Portugal is shutting down its popular ‘golden visa’ program. Here are two ways you can still get a residence permit (for less money).

  • Portugal is shutting down its “golden visa” scheme as part of its efforts to fight the housing crisis.
  • Under the program, foreigners who purchased property worth €500k could receive residency status. 
  • Portugal’s D7 and digital nomad visas are still open for remote workers and entrepreneurs.

Portugal is shutting down its controversial “golden visa” program that allowed investors to obtain residency permits in exchange for purchasing residential real estate worth at least €500,000. 

It’s one of several measures introduced last week designed to combat a housing crisis that advocacy groups say has been exacerbated by the program, Reuters reported. 

But the nation’s more popular — and less expensive — alternatives to the golden visa scheme are still attracting hundreds of remote workers and entrepreneurs to its shores. 

In late October, Portugal launched a “digital nomad visa” that allows remote workers from non-EU countries to live and work in Portugal for up to five years. Applicants must make at least four times the national minimum wage, or approximately $3,244 a month. 

Portugal approved 200 digital nomad visas in the program’s first three months, according to data from the Ministry of Affairs. The majority of applicants came from the US, UK, and Brazil, local outlets reported. 

Before the digital nomad visa was introduced, remote workers and entrepreneurs used the popular D7 visa (also known as the passive income visa) to receive local residency status. 

One of the most affordable programs of its kind, the D7 visa requires applicants to make only €7,200 — or about $7,673 — a year to qualify. But unlike the digital nomad visa, the income must be the result of passive investment streams, such as real estate or equity in a company, as opposed to a monthly salary. Both the D7 and digital nomad visas do not permit recipients to work local jobs.

As Portugal struggles with skyrocketing rent and inflation, housing groups claim that visas like these benefit wealthy foreigners at the expense of local residents by raising the cost of living, adding that shutting down the golden visa is not an effective way to combat real estate speculation as long as similar visas still exist, per Reuters.

But proponents of digital nomad visas, dozens of which have sprung up around the world since the pandemic, argue that they have the power to attract talent and boost local economies

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