Key highlights
  • Portugal ends the golden visa scheme which came about due to a housing crisis that Portugal is dealing with presently, among other reasons.
  • However, golden visas for entrepreneurship will remain available for those interested, which enables foreign entrepreneurs who want to develop a project in this field in Portugal.
  • The country also plans to promote its Digital nomad visas which are for anyone earning a certain amount of money as a remote worker, to apply for residency in Portugal

After ten years of running a successful golden visa scheme, Portugal has confirmed its termination.

According to local media, all applications for new golden visas submitted after February 16 are no longer valid, while residence permits for investment will continue to be valid, according to

The scheme operated in a way that allowed wealthy foreign investors to obtain residency in Portugal by making financial investments in the country. Between 2012 and 2023, 89 percent of residence permits were exclusively for the purchase of the real estate, with only 22 cases in which investors created jobs.

Although the golden visa scheme resulted in billions of dollars in national economic growth, the decision to end this program was made in response to the current housing crisis in Portugal, among other factors. According to the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, “Nothing justifies a special regime for golden visas”.

About the new changes

Costa noted that to ensure that everyone is treated equally under national law, residence permits already issued under the Golden visa program will now be converted into regular residence permits.

However, those who are interested will still be able to obtain golden visas for entrepreneurship, allowing foreign entrepreneurs who wish to launch a project in this area in Portugal to do so.

The relevance of the investment would be assessed in terms of the economy, society, science, technology, or culture considered when evaluating these new visa applications.

Golden visa by the numbers 

The Foreigners and Border Service (SEF) report that real estate investments made with golden visas have increased Portugal’s GDP by €5.9 billion over the past ten years. According to a report by El Pais, Portugal’s government issued a total of 11,758 Golden Visas between October 2019 and February 2023.

Along with their family members, approximately 31,000 foreigners from outside the EU have been granted a Portuguese residency permit.

Chinese nationals continue to be the primary beneficiaries, accounting for 45% of all granted golden visas, followed by Brazilians (at 10%), as well as a sizable number of Americans, South Africans, Turks, and Nigerians.

What the termination could cause

Portugal runs the risk of losing digital nomads as it ends its Golden visa residence-by-investment program because these individuals will be worried about their future in Portugal.

Portugal will now remain in stiff competition for digital nomads with countries like Dubai, Singapore, Turkey, Germany, and Hong Kong which many are considering.

Portugal, on the other hand, is determined to attract more digital nomads to prevent them from becoming deterred by the possibility that their situation may also be impacted by the end of the Golden visa program.

What this means for Nigerians

Nigerians interested in obtaining residency in Portugal would have to consider going through the Portugal Digital Nomad routeThis type of visa is targeted at remote workers who earn $2,750 monthly or less in a remote job from any country.

This will enable them to apply for the digital nomad visa and live in cities like Lisbon, Porto, or Madeira. This is a cheaper alternative than the Portugal Golden visa scheme which involved an investment in real estate or other forms of investment.