In this article you will find information related to residence visas to Portugal, such as the Study Visa, Business, Work, Passive Income, and more.

Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by Letícia Melo

Citizens around the world are increasingly interested in living in Portugal and enjoying the Portuguese way of life. But in order to live in this country for a longer period, you’ll need a residence permit. To get one of those, you may have to obtain one of the many visas to Portugal.

But what type of visa can I apply for? How much will it be? How much time will it take?

There are many questions that rises when talking about visas to Portugal, but luckily, we’ve got answers. In this article, we will talk about visas and residence permits in Portugal, and cover the following subjects:

Residence Permit in Portugal

The procedure to obtain a Residence Permit may change according to the applicant’s situation. However, most of the time, the applicant will apply for the standard procedure, which is divided into two stages.

Which visa to Portugal should I apply for

The first one takes place in the applicant’s country of residence and the second one in Portugal.

  • Country of residence: Initial procedure to apply for a visa to reside in Portugal. It usually begins at the local Portuguese Consulate (or Embassy). In this stage you must choose the type of visa to apply for.
  • In Portugal: Final stage of the process. It starts after you receive the visa (stamped in the passport). At this stage you will apply for the Residence Permit at Foreigners and Borders Services (SEF), in Portugal.

Obtaining a visa

For the first stage of the process, you can perform different activities, depending on your country of residence.

As an example, to obtain a Work Visa in South Africa, you will need to register at the VFS Global website and follow the procedure on this platform.

Apply for a visa to Portugal online on VFS Global

For other countries, there may be no intermediaries (such as VFS Global), and the Consulate or Embassy of Portugal will perform the procedure.

Therefore, during this initial procedure, you (or your lawyer) should check the regulations of the country where you will apply for the visa in order to comply with the local guidelines.

In any case, prior to the application procedure for a visa, you must make sure that you have all the requirements for the application to start the process.

Obviously, depending on the type of visa, you must present different documents and follow different procedures.

It is worth mentioning that in this article we will only address the procedure for obtaining a Residence Permit (applicable for those who intend to reside in Portugal). As there are other types of visas focused on those who don’t plan to reside in Portugal, such as the short-term permit and the temporary stay visa.

After this initial stage that comes to an end with the granting of the requested visa, the second (and last) stage takes place.

Obtaining a Residence Permit

In this second stage, you will have to present the documents to request your residence title to live in Portugal: The Residence Permit.

This procedure takes place in Portuguese territory and it follows a standard path, no matter the type of visa that was applied in the first stage.

Therefore, when in Portugal, every applicant will follow the same route to obtain the Resident Permit.

There may be a situation in which Portugal has an agreement with a given country, making this procedure undergo some small changes, according to the agreement conditions.

Now we will analyze the main obligations, rules, procedures, and deadlines related to the process of obtaining visas for residence in Portugal.

All about residence visas to Portugal

Before addressing the types of visas that allow the Residence Permit in Portugal, let’s take a look on some information related to visas to Portugal. They are as follows:

There are many types of visas in Portugal, such as:

  • the Schengen Visa (for short stays of up to 90 days in Portugal and can be granted for the purposes of tourism, family visit, business, seasonal work, transit, etc.);
  • the Temporary Stay Visa (intended for those planning to stay in Portugal for a period of up to one year); and
  • the Residence Visa (intended for those planning to stay in Portugal for over one year).

In this article, we will analyze some types of Residence Visas to Portugal

The period for issuing visas may vary according to the procedures of the Portuguese Consulate in your country of residence, but usually you will have to wait up to 60 days.

After the issuance of the Residence Visa, you must travel to Portugal in order to comply with the second stage of the process.

Obtaining visas to Portugal

After the issuance of the visa, the applicant may enter Portugal and stay there for up to 4 months (with the possibility of two entries) until be interviewed at SEF.

