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Portugal Residence Permit

The Portugal residence permit allows foreign nationals to live in Portugal for a year or more.

For more information about Portuguese residence permits, travelling to Portugal, and how to settle there, reach out to one of our immigration advisers on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.

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    Overview of Portugal Residence Permits

    The Portugal temporary residence permit is a document, renewed on an annual basis, that allows foreign nationals to live and work in Portugal long-term.

    To be eligible for this permit, applicants must first apply for temporary stay visas, which are short-term visas that usually last around four months. Once inside Portugal, you must then apply to the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service to obtain a long-term residence permit.

    There are different types of residence permits depending on the reasons for your stay in Portugal. These include:

    • Residence permits for work
    • Residence permits for study
    • Residence permits for family reunification
    • Residence permits for retirement
    • Residency permits by investment
    • Special residence permits

    Once you’ve been in Portugal for five years, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit to stay in Portugal indefinitely. After this, you may be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport.

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    Who Needs a Portugal Residence Permit?

    As Portugal is part of the EU, all EU and EEA citizens are able to travel to Portugal without visas. This also extends to certain family members of Portuguese citizens, even if they’re not from the EU themselves.

    Additionally, Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, which means that other citizens of Schengen Area countries can travel freely to and from Portugal without being subject to border or immigration controls or restrictions.

    If you’re a Schengen Area citizen, you can travel to other countries in the area for up to 90 days at a time within 180 day periods. However, note that you will not be able to live, work or study in these countries.

    While EU and EEA citizens can travel to Portugal without a visa, they must apply to the Portuguese tax authorities and a local city hall for a residence certificate to formally register their residence in Portugal if they plan to stay there long-term. Residence certificates are normally valid for five years, after which they may be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

    For most non-EU and EEA nationals, a temporary stay visa is required to enter Portugal unless you’re travelling from a country that has a bilateral agreement with Portugal. These countries include Australia, Canada, Japan, the US and the UK, among others.

    Non-EU and EEA nationals will then have to apply for a temporary residence permit if they plan to stay in Portugal for a period of time longer than a few months.

    Portugal Residence Permits for Work

    If you’ve received a job offer in Portugal, you may be eligible for a Portuguese residence permit for work. In order to qualify for this residence permit, the job you’ve applied for must have been vacant and unfilled for at least a month before you take the post.

    When you have received a job offer, the employer must submit the application for your work permit in Portugal. After you receive your work permit, you must then apply for a residence visa at your local Portuguese embassy, which you will then use to enter Portugal.

    Once you have been granted a residence visa, you can then travel to Portugal and apply for a residence permit with Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF).

    Note that citizens of some non-EU countries with bilateral agreements with Portugal are allowed to apply for a work residence visa within 90 days of their arrival into Portugal. It’s important to check if your country is on this list, as it may help to streamline the process of you getting a residence permit.

    There are several types of work permit available depending on the type of work you’ll be doing:

    • Work Visa for Skilled Workers
    • Work Visa for Highly-Skilled Workers
    • Work Visa for Self-Employment
    • Work Visa for Cultural Activities
    • “Tech” Visa
    • Work Visa for Teaching

    Portugal Residence Permits for Study

    Residence permits can be offered to international students outside of the EU who have been accepted into an educational institution in Portugal.

    Similar to the residence permits for work, these permits are also valid for a year at a time and can be renewed every year for as long as your studies in Portugal last.

    To be eligible for this permit, you must provide proof that you have been accepted into a Portuguese educational institution, as well as proof that you’ve paid your tuition fees and proof that you can support yourself financially throughout your stay.

    A residence permit for study will allow you to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during the semester, and full-time outside of the semester.

    Once you’ve finished your studies, you may be able to switch to a Portuguese work permit if you can find an offer of employment.

    Note that the time spent in Portugal as a student will not count towards the minimum five year residency requirement for permanent residency. In order to accrue time towards this requirement, you must switch to a Portuguese work permit after your studies.

    Portugal Residence Permits for Family Reunification

    Also known as family reunion visas or family visas, these allow close family members of Portuguese residents and citizens to come and live with them in Portugal.

    Family members who may be eligible for a family permit include the following:

    • Married or registered partners
    • Minor children, including adopted children
    • Any children under the care of the applicant
    • Children who are of age but dependent on the applicant and are enrolled in an established educational institution in Portugal
    • First-degree relatives who are dependent on the applicant
    • Minor siblings who are under the legal custody of the resident

    Note that residents who are in Portugal under a student permit, unremunerated traineeship, or voluntary service may only bring their spouses, children and adopted children to Portugal under a family visa.

