d3 visa portugalThe D3 Visa Portugal is a priority residence visa aimed at attracting workers with high professional qualifications to Portugal. It’s designed for highly qualified workers who already have a promise of an employment contract, an employment contract, a promise of a self-employed contract, or a valid self-employed contract in Portugal.

This residence visa allows highly qualified professionals to apply for a temporary Portuguese residence permit that is initially valid for two years. After 18 months of legally residing in Portugal, the holder of the D3 Visa can apply for the European Union (EU) Blue Card, which allows him to reside and work in 25 of the 27 EU countries (excluding Ireland and Denmark).

The Portugal D3 Visa provides highly qualified professionals who have the adequate qualification with an array of attractive benefits. These include legally approved residence in Portugal, the possibility of family reunification and advantageous tax benefits.

The D3 Visa Portugal is also a path toward a permanent residence permit and EU citizenship. If you are a holder of this visa, after five years of living permanently in Portugal, you can apply to obtain residency and eventually get Portuguese citizenship.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down all the essential information you need to know about the Portugal D3 Visa, including its long-term benefits for highly qualified professionals, the eligibility requirements, the documents needed for the application, and more.

What is the D3 Visa Portugal?

Simply put, the Portugal D3 Visa is a priority settlement visa aimed at attracting highly qualified professionals to Portugal. Also known as a Highly Qualified Activity Permit, this special long-term stay visa can be requested by highly qualified professionals who already have confirmed employment opportunities or a self-employed contract to provide services to a Portuguese company.

The Portugal D3 Visa allows highly qualified workers with an adequate qualification to apply for a temporary residency permit that is initially valid for two years. After five years of legal residence in Portugal, the visa holder can apply for a permanent Portuguese residence permit or the European Union (EU) Blue Card.

Aside from being able to obtain residency in Portugal, the Portugal D3 Visa applicant also becomes eligible to obtain a Portuguese passport and citizenship.

What is a Highly Qualified Activity?

While learning about the Portugal D3 Visa, you might wonder: “What exactly is a highly qualified activity?” According to Portuguese Law on Foreigners, highly qualified work is “the exercise of an activity that requires specialized technical skills of an exceptional nature or an adequate qualification for the respective exercise of the function.”

The European Commission defines a highly qualified activity as that exercised by professionals falling into either of the two following groups:

  • Management and leadership positions: As executives, officers, and legislators; senior public administration officers, directors; administrative and commercial managers; service and similar managers; company directors.
  • Specialist in intellectual and scientific activities: Engineers and scientists, health professionals, teachers, business and management professionals, cultural professionals, legal experts, and IT professionals (there are two different regimes to apply for the Portugal D3 Visa — the general regime and the Tech Visa, and IT professionals are eligible for both).

D3 Visa Portugal Benefits

Pathway to Portuguese residence card Pathway to Portuguese residence card
Possibility to obtain Portuguese citizenship Possibility to obtain Portuguese citizenship
Visa-free travel within the European Union Visa-free travel within the European Union
Fast processing time Fast processing time
Eligibility to get the EU Blue Card Eligibility to get the EU Blue Card
You can bring your family members to Portugal You can bring your family members to Portugal
EU citizenship for your children EU citizenship for your children
Attractive tax benefits trough the NHR program Attractive tax benefits trough the NHR program

Possibility of obtaining a Portuguese residence permit

Within four months, the holder of the Portugal D3 Visa can get a temporary residence permit valid for two years.

This Portuguese residence permit can be obtained by highly qualified professionals from SEF ( Portuguese Immigration and Border Service). It allows you to. You live, work officially, and pay taxes in Portugal.

Qualification for Portuguese citizenship

After five years of legally authorized residence, you qualify to apply for permanent Portuguese residency. You also become eligible to request both citizenship and a Portuguese passport.

Please note that acquiring citizenship usually involves passing a basic test in Portuguese language and culture.

Visa-free entry and free circulation in the Schengen Area

Aside from legally authorized residence in Portugal, the D3 allows holders to travel to the 27 countries in the Schengen Area without additional visas.

A relatively quick process

The D3 is considered a priority settlement visa by the Portuguese government. Therefore, it’s processed between 30 and 60 days.

Eligibility for the EU Blue Card

Once you have held legal residency status in Portugal, you become qualified to obtain the EU Blue Card. This legal document grants holders the possibility to work and live in 25 of the 27 EU countries (excluding Ireland and Denmark).

You may also apply for a European Union (EU) Blue Card after 18 months of legally residing in Portugal.

Family reunification

Family members (including the spouse, children, parents, or siblings, dependent on either spouse) can join the applicant in Portugal through family reunification.

EU citizenship birthright for your children

Children born to legal residents in Portugal for 12 months acquire EU citizenship birthright.

Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime

As a holder of the D3 Visa, you can apply for the Non-Habitual Resident tax benefits of Portugal.

