Caiado Guerreiro & Associados: Immigration update Portugal - September 201210/11/2012

Maria Margarida Torres
David Coimbra Paula


On August 9, 2012 the Government published law No. 29/2012, which approved the legal regime concerning the entry, residence, exit and expulsion of foreign nationals and amended law 23/2007 of July 4, thus implementing the European Parliament and Council Regulation No. 810/2009 of July 13.

This new law is particularly innovative since it creates a new system of Residence Permit for Investment Activity, specified in Article 90 – A of said law. To this end, the new law was accompanied by the Portuguese Government’s Order No. 11820 - A/2012 of September 3, which defines the conditions for the applicability of said scheme and becomes effective on October 8, 2012.

In order to attract and facilitate higher investment in the Portuguese territory, more favorable rules were created regarding nationals of countries outside the EU wishing to engage in investment activities in Portugal. In view of the new law, the previously essential prerequisite of obtaining a valid residence visa is no longer required, thus now being the residence permit granted without the need for said visa provided that certain conditions are verified.

In addition to the general requirements applicable to all third-country nationals, which were already provided for in the previous law, it is also required that these investors cumulatively have a valid Schengen visa (but no longer a valid residence visa); have their situation in Portugal regularized within 90 days from the date of the first entry in Portugal; and that they come to pursue an "investment activity", for a minimum period of 5 years. The law considers, for this purpose, as an investment activity:
1. Capital Transfer in the amount equal to, or greater than, 1 million Euros (with the exception of investment in shares of non-listed companies);
2. Creation of at least 30 jobs (and the respective registration of the workers with the Social Security);
3. Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to, or greater than, 500 thousand Euros (provided that the investor has full ownership of the real estate and that said real estate is free of any covenants or encumbrances).

This investment activity may be engaged in person or through a company, in which case the Residence Permit for Investment Activity may be obtained within the limits corresponding to the proportion of the applicant’s shareholding in the company that carries out the investment.

These measures, which intend to be a focus for foreign investment, were also accompanied by the "EU Blue Card", a special system of entry and residence for highly qualified professionals, also covering their families and common to all Member States, which aims to facilitate and promote the entry of these workers in Portugal, provided that, among other requisites, they have an employment contract with a duration of at least one year and an annual income of at least 1.2 times the national average gross annual income.

The content of this information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. If you have any question on a matter of Portuguese law, please contact us directly.