The Portuguese Golden Visa Program, launched by the Portuguese Government back in 2012, has been in many ways a good indicator of how applicants to the Program look at the country on an investment perspective, especially on how they can safely maintain their investment for the minimum required period of 5 years, and furthermore grant that such investments will be able to generate a return.

For the vast majority of the applicants, the decision to invest in a country they don’t fully know (or don’t know at all) can surely be a difficult one. And the initial motivation to do so isn’t normally financial at all. In a fast-moving world as the one we’re living in, the option of providing yourself, your family and your future generations an option to potentially relocate to a traditionally stable country and furthermore gain access to the Schengen territory, is increasingly regarded as a strategic and safety move.

The stable and regulated environment Portugal provides and the local support and know-how from all the local agents that may be involved in the different investment choices available, along with a clear set of rules the applicants need to follow, has been providing the necessary comfort to take the decision to apply for the Golden Visa and is a determining factor for the success of the Program.

In the initial stages of the Program, real estate investments were the main option of the applicants. Portugal has a very solid and simple property registration legal regime and property prices were considerably low in 2012, especially when compared to other destinations in Europe. Cities like Lisbon and Porto were the main targets of such investments, and the Golden Visa program was a key factor to ignite their urban rehabilitation. With it, we’ve witnessed that Portugal has gained attractiveness as a high-quality tourism destination, a place to relocate, to retire, to study, and beyond that, as an investor-friendly environment, with a stable political system and a reliable rule of law.

It was therefore natural that from 2018 onwards, the investment in venture capital funds started appealing to Golden Visa applicants as a proper alternative to the real estate option. The opportunity to participate in organized and highly controlled and regulated investment structures, which mandatorily need to deploy at least 60% of their capital in Portuguese domiciled companies, felt to a growing number of applicants as the most appropriate way to get into the Program and take part in what is considered as a continuation of the Golden Visa economy-transformation capabilities, with these investments being directly deployed into an economy that has so much space to grow.

The investment options in this sector grew immensely in 2021, with Regulated Portuguese Fund Managers creating venture capital funds targeting multiple areas of investment. Regardless of the fact that the Portuguese Government has from the 1st of January 2022 raised the minimum threshold of investment in these funds for Golden Visa applicants from 350,000.00 euro to 500,000.00 euro, the fact is that it still remains as one of the trendiest ways to access the Program.

The tendency is therefore that the Program can grow under this venture capital investment option and with it the local companies that will benefit of the fund’s investments, generating a virtuous cycle of development for Portugal.