If you’ve been looking into the Portugal D2 Visa, also known as the Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa and the Startup Visa, you’ll be aware that while the visa offers many benefits, meeting the eligibility criteria and going through a successful application is not 100 percent straightforward.
If you intend to apply for this residency visa, to ensure your best possible chance of success, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
In this article, we will provide an overview of the D2 Visa’s benefits, eligibility criteria, required documents, how a Portuguese immigration lawyer can help you with your application and other factors to take into consideration when selecting a firm or lawyer to work with.
About the D2 Visa
Implemented by the Portuguese government in 2016, the Portugal D2 Visa is for foreign entrepreneurs who intend to engage in investment activities in Portugal. It is an attractive option for immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in Portugal or to expand their existing business into the country, offering a pathway to obtain residency and, eventually, Portuguese citizenship.
The Role of a Lawyer in a D2 Visa Portugal Application
Provide comprehensive legal guidance
Immigration lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of the immigration laws in Portugal, including the eligibility criteria, application procedures, and potential pitfalls. They can thoroughly assess your situation and advise you on your options for getting a D2 Visa and advise you on whether this visa category is most suited to your needs and goals or whether you would be better suited to applying for a different visa.
Assist with application preparation
The D2 application involves many documents, including your business plan, financial statements, tax records, and personal information such as health insurance, proof of accommodation in Portugal, as well as a tax identification number, commonly known as a NIF.
An immigration lawyer can help you gather all required documents, ensuring that they are complete, accurate, and translated into Portuguese if necessary.
Review and refine your business plan
A strong business plan is essential for a successful D2 application. An immigration lawyer can review your plan, provide feedback on its feasibility and market viability, and help you address any potential concerns that might arise during the application assessment.
Negotiate with Portuguese authorities
In some cases, you may need to negotiate with Portuguese authorities to address specific issues or concerns related to your application.
An immigration lawyer can represent you in these negotiations, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected. For example, if your business plan falls outside the usual mold or has unique aspects, a lawyer can negotiate its viability and contribution to the Portuguese economy.
Handle communication with Portuguese authorities
Applying for a D2 Visa involves ongoing communication with the immigration authorities in Portugal. An immigration lawyer can handle this communication on your behalf, ensuring that all correspondence is accurate, timely, and compliant with Portuguese language requirements.
Provide support in the residence permit application
An immigration lawyer can help with the residence permit needed for a D2 Visa. The D2 Visa is a temporary visa that allows foreign nationals to live and work in Portugal while pursuing their entrepreneurial endeavors. Once you have been granted a D2 Visa, you will need to apply for a residence permit in order to stay in Portugal long-term.
Obtaining a residence permit can involve intricate procedures and legal requirements. A lawyer can explain them clearly, ensuring you follow the correct steps and deadline, and they can provide a comprehensive list of required documents and help you collect them efficiently, minimizing delays due to missing information.
Provide ongoing support and representation
The D2 Visa is granted for a period of one year, after which it can be renewed for up to three years. During this time, an immigration lawyer can provide ongoing support and representation, ensuring that your visa status remains valid and that you comply with all Portuguese immigration regulations.
How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Your D2 Visa Portugal Application
Choosing the right immigration lawyer is crucial for navigating the complex process and increasing your chances of a successful application. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a lawyer:
Experience: Ensure the lawyer has extensive experience handling D2 Visa applications and is well-versed in immigration law in Portugal. Check their credentials, including their qualifications, license, and years of experience in the field.
Specialization: Look for a lawyer who specializes in D2 Visas and understands the specific requirements and nuances associated with this visa category. Their expertise can save you time and reduce the risk of errors or delays in your application.
Communication and availability: Choose a lawyer who is easy to communicate with, provides clear and timely responses to your inquiries, and is available to address your concerns promptly. Effective communication is essential for building trust and ensuring a smooth process.
Fee structure: Understand the lawyer’s fee structure and compare it with other options in the market. Ask about the breakdown of fees, including initial consultations, application processing, and any additional legal services they may offer.
Portfolio and success rate: Check the lawyer’s previous casework and track record of successful D2 Visa applications. A strong track record indicates their expertise and ability to guide you through the process effectively.
Recommendations and reviews: Seek recommendations from trusted individuals or organizations, such as immigration consultants, expat forums, or online reviews. Positive feedback from international clients can provide valuable insights into the lawyer’s services and professionalism.
Initial consultation: Schedule an initial consultation with the shortlisted lawyers to assess their understanding of your situation, communication style, and approach to the application process.
Ask clarifying questions and gauge their level of interest in your case.
Fee negotiation: Discuss the fee structure in detail and negotiate a rate that is fair and aligns with your budget. Consider factors such as the complexity of your case, the lawyer’s experience, and the extent of services they will provide.
Informed decision: Make an informed decision based on your assessment of the lawyer’s qualifications, experience, communication skills, fee structure, and overall fit for your needs. Trust your instincts and choose a lawyer who instills confidence and has the expertise to guide you successfully through the D2 Visa process.
