Weighed Down by Pandemic, Investment in Portugal’s Golden Visa Falls to 21-Month Low

May 5, 2020

Only 55 main applicants gained approval under Portugal’s ARI (colloquially known as the “golden visa”) during the month of March, the lowest such figure recorded since July 2018 and one that is likely to fall even further during April. Those approvals translated into investments worth EUR 28 million, bringing aggregate investments in the first quarter of 2020 to EUR 120 million which, on an annualized basis, would constitute a 35% drop in revenues compared to 2019.


The COVID-19 outbreak is, no doubt, the chief driver of the slump. While the Borders and Immigration Service (SEF) didn’t close the majority of its offices until March 30th, logistical challenges in source markets (struck by the pandemic at an earlier stage than Europe) will have rendered the timely preparation of application documents well-nigh impossible throughout most of February.

Nonetheless, some investment has managed to get through, and the upward trend in alternative investment options (any option other than the EUR 500,000 property investment) was confirmed once more in March; 28% of applicants in 2020 so far have chosen to invest under one of the seven alternative categories.


Briefly surpassed by Brazilians in February – for the first time in the program’s history – Chinese investors once more assumed their position as the top applicant nationality in March, accounting for 11 out of the 55 applicants, followed by Iranians (8), Turks (7), Russians (4), and Brazilians (3).

Want to know more about the Portuguese golden visa program? To see recent articles, statistics, official links, and more, visit its Program Page. To see which firms can assist with applications to the program, visit the Residence & Citizenship by Investment Company Directory.

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