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Latest update on Portugal’s golden visa program

January update 2024: Residency application delays now count towards Portuguese citizenship requirements

Portugal has enacted a major change to its nationality law, bringing relief to thousands affected by delays in residency application processing.

Key Changes

  • Previously, the 5-year residency period required for naturalization began when the initial residency permit was issued, per Article 6 Paragraph 4.
  • Now under the amended Article 15 Paragraph 4, the time between submitting the residency application and its approval will count towards the residency period for nationality, if granted.
  • The changes take effect on the first day of the month after publication in the Official Gazette, expected 1 February 2024.


  • Applicants facing delays due to COVID-19, the Ukrainian war, and immigration department restructuring will have their waiting time counted
  • For example, those applying for residency in 2024 can now fulfill the 5-year requirement by 2029, regardless of processing delays
  • The legislative proposal passed with broad consensus, so no issues are expected before final ratification by the President


This is a welcome development for thousands of residency applicants in Portugal’s busy immigration system. With SEF transitioning to AIMA and processing times frequently extending past a year, many faced uncertainty about when they could apply for citizenship.

Now, applicants can have confidence their waiting time in residency limbo will still count towards naturalization. This brings Portugal’s nationality law into alignment with other EU countries like Spain.

The change signals Portugal’s ongoing commitment to attracting and integrating skilled immigrants, even amidst the processing challenges of recent years. As application volume continues to rise, lawmakers are taking steps to assure applicants they will still be able to pursue citizenship in a reasonable timeframe.

2023 updates

In a momentous stride towards revitalizing the Portugal golden visa program, the Portuguese parliament has unanimously endorsed a series of ground-breaking amendments. These modifications, meticulously designed to invigorate strategic sectors and bolster the economic vibrancy of lesser-developed regions, now stand poised for the definitive seal of approval through presidential ratification.

Program enhancements – approval and overview

Emerging onto the international stage in 2012, Portugal’s Golden Visa program has scripted a resounding success story. This visionary initiative has fostered an influx of over €6.5 billion and provided the gateway to EU residency for a commendable cohort of more than 10,000 investors. A closer look at the landscape of this transformative program illuminates the path that has brought us to the cusp of evolution.

The past and present of Portugal’s golden visa program

Pioneering the convergence of investment and residency, Portugal’s Golden Visa Program, launched in 2012, has forged a dynamic bridge for global investors. Its legacy is etched in the inflow of €6.5 billion and the empowerment of over 10,000 individuals with EU residency. As it stands at the threshold of transformation, a retrospective glance unveils its extraordinary journey.

New investment avenues – novel options unveiled

The evolving vista of the Golden Visa program promises a paradigm shift in investment avenues. This transformation is characterised by:

  1. Real estate reimagined: A strategic recalibration of eligible residential properties, excluding major urban centres, while commercial investments within these regions remain a potent avenue.
  2. Pioneering investment channels: Forging uncharted territories through €500,000+ venture capital funds, substantial €5 million infrastructure ventures, and strategic capital infusions into companies.
  3. Fostering prosperity through employment: The resonance of investment: €350,000 creating a symphony of ten or more local jobs, painting a portrait of employment-driven prosperity.
  4. Catalysts of innovation: Investment journeys exceeding €500,000 into research and development, technical ingenuity, and scientific frontiers.
  5. Heritage resonance: A €500,000+ investment into accredited cultural institutions and heritage conservation opens doors to a residency narrative rooted in legacy.

Implementation timeline and transition

As the anticipation mounts, the program’s evolution navigates a structured timeline:

  • Awaiting presidential ratification: The forthcoming decision, anticipated by July 19th, 2023, marks the culmination of parliamentary endorsement.
  • The countdown to change: Following ratification, the impending transformation is poised to take effect within a succinct three-week interval.
  • Present amidst transition: During this juncture, the existing program retains its vigour, allowing aspirants to chart their course under prevailing guidelines.

Guidance for applicants – navigating change

In this era of transformation, the clarion call of guidance resounds:

  • The haven for approved investors: A sanctuary of assurance for approved applicants as their residency rights remain steadfast amid the transition.
  • Pathways for pending applicants: For those underway, the choice stands between current regulations and embracing the evolving panorama.
  • Navigating the uncharted: Prospective investors stand at the crossroads, empowered to sculpt their journey through proactive consultation and astute decision-making.

Addressing common questions – clarity amidst transformation

  • A proclamation of continuity: Amidst the speculation, Portugal affirms the unwavering continuation of the Golden Visa program, now fortified through diversification.
  • Navigating the labyrinth: The guidance of advisors serves as a compass, deciphering the individual contours of applicant scenarios and objectives.

In the tapestry of evolution, the Portugal golden visa program paves a transformative trajectory, ushering a mosaic of opportunities for investors seeking the harmonious interplay of residency and investment excellence.