Portugal’s New Cultural Production Golden Visa: Everything You Need To Know2022-10-20T11:24:03+00:00
A Definitive Guide to Portugal's Cultural Production Golden Visa

Support artistic production in Portugal through a pre-sold feature film investment and get a Cultural Golden Visa in just 8 to 10 months…

☑ Most affordable Golden Visa – only €200K (low density areas) or €250K (urban areas).
☑ Fastest Golden Visa – get approved in 12 months, vs. up to 24 months+ for a property GV.
☑ Boutique program – invest in a government (GEPAC) approved film production project.
☑ Minimum guaranteed yield of 4% p.a.
☑ Principal capital guaranteed by notarized deed.
☑ Tax exempt investment.
☑ Gain global recognition as co-producer of the film.
☑ Government pre-approval step before funds are committed.
☑ Client applications are submitted to the Ministry of Culture by an authorized public entity – NOT by a lawyer or service provider.
☑ Filming does not start before sale of the film has been concluded. This pre-sales technique significantly reduces risk.

VIEW SEF PROGRAM GUIDANCE AND LEGAL BASIS HERE

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Portugal’s New Cultural Production Golden Visa: €200K Option (NON-donation)

Everything you need to know about the country’s new artistic funding Golden Visa – including how to start applying for it…

Looking for the fastest and most affordable Portuguese Golden Visa option in 2023?

One that can deliver superior yields to a Golden Visa property, with a far lower capital outlay? And that enjoys processing priority over the Golden Visa fund and property streams?

If you’d like to make a high-impact contribution to the arts in Portugal, while creating a lasting legacy and securing your Plan B, then the Cultural Golden Visa may be just the option for you.

(Yes, this is an investment option with a minimum guaranteed return of 4% p.a. –  i.e. NOT a donation.)

While this boutique program track was only launched post-pandemic, it is already garnering significant interest from North American and British art aficionados, in particular.

The program also offers a clear path to citizenship for individuals of Sephardic Jewish descent, for whom the recently suspended Portugal Sephardic Citizenship program is no longer a viable option.

And as the only GV option to offer a government pre-approval step before capital has to be committed, it also offers unrivalled peace of mind.

Since the Golden Visa program rules governing residential property investments have become a lot more restrictive, we’ve seen the emergence of a number of innovative new Golden Visa investment options in 2022 – including this artistic funding Golden Visa.

You can view the legal basis for the Cultural Golden Visa here, and SEF’s guidance on the program here.

This Golden Visa option is priced at only €200,000 for projects that investment in “artistic production” in low-density areas in the Portuguese interior, and €250,000 elsewhere in the country. This makes the “artistic production” Golden Visa, as the program is also frequently referred to, the cheapest Golden Visa program in Europe.

Let’s get into the details below…

The Cultural Golden Visa program at a glance

Discover why the program is fast becoming the Golden Visa option of choice – for Americans, in particular… 

PROGRAM MECHANISM

Fund a pre-sold Portuguese feature film to get a Golden Visa

PROGRAM COST

€200K (Low Density Location) OR €250K (Urban Location)

(INVESTMENT TERM 

Minimum 5 Years

(Early exits subject to penalties)

GUARANTEED YIELD

Minimum 4% p.a.

Principal guaranteed.

PEACE OF MIND

Government pre-approval. Application submission by government entity.

Artistic Production Funding vs Property Investment

Consideration Cultural Golden Visa (Artistic Production Option) Real Estate Golden Visa
Type Investment Investment
Program pricing €250K (Standard);

€200K (Low-Density Areas)

€500K (New or Non-rehabilitation projects);

€350K (Standard: 30 year old properties for renovation);

€280K (Reduced – 30 year old properties for renovation in low-density areas)

Guaranteed annual yield 4% p.a. None (although ~2% p.a. is typical).

