Portugal has emerged as a beacon of opportunity for those seeking a secure pathway to European residency. Portugal has a streamlined and well-regulated visa program, and a Portuguese residency visa offers individuals the chance to stay in Portugal and establish a foothold in the heart of Europe, establishing stability and access to a vibrant European lifestyle. 

Portugal’s residency program is a pragmatic choice for foreign citizens looking to start a new chapter in their lives. This article explores the essential details of a Portugal residency visa, shedding light on the straightforward process and the benefits it brings to those who embark on this journey. 

How many types of visas are there in Portugal?

There are three categories of Portugal Visa types:

  1. A short-stay visa, also known as a Schengen Visa. They are issued for foreigners planning to visit Portugal for tourism, business, or medical treatment. The tourist visa allows foreigners to enter national territory and is valid for up to 90 days.
  2. Temporary stay visas, which are valid for up to a year in most cases. 
  3. Long stay visas, also known as residency visas. These are for stays of one year or more.

Our article Portugal Visa Entry Requirements offers more detailed information.

What are Residency Visas in Portugal

d7 vs d2 visa portugalResidency visas are issued by a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate for the sole purpose of facilitating an individual’s entry into Portugal.

Post-entry, a holder of this visa will have a meeting scheduled with the Immigration and Borders Service (AIMA, which replaced Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras or SEF) for their residence permit.

Residency visas allow two entries and, and are typically valid for 120 days.

Portugal offers various types of residency visas, including visas for work, study, family reunification, and investment. Each type of residency visa has its own requirements and criteria that must be met by the applicant.

Exploring the Portugal Residency Visas

D2 Visa

The D2 Visa, also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, is a work visa designed for individuals who intend to engage in independent professional activities or launch or start a business in Portugal. The Portuguese government introduced it to raise external resources and investments to boost the country’s economy.

This type of visa is perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs or self-employed individuals who wish to take advantage of the growing business opportunities in Portugal.

To qualify for a D2 Visa, for instance, you can present a solid business plan that indicates how your business will contribute to the Portuguese economy. The business can be in any industry. You also need to demonstrate that you have adequate financial resources to run the business. The business should also be set up before you apply for the visa.

D8 (Digital Nomad Visa)

In 2022, Portugal introduced a new Digital Nomad Visa program, enabling remote workers to live and work in the country. This initiative, announced by the Portuguese government earlier in the year, is part of a growing global trend with many countries now offering similar arrangements, with Portugal’s option being particularly attractive.

The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa targets remote workers interested in operating from Portugal. To qualify, individuals need to earn at least four times the Portuguese minimum wage, roughly amounting to €3,280.00 per month.

This Digital Nomad Visa is offered in two categories. Applicants can either choose a temporary stay visa for up to one year or a residency permit, renewable for up to five years. Both categories cater to those seeking short-term stays or a longer residence period.

Upon acquiring a residency visa and after a five-year period, applicants can pursue permanent residency or even Portuguese citizenship, provided they meet all the necessary criteria. With Portugal’s citizenship, the individual gains visa-free access, and the right to live, work, and study across all European Union (EU) countries.

D3 Visa

The D3 Visa is designed for highly skilled professionals such as scientists, researchers, and academics whom Portuguese institutions invite. This is also known as the Qualified Workers Visa.

To be eligible for this Portuguese visa, the applicant must have a work, services contract, or a promise that falls under the categories of highly qualified activity. The contract must be for at least one year, and the salary depends on the activity of the applicant; usually, it must be at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary in Portugal.

D6 Family Reunification Visa

family reunification visa portugalThe D6 Visa Portugal is the main instrument that facilitates this family reunification. Specifically designed with the family reunification purpose in mind, this visa opens doors for individuals to reunite their family unit in Portugal.

In practical terms, the D6 Visa bestows on its holders the freedom to partake in the regular activities of life in Portugal. Not only can they reside with their loved ones, but they are also permitted to work and pursue educational opportunities throughout the country. This makes the transition smoother as it allows the visa holder to fully participate in Portuguese society, contributing economically and socially to the country.

One of the significant benefits of the D6 Visa is the prospect of permanency. After holding this visa and residing in Portugal for five years, individuals become eligible to apply for permanent residency. This is a substantial step towards stability, as it allows individuals to settle in Portugal indefinitely, enjoying all the rights and responsibilities of long-term residents.

It’s important to note that application for the D6 Visa and the subsequent potential for permanent residence involves an in-depth process. Applicants must be able to provide evidence of their direct ascendant or family relationship, such as a marriage certificate or a birth certificate. Also, the main applicant must show the financial capacity to support each family member added.

D7 Visa (Retirement Visa)

This visa is known as the retiree or passive income visa. If you can demonstrate regular income from pensions, property rentals, interest income, or financial investments, you may qualify for the D7 Visa.

The D7 Visa, also known as the Retirement Visa or the Passive Income Visa, is an excellent option for individuals who have a consistent source of income from properties, financial investments, or pensions. This visa is perfect for individuals who do not need to work in Portugal but wish to live there.

To qualify for this visa, you need to demonstrate that you have a stable and regular source of income that can support your stay in Portugal. The income should be sufficient for you and your family members. The passive income that can be received into your Portuguese bank account should be sufficient for you and your dependants. The amount should be at least equivalent to the Portuguese minimum wage, which is currently €820.00 per month (€9,840.00 per year). Eligible income sources include pensions, rental income, interest income, or other non-salaried sources.

Benefits of the D7 include visa free access to the countries in the European Union, access to Portuguese public services, and a pathway to Portuguese residence permit.

In addition, with the D7 Visa, you can become a Portuguese tax resident and benefit from the NHR (non-habitual residency) scheme, which has several tax advantages.

