The end of golden visas was confirmed by António Costa, Portuguese Prime Minister.
The Investment Program was launched in 2012 and attracted 6,118 million euros of investment.
After more than a decade of contributing to the growth of real estate and the national economy, the golden visa regime in Portugal has ended. Therefore, all requests for new visa gold made after the 16th of February are no longer considered valid. However, residence permits for investment under the terms of the general regime will remain in force. At a press conference in Almada, the prime minister announced to explain some of the most controversial measures of Mais Habitação, approved by the Council of Ministers, this Thursday.
“Nothing justifies the existence of a special regime for golden visas,” declared António Costa, noting that between 2012 and 2023, most of these residence permits (89%) were intended exclusively for real estate purchase. “In only 22 cases was their job creation”, points out the leader of the Socialist Executive with an absolute majority, recalling that during the program’s validity period, a total of 11,758 residence permits were granted to foreign citizens.
According to António Costa, “the visas already granted are guaranteed” so that the residence permits granted under that program will, at the time of renewal, be converted into regular residence permits, identical to those of any other foreign citizen.” argues “everyone will be treated by the general law and without jeopardizing legal certainty.”Golden visas for entrepreneurial projects remain in force.
In the case of renewal of visas already granted, every two years, “the same is safeguarded by the conversion of the residence permit into authorization for entrepreneurial immigrants and provided that the respective requirements are met, duly verified by the competent authorities for the verification of the entrepreneurial project in the course,” is also read in the document that details the measures announced by the Government.
It is further explained that “in the case of gold visas requested and not yet granted, it is safeguarded that those pending from the SEF or pending prior control procedures in the municipalities are officially processed in the residence permit regime for entrepreneurial immigrants.”
This type of visa includes, for example, the Startup Visa, a program to welcome foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop an entrepreneurship and innovation project in Portugal to grant a residence visa or residence permit. But that’s not all: new visa applications are assessed taking into account the economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural relevance of the investment.
What about short-term rental licenses: what changes?
The government announced the suspension of new AL licenses, but only in high-density areas.
The new restriction in AL will only apply to apartments and hostels integrated into buildings.
The Council of Ministers approved the bill on March 30. Issuance of new AL licenses will even be suspended until 2030, but only in high-density territories or where there is a lack of houses to live in. In addition, this restriction will only apply to apartments and hostels integrated in autonomous fractions, advanced the prime minister. Other innovations that emerged from the public discussion include the creation of a new expiry regime for non-active AL licenses and the reduction of the extraordinary contribution to the AL to 20% (instead of 35%).
This is the summary:
- Suspension of new AL (Local Accommodation) licenses only in apartments and high density areas
- Reassessment of current AL licenses by municipalities in 2030
- New expiry regime for non-active AL licenses
- An extraordinary contribution to AL lowered from 35% to 20%
- The incentive to move AL houses to rent remains
- Condominiums continue to be able to lock AL in a building
The Government recognizes that Local Accommodation (AL) has had significant growth year after year. “There are currently 109,890 homes allocated to the AL. And this year alone, between January and February, there were over 2,017 homes that were no longer available for housing and were allocated to this economic activity. Therefore, this economic activity has a very large impact on access to housing by Portuguese families and requires regulation”, began by explaining António Costa at the press conference that followed the meeting of the Council of Ministers, where two bills and a “Mais Habitação” decree-law got the green light.
In his speech, the prime minister stressed that the public debate – which ended on March 24 – resulted in some changes to what was initially proposed in terms of LA. The measures adopted in the meantime now come to “guarantee a balance between housing responses and the continuity of Local Accommodation, especially in areas of greater pressure.”
“For now, it is better to suspend the issuance of new Local Accommodation licenses because each house that is going to AL is one less house for families to live in – and this is not an abstract reality,” said António Costa
Suspension of new AL licenses only in apartments and high density areas
Issuance of new Local Accommodation licenses will be suspended until December 31, 2030, as the Government had already indicated in the Mais Habitação program. But this Thursday, António Costa clarified the type of property and the territories where this measure will be applied.
Now, the suspension of new AL licenses will only be applied to the following types:
- accommodation establishments integrated into an autonomous fraction of a building.
In other words, local accommodation installed in houses is left out. “This restriction only applies to apartments and autonomous fractions. Wherever there are houses, there are no restrictions of any kind, and it will continue to be possible to grant new licenses for the AL”, clarified the prime minister in his speech.
Afterward, the suspension of new AL licenses will only be foreseen in certain territories that meet the following conditions:
- until the respective municipality approves the Municipal Housing Letter, in the case of territories that do not fit the concept of low density (Ordinance 208/2017, of 13 July)
- whenever the municipalities declare a housing shortage, and as long as it continues.
Regarding the municipalities’ role in managing the AL, António Costa clarified that “it is foreseen in the Basic Housing Law that each municipality draws up its Municipal Housing Letter. From the moment the municipality considers that their limit has been reached, there is no longer any suspension of the issuance of new AL licenses”, he further clarifies. “the supervisory powers of Parish Councils” were extended.
“All municipalities that, under the terms of the Basic Housing Law, are considered to be in a situation of housing shortage (…) “will not be able to grant new licenses for local accommodation.
António Costa also made it very clear which are the cases in which, after all, the suspension of new LA licenses will not be applied (if the legislation obtains the green light by the President of the Republic):
- does not apply to autonomous regions; therefore, Madeira and Azores can continue to issue rental licenses for apartments without any restriction.
- does not apply to the 165 municipalities class