TYPICAL GUARANTEED BUY-BACK OPTIONS:

  • Guaranteed yield: 0% on €280K;
  • Guaranteed yield: 3% on €350K
Minimum term 5 years Typically 5 years+
Exit fees None Variable depending on property type, use of sales intermediary, etc.
Government pre-approval step before capital is committed Yes No
Application submitted by government entity Yes No
Typical timeline to residency card issuance 8-10 months 16-24 months
Family eligibility Yes Yes
Path to Permanent Residency or Citizenship Yes Yes
Minimum in-country stay requirement On average, 1 week (7 days) per year for 5 years (until PR or citizenship status has been obtained). On average, 1 week (7 days) per year for 5 years (until PR or citizenship status has been obtained).
Professional services fees None/Included €5,000 – €20,000+, depending on which service provider you use

Artistic Production Funding
vs Cultural Heritage Donation

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CONSIDERATION Artistic Support Option  (Film Funding) Cultural Heritage Preservation Option
Category Investment Donation
Application Process Duration €250K (Standard);

 €200K (Low-Density Areas)

€250K (Standard);

 €200K (Low-Density Areas)

Minimum term 5 years N/A – Non-refundable donation
Guaranteed annual yield (payable annually) 4% p.a. N/A – donation (sunk cost)
Principal capital guaranteed Yes No – principal is forfeited
Government pre-approval step before capital is committed Yes Yes
Typical timeline to residency card issuance 8-10 months N/A – only two applications processed to date.
Family eligibility Yes – spouse, dependent children and parents Yes – spouse, dependent children and parents
Path to Permanent Residency (PR) or Citizenship Yes Yes
Application submitted by government entity Yes Yes
Minimum in-country stay requirement On average, 1 week (7 days) per year until PR or citizenship status is obtained On average, 1 week (7 days) per year until PR or citizenship status is obtained

Cultural Golden Visa: Program background

Where did this artistic support funding option come from, and why do I only hear about it now?

The legislation supporting the creation of an “Artistic Production Funding Golden Visa” has been in existence since 2015 (Also see Order 2360/2017). Yet while it was still possible to buy residential properties in Lisbon and Porto for as little as €280K or €350K, most applicants preferred buying a Portuguese vacation home as a way to obtain their golden residency status. (Owning a real asset in a rapidly appreciating European market was a no-brainer for the majority of applicants.)

For the past 10 years, property values in Portugal have been growing in the high single digits. And given pre-pandemic tourism demand in the country, Golden Visa holders were able to sweat their residential property assets effectively – so their ROI was good. 

But as of the end of 2021, new program regulations took effect, which meant that Lisbon, Porto and the massively popular Algarve region in the South were no longer eligible locations for residential Golden Visa property purchases. (You can, however, still buy commercial property in these locations to qualify for a Golden Visa.)

This change effectively reduced the “lifestyle” focus when it comes to Golden Visa property selection: Returns tend to be  inferior in the country’s interior, and most people prefer being closer (or in) the large urban centers of Lisbon, Porto and Faro.)

So for a large percentage of applicants, capital preservation, projected yield and opportunity cost, rather than any associated lifestyle benefits, are now once again the key considerations. 

Combined with the fact that the minimum threshold for fund-based investments went up from €350K – which was on a par with the “standard” property option –  to a whopping €500K, many prospective applicants are now searching for cheaper Golden Visa options. 

Today, the cheapest property Golden Visa eligible property options in Portugal start at €280K (Only Greece offers a cheaper property based Golden Visa, at $250K). In Portugal, the cheaper €280K opportunities typically involve a share scheme investment in a new hotel, aparthotel project or similar touristic property development, rather than acquiring an individual title-deeded property. 

(Although some guaranteed buy-back options exist at the €280K price point, they tend to offer 0% yield. To earn a guaranteed yield of 3% per year, you typically need to look at a €350K option.)

Moreover, given that your capital will be locked up for at least 6 years (and possibly more), the opportunity costs on these higher amounts are quite high.

Another challenges has been the fact that the property based Golden Visa has not been treated as a priority residency category by SEF, which, since the pandemic, has led to processing delays of up to two years for scores of applicants.

The situation is not much better when it comes to many funds based options. Many offer projected yields of only around 2%, with varying risk profiles – and with a capital lock-up of €500K for at least six years,  the opportunity costs are even higher.

So what other options are there then? 

The cheapest Golden Visa option would be to start an active business and create 10 jobs in Portugal – but this option is neither attractive nor viable for the majority of applicants. 

Hence, previously, that left only the €250K Cultural Heritage Preservation option, a non-refundable donation that has literally only been used by four GV applicants to date. 

However, the same supporting legislation, namely Law 63/2015 of 30 June 2015, which came into effect on 1 July 2015, also makes provision for a €250K investment “support of artistic production” (see Section VI). This could include, as two simple examples, the funding of a feature film or a touring stage production.