Documents you must present

There are some documents that must be presented regardless of the type of visa requested, such as:

  1. Filled SEF form
  2. Copy of your Passport
  3. Proof of means of subsistence
  4. Proof of accommodation
  5. International Travel Insurance
  6. Criminal Background Certificate

Having a Residence Permit (obtained through the Residence Visa) for a period of 5 years allows its owner to request the Permanent Residence Permit (which must be renewed every 5 years), and even to apply for the Portuguese Nationality.

Proof of means of subsistence

Proof of means of subsistence is the document that proves that you have the financial conditions to live in Portugal during the period of the Residence Permit, without the need for additional income.

This value is linked to the minimum wage and, in 2022, you should present at least the below amount at a Portuguese bank account.

  • 8,460€ for the first adult (main applicant)
  • Plus 4,230€  for the second adult (spouse)
  • Plus 2,538€ for each child

This amount should be deposited in a Portuguese bank.

Proof of accommodation

Proof of accommodation is relate to your address in Portugal: A place to stay as soon as you arrive in the country.

Depending on your country of residence, different documents may be accepted for this purpose. Among the most common we can highlight:

  1. One year Lease Agreement in Portugal (most common required document)
  2. Property Ownership in Portugal
  3. Invitation letter signed by a person residing in Portugal (in some occasions)
  4. Proof of hotel or Airbnb reservation (in some occasions)

International travel insurance

The International Travel Insurance must be valid through the entire period of the permit.

This document must cover the expenses resulting from repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical assistance and hospital care. Also, the minimum amount insured must be of 30,000€.

It is worth mentioning that there are countries that have agreements with Portugal and, therefore, some requirements may change according to the citizen nationality.

As an example, due to the Social Security agreement between Portugal and Brazil, Brazilians may present the PB-4 document to comply with the International Medical Insurance requirement.

Below we’ll analyze some types of visas to Portugal that, if granted, will authorize the applicant to be granted the Residence Permit in Portugal.

D4 Visa – Study

The Study Visa, commonly known as the D4 Visa, authorizes its owner to study at higher education institutions in Portugal (university or polytechnic level) for one year or more.

International students at the university of Coimbra

The process for obtaining this visa follows the general rule, as previously described (two stages, the initial in the country of residence and the last one in Portugal). The submission of documents also takes place in the first stage of the process.

In addition to the mentioned documents required for all visas (ex. Passport, proof of means of subsistence, proof of accommodation, International Travel Insurance, Criminal Background Certificate), you must also present the Letter of Acceptance or Enrollment issued by the Portuguese educational institution.

Therefore, before applying for a Study Visa, the applicant must be enrolled in a Portuguese educational establishment.

For an in-depth analysis of the Study Visa in Portugal, read Everything you need to know to study in Portugal

Important Information about the Study Visa

Pay attention to deadlines!

In Portugal, school year (beginning of classes) starts in September. Therefore, the candidate must enroll for the course at the beginning of the year (when the selection process in the educational institutions usually starts).

After being approved, the candidate must apply for the visa at the consulate or embassy of Portugal where he or she resides, or online via the VFS Global website.

The candidate will then receive the decision whether your visa was granted or not in up to 2 months. With the granting.

Visa waiver

Since 2017 it is possible for students, already approved and enrolled at university, to travel to Portugal without a visa. This procedure was approved to prevent you from missing classes due to any delays.

In this case, the applicant must schedule an appointment at SEF (in Portugal) to present the required documents to obtain the Residence Permit.

Only after completing this procedure you will obtain your Residence Permit and be able to start your course.

It is important to emphasize that this is an exceptional procedure. So it is always recommended to undergo the standard procedure to obtain a Study Visa in the residence country.

However, if SEF understands that you do not meet the requirements to obtain the Residence Permit in Portugal, your Residence Permit can be denied.

D7 Visa – Passive Income

The D7 Visa is undoubtedly one of the most common visas for those who wish to reside in Portugal.

It is intended for people who have passive income, such as pensions or finance investments revenues.

This visa seeks to attract people with a profile that can be good for Portugal, once these people: 

  • Have their income guaranteed outside Portugal and will bring these resources to Portugal and, therefore, heat up the local economy.
  • Won’t need a job in Portugal, which is why they will not compete with the Portuguese labor force.

