Looking for a great university? Get to know all you need to study in Portugal and make the most of your residence permit!

Last Updated on October 25, 2022 by Maryam Siddiqui

Geographical barriers that prevented people from studying at the institution of their choice are slowly disappearing. Today, if you want to study in Portugal, you certainly can.

Currently, students are looking for the best universities, and universities are looking for the best students. Regardless of their sex, religion, race, or financial condition. In Portugal, this scenario is no different.

This country has one of the best universities in the world and is looking for students willing to study and grow professionally. 

In this article, we will talk about studying in Portugal and cover the details related to Portuguese universities, the enrollment process, and the requirements for obtaining the popular D4 Visa (also known as Study Visa), and we will give some tips for obtaining this visa in the simplest possible way.

Studying in Portugal

Studying in Portugal is the dream of many people around the world, and the reason is simple: rankings from around the globe recognize Portuguese Universities for their quality and tradition.

We should also note that studying in Portugal can be the gateway to your residence in this country. And, who knows, to obtain Portuguese citizenship.

Study in the university of Coimbra in Portugal

But to study in Portugal’s universities, you will need a visa unless you are a Schengen citizen.

Viv Europe has a Complete Guide to Living in Portugal. You will find all the information to better adapt to this country in this document.

Search of the institution and the intended course

The first step is to decide where you’re going to study in Portugal. You must conduct research on the internet and, if possible, also in person to check for the institution’s educational program.

After selecting the course, you must also check the application dates for the institution’s enrollment procedure.

As a rule, the enrollment process is carried out by analyzing the candidate’s curriculum without needing evaluation exams.

Then, you must also check the university’s tuition fee (also known in Portugal as “propina”). There may be a considerable price variation among Portuguese institutions and courses.

Therefore, after selecting the institution and the course, in addition to the information regarding the registration dates and tuition fees, the candidate must perform the next procedure: enrollment in the university.

Enrollment process

Once approved in the selection process, it’s time to enroll at the chosen institution.

After performing this procedure, you will receive the enrollment certificate, which you will use as a document for the Portugal D4 Visa application.

Along with the enrollment, you will receive the access code to the student’s area on the educational institution’s website. Then, you will be able to access the course schedule dates, teachers, and topics to be taught.

How to choose your University?

The choice of the university certainly depends on the candidate’s personal preferences.

According to the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2022, the 10 best universities in Portugal are:

  1. Catholic University of Portugal
  2. NOVA University of Lisbon
  3. UPorto – University of Porto
  4. ULisboa – University of Lisbon
  5. UBI – University of Beira Interior
  6. UC – University of Coimbra
  7. ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute
  8. UAlg – University of Algarve
  9. UA – University of Aveiro
  10. UMinho – University of Minho

Portuguese Universities are of excellent quality, some of which stand out in some regions of study.

Portuguese International university

For example, the University of Coimbra is a renowned institution in the area of law, as well as the University of Minho in the area of engineering.

It is worth mentioning that the value of tuition varies according to the choice of the university, as well as the course to be followed.

What is the level of education in Portugal?

The level of education in Portugal is undoubtedly excellent, both in public and private institutions.

According to the QS World University 2022 ranking, recognized as one of the most prestigious international rankings, the University of Porto is ranked 295th and the University of Lisbon at 356th place, some of the best universities in the world. 

As well as the Universidade Nova de Lisboa at 431st best and the University of Coimbra at 455th best. 

Are there courses in English to study in Portugal?

Yes, but not all universities have courses taught 100% in English.

The candidate can access the website of the chosen university for further details.

Here are some good examples:

What is the Erasmus+ program?

Erasmus+ is an academic exchange program from the European Union that seeks to support University and Master’s students and Ph.D. candidates, making it possible to complement their studies at educational institutions in other partner countries.

The requirements depend on the country in which the university is established.

The student can even apply for a scholarship.

Some essential tips:

  • The student’s grades may be taken into account for the candidate’s selection in the Erasmus+ program.
  • Having a good resume can be a plus.

Having a multicultural study environment can certainly improve knowledge.

How to apply for University accommodation?

Some universities offer a range of accommodation bedrooms that aim to accommodate students, professors, and researchers. However, each university has its application guidelines.

For more information, follow the links of some of the colleges that have residency:

Obtaining a D4 Visa to live and study in Portugal

Before starting the analysis on the Portugal Study Visa (D4 Visa), let’s check the procedures for obtaining visas to Portugal.

How to apply for a student visa in Portugal

As a rule, the procedure is divided into two stages.

You must carry out the first step in your country of residence, more specifically at the local Consulate of Portugal or the VFS Global website. In the first step, you will apply and obtain a visa to live in Portugal while you study.

VFS Global is an official representative of the Consulate of Portugal, which functions as an administrative center.

For the second stage, you will apply for the Residence Permit once you are already in Portugal with the visa on your passport. This stage takes place at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

Procedure for obtaining a D4 Visa

The D4 Visa, most commonly referred to as Study Visa or Portugal Student Visa, you’ll get to live in Portugal during the course. With the enrollment certificate issued by the institution, the candidate can apply for the procedure to obtain the Study Visa.

In this sense, it is worth emphasizing that the D4 Visa corresponds to the application for a Residence Visa related to study. This visa will allow its holder to obtain a Residence Permit in Portugal.

Here’s the list of documents you need to apply for the D4 Visa:

  • Specific form for the D4 Visa
  • Proof of enrollment at the educational institution
  • A document that proves your subsistence
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • International Travel Medical Insurance
  • Criminal Records from your country
  • Passport

Follow the details of each document below.