How can our lawyers help?
Global Citizen Solutions is a multidisciplinary firm that offers bespoke residence and citizenship solutions in several European countries, including Portugal. Our Portugal office offers legal expertise and assistance for foreign nationals, investors, and Golden Visa applicants.
D2 Visa Benefits
The Portugal D2 Visa benefits include:
Entrepreneurial opportunities: The visa allows you to establish a business or work as an independent professional in Portugal, providing you with the opportunity to pursue your entrepreneurial aspirations.
Schengen Area travel privileges: With the D2 Visa, you can freely enter and move within the Schengen Area, consisting of 26 European countries, without needing an additional visa.
This grants you the same travel rights as European Union citizens, making networking and establishing business connections across Europe convenient.
Family reunification: The D2 Visa also enables family reunification in Portugal. Your family members, including partners, children, parents, or dependent siblings, can join you and live in the country with you.
Path to Portuguese permanent residency and citizenship: After five years of being a legal permanent resident in Portugal, you may qualify for Portuguese citizenship as part of the country’s residency program.
It’s important to note that obtaining citizenship typically requires passing a basic Portuguese language and culture test.
Residency rights and access to services: With Portuguese residency, you and your family will have access to the public healthcare system, and your children can enroll in the public education system, ensuring essential services for the well-being of you and your family members.
D2 Visa Requirements: Business Documents
Securing the Portugal D2 Visa hinges largely on presenting a solid business plan.
Portuguese authorities must be assured that your venture or service activities will generate sufficient income to support your stay in Portugal. This income could come from a locally incorporated company or contracts with clients.
As well as a detailed plan for your business, you must demonstrate your financial stability, which means you need to provide “proof of means of subsistence.” Usually, this implies having enough savings for at least 12 months, equivalent to the Portuguese minimum salary.
The key documents required for your Portugal D2 Visa are:
Declaration of investment
You must submit a declaration stating that you have already made or plan to invest in Portugal, providing details about the nature, value, and duration of the investment.
When evaluating your application, factors such as the investment’s economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural significance will be considered.
Additionally, the creation of job opportunities in Portugal will significantly contribute to the strength of your application.
Solid business plan
You must submit a well-structured and detailed business plan that will undergo a thorough evaluation based on its social, economic, and cultural impact.
A solid plan should demonstrate how your business will flourish and contribute to economic growth in Portugal.
You need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to support and sustain your company throughout the duration of your intended stay in the country (e.g., local bank statements).
It is essential to demonstrate that your business is financially viable and has the resources to thrive during your time in Portugal.
The share capital represents the initial minimum investment amount required to ensure the functioning of the company, even in situations where it may not be generating profits.
In Portugal, small companies typically have an average social capital of €5,000; this is a reference value to consider when submitting your application.
You are required to provide evidence of having established a company operating within Portuguese territory or possessing sufficient financial resources in Portugal and submit documents that demonstrate your capability to establish a company in the country.
Independent service providers must submit a written contract or proposal detailing the provision of their services as part of their application.
D2 Visa Portugal Required Personal Documents
Personal financial means
You must provide evidence of having sufficient financial resources to sustain yourself and your accompanying family members for a year, regardless of your business income.
Based on the current minimum wage in Portugal for 2024, which is €9,840 per year, the income requirements are:
The primary applicant: The minimum annual salary requirement is €9,840
Spouse: The additional amount required for a spouse based is €4,920.
Dependent child: The additional amount needed for each dependent child based is €2,952.
Couple with one child: Consequently, a couple with one child would need around €17,712 annually (sum of €9,840 + €4,920 + €2,952).
Criminal record check from previous countries of residency
You typically need a clean criminal record certificate from any country where you’ve resided for over a year. This criminal background check document should be less than three months old, and the timing is crucial for your application.
Despite common misconceptions, prior criminal records do not automatically disqualify you from visa eligibility, depending on the nature and severity of the offense.
Proof of accommodation in Portugal
It’s necessary to provide proof of secure accommodation in Portugal. This could be in the form of a rental contract, property deeds, or an invitation letter from a friend or relative who is a legal resident of Portugal.
Health insurance for at least six months
You should ensure you purchase health insurance covering your initial four-month Portugal D2 Visa and the waiting period for registering as a resident with SEF (Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service) and receiving your residency permit.
Once you receive your temporary residence permit, you’ll qualify for Portuguese state healthcare. In Portugal, insurance prices range from around €400 per year for basic coverage, while more comprehensive insurance packages are available from about €1,000.
Passport and pictures
To apply for the Portugal D2 Visa (Entrepreneur Visa), you must possess a valid passport that remains valid for a minimum of six months beyond the expiration date of the visa you are applying for, which itself has a duration of four months. You must also provide two recent passport-size color photos for your application.
Tax identification number and Portuguese bank account
Obtaining a tax identification number (NIF) and opening a business bank account in Portugal are crucial steps in the D2 application.
