How UK residents can secure European citizenship in a post-Brexit world
January 31 in 2020 will go down in history and be remembered for centuries to come.
It was the date when the UK withdrew from the EU following a divisive referendum, however, it was not until one year later that the Brexit transition period ended after a new trade deal was agreed.
People continue to be split on the positives and negatives associated to the UK’s exit from the political and economic union.
The disagreements on the key matters surrounding the issue will not be going away anytime soon.
But while the benefits of Brexit are disputed, one thing is clear. People in the UK are now eligible to apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa Program and get an European Citizenship – an opportunity that they did not have before.
What is Portugal’s Golden Visa Program?
The popular residency by investment scheme offers foreign investors from non-EU countries the chance to secure permanent residency in the country in just five years.
Launched in 2012, it allows people the chance to live and work in Portugal, along with allowing visa-free travel in the Schengen Area member states.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 countries that have removed border control measures to allow free movement of citizens.
The Golden Visa Program has played a critical role in ensuring the Portuguese economy bounced back and made a swift recovery following the global financial crisis in 2008.
The importance of the program and real estate market, along with tourism, cannot be underestimated.
More than €5.8 billion has been invested into the country thanks to the scheme following thousands of applications, with the figure continuing to increase at a rapid rate.
Chance for UK citizens to travel freely post-Brexit
Without a doubt, while Brexit may have opened up new opportunities, it has also resulted in a range of major issues for businesses and residents in the UK.
It is now harder for citizens in the country to travel freely throughout the EU.
However, along with providing a key investment opportunity, the Golden Visa Program could also allow greater access and movements in the EU for them.
A number of changes are set to be introduced to the program in 2022.
But there is still enough time for people to qualify for the scheme in its current form before the eligibility thresholds are changed.
How to qualify for the residency by investment scheme?
There are a range of options available for those looking to qualify for the scheme.
Although real estate is the most popular, it is not the only option available.
On the lower end of the scale, investors can qualify for the scheme by making a €280,000 real estate investment. However, a number of requirements will need to be met to qualify for this, including the property being in a low-density area.
Investments are usually higher than this – and it is important to note that the cheapest option may not always be the best option.
People should ensure they carry out proper due diligence and research before making a decision, while taking crucial factors into account – such as the location, local facilities, surroundings and transport links.
Away from real estate, people can also transfer capital totalling at least €1 million into a Portuguese bank account, invest €1 million into a company, or create at least 10 jobs in the nation.
Individuals who qualify for the program are offered a route to securing residency and potential citizenship in the country and, hence, European citizenship.
Life-changing opportunity for potential investors
While Brexit continues to cause division in the UK, the Golden Visa Program is something which should certainly be considered by citizens.
It could be the life-changing opportunity people have been waiting for as they set their sights on beginning the next chapter of their lives in the southern European country.
Around 1,810km separates Portugal and the UK – and the contrasts between the two nations are clear to see.
Potential investors in the UK may well be sick and tired of the rain and wind they have become accustomed to in the UK.
For those who are considering the move overseas to Portugal, then a nation which boasts sunshine, sand, a dreamy landscape and delicious cuisine awaits you.
Program shows impressive resilience amid pandemic
The impact of Portugal’s Golden Visa Program cannot be underestimated.
It has continued to display a remarkable amount of resilience and strength since being launched in 2012 – even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout 2020, a massive €646 million of investment was generated in the country thanks to the scheme.
The majority of this, €588 million, came from real estate investment.
The program has helped Portugal recover from the financial crisis and shown strength during the latest crisis, Covid-19.
Although a number of changes to the scheme are coming in, the program is here to stay and will no doubt continue delivering huge amounts of investment to boost the Portuguese economy.