NHR tax regime eligibility

The Portugal HQA Visa offers several tax benefits to qualified individuals. You may be eligible to apply for Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime, for instance, which allows you to enjoy significant tax advantages for up to ten years. If you transfer your tax residency to Portugal and your home country has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Portugal, you may be entitled to tax exemption on rental income,  pension, dividends, royalties, profit from real estate, and income from non-Portuguese sources. In that case, you would be required to only pay taxes in your own nation.

Through the NHR Program, if your job is considered “high value” (very likely within D3 Highly Qualified Activity Visa),  you only pay a 20 percent flat rate on personal income tax (IRS). 

You qualify if you have not been part of the NHR regime before and if you have not been a Portuguese resident in the last five years.

Important Note: As of January 2024, the NHR is no longer available for new tax residents. Learn more about the end of this tax regime here: Is The Portugal NHR Program Ending?

Portugal D3 Visa Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

D3 Visa Portugal requirements

requirements d3 visa portugal

To apply for the D3 Visa at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate, the applicant must already have a valid employment contract or a self-employed contract to provide services to a Portuguese company.

They must also fulfill the following specific requirements:

  • A clean criminal record, proven by a criminal record certificate
  • That the activity to be developed is framed as a highly qualified activity and that the professional proves adequate qualifications or experience to carry it out
  • That the contract is for an indefinite period or for at least one year
  • Provide evidence that its expected annual salary is at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary or three times the social support index (IAS)*. However, for employment in professions considered particularly in need of third-country nationals, 1.2 times the national average gross wage or twice the IAS value is permitted.

D3 Visa required documents

The required Portugal D3 Visa documents are:

  • Two identical passport photographs
  • A valid passport (at least three months beyond the intended stay duration)
  • Proof of travel and proof of accommodation for the applicant and their family, including a rental contract or a letter of invitation by a person legally residing in Portugal
  • Valid travel insurance
  • A criminal record certificate issued by the applicant’s country of origin
  • A completed form allowing the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) to access your criminal record certificate
  • Proof of financial means to support yourself during your stay in Portugal. The proof of means of subsistence can be made through a statement of responsibility signed by the entity that will be hosting you.
  • An invitation letter from a professional training institution if applying for a Portuguese education institution, such as a teacher or researcher
  • A valid employment contract or a promise of employment with a recognized establishment with operations within the Portuguese territory
  • For regulated professions, proof of professional qualifications allowing you to practice in Portugal is required
  • For non-regulated professions, a professional certificate relevant to the activity or sector specified in your employment contract

D3 Visa Portugal Application Process

How to apply for the Portugal D3 Visa

The D3 Visa application varies according to the Portuguese Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence.

It may be done through one or the other following options depending on the jurisdiction:

  • The E-Visa Portal, which is the Portuguese Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence
  • VFS Global (an intermediary appointment system)

Afterward, applicants must schedule their Portugal D3 Visa interview at a Visa Application Centre or the Portuguese Consulate. Once the process is completed successfully, the visa will be issued to the applicant.

The visa will be valid for 120 days and allows double entry in Portugal within its validity.

Applicants under the D3 scheme can expect a swift 30-day processing time. Upon arrival in Portugal, residents should apply for their residence permits within four months.

Getting a Portuguese residency permit

After securing your D3 visa, the next step is obtaining your Portuguese residence permit. Here’s how:

  1. Schedule an appointment with AIMA (former Portugal’s Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF) either by phone or online.
  2. Attend your appointment at the AIMA with all necessary documents similar to those submitted for your D3 visa application.
  3. Depending on your eligibility, you may receive a Highly Qualified Professional permit or an EU Blue Card, both valid for one year initially.
  4. Renewal grants two more years of validity, and after five years, you can apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship.

Portugal D3 Visa Processing Time and Fees

The D3 Visa Portugal processing time is 30 days, which is relatively fast compared to other programs, such as the Portugal Golden Visa and the D7 Visa.

The application fee depends on each country, but it usually costs €90.

Successful Visa Experience: How We Can Help

With over 50 years of combined experience in immigration, law, and investment, Global Citizen Solutions delivers unmatched guidance for getting Portugal’s D3 Visa.

Our multi-skilled team, with experience in immigration, law, and investment, will ensure your application is successful by managing the process from start to finish.

Global Citizen Solutions also reduces the hassle and stress of attaining your visa.  The process is bolstered by our innovative Be System®, providing real-time visa updates, and our trusted lawyers ensure your application goes through smoothly.

Aside from meticulous visa application management, Global Citizen Solutions has a locally rooted real estate division, providing a seamless transition to your new home. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About the D3 Portugal Visa

What is the D3 Visa in Portugal?

Also known as the Highly Qualified Activity Visa, the D3 is aimed at attracting highly qualified professionals to Portugal. These could be individuals with a job offer or a binding contract from a Portuguese employer. After five years of legal residence in Portugal, you can apply for citizenship.

Who is eligible to apply for a D3 Visa in Portugal?

Non-EU citizens with higher education or higher professional technical qualifications – who have an employment contract or a self-employed contract for at least 12 months, which must state the position and the qualified specialty – can apply for the D3.

What is the difference between a D1 and a D3 Visa in Portugal?

