Portugal's Golden Visa programme allows you to live and work in Portugal and travel visa-free throughout the European Schengen area. Picture: supplied.
Portugal's Golden Visa programme allows you to live and work in Portugal and travel visa-free throughout the European Schengen area. Picture: supplied.

Fed up South Africans are going gaga over Portugal's Golden Visa. Here's why

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Nov 18, 2021

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South Africa is the fourth most popular country that Golden Visa applicants hail from, according to Andrew Rissik of Sable International. Portugal has issued more than 416 Golden Visas to South African investors (excluding joining family members). This visa is issued to non-EU nationals who have made a specific investment in the country.

Rissik said while the Golden Visa allows you to live and work in Portugal and travel visa-free throughout the European Schengen area, the primary benefit is that you can qualify through an overseas investment.

"Rather than a donation like many other countries offering residency-by-investment, this means that you can grow your wealth while also qualifying for a visa that can lead to EU citizenship, without having to move to Portugal immediately. You gain EU citizenship after holding temporary residency status for just five years," he explained.

So, what makes it appealing for South Africans?

According to Rissik, dual residency (or nationality) for applicants and their families is the biggest drawcard for South Africans.

He said residency can be maintained with only 35 days spent in Portugal over five years.

"The GVP has proven to be a good option for South African families who don’t necessarily wish to leave South Africa now but may want to have the option in the future.

"Unlike with many other European citizenship-by-investment options, there is no government contribution required. 100% of the funds go into your investment and can generate a return," he added.

Golden Visa investment options start at €280,000 (R4,9m). The most popular option is a €500,000 (R8,7m) property investment or investment into a Private Equity Fund (PEF).

"Property provides a foreign-currency asset that can earn you rental income, while a PEF is a hands-off investment that can earn you a decent profit," he said.

He also believes that Portugal's low-cost, high standard of living, Mediterranean climate and the country being one of the safest places in the world contributes to its appeal.

Rissik does warn that travellers need to scrutinise Golden Visa programme opportunities carefully to ensure it meets all of the requirements.

"As the GVP investment rules tighten up, it is becoming increasingly complex to find and invest in a suitable property to obtain the visa. With so many people showing interest in the programme, more and more companies are targeting South Africans with Golden Visa investment opportunities.

"One of the most popular GVP investment options is in property in a qualifying low-density area. However, there are very specific zones and types of property that qualify you for the Golden Visa and the properties have to comply with the programme.

"It’s important to be particular about the properties you select in low-density areas. A developer has a vested interest in selling you their development, but what about your exit strategy? Some low-density areas are up and coming and make for an excellent investment, while others may be less appealing when you eventually wish to sell," he warned.

He said they should work with partners with a proven track record that know the laws and understand the complexities.

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