Keep in mind that you can also apply for the Non-Habitual Resident’s regime and be granted you tax incentives for 10 years!

Retirees and passive income move to the Algarve

For the purposes of the D7 Visa, we can considerate passive income, for example: 

  • Retirement income (pensions)
  • Property rental
  • Royalties
  • Dividends
  • Financial investments

Thus, in addition to the standard documents, you must submit proof of periodic income.

We can’t forget that, in addition to presenting the passive income, the applicant must also provide Portuguese bank statements that can prove means of subsistence (for the applicant and the entire family).

Since 2020, this Residence Permit is valid for 2 years.

Also, as mentioned before, after residing in Portugal for a period of 5 years the resident can request the Permanent Residence Permit the Portuguese nationality.

D2 Visa – Business

The D2 Visa, also known as the Business or Entrepreneur Visa, was developed to attract businesses to Portugal.

With new businesses, the country will receive more money for taxes and also take profit from the creation of new jobs. Therefore, this visa provides an immediate finance return to Portugal.

However, this type of visa is not accessible to everyone, as the applicant must have an entrepreneurial spirit, and also financial support to go after it.

Business visa for entrepreneurs in Portugal

Below are some expenses that you will have to bear, even before applying for a visa:

  • Opening of the company in Portugal: from 220€ to 360€.
  • Accountant Service: Around 180€/month
  • Social Security: 150€/month

Therefore, the entrepreneur will need to spend around 600€ to start the process.

Not every type of company will be approved for the purpose of obtaining a D2 Visa.

The SEF will carry out an in-depth analysis both in relation to the company’s situation and the partners’ background. The greater the chances for a successfull business, the higher are the chances to be granted the visa.

Important Information about the Business Visa

Documents

In addition to the documents applicable to most of the visas, the applicant should submit the following documents:

  1. Detailed and strong Business Plan
  2. Proof of the incorporation of the company
  3. Documents that prove the partners’ experience
  4. The financial statements to carry out the business

Knowing the territorial configuration, the cultural aspect of its citizens and all other characteristics that may influence its business are very important.

Activity relevance

The appllicant should also check if the activity to be developed has a special relevance in Portugal.

In this context, the greater the economic, financial, structural, and cultural return for the benefit of Portugal, the better.

We know how difficult it can be to start a business in a foreign country, as there is a need to consider that its population preferences, language, lifestyle, and so on.

Therefore, if you need assistance in developing a business in Portugal, Viv Europe can assist you in this journey. Get in touch with us.

D1 Visa – Subordinated Job

The Subordinated Job Visa or Work Visa is undoubtedly one of the most complex in terms of procedure. This visa authorizes citizens, already hired by a Portuguese employer, to reside and work in Portugal during the Residence Permit period.

The first step required to obtain a Work Visa is to seek job vacancies in Portugal. Usually, applicants perform this procedure online, by searching specialized websites, such as SAPO EmpregosIndeedAdecco, and Linkedin.

Find a job to apply for a work visa to Portugal

After going through the company’s hiring process and being hired it’s time for the employer to act.

The employer will have to obtain a Certificate issued by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP). This document will be required for the applicant’s visa application.

So yes, this can be a complex process.

The IEFP Certificate consists of a document that proves that the company has publicized the job offer to the public and also that it has carried out the selection process with other candidates. Therefore it can prove that only the foreign candidate has the required skills to be hired.

Portugal privilege the hiring of local citizens instead of foreigners. That one of the reasons why this visa can a bit more demanding.

As you see, there are additional requirements for an employer to hire a candidate from outside Portugal.

Therefore, the most important requirements for obtaining a Work Visa are the Employment Contract (or even a Promise) and the IEFP Statement.

Other visas for workers

It is also important to highlight that there are other visas that are also related to the exercise of professional activity in Portugal such as the D2 Visa for freelancers and the D3 Visa for highly qualified professionals.

