Portugal’s residency-by-investment program may be dominated by Chinese investors, but citizens of Lebanon are also emerging as key candidates.
Within the Middle East riven by the impact of Syria’s bitter civil war, Lebanese nationals are the number one investors from the region in the Portuguese ‘golden visa’ program.
The program offers residency in return for a minimum investment of €350,000; applicants can apply for permanent residency after fives years and citizenship at the end of the sixth.
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies
Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €350,000.
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas
Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.
Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.
Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.
Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.
That coveted second citizenship has become a major factor in the unstable parts of the world. Lebanon is no stranger to war and its wealthier citizens are aware of how important a second citizenship can be if conflict breaks out.
Lebanese nationals also see it as important in terms of securing freedom and expanding horizons, plus removing the control of a single government over the future of your family and assets.
Visa restrictions in terms of travelling for business has also driven many Lebanese businessmen to look to second citizenships or residency abroad. One of the key benefits of the Portuguese program is visa free access to the Schengen zone.
While the Lebanese are also key investors in the Cypriot citizenship program, drawn in by the direct path to a passport, those who cannot afford the €2 million fee are looking to Portugal as a cheaper option.
The Portugal government says it has attracted investment worth €2.4 billion since introducing the program in 2012.
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