant updates.

Legislative Progress

In July 2023, Portugal’s Assembly of the Republic approved a version of the bill that ended the Golden Visa program’s real estate-based investment options. This marked a substantial restructuring, mitigating the possibility of a complete program shutdown. The restructured bill was then sent to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo.

On Aug. 21, 2023, President Rebelo vetoed the bill, deeming it inefficient and sending it back to the Assembly for further deliberation. Nevertheless, the Assembly proceeded to pass the bill without changes in September 2023. Unless the president requests the Constitutional Court to revise the bill – which is improbable since his veto was based on economic reasons rather than legality concerns – the new law will take effect the day after its publication in the Official Gazette, expected to occur within the next 60 days.

Anticipated Changes

Under the new law, no new residence visa applications would be considered for real estate investments. The law also would eliminate the option of making a capital transfer of at least €1 million into a Portuguese bank account as a basis for receiving the Golden Visa. Currently, those who have previously received authorization under this program will be able to renew the authorization.

Continuation of Other Investment Options

The Golden Visa program’s other investment options will continue, including:

  • Investment in non-real estate collective investment structures, such as funds.
  • Investment in preexisting companies, fostering job creation and contributing to their share capital.
  • Investment donations to support artistic or scientific endeavors.