Portugal’s Golden Visa Programme, whereby non-EU citizens can obtain Portuguese residence permits and citizenship via investment in the country, remains a very popular option – especially for South Africans looking for visa-free access to Europe.
By mid-2020, over 8 736 residence permits were issued since the start of the programme, equating to 14 936 residence permits if the family members of the main applicant were included.
With the visa, applicants and their families can live and work in Portugal as well as travel visa-free throughout the European Schengen area.
“A key benefit of the programme is that applicants don’t need to immigrate to Portugal to hold the Golden Visa. They only need to spend (on average) seven days a year in Portugal to meet the residency requirements of the programme,” said Andrew Rissik director with migration, wealth and forex specialists, Sable International.
“It means you can make a sound offshore investment and secure your family’s future without the hassle of relocating to a completely new country.”
The Golden Visa not only allows the holder to live and work in Portugal, but also affords them the right to visa-free travel throughout the European Schengen area.
Through the Portuguese residency programme, South Africans can qualify for permanent residence after five years.
Portuguese citizenship (an EU passport) gives you the right to live and work in the EU, which currently includes the United Kingdom.
Rissik says that South Africans are mostly attracted to the prospect of dual residency, visa-free travel in Europe, the option to invest a relatively affordable overseas property, and the great tax benefits.
To qualify for the programme, applicants need to make an investment in the Portuguese economy. “There are a few routes available to investors – the most popular are the €350 000 [about R6.4-million] private equity capital investment and the purchasing of property with a value of €500 000 or €350 000,” said Rissik.
“Once you have invested, you will be granted a residency permit, which allows you to enter and/or live in Portugal and travel freely within most EU countries.
The Golden Visa is valid for an initial period of two years and is renewed for a further two years every two years.