This article is reviewed regularly by Wego‘s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Updated June 2024

Portugal has its own unique charm that makes it a worthwhile destination for immigrants. Its economy is steadily growing and offers a variety of job opportunities. The country’s education and healthcare services are commendable and continue to improve.

Portugal’s immigration policies are fair and the local communities are known for their hospitality towards newcomers. All these factors make Portugal an appealing choice for those looking to relocate.

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Considering a move to Portugal? Explore Wego for a wealth of information on what you can expect in the country, including a comprehensive guide that covers immigration procedures and key processes to remember.

Moving to Portugal

There exist numerous visa options for entering Portugal, and you must select the one that aligns with your purpose. These visas offer temporary residency for a specific duration.

Portugal short stay visa

The Schengen visa for short stay allows you to stay in Portugal for a maximum period of 90 days. It is usually requested for reasons of tourism, business or family visits.

The visa alone does not ensure automatic entry into Portugal. Additional documentation may be required at the border or any other control point to verify that you meet the necessary legal requirements for entering the Schengen area.

Documents required

  • completed and signed application form.
  • passport-sized photograph.
  • valid and authentic travel document with an expiration date exceeding three months after the intended exit date; include photocopies of previous passports and visas.
  • return ticket.
  • travel medical insurance.
  • proof of economic and work conditions: work certificate, salary documentation, and the last three bank statements to demonstrate means of subsistence for the entire stay and return to the country of origin.
  • hotel reservation (if applicable) or a statement of responsibility.
  • for staying with a family member, proof of the familial relationship and evidence of housing conditions may be requested. If the person assuming responsibility is not a Portuguese citizen, proof of legal status in Portugal is required.
  • for business purposes, an invitation detailing the purpose of travel, dates of arrival and departure, host organization, and responsible person.
  • for participation in political, economic, scientific, cultural, sports, or religious events, proof of attendance such as registration or entry tickets.
  • for medical travel purposes, an official document from the medical institution confirming the necessity for treatment and proof of adequate financial means to cover medical expenses.

Application process

  • present your documents at the Portugal embassy/consulate, visa application center or via a visa service.
  • pay the visa fee.
  • await a response, typically within 15 calendar days, although delays may occur due to different circumstances.
  • retrieve your visa. If your application is declined, you will need to begin the process anew.

Portugal job seeker visa

The job seeker visa permits individuals to enter and reside exclusively in Portugal for job-hunting purposes, allowing them to engage in subordinate work activities until the visa expires or until a residence permit is granted.

Initially valid for 120 days, this visa can be renewed for an additional 60 days and grants a single entry into Portugal. If the visa’s validity expires without establishing employment or initiating the residence permit application process, the visa holder must depart the country. Reapplication for the visa is only possible one year after the previous visa’s expiration.

To extend the job seeker visa, applicants must provide evidence of registration with IEFP, I.P., along with a declaration affirming the continuity of planned stay conditions, which will be evaluated based on the original reasons for visa issuance.

Documents required

  • National Visa application form completed and signed by the applicant.
  • passport or other travel documents, valid for 3 months after the estimated date of return. Please note that a photocopy of the passport (biographical data) is also required.
  • two identical, recent passport-sized photos of the applicant (one for this application)
  • request for criminal record enquiry by the Immigration and Border Services (SEF). Please note that this is not applicable to minors under the age of 16
  • a criminal record certificate issued by the competent authority of the country of the applicant’s nationality or of the country where the applicant has resided for over a year, except for applicants under the age of 16
  • valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation
  • copy of return flight tickets, proof of financial resources equivalent to at least the sum of three guaranteed monthly minimum salaries
    • proof of the financial resources may be waived upon presentation of a term of responsibility with a recognized signature made by a Portuguese citizen or a foreign citizen, with a legal residence authorization in Portugal, which guarantees food and accommodation for the visa applicant, as well as the repatriation costs, in case of irregular stay
      • the signatory of the responsibility term must also prove to have the financial capacity in the amount of at least three times the value of the guaranteed minimum monthly salary.
  • declaration with an indication of the conditions for the estimated stay
  • proof of presentation of a declaration of expression of interest for enrolment in the IEFP

Application process

  • present your documents at the Portugal embassy/consulate, visa application center or via a visa service.
  • pay the visa fee.
  • await a response, typically within 15 calendar days, although delays may occur due to different circumstances.
  • retrieve your visa. If your application is declined, you will need to begin the process anew.

For more information, please refer to our dedicated article on Portugal job seeker visa.

Portugal temporary stay

Temporary stay visas permit entry and residence in Portugal for periods of less than one year. They remain valid for the entire duration of the stay and allow for multiple entries.

Documents required

  • National Visa application filled and duly signed by the applicant (For minors and incapacitated, forms should be signed by the legal guardian)
  • two photos, even, passport-type, recent and in good condition to identify the applicant (one for this form).
  • passport or other travel document, valid for 3 months after the estimated date of return. A photocopy of the passport is required for biographical data.
  • valid travel insurance, covering necessary medical expenses, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation
  • criminal record certificate, issued by the competent authority of the country of the applicant’s nationality or of the country where the applicant has resided for over a year (except for applicants under sixteen)
  • proof of financial resources, as defined by the decree of the competent government members
  • copy of return transport title

Additional documents for minors

Besides the documents mentioned above, the following are some of the additional documents required by minors to apply for the Portugal temporary stay visa:

  • when minors are not travelling with both parents or are travelling with a third person, a travel authorization of one or both parents or a court order is required.
  • copy of the parent’s identity card.

Application process

  • present your documents at the Portugal embassy/consulate, visa application center or via a visa service.
  • pay the visa fee.
  • await a response, typically within 15 calendar days, although delays may occur due to different circumstances.
  • retrieve your visa. If your application is declined, you will need to begin the process anew.

