Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Applying for an overseas residency is not a small decision. Applying via the route of a sizeable investment is an even bigger one and deserves careful thought and planning. Among the many factors to consider, the timing of your application and the associated activities is critical in achieving your second residency goals. Here are three important factors, and at least 2 of them are relevant even if you are considering a country other than Portugal for your Residency by Investment (here are some reasons why Portugal remains the most popular in Europe).
1. Changes in Portugal Golden Visa rules w.e.f. 01 Jan 2022:
In 2019, Portugal announced that it would be introducing some changes to the investment criteria for the Golden Visa programme, mainly in order to encourage real estate investments outside the popular centres of Lisbon, Porto and the world-famous coastal regions, where property prices had run up considerably. And so earlier in 2021, it was decided that w.e.f. 1st Jan 2022, real estate investments in Lisbon, Porto and the coast, including the Algarve, will no longer be eligible for the Golden Visa. Further, the limits for certain other investment routes like capital transfer and venture fund investments will also be increased from Jan 2022.
Of course, there are other many attractive locations for real estate investments, including the interiors of the Algarve, that will remain eligible, but if you are very keen on any of these popular destinations, then it is imperative that the investment is completed by 3rd quarter of 2021 to enable you to submit your application before the deadline for change (31st December 2021).
2. Foreign Currency Remittance from India (LRS):
As we are aware, under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the RBI, an Indian citizen and resident can remit a maximum of $250,000 overseas in a financial year. For the Portugal Golden Visa, the lowest limit for a real estate investment is €280,000 (approx $330,000). With the additional taxes, legal costs, administrative costs etc, it is safe to budget at least €310,000 (~$370,000) for the process (it can be significantly higher for residency by investment programmes of other countries). And the entire eligible investment must be in the sole name of the main applicant, which means LRS limits of family members cannot be combined to make up the required sum of $370,000.
As a result the only way to have the required amounts available overseas in foreign currency is by remitting them over multiple financial years (minimum 2 financial years). Therefore it becomes critical to plan ahead so that you have the requisite sums in foreign currency by the time you are ready to invest and apply for the Golden Visa.
3. Applications for Dependents under Family Reunification:
Many Residency By Investment plans allow the main applicant to include their spouse and dependents under the same investment. However, the age limits and other criteria vary from country to country. For Portugal, children under the age of 18 years can be included. Older children (up to the age of 26 years) can also be included provided they are dependent on the applicant, and are unmarried.
The important thing to note is that the older children must be dependent and unmarried, not just at the time of the first application, but also for every subsequent renewal. The Portuguese Golden Visa is valid for a period of 2 years and then must be renewed at the end of Year 2 and again at the end of Year 4. Which means that starting from the first application, till at least the 2nd renewal (a period of at least 5 years), the adult children must be dependent on the main applicant, and unmarried.
Considering the fact that it is common for children to graduate around the age of 22 or 23, and then maybe start working, it is imperative that if you wish to include your children in your application, they should ideally be under the age 17 at the time of applying. In general, it is always easier if they are minors throughout the 5-6 year process, so the earlier you start, the better.
I hope this article is useful in helping plan the timing of your application for Residency By Investment. Of course, the rules vary from country and to country and also from time to time, so it's important to check on the current rules at the time you are considering applying.