Easy Expat Guide to Portugal Visa and Residency

by David Tompkins

Expat Guide to Portugal Visa

A Simple Expat Guide to Portugal Visa and Residency

Why do you intend to travel or move to Portugal? The answer to this question would determine which visa you would require. You may be traveling to visit, study, work, or stay in Portugal permanently. Each of these purposes requires a different Portugal Schengen Visa. Note that you should talk to legal and tax advisors before making a move to Portugal. However, we hope you find these tips below useful. Here’s what you need to know about Portugal visas.

Why Move to Portugal

Besides being a beautiful country with friendly people and excellent beaches and food, there are just too many reasons to mention why you should consider moving to Portugal. But for many current and future expatriates, there can be some tax advantages to moving to Portugal.

Which Type of Portugal Visa Do you Need?

Your purpose of visit and duration of stay determines the Portuguese visa you would require. Depending on your nationality, you may need an entry visa or a long-term residence permit for Portugal. In this case, you must apply for the appropriate Portuguese visa suitable for you.

1. Golden Visa

The Golden Visa Program that made available to non-EU/EFTA (European Free Trade Association) nationals is a great reason to move there. In many cases, expats who are eligible for this program and make a certain amount of investment in the country’s real estate are likely to obtain a residence permit. There can also be some significant tax advantages to using the Portugal Golden Visa as well.

2. Schengen Short-stay Visa

If you are traveling to Portugal as a global citizen or plan to live there for not more than 3months, you can apply for a Portuguese Schengen Visa. It is the Portugal Consulate/Embassy that processes the Portugal Visa or Schengen Visa. This visa is processed in 10 or 15 days.

If you are traveling on the Schengen short-stay visa, you are allowed to stay in Portugal, or any Schengen area, for a maximum of 90 days.

There are different types of Portuguese Schengen Visas:

  • Airport transit visa (visa A)– Permits travel within the international territory of an airport, from one flight to another. However, with this visa, you cannot enter the Schengen area. You must have this visa to change flights within a Schengen country airport unless you are allowed to enter in a special case scenario.
  • Transit and Short-term Stay visa (visa C)– for travel and short-term stay in the Schengen region, the validity of these visas is 90 days in a 6-month timeframe. It permits single, double, or even multiple entries. The majorly popular short-term visas are the Portuguese tourist visa and the business visa.
  • Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) visas– A particular type of visa that permits travel to only one Schengen state, unless specified for other Schengen states. When you apply for this visa, the regions are specified. It is an emergency category of visa that is required, for example, if the traveler has no valid travel document.

3. Temporary Stay Portuguese Visas

Another Portugal visa is called a temporary stay Portuguese visa where a person can stay for some time in Portugal. It permits a 4-month stay with multiple entries.

Portugal visa

4.Portuguese Residence Visa

A Portuguese Residence Visa has a 4-month validity to request a residence permit after you have arrived. You can apply for this Portugal visa under any one of these prerequisites:

  • Employment
  • Meeting family
  • Higher studies (for Portugal resident students who want to do advance studies)
  • A student exchange, apprenticeship, or voluntary service
  • Self-employment or entrepreneurship
  • Research or education
  • Pensioners and people having earnings

The Portuguese residence visa is issued as a multi-entry visa. It permits you to travel to other Schengen countries, as long as you fulfill the criteria. The Working (Employment) Schengen Visa is the most widely issued long-stay visa.

If you have a Portuguese residence visa, you must apply for a residence permit after entering Portugal.

Portugal visa

5. A Portuguese Residence Permit or Certificate Application

For EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens

Moving to Portugal to stay there for more than three months? Apply for a Portuguese Residence Permit or Certificate.

Citizens of EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not require a permit. However, they must request a Registration Certificate (Certificado de Registo) from the city council hall in their residential area. It has a 5-year validity, after which EU/EFTA nationals can request a permanent residence certificate (Certificado de Residencia Permanente). The Portuguese immigration service (SEF) issues this certificate.

For Non-EU Nationals

Non-EU/EFTA nationals shifting to Portugal for more than three months must initially have a long-term Portuguese residence visa. This visa permits them to later apply for a Portuguese residence permit from the SEF around their area of residence.

Typically, you can reside in Portugal for one year with an (Autorização de Residência) permit. For five years, you must renew this every two years. Following this, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

All non-EU citizens applying for a Portuguese residence permit must provide proof of adequate funds and accommodation. Other documents and criteria depend on the reason for requesting a Portuguese residence permit.

The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) regulates all matters of residence permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals. Contact details of SEF can be found on their official website. As noted above, it makes sense to talk to your legal advisor before making any moves or decisions.

What About Medical Coverage for Expats in Portugal

If you are moving to Portugal, it is also vital that you obtain health plan for Portugal that will fully cover you while living in Portugal, but even back home and throughout Europe. While you might be able to get covered locally, a lot of expatriates will want access to private medical services both in Portugal and beyond. We offer some great tips on international health insurance, but a great resource and way to get a quote and apply are via Expat Financial.

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