To apply for a D2 Visa, you must obtain a tax identification number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF) from the Portuguese tax authorities.
D2 Visa Portugal Application Process
Wondering how to apply for a D2 Visa in Portugal? To begin your application, you should take the following steps:
Acquiring a Portugal taxpayer identification number (NIF) from a tax office, consulate/embassy, or a registered intermediary
Opening a bank account in Portugal and transferring funds to it.
Securing long-term accommodation in the country through either purchasing or renting a property for a recommended minimum duration of one year, even if an early termination clause is included.
Submitting the application online via the E-Visa Portal. This can be done either through the Portuguese Consulate or Portuguese Embassy in your home country or directly in Portugal if you are already present in the country.
An application for the Portugal D2 Visa takes place in two distinct stages. Initially, you’ll submit the majority of your documents to the Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate in your home country. If your application is approved, you will be invited for an interview.
If successful, you will be issued a four-month Portugal D2 Visa to travel to Portugal to apply for residency.
The second stage occurs in Portugal, specifically with the immigration authorities and borders service, known as SEF. Upon arrival in Portugal, you should schedule your SEF appointment as quickly as possible.
Even if the only available dates exceed your visa duration, as long as you have secured an appointment, your legal status in Portugal remains intact beyond the four-month visa period.
Why choose Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa?
- Global approach by local experts: A team of experienced local case executives, immigration lawyers, and investment specialists based in Portugal.
- Independent service:We are not a marketing agency for any projects. You will access all eligible routes for the Golden Visa, with over 40 vetted qualifying investment options, so you can decide on the best option for you.
- 100% approval rate: We have the unique distinction of never having had a Golden Visa case rejected and have helped hundreds of clients from more than 35 countries.
- All-encompassing solution: Our dedicated onboarding and immigration teams will assist you throughout the process and beyond with a single channel of communication.
- Transparency: Our fees are clear and detailed, covering the entire process with no hidden costs.
- Privacy: Your personal data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server.
To see the full list of reasons why to work with Global Citizen Solutions for your Portugal Golden Visa, you can find out more here: Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your Golden Visa Portugal Application?
Frequently Asked Questions about Hiring a Lawyer for a Portuguese Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa Application
What kind of guidance can an immigration lawyer provide for D2 Visa applications that involve an existing business?
A strong business plan is crucial for a successful D2 application, especially when involving an existing business. An immigration lawyer can review your plan, identify areas for improvement, and help you tailor it to meet the specific requirements of Portuguese government.
Addressing compliance issues: Immigration lawyers can assess your business operations and identify any potential compliance issues with Portuguese regulations or industry standards. They can provide guidance on how to rectify any compliance gaps and ensure that your business is operating legally and in compliance with the terms of your D2 Visa.
Preparing supporting documentation: The visa application process for existing businesses requires a comprehensive set of supporting documents. An immigration lawyer can assist you in gathering all necessary documentation, including financial statements, business licenses, tax records, and an employment contract. They can also guide you in ensuring that all the necessary documents are translated into Portuguese if required.
Can a D2 Visa lawyer help me to set up a bank account in Portugal which is required for a D2 Visa application?
While a D2 Visa lawyer can’t open a Portuguese bank account for you, their expertise can prove invaluable in navigating this crucial step for your application. They’ll clarify specific account requirements, suggest suitable banks considering your nationality, and help you gather necessary documents such as your NIF.
Even if they can’t handle the actual application, their guidance and support ensure the process seamlessly aligns with your visa needs, saving you time and potential hurdles. Remember, consulting a financial professional alongside your lawyer is always recommended for navigating the intricacies of opening a foreign bank account.
What visa do I need to move to Portugal?
As well as the D2 Visa, there are several other options available for people who want to move to Portugal, including the popular Golden Visa program. If you speak to an immigration lawyer, they can advise you which of the following visa programs are best suited to your circumstances and your goals.
- For retirees or individuals with guaranteed passive income (pensions, investments, etc.)
- No minimum investment amount required
- Requires proof of stable passive income equal to Portugal’s minimum wage
- Ideal for those seeking a relaxed lifestyle with residency flexibility
- Targeted at highly qualified professionals with job offers in Portugal
- Faster processing times compared to other work visas
- Requires a higher education degree and a job offer with a Portuguese company
- Attractive option for skilled professionals seeking career opportunities in Portugal
- New visa launched in 2023, specifically for remote workers
- Allows remote work for foreign companies while residing in Portugal
- Requires proof of remote employment and stable income exceeding Portugal’s minimum wage
- Perfect for digital nomads seeking an optimal work-life balance in Portugal
- For non-EU family members of Portuguese citizens or legal residents (spouse, children, dependent parents/siblings)
- Allows applicants to join family, live, work, and study legally
- Requires proof of relationship and evidence of final means
- Investment-based visa offering permanent residency after five years
- Requires investments starting from €200,000 in fields including cultural projects, investment funds, and scientific research
- Offers fast-track residency but comes with a significant investment cost