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Visas in Portugal: Guide

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Portugal Visas – the first thought that should be in your mind when thinking of moving to the country. Luckily, Portugal has a pretty advanced Visa program that allows qualified workers, entrepreneurs, retirees and investors from all around the world to live and work here.

According to the 2021 Immigration Report (RIFA), Portugal had nearly 700k immigrants out of its population of 10.3 million. A number that has been progressively growing since 2011, amounting to a 40% increase in that year.

While most of the immigrants in the 90s came from Ukraine, Brazil and PALOP countries, right now there are people from all over the world, including neighbouring EU countries, Australia and the US. If you are interested in joining them, you can find more information about the Visa programs in Portugal below. Contact us if you have further questions!

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With the goal of making the process of applying for a visa to Portugal as easy, successful, and hassle-free as possible, Pearls of Portugal has created a special visa program in cooperation with legal partners that have been in the market for many years.

Portugal Visas

D7 Visa

The D7 Visa allows foreign non-EU nationals to live in Portugal on their own income, regardless of age. The visa was originally made to attract retirees but has become also quite attractive for anybody that fulfils the low passive income threshold of 9.840€/year. This income can come from pensions, real estate rentals, and investments, among others. Salaries are no passive income.

The D7 visa enables the respective holder to obtain a residence permit in Portugal for a period of one year, which can then be renewed for successive periods of 2 years and can be converted into a permanent residence permit after 5 years.

D3 Visa

The D3 Visa is a visa made to attract highly qualified professionals to the Portuguese territory. The visa category offers fast-track processing and a clear path to obtaining Portuguese permanent residency and also makes you eligible after 5 years for Portuguese citizenship. With this, you will be able to live in Portugal with the same basic rights as a Portuguese citizen. You can use the public health system, banks system, and even travel freely through the countries of the Schengen area. You also have the possibility of applying for EU Blue Card, after complying with its requirements.

D2 Visa

The D2 Visa allows entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent service providers to live in Portugal.  Applicants must prove that they either have founded a company operating in Portuguese territory or they have the financial resources to set up a company in Portugal. Besides the business capital, applicants should have a reliable business plan and in-depth research about future business in Portugal. Having knowledge of the business community in Portugal will always help. 

Student Visa

The D4 or Student Visa is for all of those looking to come further their education in Portugal. There are three types of this visa. The short-term is for anybody coming to study here for less than three months, the temporary stay is valid for up to a year and generally more applied to Erasmus+ (or similar program) students and the long-term is meant for people entering longer courses, like a master’s degree for example. The key factor here is, obviously, that you must have a letter of acceptance from a Portuguese university or learning institution. The long-term visa is valid for as long as you’re still studying in the country. After you finish your studies, you must change the nature of your residence permit. 

Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa is aimed towards those who like to travel from country to country while remote working for a foreign company or being self-employed. As of 2023, it is valid for up to a year. However, it can be renewed after that. The main concern with this Visa is making sure you have enough earnings. Your income has to be higher than €3.680 – which is 4 times the national minimum wage – and you must provide proof of it. 

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a residence-by-investment program for non-EU nationals. From 2007 to July 2023, it operated with a focus on real estate, but, after the Government implemented some housing measures in 2023, all kinds of access to the residence permit through real estate investment were removed from the program. However, other types of investment are still active. These are them:

  • Financial investment of 250.000€ to the government (which will be directed towards supporting immigrants in difficulty) 
  • Any investment that creates at least 10 jobs in Portugal 
  • Investments equal or greater than 500.000 euros, applied on commercial companies headquartered in Portugal and that, as a consequence, generate at least five jobs or ensure the maintenance of at least ten
  • Investments in scientific research, of 500.000 euros or more, conducted by any organization recognized by the Portuguese Scientific and Technological System
  • Capital transfers of 250.000 euros or more, applied in the artistic production, recovery and/or maintenance of national cultural heritage through officially recognized foundations or organizations
  • Investments intended for the acquisition of shares in non-real estate collective investment entities, equal to or greater than 500.000 euros. The entities must be at least five years old and have 60% of investments materialized in companies headquartered in Portugal

What’s the visa process like in Portugal?

Although varying from visa to visa, some points are common and crucial in all of the Portuguese Visa processes.

  1. Getting a NIF (Portuguese Tax Number)
  2. Opening a bank account
  3. Securing accommodation in Portugal, either by buying a property or renting an apartment 
  4. Submitting your application at the Portuguese embassy of your home country, then waiting for approval
  5. Going to Portugal on a temporary stay visa (4 months), during which you must schedule an appointment with AIMA (Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum)
  6. Gathering all necessary documents and going to your AIMA interview
  7. Getting your residence permit!
  8. Becoming a citizen after 5 years, if desired 

Tackling Visa Rejection and Appeal Procedures

In the event of visa rejection, don’t despair. Portuguese domestic law provides several avenues for appeal. You have the right to issue a formal complaint, appeal to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or even bring legal action in the Administrative Court in Lisbon. The timelines for these appeal procedures vary based on the type of visa but are typically within around three months for National Visas.

It’s important to note that these options are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, you may pursue an appeal and legal action simultaneously if you wish, potentially speeding up the process.

Family Reunification in Portugal

Family reunification is a crucial aspect of immigration in Portugal. The process enables foreign nationals holding a valid residency permit to bring their family members residing outside of Portugal into the country. This process starts with a concession request to the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). Once the SEF grants approval, the family members can lodge their residency visa application.

Portugal Visas Fees and Exemptions

Typically, the processing of national visa applications incur a cost of €90 for a residency visa. However, Portugal offers fee exemptions for several categories of applicants:

  • Descendants of residency permit holders under the provisions of family reunification.
  • Foreign nationals awarded a study scholarship by Portugal.
  • Individuals involved in highly-qualified research activities, whether for residency or temporary stay.
  • Patients and their accompanying persons travelling under Cooperation Agreements in the Field of Health with Portugal.

These exemptions aim to ensure that financial constraints do not impede access to Portuguese residency for certain groups of individuals.

Navigating the process of relocating to a new country can be daunting, but Portugal’s robust and diverse visa options make it a feasible and attractive destination for many. Whether you’re a retiree, a highly-qualified professional, an entrepreneur, a digital nomad, or an investor, Portugal has a visa option tailored to your circumstances. 

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Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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