The Golden Visa is an investor visa program that offers opportunities for foreign citizens to obtain residency in Portugal through specific investments. One of the investment criteria some countries offer is cultural investment, involving the allocation of funds to activities related to culture, art, and heritage. Cultural investment through the Golden Visa typically requires the applicant to invest in cultural projects approved by the government of the respective country. These projects may include the restoration of historical heritage, support for cultural events, funding cultural institutions, or even direct investment in artistic sectors.
From a legal standpoint, Article 3 of the Foreigners Law nº 23/2007, in its subparagraph d,iv, defines cultural investment as the transfer of capital amounting to 250,000 EUR or more, applied to investment or support for artistic production, recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage through services of central and peripheral direct administration, public institutes, entities that integrate the public corporate sector, public foundations, private foundations with public utility status, intermunicipal entities, entities that integrate the local corporate sector, municipal associative entities, and public cultural associations pursuing tasks in the field of artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage.
Furthermore, Regulatory Decree nº 84/2007, which regulates the aforementioned Foreigners Law, in Article 65-D, subparagraph 8b), considers evidence for residence acquisition a statement issued by the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Cultural Evaluation (GEPAC), after consulting the cultural sector service with responsibilities in the field, attesting to the nature of the investment or support for artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage. Additionally, for residence renewal on the same grounds, Article 65-E, subparagraph 14a), considers as evidence a statement issued by GEPAC, attesting that no supervening changes attributable to the applicant have compromised the investment or support provided.
From a temporaral perspective, Article 65-C of the aforementioned Regulatory Decree stipulates that the minimum stay in national territory is 7 consecutive or interpolated days in the first year and 14 consecutive or interpolated days in subsequent 2-year periods. Moreover, cultural investment must last a minimum of 5 years.
As for the characteristics of the investment, noteworthy aspects include:
•Restoration of Historical Heritage: A prominent feature of cultural investment is the opportunity to participate in the restoration of historical buildings and monuments, preserving Portugal's rich history and revitalizing spaces crucial to the country's cultural narrative.
•Sponsorship of Cultural Events: Investing in cultural events such as festivals, exhibitions, and artistic performances is another facet of the program. This not only fosters contemporary cultural expression but also contributes to the promotion of cultural tourism in Portugal.
•Support for Museums and Art Galleries: Investors have the opportunity to support cultural institutions like museums and art galleries. This type of investment strengthens these institutions, enabling them to expand their collections, promote exhibitions, and preserve the artistic legacy of the country.
•Artistic and Audiovisual Productions: Projects related to artistic production, cinema, and audiovisuals are also included. This boosts the creative industry, provides opportunities for local artists, and contributes to the global promotion of Portuguese culture.
Regarding the general documents required for the Residence Permit for Investment Activity, the following are listed:
•Passport or other valid travel document;•Proof of legal entry and stay in the National Territory;
•Proof of health coverage, either through the National Health Service (SNS) or internationally recognized health insurance for the requested residence period;
•Criminal record certificate from the country of origin or the country (or countries) of residence for more than a year, translated into Portuguese;
•Proof of tax identification number from the country of origin, residence, or fiscal residence;
•Completed application form (approved model) authorizing the consultation of the Portuguese Criminal Record;
•Declaration under oath committing to fulfill the quantitative and temporal requirements (5 years) of the investment activity in the National Territory;
•Proof of regularized tax situation through a negative debt statement issued by the Tax and Customs Authority and Social Security or, if not possible, a declaration of no record with these entities;
•Receipt of payment of the analysis fee for the ARI request on the online portal.
Moreover, the Applicant must demonstrate having made the minimum required investment, individually or through a sole shareholder company. In this regard, the following documents should be presented:
•Declaration from an authorized or registered credit institution in national territory, attesting to the effective transfer of an amount equal to or greater than the legally required;•Declaration issued by GEPAC, after consulting the cultural sector service with responsibilities in the field, attesting to the nature of the investment or support for artistic production, recovery, or maintenance of national cultural heritage, according to Dispatch No. 2360/2017, of March 20, approving the regulation for issuing the statement attesting to the effective transfer of capital for the purpose of residence authorization for investment activity in the cultural sector;
•If a shareholder of a sole proprietorship: commercial registry certificate, if the investment is made through a sole shareholder company, demonstrating the applicant as the shareholder, according to Article 65.ºA, paragraph 13 of Regulatory Decree 84/07, of 05/11, in its current wording.
It is important to note that the value of this investment can be reduced by 20% (200,000 euros) when made in low-density territory (NUTS III).
Generally, cultural investment under the Golden Visa does not aim for direct financial returns. The main benefit is obtaining residency or, subsequently, Portuguese citizenship. However, investors may enjoy indirect advantages, such as privileged access to cultural events and personal satisfaction from contributing to heritage preservation. While the risk of financial loss is minimized due to the non-profit nature of cultural investment, it is crucial to conduct a careful analysis of proposed projects, considering the strength of the involved institutions and compliance with legal requirements.