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Completed visa form and proof of enrollment

When you apply for a Portugal Study Visa, the first document to present is the filled D4 Visa form.

Then, you must present a document that proves the effective enrollment in the educational institution. Be it in a university or polytechnic education, public or private.

Subsistence and accommodation in Portugal

Proof of income is required to live in Portugal for not less than one year. According to Foreign Law, the means of subsistence is based on the monthly value of €705 (net) per person (as of October 2022).

If you intend to bring a family member to Portugal, this amount must be increased by 30% or 50%, depending on the family member.

You will also need to present proof of accommodation in Portugal. To do so, you can present the ownership or rental of housing in Portugal or an invitation letter prepared by a citizen who legally resides in Portugal. Some universities also offer the residence for students.

International Travel Medical Insurance

In order to obtain a residence visa to Portugal, you also need to obtain International travel medical insurance, valid for the period of stay. The insurance policy must include repatriation coverage for medical reasons, urgent need for medical attention, and emergency hospital treatment.

Criminal Records and your valid passport

You will also have to present your criminal records certificate from your country of origin, in accordance with local rules.

Last but not least, present a copy of your passport. Regarding the requirements, it is essential to highlight that the D4 Visa is only granted if the study period is longer than one year. Otherwise, you will have to request another type of visa.

D4 Visa Features

After obtaining the Portugal Study Visa, you must conduct an interview at SEF in Portugal, in order to get your Residence Permit.

If everything goes according to the procedure, after this event, you will receive your Residence Title at home after one or two months.

Portuguese Universities that teach in English

Obviously, if there is a need to rectify information or submit additional documents to the process, the SEF may extend this period.

You must bear expenses related to the fees to be paid to the referred public agencies, which should correspond to approximately €150.


After obtaining your Residence Permit, the resident can perform the following activities:

  • Visit the countries comprising the Schengen area without needing a visa.
  • After receiving the Utente Number, use the Portuguese Public Health Service.
  • After SEF’s approval, perform a professional activity in Portugal.


In return, the resident must:

  • Stay in Portuguese territory for at least 6 continuous months or 8 non-continuous months during the residence permit period;
  • Prove the maintenance of student status during the authorization period;
  • Comply with the obligations applicable to all citizens residing in the country, including the annual income tax declaration.

Exceptional procedure for studying in Portugal

In order to prevent international students from being harmed in their studies due to the delays in the analysis and granting of the Study Visa, since 2017, the candidate (already enrolled in the university) can obtain the Residence Permit directly in Portugal.

For greater security, we recommend that the procedure starts in the country of residence before arriving in Portugal.

With the change in Portuguese legislation in 2017, the procedure for obtaining a residence permit has been simplified.

Now, even if you enter Portugal without the Study Visa, you simply need to present the required documents to prove you can apply for Residence Permit, such as:

  • University enrollment
  • Proof of entry into the country legally
  • Criminal Record certificate

It is important to emphasize that this procedure can only be carried out if the citizen legally enters Portugal.

Thus, it will not be necessary to go through the procedure to obtain a Study Visa at the Consulate of Portugal in the country of origin.

Other types of visas

In addition to the Residence Visa, there are other types of visas that allow entry into Portugal, as described in the table below:

Visa Type: Schengen Visa

  • Authorization: Entry into Portugal and countries that are part of the Schengen Area
  • Approval Type: Visa stamped on Passport
  • Validity: 90 days

Visa Type: Temporary Stay

  • Authorization: Stay in Portugal for up to 1 year
  • Approval Type: Visa stamped on Passport
  • Validity: Up to 1 year

Visa Type: Residence

  • Authorization: Stay in Portugal for more than 1 year
  • Approval Type: Residence Title
  • Validity: More than 1 year

In this sense, the D4 Visa corresponds to one of the Residence Visa types, as it happens with the D2 Visa (Business) and the D7 Visa (Passive Income), among others.

After you, as a Visa holder, remain in Portugal for 5 years, you will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit and Portuguese nationality.

Additional Information

Below you can find some additional information that may be useful for you:

  • The enrollment procedure in the selection process of educational institutions begins in mid-March;
  • The school year starts in September;
  • It will be possible to work in Portugal (as a subordinate or independent professional), subject to prior notification by SEF;
  • Family members may reside in Portugal under the same conditions as the student under the family reunification procedure;
  • Tuition fees may differ between institutions, ranging from €1,500 to €8,000 annually.

After finishing the course, will I be able to stay in Portugal?

You may be. According to article 122 of the Foreigner Law, the University student who has completed the course may profit from a 1-year period. This is to search for a job in their area of study or create a company in Portugal compatible with their qualifications.

Live in Portugal

By doing so, the student can change the Residence Permit type from student to a job or business-related visa.

For example, a student who has completed a Master’s Degree in Law can advocate in Portugal and change the residence permit.

When are you coming to study in Portugal?

Now you know all about studying in Portugal and the procedure to obtain a residence Visa. This will undoubtedly be a fantastic experience for your academic curriculum and for your life as well.

Make sure to prepare yourself for living in Portugal. If you have any questions or would like to have access to updated information about Portugal, join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats.

We hope you have a great time studying in Portugal! If you want to receive your Study Visa without any worries, feel free to contact Viv Europe! We’ve helped many students before you and will continue to make people’s dreams come true. 



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