Portugal suspends Golden Visas for Russians

Written By Lara Silva

The Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) has announced that Russian citizens can longer apply for the Portugal Golden Visa, according to CNN Portugal. Russian citizens who have already applied for the Golden Visa will have their applications suspended. This measure has come into place along with other economic sanctions decided by the European Union (EU) as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Portugal will also sanction any Russian citizen, even if they have Portuguese nationality, that is part of an international sanction list by freezing their assets in Portugal.

In the last decade, Portugal has given over 400 Golden Visas to Russian citizens, resulting in an investment of over 250 million euros. SEF will not be releasing the names of the Russian citizens who have been granted a Golden Visa due to data privacy. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether any of these Russian citizens are on the EU sanction list.

While Russian citizens will not be given Golden Visas in Portugal, only those on the international sanction list will be economically sanctioned by having their assets frozen. Russian citizens that have already had their Golden Visa approved will not be affected if they are not on the sanction list.

Portugal is not the only country doing this. The EU, US, UK, and Canada have committed to limiting the sale of citizenship through Golden Visa programs to wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government.

EU Economic Sanctions Against Russia

Portugal voted in favor of the sanctions approved by the EU which is supposed to make sure Russia cannot finance the war. These sanctions will also damage the ability of Russian banks to conduct financial transactions worldwide in an efficient matter, as well as impose economic costs on Russia’s political elite.

Let’s go through some of the economic sanctions that Portugal will employ, along with other EU member states.

  • Prohibiting lending to and buying of securities issued by certain Russian banks and government
  • Full asset freeze and a ban on three Russian banks
  • Financing ban of certain state-owned companies
  • Banning large deposits by the Russian elite in EU banks
  • Excluding key Russian banks from SWIFT
  • No investing in projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund

Not all EU countries have done so, but the Portuguese government has announced that all “Ukrainians are welcome in Portugal”. The government is set to create a task force that will focus on helping Ukrainian refugees with employment and housing, according to CNN Portugal. Ukrainian refugees will be automatically given a national health service number, a social security number, and a VAT identification number (NIF).

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