The D1 Visa is designed for professionals who have already accepted an offer of employment in Portugal (and it’s not to seek a job in Portuguese territory). The D3 serves a similar function to the D1. Still, it targets workers with a higher level of qualification in their chosen fields (workers in leadership or management positions or specialists in intellectual and scientific activities).

Can I work while on a D3 Visa in Portugal?

Yes. With the Highly Qualified Activity Visa, you can live and work in Portugal.

How long is the D3 Visa valid for?

This visa grants residency and work permits initially valid for 2 years. After the initial two years, you must renew it, and it will be valid for consecutive periods of three years.

Is it possible to extend a D3 Visa in Portugal?

The visa expires if the applicant is not in or does not move to Portugal within 120 days. In this case, you will need to submit a new visa application.

Is it possible to renew the D3 Visa?

The D3 Visa holder can get a temporary residence permit for two years. This permit can be renewed for consecutive periods of three years. After five years, the individual can apply for permanent residence in Portugal, as well as Portuguese citizenship.

Can I extend the D3 Visa?

No, the D3 Visa can’t be extended. The visa holder can apply for a temporary residence permit for two years. This permit can be renewed for consecutive periods of three years.

Can I bring my family members with me on a D3 Visa to Portugal?

Every applicant for a Residence Visa can bring their family to Portugal through the family accompanying visa, which can be requested simultaneously with the Residence Visa of the main applicant given that they have enough means of subsistence for the family.

What are the financial requirements for a D3 Visa application?

Applicants must provide evidence that their expected annual salary is at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary or three times the Index of Social Support (IAS).

What are the employment contract requirements for the D3 Visa application?

You must have: an employment contract, job offer, or service provider contract; or an invitation letter issued by a higher Portuguese education institution or professional training institution; a statement of responsibility provided by a certified Portuguese company as stipulated by law; or an invitation letter issued by a Portuguese company or institute developing a relevant cultural activity.

Do I need health insurance for a D3 Visa in Portugal?

You’ll need valid travel insurance, allowing medical coverage, including medical emergencies and repatriation.

Can I study in Portugal on a D3 Visa?

Yes, you can work, study, open a bank account, set up a company, and more.

What happens if my D3 Visa application is denied?

The Portuguese Consulate will issue a rejection proposal, which is subject to challenge and appeal.

Can I apply for a permanent residency permit after being on a D3 Visa in Portugal?

Applicants for permanent residence must have held a temporary residence permit and have lived in Portugal for at least five years.

Are there any Portuguese language requirements for a D3 Visa?

No, there are no Portuguese language requirements for this visa.

Can I switch to a different type of visa while in Portugal on a D3 Visa?

The applicant must start a new process for the appropriate type of visa, although they may change to the residence permit once they are here.

Can I leave and re-enter Portugal while on a D3 Visa?

You can leave and enter the Schengen Area twice during the validity of the visa (120 days).

Is there a visa waiver for the Highly Qualified Activity Visa?

It is possible to enjoy the benefits of a visa waiver, but it is an exception. Applicants are exempt from the residence visa requirement if they have legally entered and remained in national territory.

What is the difference between D1 and D3 visa in Portugal?

The D1 visa is for people who already have a job offer in Portugal. It is known as a subordinate worker visa, for a contract of a minimum of one year, and there is no requirement on the sector the job is in, or whether you are a highly qualified professional.

The D3 can be applied for those with the promise of an employment contract, or who already have an employment contract. The D3 visa is for those with higher professional technical qualifications, such as those with specialised technical skills.

What is the difference between D3 visa and Blue Card in Portugal?

Obtaining an EU Blue Card allows you to work and live in 25 of the 27 EU countries (excluding Ireland and Denmark). There are no specific requirements for the type of work, but you must have an employment contract in the country you are applying. Those with three years of education and/or professional experience in any one working profession can apply for the Blue Card.

What are the benefits of the D3 Visa Portugal?

Some advantages of the D3 Visa include family reunification, visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen area, and the possibility to reside legally in Portugal. Holders of the D3 Visa can also obtain residency in Portugal permanently, provided they meet the requirements.

What is a highly qualified activity in Portugal?

According to Portuguese Law on Foreigners, highly qualified work is defined as “the exercise of an activity that requires specialised technical skills of an exceptional nature or an adequate qualification for the respective exercise of the function”.

What is proof of accommodation for the D3 Visa Portugal?

The proof of accommodation in Portugal can be in the form of a rental agreement signed at least for one year or proof of property ownership.

Who is eligible for D3 visa in Portugal?

To apply for the D3 at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate, the individual must be a non-EU-national, and must already have a valid employment contract or a self-employed contract to provide services to a Portuguese company.

What are the D3 Visa Portugal requirements for tech professionals?

To apply for the D3, tech professionals will need to provide:

  • A clean criminal record
  • Proof that the activity to be developed is framed as a highly qualified activity
  • Proof that the contract is for an indefinite period or for at least one year
  • Evidence that its expected annual salary is at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary or three times the social support index (IAS)*