Relocating to Portugal

Relocating to Portugal: Is It Easy for Non-EU Citizens to Obtain Residency?

February 6, 2024 Off By Glespynorson

Residency in Portugal enables individuals to live and work in the country, travel within the Schengen Zone or European Union, access healthcare services, and pursue education. Here are the prerequisites for obtaining it.

General Requirements for Obtaining a Residency Permit

Individuals aspiring to obtain residency in Portugal must fulfill specific criteria. An applicant must not have:

  • A ban on entry into Schengen countries;
  • A conviction for a crime punishable by imprisonment of one year or more under Portuguese legislation;
  • A history of deportation.

Additionally, it is crucial to possess adequate financial means for living and to lease or own property.

Grounds for Non-EU Citizens to Qualify for Residency

Several grounds exist for applying for residency. Initially, one must secure a visa, unless in cases of family reunification where entry without a visa is permitted, and then proceed to apply for residency within Portugal. The most common scenarios are examined below.

Relocating to Portugal for Study or Employment

An employment invitation and visa are required. Students need to be enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate, or doctoral programs.

For employment relocation, residency is only granted to those with a contract of four months or longer.

Residency Through Marriage or Family Reunification

If your parents, spouse, or children reside in Portugal with permanent residency, you may attempt to apply for residency. However, the family member in Portugal must possess a sufficient income, meeting the minimum living wage requirement for each family member — €10,640 per year or 30% of this sum per child (as of 2023).

The regulations are similar if one spouse is a Portuguese citizen, but the marriage will undergo scrutiny for authenticity.

D2 and D7 Visas

The D2 visa is designed for business owners aiming to establish a company in Portugal or those who have invested in a Portuguese business. A business plan that is financially, culturally, and technologically beneficial to the host country is necessary for the application.

The D7 visa is considered more straightforward as it does not require business ownership, property purchase, or investments into the country’s budget. To obtain residency, one must demonstrate a regular passive income of at least €10,640 per year from dividends, rental income, or pensions.

Digital Nomad Visa Portugal

Freelancers and remote employees of foreign companies intending to relocate to Portugal must verify a minimum confirmed income of €3,040 per month.

Residency can be short-term or long-term, the former issued for one year and the latter for two years, with the possibility of renewal and eventual Portuguese citizenship. This visa is available exclusively to individuals not holding citizenship of EU or European Economic Area countries.

Relocating to Portugal

Are There Other Ways to Obtain Residency?

Residency can also be acquired through investments in real estate, venture capital funds, or business activities, generally involving significant amounts, with a minimum investment of €250,000.

Non-EU citizens leaving their home country due to conflict may apply for residency under refugee status.

Steps for Obtaining Residency and Required Documents

Initially, an applicant must secure a visa from the consulate. The visa is short-term, valid for four months from issuance, allowing two entries into Portugal.

Many residency applications at the stage of submission require a tax number. Subsequently, one should approach the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), by phone or in person, with a prepared set of documents for the first appointment, including the submission of biometric data.

Minimum Document Package:

  • Two color passport-sized photographs;
  • Real estate purchase contract or rental lease agreement;
  • Passport with a valid visa;
  • Bank statement proving income;
  • Criminal record certificate;
  • Tax registration certificate;
  • SEF authorization for further criminal record checks;
  • Insurance.

All documents must be translated into Portuguese.

Validity and Renewal of Temporary Residency

The duration of temporary residency permits varies based on the grounds for issuance:

  • Family reunification or marriage to a Portuguese citizen — 24 months, with the option for renewal for three years;
  • Investment or property purchase — 1-2 years, with annual renewal rights;
  • Employment or education — two years, with the option for renewal for three years.

Applications for renewal should be submitted 30-90 days prior to the expiration of the residency permit. The document package required for renewal is identical to the initial submission.

Conditions for Granting Permanent Residency and Its Impact on Portuguese Citizenship Eligibility

Permanent residency is granted to individuals who have resided in Portugal under a residency permit for a duration of five years. The document can be renewed multiple times, each for up to five years.

Upon obtaining permanent residency, an individual becomes eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship after one year. An exception applies to those who have married a Portuguese citizen; they may apply for citizenship three years post-marriage.