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Could there be a backlog for applicants from a certain country for Portugal’s Golden Visa program?

I am an investor from China. Recently I heard many investors who are interested in Portugal’s Golden Visa program saying that there has been a severe delay in the adjudication of applications. I am worried that it could become an EB-5-like situation, where investors in the American program who hail from certain countries are waiting for years. Has the Portuguese government come up with any solutions to address the issue? How long is the current waiting time?

  • Caiado Guerreiro
    May 28, 2019

    The Portuguese Golden Visa program does not have quotas for applicants for the number of approvals in a determined period of time. The applications are analyzed by chronological order of entrance in the immigration office, existing six "waiting lists" corresponding to the existing regional directors of SEF in Portugal (Lisbon, Faro, Porto, Coimbra, Madeira and Azores). Portuguese law also grants equal application rights to all foreigners, regardless of their origin country or citizenship.

  • NEXT/Gali Macedo & Associados
    April 23, 2019

    At the moment, due to the enormous amount of applications for the Portuguese Golden Visa, there has in fact been a delay in the processing of applications. Since the first moment (online application) until the obtaining of the residency title, the current waiting time lays between six and eight months. Currently, the maximum of waiting time has been one year (in Lisbon). To our knowledge, a longer waiting period than this has not yet occurred. The government has been opening several spots in order to hire more employees for the SEF (the Portuguese immigration entity responsible for processing applications), in order to have more resources and hasten the processing of the applications.

  • Abreu Advogados
    April 10, 2019

    Despite the law stipulating a 90-day deadline for Immigration Services (SEF) to analyze the Golden Visa processes and decide whether they're granted, SEF in Lisbon and Oporto is taking around eight months to analyze and approve the Golden Visa applications due to the amount of applications that have been submitted and the lack of staff. These delays have nothing to do with the investor's country of origin. They can result from the amount of applications that have been submitted and the lack of staff to analyze the processes, from submission of the processes without all the documentation required or from external factors such as the existence of a criminal record. Nevertheless, and regardless of the causes described above that may justify the delays, if you submit your process at any other Immigration Services office in Portugal, it usually takes around three months for the decision to be made, as they have fewer applications to analyze.

  • Ei Imigrante
    April 10, 2019

    No, there is no backlogs related to any specific country. However, yes, there have been delays on application review and approval. It is difficult to foresee the specific time of delay, since it varies from where in the country the application has been submitted. The waiting time will vary from three months to one year, maybe a little more sometimes. The reasons for that are mainly two. First, there were recent corruption investigations which delayed the process analysis all over the country and second, they were due to some recent modifications to the Golden Visa requirements, in order to comply with anti-bribery, anti-corruption and money laundering international laws.

  • MRT Lawyers Office
    April 17, 2019

    It is true that the processing of Golden Visa applications is somewhat behind schedule, but there can be no delays for certain investors than for others. Processes are analyzed by order of entry and no one can be harmed by nationality or any other reason. The completion time depends on case by case, type of investment, document compliance, etc. And unfortunately, it may take up to a year or more to complete the proceedings, but the relevant entities are doing everything to get past the issue.