Good news for South Africans who have invested in Portugal’s Golden Visa programme – which offers residency via investment in property – is that the first Portugal Citizenship has just been issued, with many more in the pipeline and due to be granted in coming months, says Chris Immelman, who heads up Pam Golding International.
“This is a major step forward and very positive news for investors whose visas are already being processed, but more importantly, it provides considerable comfort for those still considering the Golden Visa programme in order to acquire residency and citizenship.”
Immelman said residency enables applicants to live, work and study and Portugal – with travel rights in Schengen Europe, while citizenship allows you and your immediate family to live, work and study in any of the EU countries.
Citizenship a step closer
“After some amendments were made to the original legislation, the programme really gained traction in late 2013, while Pam Golding International became involved in 2014. Initially the Golden Visa legislation provided for five years of residency, after which you could apply for permanent residency, and one year later then apply for citizenship.
“However, this has recently been amended, allowing applicants to skip the permanent residency step and apply for citizenship immediately after fulfilling the first five years of residency requirements,” said Immelman.
He said that 300 South African families are in the programme – all in various stages.
“In recent years and recently more than ever, we’ve continued to see strong interest and a rising uptake in Portugal – specifically Lisbon and Porto. While originally the requirement was for a €500 000 investment, it is now possible to enter the Golden Visa programme with an entry level investment of just €350,000, which makes it far more accessible to South Africans.
“Permanent residency is achievable in year six and citizenship in year seven. Portugal has relatively low tax rates of about 20 percent and no wealth or inheritance tax or tax on overseas pensions.”
In regard to accessibility, Immelman said the Pam Golding recently launched an opportunity to invest in the group’s first apartment development in Portugal, called Santa Catarina Place, which qualifies for the €350,000 Golden Visa category.
“Apart from all the benefits of ultimately acquiring EU Citizenship, the minimum investment in the Golden Visa programme affords applicants visa-free travel in all 26 countries in the Schengen zone and enables them to live and study or work in any of the EU countries. Portugal is ranked 5th in the world in terms of travel freedom – as from July 2019, Portuguese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival to 184 countries and territories.”