If you’re thinking about applying for these visas, check our complete article: All About Working in Portugal.

Startup Visa

How is Portugal becoming the new Startup Hub in Europe? Startup Visa is the visa for people who have an innovative project and who intend to develop it in Portugal.

For this reason, Portugal has created policies to attract entrepreneurs and foreign talents, especially in the area of technology.

Portuguese Startup international investors

See more about it in our article How is Portugal becoming the new Startup Hub in Europe?

In short, through the Startup Visa, citizens located outside the European Union will be able to develop their Startup company in Portugal and obtain their Residence Permits.

However, not every startup is in a position to apply for this visa, but only those that meet the legal requirements. That’s because before applying for this visa, a Portuguese incubator needs to select, shelter, and support your startup.

Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação (IAPMEI), is responsible for carrying out this program. And also for the analysis, selection, and certification of startup companies.

Therefore, the first step to start this process is: Enroll in the startup shelter process.

If IAPMEI chooses the candidate’s startup, only then the applicant can start your visa process.

To participate in the selection process, the startup must enroll at the IAPMEI portal.

Requirements to participate

The candidate must also meet some requirements, among them:

  • Develop a new Startup in Portugal to produce innovative services and goods
  • The Startup must have the potential to create new jobs
  • Prove that the project or Startup is tech related
  • Not having residence in the Schengen countries
  • Have enough funds in a bank account

In short, the Startup must be innovative, scalable, profitable, and a job generator. For this reason, only the best players will be able to compete for this visa.

The decision on the approval of this procedure takes around 30 days from the submission. During this period of time the startup will be evaluated based on the mentioned requirements.

It worth mention that no incubator will concentrate more than 20 startups at the same time.

In view of all these requirements, a comparative analysis between the Startup Visa and the Business Visa (D2 visa) is recommended for entrepreneurs who are interested in developing a project in Portugal.

D6 Visa – Family Reunification

This is the visa that authorizes the family of the citizen who has a residence permit to reside in Portugal.

However, only the family members listed in the Foreigner’s Law may apply for reunification. Among them, we can highlight the following:

  • Spouse
  • Partner (a stable union)
  • Underage or disabled children
  • Minor children adopted by the couple or one of the spouses
  • Older children who are single and are studying in a Portuguese educational institution
  • Parents or children who are dependent on the applicant
  • Minor brothers who are under the guardianship of the applicant

The procedure for obtaining family reunification changes whether or not the citizen is located in Portugal.

Family reunification visa to Portugal

Also, according to the status of the person requesting Family Reunification (eg, spouse, child), the documents to present can vary. However, in all cases, the main document you must present the proof of family bond.

There are, however, many details related to each type of Family Reunification process. So you and your lawyer must analyze your case individually.

Read also the Frequently Asked Questions about Family Reunification in Portugal.

Just as an example, the family reunification of a partner (known as Stable Union) may depend on the registration in Portugal of the documents that prove the this union.

Finally, it is worth noting that the validation period of the applicant’s Residence Permit for Family Reunification will be the same as that of the holder of the Residence Permit.

Why are people moving to Portugal?

There are many factors to explain this trend. One of the most important is being able to live the Portuguese Way of Life.

That means, among other reasons, to livein a place where people consider a peaceful environment more relevant than constantly think about making money or living a busy life.

But that is not all. It’s also living in a country that has:

  • a well-defined climate
  • security
  • affordable cost of living 
  • welcoming people
  • paradisiacal places
  • delicious food

For this reason, Forbes has ranked Portugal as one of the best countries to live after the COVID-19 crisis.

There are indeed many reasons to encourage the decision to move to Portugal.

Conclusion

There are many types of processes to obtain visas to Portugal. We hope this article was helpful and that soon you manage to join our community of expats in Portugal.

Also, if you have liked this content, we invite you to join our Facebook group where you will receive more infromation related to Portugal.

If you need any assistance applying for any of the visas to Portugal mentioned, Viv Europe can help you. Contact us and tell us how we can be of service. We will love to help turn your Portugal plan into a reality.

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