Investors have shown interest in the Portugal Golden Visa programme despite the recent implemented changes to its nationality law.
Portugal’s nationality law has made significant changes, impacting the eligibility criteria for citizenship.
The recent update allows the time spent waiting for residency approval to count towards the period required for citizenship eligibility.
This aims to simplify the immigration process for applicants.
Introduction of AIMA Digital Services
The Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) is spearheading the implementation of these changes, including the imminent launch of a digital services portal.
Revisions to the Regulatory Decree of the Foreigners’ Law coincide with the restructuring of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).
This reflects efforts to adapt to changing needs and bolster security measures in immigration matters.
AIMA’s primary goal is to regulate family reunification cases, alongside commitments to technological improvement and citizen responsiveness.
Redefining Residency Requirements
Article 15 of the nationality law has been redefined to integrate the waiting time for temporary residency permit approval into the total legal residency period necessary for citizenship.
Previously, a five-year residency in Portugal was mandatory for citizenship. Now, the time from submitting the residency application to its approval is considered part of this requirement.
Prospective residents aiming for Portuguese citizenship can now expect to meet the five-year residency criterion more efficiently, regardless of application processing delays.
The revision benefits applicants of various visas, including the D7 and the Portugal Golden Visa Programme, streamlining their path to citizenship.
This nationality law revision provides relief to applicants experiencing residency approval delays, allowing these delays to count towards the citizenship application process.
Overall, this amendment aims to enhance the experience of individuals wishing to settle in Portugal by simplifying the residency to citizenship process.
Citizenship Application Trends in Portugal
AIMA inherited 350,000 pending regularisation processes, primarily involving expressions of interest from non-EU citizens already working in Portugal and cases of family reunifications.
According to AIMA the number of Brazilian applicants has increased in the recent years.
From 2018 to 2022, there was an 81 per cent increase in citizenship applications from Brazilians, with approximately 89,000 applications filed during this five-year period.
Most foreign residents in Portugal come from non-European countries, constituting 76 per cent of the foreign population.
Notable nationalities include Brazilians, British, Cape Verdeans, Italians, Indians, and Romanians.
According to Pordata, the following nationalities are migrating to Portugal:
- Brazilians constitute 29.3 per cent
- British at 6 per cent
- Cape Verdeans at 4.9 per cent
- Italians at 4.4 per cent
- Indians at 4.3 per cent
- Romanians at 4.1 per cent.
Over the past 15 years, approximately half a million foreigners have been granted Portuguese nationality, whether residing in Portugal or not.
Portugal is recognised for its increasing openness to immigrants since 2000, as shown by the European Social Survey.
Benefits of Portugal’s Golden Visa
Securing a Portugal’s Golden Visa provides numerous advantages which include the family reunification requests, aiming to enhance efficiency and accessibility.
In addition to visa-free travel in the Schengen area, residency rights, tax benefits, and minimal stay requirements.
AIMA plans to launch a new strategy for promoting Portuguese language learning to enhance integration efforts.
This strategy includes maintaining cooperation with civil society, particularly with organisations managing Local Immigrant Assistance Centers (CLAI).