Investing in a hotel or resort could offer an easier (and possibly cheaper) way of qualifying for the Portuguese golden visa.
Portugal’s golden visa is famous for offering the right to residency in Portugal in return for making an investment in Portugal. This visa only requires you to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal over the five years, after which point you’ll be eligible to apply for both permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship. There are several ways to invest as part of the golden visa, with most people choosing to purchase a house or apartment in Portugal. There is another option, aimed at those that want an investment that’s very hands-off, and that’s investing in commercial property such a hotel or resort.
This option typically means purchasing a room or apartment in a hotel or resort that’s being built or renovated. Renovation projects are especially common as, due to the golden visa rules, this allows the developers to sell the rooms for cheaper: rather than having to invest the full €500,000, if the property is in need renovation and within a “low-density” region, the golden visa investment requirements could be as little as €280k.
That’s the case with Oura Sol, a hotel and apartment complex in Albufeira that, at the time of writing, is being marketed by Holborn Assets where apartments cost between €280k and €325k. In practice, it actually works out slightly cheaper, as rental income that equates to 15% of the purchase price is paid upfront (within two weeks of purchase). Should you wish to sell the property in year six, there’s a buyback option. You can also use the property for up to two weeks of the year, if you wish.
(Note: the Oura Sol resort is now sold out, but there are other options available)
Why invest in an apartment within a hotel when you could buy a property for yourself? According to Jason Swan of Holborn Assets, “There are a number of reasons, depending on the investor, but this option appeals to people that only want to spend a few days or weeks per year in Portugal, and want an investment that’s as easy to manage as possible. Unlike a house or apartment, with a managed apartment or room within a hotel, you don’t have to worry about utilities, leaky pipes, break-ins, and all of the other challenges that go with owning a property – especially one in another country. It can also work out more affordable. As well as the benefit of the up-front rental income payment, this option doesn’t come with the additional costs that come with buying and owning a property, which can quickly add up.”
Of course, if you’re planning to move to Portugal rather than just spend the required number of days here, you may want to purchase a property you can live in instead. However, for many people, the appeal of the golden visa over other residency visas is not having to move to Portugal yet still having residency.
The hotel option isn’t the only hands-off approach to investing in the golden visa. Another increasingly popular option is to invest in a fund. As with hotels and resorts, there are a number of investment companies that offer funds that golden visa applicants can invest in, typically in areas like startups, small business, and real estate. And, like hotels and resorts, many have a buyback option after around six or seven years.
According to Swan, “both options have some similarities, but many people will feel more comfortable investing in something physical and easier to understand like a hotel, rather than a fund.” Another benefit of a hotel or resort over a fund is being able to visit the hotel and enjoy it. Most hotel investment options allow you to spend a few weeks of the year at the property, should you wish to. The golden visa requires you to spend an average of seven days per year in Portugal and, although you don’t have to spend it at the hotel, it’s nice to have somewhere to come to every year or two.
As of January 2022, residential properties purchased in many parts of Portugal, including Lisbon, Porto, or large parts of coastal Portugal like the Algarve no longer qualify for the golden visa. However, an apartment in a hotel is considered commercial property rather than residential, and this route can allow you to have access to a property in a part of Portugal that would otherwise no longer qualify.