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Updated May 2023

In recent years, Portugal has emerged as a sought-after travel destination, attracting individuals looking to work in the country. If you’re considering pursuing employment opportunities in Portugal, understanding the process of obtaining a Portuguese Work Visa is crucial.

This comprehensive guide provides all the essential information you need to navigate the intricacies of work visas in Portugal. Read on to discover everything you need to know to embark on your professional journey in this captivating country.

What is a Portugal work visa?

In reality, there is no official term for a visa that permits working in Portugal. The Portuguese work visa can be categorized into two types: a short-stay visa allowing work for up to 90 days and a temporary residence permit allowing work for more than 3 months.

The temporary residence permit can be extended for an additional 3 years after 2 years, and after 5 years, one can apply for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship. Once you become a Portuguese citizen, you no longer need to apply for a “Portugal work visa.”

In this article, we will use the term “Portugal work visa” for consistency and clarity.

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Who requires a Portugal work visa?

If you are a resident of an EU country or a member state of the European Union, you do not require a specific visa to work in Portugal. Individuals from these nations can travel, work, and reside in Portugal without a visa. However, if you plan to stay in Portugal for more than 3 months, you will need to obtain a Certificado de Registo (Residence Certificate).

For citizens who are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, it is likely that you will need to apply for a Portugal work visa in order to work in Portugal. The first step is to find a job in Portugal. Once you have secured employment, you can proceed with the process of applying for a Portuguese work visa.

Portugal work visa requirements

Before initiating the application process for a Portugal work visa, it is necessary to have a work contract from your Portuguese employer. The contract should clearly state the company, location, and type of work you will be engaged in while in Portugal.

Once you have obtained a work permit from your employer, you can proceed to apply for your Portugal work visa. Below is a list of the documents typically required when applying for a Portugal work visa:

  • a filled-out Portuguese visa application form
  • your valid passport
  • passport-size pictures, following Portugal visa picture guidelines
  • proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself
  • obtain your criminal records from your country of residence. If you have resided in another country for more than one year, you may also need to provide criminal records from that country
  • submit a document authorizing the SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) to access your Portuguese criminal records
  • proof of health insurance
  • proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • your employment contract
  • if you are already in Portugal: Present proof of legal entry into Portuguese territories, such as a valid visa
  • if you are applying from a country other than your country of origin: Submit proof of legal stay in that country, such as a valid work permit or visa

Document guidelines:

  • all the documents you submit must be in English or Portuguese. If any documents are in a different language, you will need to have them translated by a certified translator and then notarized
  • certain documents, such as diplomas or civil documents, may have to be legalized. You can legalize documents through an Apostille Stamp or through the Portuguese Embassy in your country.

Portugal work permit requirements

After receiving your work contract, your employer will need to apply for your work permit. The application process will require various documents, including but not limited to the following:

  • proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • a valid passport or government-issued travel document
  • 2 recent passport photos. These must be colored passport photos
  • clear criminal record
  • a work contract between the employer and employee
  • proof of registration with Portugal Social Security
  • company tax statements
  • proof that the position could not be filled by an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen

The list of documents mentioned earlier should not be considered an exhaustive requirement. The specific documents required for your Portugal Work Visa application may vary depending on individual circumstances and the requirements set by the Portuguese authorities.

It is important to communicate with your employer to obtain accurate information regarding the necessary documents for your work permit application. They will have the most up-to-date knowledge of the requirements and can guide you accordingly.

The employer is responsible for providing the required documents, and it is essential to follow their guidance to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Portugal work visa application process

Portugal work visa online

Please note that it is not currently possible to apply for a Portugal work visa online. The application process involves multiple steps outlined below.

Step 1: Apply for your Portugal work permit

After accepting the terms of your new job, your employer will be responsible for applying for a Work Permit on your behalf through the Portuguese Labor Authorities or SEF.

To ensure a smooth application process, provide all necessary documents requested by your employer. They will then submit the required paperwork and inform you once your Work Permit has been approved.

Step 2: Apply for your Portugal work visa

Once you have obtained your work permit, you can proceed with your Portuguese Work Visa application by following these steps:

  1. Complete the application form accurately: Fill out the application form with correct and matching information to your passport or travel document. Any omissions or inaccuracies may lead to visa rejection.
  2. Gather necessary documents: Collect all original and copy documents required for the visa application process. Documents should be in English or Portuguese, and if they are in another language, you can have them translated by a certified translator. Some documents may require legalization through an Apostille Stamp or the Portuguese Embassy in your home country.
  3. Schedule and attend an appointment at the Embassy/Consulate: Book an appointment at the nearest Portuguese Embassy/Consulate and bring all the required documents. During the appointment, you will submit your documents and answer any necessary questions. If the process goes smoothly, you will be issued a Portuguese work visa.

Step 3: Apply for your Portugal residence permit

Your work visa will grant you entry to Portugal and is only valid for 4 months. You will need to travel to Portugal within 4 months to start the application process for your residence permit.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Portugal work visa processing time

The processing time for a Portugal work permit can vary based on the specific details of each application. If the information and documents provided are accurate and complete, it may expedite the processing time. Generally, it takes approximately 30-60 days for SEF to process the work permit application. Afterward, it can take an additional 2-3 months for the Embassy to issue the entry visa. This results in an estimated total processing time of 60 days to a few months to obtain your Portugal work visa.

Portugal work visa fees

When applying for a Portugal work visa, it is important to anticipate several fees associated with various aspects of the application process. In addition to the visa application fees, there may be additional costs such as making copies, travel expenses, mailing or courier services, and others. Here are some of the fees related to a Portugal work visa:

  • temporary visa for entry to Portugal: The fee for obtaining a temporary visa allowing entry to Portugal is approximately EUR 90
  • Residence permit application at SEF: When submitting your application form for a residence permit for work in Portugal at SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras), the cost is around EUR 83
  • residence permit issuance by SEF: To receive the residence permit for work purposes from SEF, there is an additional fee of approximately EUR 72

 

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