d2 visa portugalIf 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, what you need to be eligible, the required documents, and how a Portugal D2 Visa lawyer can help you with your application.

About the D2 Visa Portugal

The Portuguese government implemented the Portugal D2 Visa in 2016 for foreign entrepreneurs who intend to engage in investment activities in Portugal. It is an attractive option for immigrant entrepreneurs seeking to acquire a residency permit, establish their own business in Portugal, or expand their existing business into the country, offering a pathway to eventually obtain Portuguese citizenship.

The program’s objective is to help raise external resources for the Portuguese economy while opening the pathway for immigrant entrepreneurs to acquire permanent residency and later Portuguese citizenship. Most applicants apply for this Portugal visa with companies with either a limited liability company or a sole proprietorship business structure.

The Role of a Lawyer in a D2 Visa Portugal Application

Provide comprehensive legal guidance

Lawyers specializing in immigration 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, advise you on your options for getting a D2 Visa, and advise you on whether the entrepreneur visa category suits your needs and goals or whether you would be better suited to applying for a different visa.

Assist with application preparation

To comply with immigration law, the D2 application involves many documents, including your comprehensive business plan, financial statements, tax records, and personal information such as health insurance and proof of accommodation in Portugal. It also requires a tax identification number, commonly known as an NIF.

An immigration D2 Visa 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. Your lawyer can help you determine how to make your business idea a reality. They 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

Sometimes, you may need to negotiate with the local authorities to address specific issues or concerns related to your entrepreneur visa application.

Your lawyer can represent you in these negotiations, protecting your rights and interests. For example, if your business plan is unique or falls outside the usual mold, 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 Portuguese immigration authorities. A D2 Visa lawyer specializing in immigration can handle this communication on your behalf, ensuring that all correspondence is accurate, timely, and compliant with Portuguese language requirements and respective immigration law.

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 issues foreign nationals a residency permit in Portugal while pursuing their entrepreneurial endeavors. Once you have been granted a D2 Visa, you will need to apply for a long-term residence permit.

Obtaining a residence permit can involve intricate procedures and legal requirements. A lawyer can explain them clearly, ensuring you follow the correct steps and deadlines. They can also provide a comprehensive list of required documents and help you collect them efficiently, minimizing delays due to missing information.

GCS-ICONS-88-2Provide ongoing support and representation

The D2 Visa is granted for 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.

Immigration attorneys can also ensure that your business continues to comply with regulations regarding corporate tax and social security contributions.

Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your D2 Visa Portugal Application

Choosing the right Portugal D2 Visa lawyer is crucial for navigating the complex process and increasing your chances of a successful application to acquire permanent residency.

Here are some key factors for immigrant entrepreneurs 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, years of industry experience, and specialized areas like corporate tax.

Specialization: Look for a lawyer specializing in D2 Visas and understand this visa category’s specific requirements and nuances. 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 can promptly address your concerns. 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 effectively guide you through the process.

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 and negotiate a fair rate that 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. For example, if they can help obtain residency in the future.

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 provides legal expertise and assistance for foreign nationals, investors, and Golden Visa applicants to acquire their permanent residency or entrepreneur visa.

Through our partner, Goldcrest, we also offer real estate services. If you want to buy real estate in Portugal as you relocate to the country with a D2 Visa, Goldcrest can help you throughout the process.

Benefits of the D2 Visa for Entrepreneurs

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 keeping legal residency in Portugal, you may apply for a permanent residence permit and for Portuguese citizenship as part of the country’s residency program.

It’s important to note that to become a Portuguese citizen you’ll need to pass a basic Portuguese language and culture test.

Residency rights and access to services: With Portuguese residency, you and your family will have access to social security benefits and 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

Documents-neededSecuring the Portugal D2 Visa – or entrepreneur 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.

Along with a detailed plan for your business, you must demonstrate your financial stability, which means you must 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 (Entrepreneur 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 investment’s nature, value, and duration.

Factors such as the investment’s economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural significance will be considered when evaluating your application.

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.

Financial capacity

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.

Share capital

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.

Company set-up

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.

Service contract

Independent service providers must submit a written contract or proposal detailing the provision of their services as part of their application.

D2 Visa Requirements: 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 base is €4,920.

Dependent child: The additional amount needed for each dependent child 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

Provide proof of secure accommodation in Portugal. This could be 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 AIMA (which replaced SEF as the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service) and receiving your residency permit.

You’ll qualify for Portuguese state healthcare once you receive your temporary residence permit. 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 lasts 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 (Entrepreneur Visa), you must obtain a tax identification number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF) from the Portuguese tax authorities.

D2 Visa Portugal Application Process

taxas passaporte italianoWondering 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 AIMA (formerly) SEF. Upon arrival in Portugal, you should schedule your AIMA immigration office 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

How can an immigration specialist lawyer advise on D2 Visa applications involving an existing business?

A strong business plan is crucial for a successful D2 application, especially when involving an existing business. Your lawyer can review your plan, identify areas for improvement, and help you tailor it to meet the specific requirements of the Portuguese government.

Addressing compliance issues: Lawyers 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. Your lawyer helps you gather all necessary documentation, including financial statements, business licenses, tax records, and an employment contract. They can also help you ensure 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?

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 D2 Visa 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?

In addition to the D2 Visa, several other options are available for people who want to move to Portugal and acquire a residency permit, 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.

D7 Passive Income Visa

  • 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

D3 Highly Qualified Activities Visa:

  • 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
  • An attractive option for skilled professionals seeking career opportunities in Portugal

Digital Nomad Visa:

  • New visa launched in 2022, 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

Family Reunification Visa:

  • 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

Portugal Golden Visa:

  • 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

Can I apply for a D2 Visa through the Portuguese Consulate?

Yes, you can apply for a D2 Visa through the Portuguese consulate. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Business or Freelancer Setup: Establish a business or register as a freelancer in Portugal. This includes obtaining a NIF (tax identification number), opening a bank account, and preparing a detailed business plan or proof of freelance work.
  2. Gather Required Documents: Collect all necessary documents, including a valid passport, business plan, proof of financial means, and evidence of accommodation in Portugal.
  3. Submit Application: Submit your D2 Visa application at the Portuguese consulate or embassy in your home country. This involves filling out the visa application form and paying the relevant fees.
  4. Consular Appointment: Attend an appointment at the consulate, where you will present your documents and undergo an interview.
  5. Visa Issuance: If your application is approved, the consulate will issue the D2 Visa, allowing you to travel to Portugal.
  6. Residence Permit: Upon arrival in Portugal, you must schedule an appointment with AIMA (formerly SEF Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) to apply for a residence permit, submit biometric data, and provide additional documentation.

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