In an effort to address the growing lack of affordable property in Portugal, the government has announced that it will be ending the golden visa program. Introduced in 2012, the program allows foreigners to obtain residency by investing in Portugal, typically by purchasing a property worth at least €280,000 (but usually €500,000 or more). Data from SEF shows that Portugal has issued 11,628 golden visas between October 2012 and January 2023, with most going to people from China, Brazil, USA, Turkey, and South Africa.

The decision to end the program was made following a comment by the Prime Minister, António Costa, who stated that the golden visa has “already fulfilled the function it had to fulfil and which, at this moment, it is no longer justified to maintain.” While the focus has been on the real estate element of the program, it is unclear whether other investment routes will also be affected.

Portugal has already made changes to the program by disqualifying residential properties in hotspots like Lisbon, Porto, and much of coastal Portugal. The government may instead focus on other areas, such as the digital nomad and retiree markets. Portugal recently launched a digital nomad visa, and its D7 visa has long been popular with retirees.

Golden visas that have already been granted will be able to be renewed. The measures will be discussed for a month before being formally ratified at the Council of Ministers on March 16, 2023.