Living in Portugal

Living in Portugal offers a unique experience brimming with diverse cultures, history, and opportunities. As an expatriate, understanding the immigration laws and necessary permits is essential to fully enjoy your stay in this dynamic country.

Residency in Portugal

Gaining residence in Portugal opens up a host of facilities and opportunities. As a legitimate resident of Portugal, you are entitled to the following:

  • open a bank account
  • access financial facilities
  • apply for a driving license
  • access government health services and health insurance
  • register your children in government and private schools
  • work and invest
  • travel without an exit reentry visa
  • own real estate in your name
  • host and invite relatives

These exclusive benefits, available only to residents of Portugal, significantly elevate the living experience and lay a robust foundation for both personal and professional advancement in the country.

Portugal residency visa

Obtaining a residency visa is necessary to enter Portugal with the intention of gaining residency. Residency visas permit two entries and remain valid for four months. During this period, visa holders are required to apply for a residence permit through the Immigration and Border Services (SEF).

Documents required
  • completed and signed National Visa application by the applicant.
  • two, even passport-type photos, recent and in good condition, to identify the applicant.
  • passport or other valid travel document with an expiration date of at least 3 months after the estimated return date. Include a photocopy of the passport’s biographical data.
  • valid travel insurance covering necessary medical expenses, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation.
  • criminal record certificate issued by the competent authority of the applicant’s nationality or the country where the applicant has resided for over a year (except for applicants under sixteen).
  • proof of financial resources, as defined by the decree of the competent government members.

Additional documents for minors

  • if minors are not traveling with both parents or are traveling with a third person, a travel authorization from one or both parents respectively is required, or a court order.
  • copy of the parent’s identity card.
Application process
  • present your documents at the Portugal embassy/consulate, visa application center or via a visa service.
  • pay the visa fee.
  • await a response, typically within 15 calendar days, although delays may occur due to different circumstances.
  • retrieve your visa. If your application is declined, you will need to begin the process anew.

Portugal residence permit

Following the application for a Portugal residency visa, you’ll need to journey to Portugal to apply for a residence permit through the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). It’s important to note that only the Portugal residency visa enables you to obtain a residence permit.

The temporary residence permit is initially valid for two years from the date of issue and can be renewed for successive three-year periods. After holding it for five years, one can apply for Portugal permanent residence.

To renew your residence permit in Portugal, simply follow these steps:

  • register for social security and obtain a tax number: The first step is to register for social security in Portugal, which can be done at the Portuguese Social Security Office. You can acquire your tax number (NIF) before traveling to Portugal. It is advisable to have a Portuguese bank account before applying for your NIF. If you don’t have these in place, you can easily apply for them in Portugal. Platforms like Bordr can help you obtain your NIF and Portuguese bank account quickly and conveniently.
  • book an appointment at SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras): Once in Portugal, you will need to schedule an appointment at SEF. At the appointment, you will undergo another interview. Upon successful completion, your biometric data will be collected, and you will be issued a residence permit.

Residence permit holders in Portugal are entitled to equal treatment with regard to various aspects, including social security, tax benefits, trade union membership, recognition of qualifications, and access to public goods and services.

Portugal permanent residence

EU citizens are entitled to permanent residency in Portugal if they have legally resided in the country for five consecutive years.

Family members of EU citizens who are not of European nationality are also eligible for permanent residency in Portugal if they have legally resided in the country with an EU citizen relative for five consecutive years.

When calculating the five years of residency in Portugal, temporary absences of up to six consecutive months per year or absences of up to 12 consecutive months for justified reasons such as pregnancy, childbirth, serious illness, studies, vocational training, or work assignments in another country, are not included.

Documents required
  • a filled application form (in Portuguese)
  • valid passport or travel ID
  • two recent passport-sized photos
  • evidence of financial stability and tax/social security payments
  • information regarding holding a temporary residence permit for a minimum of five years
  • official statement (under oath) confirming your residential address and housing arrangements (e.g., land registration certificate or landlord’s letter)
  • proof of proficiency in basic Portuguese language, at least to the A2 level
Application process

After residing legally in Portugal for more than five years, individuals must seek a permanent residence card. This application should be made at the SEF offices following a scheduled appointment. The fee for this application is EUR 15. The permanent residence card is valid for 10 years and must be renewed before its expiration.

Financial aspects of living in Portugal

Residing in Portugal presents unique financial aspects to consider. While Portugal doesn’t have a no-income-tax policy like the UAE, it boasts a high standard of living, particularly in housing, food, and transportation.

Portugal provides affordable housing choices, such as city center rentals in Lisbon for less than $1,000 and countryside homes starting from $450. Property ownership opportunities are also accessible.

Utility expenses in Portugal are manageable, averaging around €109.78 per month, subject to seasonal fluctuations. The public transportation system offers cost-effective commuting solutions, with ticket prices ranging from €1.48 to €1.80 and monthly passes available for €36.85 to €45.03.

Portugal’s healthcare system offers subsidized services, while private insurance typically costs around €400 per year. Education options cater to various needs, ranging from free public schooling to scholarships for private institutions, highlighting the expat-friendly atmosphere and high quality of life in Portugal.

Portugal income tax

Portugal levies progressive tax rates ranging from 13.25% to 48% on its residents’ income. Meanwhile, non-residents encounter a fixed tax rate of 25% on their taxable income for the year 2024, covering earnings from employment, self-employment, and pensions.

Minimum wage in Portugal

The Council of Ministers has approved an increase in the minimum wage to 820 euros starting from January 2024. This represents a significant boost, with a rise of 60 euros per month, marking the largest increase ever seen at 7.9%.

 

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