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Portugal may accept new Golden Visa applications till the end of May.

Based on the updated final wording of the "Mais Habitação" (More Housing) program, applications submitted for a Golden Visa for Portugal after February 16 will be processed, and fresh applications may even be submitted until the end of May.

According to sources, the program, which is now anticipated to be discussed in the parliament, can stop only on the day the new housing legislation takes effect, which is anticipated to occur about 45 days from now, maybe at the end of May.

Christian Henrik Nesheim, the editor of the online journal Imidaily, commented on the law and said that, under the revised wording, the golden visa program "would still be terminated, but the blow would be softened" in other ways.

He claims that the first change will be to accept applications for Golden Visas up to the day the law takes effect rather than starting on February 16, when the program's termination was announced.

The government has previously stated that the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) will continue to accept applications for Golden visas until the law takes effect, though it has also noted that there is no assurance that those submitted after February 16 won't be cancelled once the law takes effect.

Second, the golden visa investors who, as a result of the termination of the Residence-by-Investment scheme, will need to convert their current permits to a D2, no longer need to be present in Portugal for at least 183 days per year in order to hold a D2 visa.

Golden visa holders who will next receive a D2 visa will still only need to stay in Portugal for seven days, as has been the case for those who have so far obtained residency through this scheme.

Last but not least, people who seek to invest in the support of "artistic production and the recovery or maintenance of cultural heritage" will still be able to apply for investment-based residence permits and be granted visas as soon as they receive an investment confirmation from at least one of the following:

- the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade

- the Development Bank

- the Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation

- the National Innovation Agency

- the Office of Cultural Strategy, Planning and Assessment

- other authorities deemed appropriate

Portugal stated on February 16 that it was ending its Golden Visa program in an effort to address the recent housing scarcity that has plagued the nation. Only one day prior, Ireland said it would discontinue its Golden visa program as well. Neither country provided any justification for the decision.

Many people have criticized the decision, and a petition to get it reversed has already been started.

11,758 investors have received Golden visas from Portugal since the scheme's launch in October 2012, in total. The approximate number of people who received Portuguese residency through this program is 31,000 when family members of these investors who also obtained residency permits are included.


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