Portugal introduces Green Visa Programme in 2019
14 January 2019
The Portuguese Government has just extended its highly acclaimed and popular Golden Visa Programme with the announcement of an additional “Green Visa Programme”. The new investment residency initiative enables foreign investors to obtain a so-called Green Visa by investing €500,000 or more in environmental development projects such as organic agriculture, ecotourism or renewable energies.
The parliamentary vote on the new Draft Bill enabling the programme was cast on 11 January 2019, with the People Animals Nature Party (PAN) proposing the bill. It was approved with a parliamentary majority by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the main opposition party, and the ruling Socialist Party (PS) voting in favour of its adoption. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), the Green party (PEV) and the Left Bloc Party (BE) voted against its adoption.
The Portuguese Golden Visa has increasingly come under pressure from Brussels, but was supported by the ruling party. The motion to terminate the existing Golden Visa Programme, tabled by the minority BE party, was defeated on the same day the Green Visa Draft Law was adopted.
The programme has proven to be massively popular among foreign investors from China, South Africa, Turkey, Russia and the Americas.
Draft Law 1055 / XIII / 4 establishes the legal basis by which foreign investors can obtain residency permits by investing in development projects in the sustainability space – commonly being referred to as the Green Visa Programme.
It is expected that the addition of this new residency visa category will support the achievement of the Portuguese Government’s National Roadmap For Carbon Neutrality 2050. The strategic roadmap seeks to prioritise the deep de-carbonisation of the Portuguese national economy, recognising carbon neutrality as a current, international and cross-generational imperative.
During the parliamentary debate on the bill, PAN MP Andre Silva is on record as saying that “The approval of the green visas will reinforce Portugal’s role in attracting international ecological investment and will guarantee, in parallel, the transition to a circular and decarbonised economy.
Predictably, the Draft Law being passed received immediate opposition from Transparency International Portugal, citing concerns around the lack of clarity around the bill, and the potentially increased risks associated risks of money laundering.
Key areas for Green Visa investment
The extended investment residency programme requires investment into areas ranging from non-intensive organic agriculture and ecotourism to renewable energies and other environmental projects. Specific areas of eligible investment include:
- 1) Ecotourism Projects: Promotion and development of projects and investments in ecotourism.
- 2) Organic Farming Investments: Promotion and development of non-intensive organic farming initiatives.
- 3) Renewable Energies Projects: investments that focus on self-consumption with energies derived from renewable sources that are governed by Decree-Law 153/2014, by Ordinance No. 14/2015 and Portaria nº 15/2015.
- 4) Carbon Neutral Investments: Active contribution to the implementation of the Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality.
- 5) Renewable Energy Investments: investments that focus on self-consumption with energies derived from renewable sources that are governed by Decree-Law 153/2014, by Ordinance No. 14/2015 and Portaria nº 15/2015.
- 6) Energy and Renewables Projects: Development of projects with demonstrably high standards of energy and a mandatory consumption level of 75% or more for energy derived from 100% renewable sources.
This draft law follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, Law 29 / 2012 of August 9th, which paved the way for the current Golden Visa Programme, which requires third country nationals to invest in Portuguese properties.
The programme extension also comes off the back of the government’s recent introduction of a €350,00 property fund investment option under the existing Golden Visa Programme.
JUNE 2019 UPDATE: Also be sure to check out the recently launched Portugal Angel Investment Visa programme, with investments starting from only €195,000 for a family of 4.