Residency visas in Portugal obtained through investing in property are proving popular by Chinese nationals, according to official figures.
Approximately 80% of investors who have visas to live in Portugal through the countries real estate investment route came from China, data from the Foreign Ministry shows.
A total of 318 visas have been issued under a plan since the scheme began a year ago, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Francisca Seabra. Of those, 248 went to Chinese nationals, 15 to Russians, the next biggest group with other investors from Angola and Brazil.
Spain has recently introduced a similar visa scheme where non-European Union nationals can obtain a residency visa by investing a minimum amount in property, as has Cyprus and Greece. The idea is that wealthy foreigners will help to boost the real estate market in return for a visa.
In Portugal and Spain the visa programmes have a minimum investment of €500,000. Greece and Cyprus offer fast track permits for purchases of at least €250,000 and €300,000, respectively.
Non-European nationals who transfer one million euros or more in capital or create at least 10 jobs in Portugal can also qualify for the visas.
Seabra said that the visa scheme in Portugal is proving popular and up to 400 visas could be granted this year and there are no plans to limit the number of permits investors can get next year. ‘The Portuguese visa program has provided a decisive stimulus to the real estate market’s recovery,’ she added.
The holders of these so called golden residence permits for investment activity have the right to bring their families to live and may be able to gain access to a permanent residence permit, as well as to Portuguese citizenship under the current legal provisions.
Applicants can apply online, at Portuguese diplomatic or consular offices and via the Immigration and Borders Service in Portugal.
In the case of real estate, the applicant needs to provide an up to date certificate from the Real Estate Registry.