    To be eligible for this visa, you must provide documents that serve as proof of your family links, such as marriage certificates or birth certificates. The family member residing in Portugal must also submit valid identification documents of the family members who wish to travel to Portugal.

    Family visas are only valid for the same period of time as the residence permit of the Portuguese resident or citizen. For partners who have been married for five years, the visa is initially valid for two years, after which it can be renewed every three years.

    Similar to other types of residence permit, family visa holders are able to live and work in Portugal and may apply for permanent residency once they’ve been in Portugal for five years.

    Portugal Residence Permits for Retirement

    Portugal is a popular place for retirees due to its low cost of living, varied environments and accessible immigration routes.

    Also known as the D7 visa, the retirement residence permit is open to all applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. These include having a sufficient passive income, such as from pensions or savings, having proof of accomodation in Portugal, and proof that you will spend at least 16 months of your time within Portugal within two years of your relocation.

    In addition to this, you must also provide proof of private health insurance coverage before travelling to Portugal.

    There are no age limits for the retirement residence permit, which means that you don’t necessarily have to be of retirement age to apply.

    In order to apply for a retirement visa, you must first contact your local Portuguese consulate or embassy and submit your application and supporting documents to them. If approved, you will receive your visa in your passport, which you can then use to travel to Portugal.

    Once in Portugal, you must then register with SEF to receive your residency permit.

    Contact one of our expert advisers today for more information about your move to Portugal. Contact Us

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      Portugal Residence Permits for Investment

      If you’re an investor looking to invest in Portuguese property, business or capital, you may be able to attain a residency permit using the Golden Visa investment scheme.

      This is an attractive option for many investors looking for a route to permanent residency in the EU due to its relatively low investment threshold and residency requirements.

      The eligibility criteria for an investment residency permit are as follows:

      • You must be a non-EU or non-EEA citizen
      • You must invest in any one of the following (note that these routes will all have their own minimum investment thresholds):
        • Residential property
        • Commercial property
        • Fund subscription
        • Capital transfer
        • Scientific research
        • Job creation
        • Donation to the arts or national heritage
      • You must have a clean criminal record

      After you invest, you must then spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal for the first year, then at least 14 days in Portugal for each subsequent two-year period.

      Investment options in Portugal start from €250,000. Much like the other residency permit options, this route can lead to permanent residency and even citizenship if you meet the minimum time thresholds after five or six years, respectively.

      Applicants for this route may also benefit from a tax exemption for almost all foreign source income if they apply for the Non Habitual Resident (NHR) Program.

      Portugal Special Residence Permits

      Portugal also offers residence permits for circumstances that aren’t covered by other categories. The reasons for issuing a residence permit may vary depending on the situation of the applicant.

      However, the following are some of the most common types of special residence permits that are offered:

      • Residence permits for individuals who suffer from long-term health conditions requiring specialist medical care
      • Residence permits for individuals who have completed military service in the Portuguese Armed Forces
      • Residence permits for minors born in national territory to foreign parents who are holders of a residence permit
      • Residence permits for children of resident permit holders who have reached the age of majority and have remained on a regular basis in Portugal from the age of 10
      • Residence permits for individuals of age who were born in Portugal and have never left the territory, or who remained in Portugal from before they were 10

      How Can I Apply for a Portugal Residence Permit?

      In order to apply for a residency permit, you must first apply for a residency visa to enter Portugal.

      Residency visas are normally valid for four months and must be applied for at your local Portuguese embassy or consulate before you travel to Portugal.

      To apply for a residency visa, you will likely have to contact the embassy directly to make an appointment with them. It’s important to check what the procedures are for your specific embassy, as their method of processing applications may differ worldwide.

      You will need to submit an application form along with all the required supporting documents to the embassy. You may also be asked to attend an interview.

      Note that if you’re applying for a residency permit for work or family reunification, your employer or family member must submit an initial application on your behalf to SEF before you apply for a residency visa in your home country.

      Once your application for a residency visa has been approved, you can then travel to Portugal and apply for a residency permit. You must apply for the permit with SEF and also register for your social security number at a registration office.

      You must apply for the residency permit before your initial residency visa expires.

      What Documents Do I Need for a Portugal Residence Permit?