And if the artistic production is based in a low-density area, a 20% discount applies, making the minimum capital investment requirement only €200K. (This is similar to the 20% discount convention that applies to GV properties based on their location.)

So to qualify by funding a movie filmed and produced in Lisbon, you’d need to invest €250K. Whereas for a film set and produced in a low-density part of the Portuguese interior, you’d only need to commit €200K.

The problem was that no productized option leveraging the above legislation previously existed. But that changed around the time of the pandemic, with the introduction of a “Cultural Golden Visa” option, which meets the Golden Visa criteria via an innovative funding mechanism for Portuguese feature films.

Critically, these productions are pre-sold to media outlets and distribution channels. This significantly mitigates the risk of these productions’ financial under-performance. In fact, this option guarantees the principal and a minimum yield of 4% per annum.

And with a projected yield of 4%+, the artistic support option compares very favorably to both the property and fund based alternatives.

Essentially, the Cultural Golden Visa option is THE most affordable Portuguese GV option on the market, and its yields are competitive. It’s consequently received significant interest from Canadians, Americans, Australians as well as Chinese, Indian and Taiwanese nationals.

(While Russian applications are not currently accepted, we encourage prospective Golden Visa investors from Russia to get in touch regarding some potential alternatives and solutions.)

What’s more, during the pandemic period, when property based Golden Visa application processing ground to a halt, the Cultural Golden Visa’s application processing at SEF remained unaffected, thanks to this being a priority residency category.

How many Golden Visas have been issued via the Cultural Heritage option?2022-09-14T22:55:45+00:00

As of 15 September 2022, only four Portuguese Golden Visas have been granted in exchange for investment in Cultural Heritage Projects such as the Serralves Institute in Porto, and the Fundação Côa Parque, responsible for a pre-historical archeological park in the Alto Douro region

However, these early adopters have effectively been treating these contributions as a sunk cost, or a donation, which for the majority of applicants does not make any sense.

In contrast, the market’s response to the packaged Cultural Production Visa – a €200K  (€250K for urban projects) for-profit option that involves investment in pre-sold feature film production – has been both immediate and profound.

While no applicants have obtained Golden Visa residency status as of this writing – the Cultural Golden Visa was only brought to market post-pandemic – a significant number of applicants are presently awaiting pre-approval from the Portuguese Ministry of Culture.

And already it seems clear that this option will become the Golden Visa investment of choice for both philanthropists, patrons of the arts, as well as for-profit social impact investors seeking to diversify their residency, optimize taxation, and use Portugal as a beachhead for breaking into the European single market.

 

Why choose the Cultural Golden Visa option?

LOWEST PRICE

Priced at either €200K or €250K, the Cultural Golden Visa is the most affordable program of its kind in Portugal (and on a par with the current Greek Golden Visa price.

DECENT ROI …

Equals lower opportunity cost. This program’s ROI beats that of most RE options. Principal capital and 4% yield p.a. guaranteed by notarized deed.

PEACE OF MIND

Obtain governmental pre-approval in 15 days before any capital has to be committed. This is the only GV option offering this step.

APPLICATION SUBMISSION

Cultural Golden Visa applications have to be submitted to the Ministry of Culture by an eligible public entity. It cannot be done by a lawyer or citizenship planning firm.

FAMILY ELIGIBILITY 

Include your spouse, minor children, as well as your elderly parents and those of your spouse as part of your residency application. 

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION

If preferred, applicants can be credited as official co-producers of the the film in the final credits, and can attend shoot days, exclusive events, etc.

EU TRAVEL FREEDOM

Enjoy freedom of movement and visa-free access to 26 Schengen countries with your family as a Portuguese resident.

PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

The Cultural Golden Visa program offers a clear path to eventual permanent residency (PR) and/or Portuguese Citizenship.

THE ULTIMATE PLAN B

We live in highly uncertain times. Secure your Plan B in a safe, non-polarized, livable and affordable EU country today.

So are there any downsides to be aware of?

There are a number of disadvantages to this for-profit artistic support option to factor in:

RELATIVELY NEW OFFERING: Given that this commercial offering was launched during the final months of the pandemic, it is still quite new. Hence, while several cultural projects and at least 19 applicants are presently awaiting pre-approval from the Portuguese authorities (expected by October 31st, 2022), only 4 applicants have previously obtained a Golden Visa via the Cultural Heritage stream – and they were all donations.