      The specific documents you need for a Portuguese residence permit will vary depending on the type of residence permit you wish to apply for.

      For example, a residence permit for work will require you to provide an employment contract from a Portuguese employer, while a residence permit for study will require proof of acceptance from a Portuguese educational institution.

      However, the following are general documents that you may be expected to provide regardless of what specific type of residence permit you wish to apply for:

      • A valid passport
      • Two recent identity pictures
      • A valid residence visa
        • You must have already entered Portugal with a residence visa before you can apply for a residence permit
      • Proof that you can support yourself financially
      • Proof of accommodation
      • Health insurance or proof that you are covered by Portugal’s national health service (SNS)
      • Police certificate demonstrating a clear criminal background check
      • Family certificate (if applicable)
      • Parental consent (if applicable)

      Note that all documents submitted should either be in English or Portuguese. Any documents not in either of these two languages will need to be translated by a certified translator and notarised.

      What are the Fees and Processing Times for Residence Permits?

      You will normally have to pay an embassy fee of €90 if you have to apply for an initial residency visa.

      Portuguese residency permits usually cost €72 to obtain, with a €83 processing fee.

      There will also be an additional fee to be paid for every year you renew your residency permit, which will vary depending on the type of residency permit you wish to renew.

      Residency visas issued by local Portuguese embassies and consulates usually take around 60 days to process, though this will vary depending on how busy your local embassy is, and if there are any specific delays associated with your specific application.

      Get in touch with one of our immigration advisers if you require help with your move to Portugal. Contact Us

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        How Can I Acquire Portuguese Citizenship?

        After living in Portugal for five years as a temporary resident, you will become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

        Once you’ve attained permanent residency and have lived in Portugal for an additional year, you may become eligible for Portuguese citizenship by naturalisation.

        To be eligible for citizenship, you must meet both of the following criteria:

        • You must have sufficient working knowledge of the Portuguese language (proven with a certificate or test)
        • You must not have been convicted of a crime punishable by a jail sentence of three years or more

        In addition, you must submit the following documents with your citizenship application:

        • Birth certificate
        • Proof of sufficient working knowledge of the Portuguese language
        • Valid passport or travel documents
        • Details of current residence permit
        • Details of date and place of birth, occupation, current residence and list of countries previously resided in
        • Criminal record certificate
        • Document issued by the SEF proving that you have been legally resident in Portugal for at least six years

        Alternatively, you may also be eligible for citizenship if you’ve been married to, or have been cohabiting with, a Portuguese citizen for three years.

        How Can IAS Help?

        Portugal is a popular destination for many international travellers who are attracted by its stunning landscapes, slow pace of life and rich cultural history.

        If you’re considering emigrating to Portugal or living there as a temporary or permanent resident, IAS can help.

        We are expert immigration lawyers with decades’ worth of experience in helping people to settle and relocate in countries worldwide. We can help establish your eligibility for a Portuguese residence permit, help assemble all necessary supporting documents and evidence, and ensure that your move to Portugal is made as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

        We can also liaise with the Portuguese government, embassy or consulate services on your behalf to ensure that your application is processed correctly and to the correct time frame.

        For more information about the services we offer and what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The initial residence permit you will receive in Portugal will usually be valid for a year. This will then have to be renewed on an annual basis.

                  After the first year, you may be able to extend your permit to a two-year residence permit.

                  A residence permit for study is normally only valid for the duration of your course or programme and will cease to be valid once your studies finish.

                  Portugal does allow dual citizenship, which means that Portuguese citizens are able to be citizens of other countries in addition to Portugal.

                  However, you must ensure that your home country also allows dual citizenship before applying to become a Portuguese citizen.

                  There are many benefits to holding a residence permit in Portugal.

                  Some of these include the following:

                  • Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area
                  • High quality of life, education and healthcare
                  • Low crime rates
                  • Access to state funds and benefits
                  • The ability to bring over family members on your residency permit
                  • The option to become a naturalised citizen after six years of residency

                  The specific amount of money you’ll need to retire in Portugal depends heavily on your type of lifestyle and where you’ll choose to be living.

                  It’s recommended that the minimum amount of money you would ideally need per month is around €1,500. This would also be suitable if you’re living in a small town or out in the countryside, where the cost of living would generally be cheaper.

                  The general recommended income would rise to around €2,000 to €2,500 a month if you’ll be living in a large city such as Lisbon or Porto, or if you’ll be wanting more freedom in terms of luxuries and amenities during your retirement period.