To be clear, no applicants have obtained residency on the basis of a film investment (yet), however this is now imminent.

LIMITED APPROVED PROJECTS = LIMITED CLIENT SLOTS: Dealing with the Portuguese Ministry of Culture and the immigration authority, SEF, can be quite time consuming. Hence getting qualifying projects approved takes time, and the number of applicants slots are dictated by the required project budget.

While the rate of project approval is rapidly improving, film project due diligence takes time.

And it is likely that the supply of approved film projects will remain fairly limited short term. While the Cultural Golden Visa’s attractive price point has already garnered a massive amount of interest across the globe, we anticipate that it will remain a boutique offering short term, given the above approval constraints.

As of October 10 2022, there are only 5 confirmed client slots left on the current €200K project, and approval on the next project – a €250K project slated for production in either Porto or Lisbon – will likely only be obtained in December 2022.

PROCESSING DELAYS AT SEF: While every effort is made to expedite Cultural Golden Visa applications – and these have been getting processed up to 12 months faster than property based Golden Visa applications –  the current delays at SEF are well known.

The delays caused by application backlogs are being cleared by SEF, however you should nonetheless  be prepared for your application, in total, to take up to 12 months+.

Cultural Production Golden Visa Program Costs

Program Costs Standard Option (€250K) Reduced-cost Option (€200K – Low Density Areas)
Initial client onboarding fee (refundable upon process completion) €5,000 €5,000
Capital commitment (minimum 5 years) €250,000 €200,000
Initial 2-year residency permit issuance fee Individual: €5,424.60;

Couple: €10,649.20

Individual: €5,424.60;

Couple: €10,649.20

Renewal of residency permit – good for an additional 3 years Individual: €2,666.30;

Couple: €5,322.60

Individual: €2,666.30;

Couple: €5,322.60

Legal fees (not included) Approximately €6,000 Approximately €6,000
Total capital layout Individual: €269,090.90;

Couple: ~ €275,000

Individual: €219,090.90;

Couple: ~ €225,000

Minimum capital returned after 5 years €300,000 €240,000

The Cultural Golden Visa application process

Process Step Time Required Responsible entity
1. Collection of applicant’s information for due diligence vetting 1 Week Cultural Golden Visa Consultant
2. Contract signature and payment of onboarding fee (deductible) 1 Week Applicant / Cultural Golden Visa Consultant
3. Appointment of legal representative 1 Day Cultural Golden Visa Consultant / Lawyer
4. Obtain Portuguese Fiscal Number (NIF) 1 Week Cultural Golden Visa Consultant / Lawyer
5. Submission of application for pre-approval and adjudication 15 Days Cultural Golden Visa Consultant / Town Hall
6. Bank account opening 1-2 Weeks (typically) Cultural Golden Visa Consultant / Lawyer
7. Company Incorporation 1 Week Lawyer
8. Qualifying transfer of capital 1 Month Applicant / Lawyer
9. Gathering of all relevant documentation 1 Week Applicant / Lawyer
10. Application to Immigration Services (SEF) 1 Month  Lawyer
 11. Biometrics appointment Typically 3-6 months later Applicant / SEF
12. Residency card issuance Typically 4-6 weeks after biometrics appointment SEF

Why choose to work with us?

See what our clients say on TrustPilot.

✓ A track record of success – over 350 clients successfully assisted.

✓ Established, trusted service provider relationships in Portugal

✓ A commitment to helping clients find the most affordable solutions for their needs, always.

✓ One-stop shop for moving to Portugal – we offer application services for the D2, D7, HQA Visa and Golden Visa (including the Cultural Production option).

✓  Value-added services: Bank account opening, NIFs, Social Security registration, rental contract review, SEF appointment bookings and accompaniment, drivers license applications – and a lot more.

✓ Key operations based in Braga, with representation in Lisbon and Porto.

Lock in your Plan B with a Portuguese Golden Visa from only €200,000. Contact us today.

Russian citizens: One European Golden Visa program is still accepting Russian applicants.  Contact us to find out more.

Simply complete the below form and one of our expert consultants will get back to you.We look forward to being of service and helping you make your Portuguese Plan B dreams a reality.

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