Portugal Golden Visa program

Guide-to-Citizenship-by-InvestmentPortugal’s Golden Visa is an investment visa program that allows non-EU investors to gain a residence permit in return for a significant investment in the country.

With the Golden Visa, qualifying investors and their families gain the right to live, work, and study in the country. Additionally, it provides the convenience of visa-free travel to European countries and Schengen countries.

The investment program also presents a pathway to more permanent ties with Portugal. Qualifying investors can apply for permanent residency or even citizenship, provided they maintain their investment for a minimum of five years and fully comply with Portuguese immigration law and Portuguese nationality laws. It’s important to note that the capital transfer and real estate investment options are no longer eligible for the program.

In essence, the Portugal Golden Visa Program provides an enticing opportunity for those seeking to establish a strong connection with Portugal through foreign investment. Golden Visa holders don’t need to pay extra taxes on income produced outside of Portugal and are also not required to register as tax residents.

Is NHR ending?

The State Budget Law for 2024 determined the end of the NHR regime from 1st January 2024. However, certain individuals can still apply up until 31st March 2025, and the scheme is being replaced by the Tax Incentive for Scientific Research and Innovation, which has now been implemented. To learn more, please refer to Is The Portugal NHR Ending?

Additional resources on the Golden Visa Portugal:


The Portugal Golden Visa program has recently undergone substantial changes. The new legislation is now in effect, and it’s crucial to note that real estate investments are no longer a valid qualifying option within the program. The Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide offers more detailed information, including several attractive investment routes that remain eligible investment options for the program.

Check out our Portugal Golden Visa Complete Step-by-Step Guide

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Applying for a Residency Visa in Portugal

The first step is to obtain a residency visa, which is necessary to enter Portugal with the intention of gaining residency. To apply for this visa, you need to submit an application at the Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate in your home country. The residency visa is typically valid for 120 days and permits double entry, which means you can travel in and out of Portugal within this period.

The requirements vary depending on the purpose of your stay (e.g., work, study, family reunification) but commonly include:

  • A completed visa application form
  • Passport or other valid travel document
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Police clearance certificate or proof of no criminal record
  • Additional documentation specific to your purpose of stay (e.g., job contract, enrolment in a Portuguese educational institution)

Portugal Residency Visa vs Residency Permit

The residency visa allows foreign nationals to legally enter Portugal and stay there for an extended period, typically longer than a standard tourist visa would allow.

However, the Portuguese residency visa is valid for only 120 days. Therefore, to legally stay in Portugal for a longer period of time, the visa holder needs to apply for a temporary residence permit.

The residence permit is the document that allows the visa holder to legally reside in Portugal. Below, we’ll explain more about this document.

About the Portugal Residence Permit

A Portugal residence permit allows third-country nationals to live and work legally in Portugal’s national territory.

Residence permits are ordinarily temporary, usually lasting for two years, with the option of renewal, depending on the applicant’s length of stay and the visa type they used when entering Portugal and as long as they maintain the requirements that allowed the granting of the residence permit.

Residence permits are initially issued on a temporary basis. After five years, if desired, the applicant may request the granting of a permanent residence permit to become a permanent legal resident.

It’s primarily categorized into two stages

Categories of Portuguese residence permits

Temporary residence permit

visit visa free countries for Portugal passport holders

A temporary residence permit is designed for foreigners who intend to live in Portugal. The circumstances leading to the issuance of a temporary permit might include a long term study program, conducting scientific research, working, or for family reunification purposes.

The first temporary residence permit is issued for a period of two years, and its renewals are issued for a period of three years.

One significant aspect of a temporary residence permit is that it can be upgraded to a permanent residence permit once the permit holder has resided in Portugal continuously for five years.

Permanent residence permit

A permanent residency permit is an option for individuals who wish to continue living indefinitely in Portugal. Applicants for permanent residence must have held a temporary residence permit and lived in Portugal for at least five years. They also need to have basic knowledge of the Portuguese language, a requirement proven by passing a language test.

With a permanent residence permit, holders can enjoy almost the same rights and responsibilities as Portuguese citizens.

The permanent residence permit has no validity limit, however, the card must be renewed every five years or whenever data contained therein is changed.

Those who do not plan to live indefinitely in Portugal can continue to extend their temporary residence permit, ensuring their legal stay in the country while enjoying the benefits offered to residents.

Types of Portugal Residence Permits

Portugal also provides special residence permits based on specific situations, often related to the applicant’s unique circumstances. They are as follows:

Portugal residence permit for work

If you’ve secured a job in Portugal, you might be eligible for a Portugal work visa, which can lead to a Portuguese residence permit for work. Each visa, and thus, residence permit, has different required documents. Usually, you need to demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the job, have no criminal record, and prove that you have accommodation and means of subsistence in Portugal.

Portugal residence permit for study purposes

student visaInternational students from outside the EU, who have secured admission to a Portuguese educational institution can apply for a residence permit for study purposes.

Portuguese student visas are typically categorized into three main types:

  • Short-term student visas – These are intended for study programs that last for up to three months. Courses fitting this category might include brief language programs or vocational training. However, only non-EU nationals need to apply. The duration of this visa is 90 days maximum within any 180-day period and is not extendable, barring exceptional circumstances.
  • Temporary student visas – These visas cater to programs that span from three months to a year, including study courses, vocational training, student exchange initiatives, internships, or volunteer student work. Proof of acceptance into a study, training program, exchange, internship, or volunteer work is needed. Usually issued for a maximum of one year.
  • Long-term student visas – The long-term Portuguese student visa applies for study programs exceeding a year, including all degree and Ph.D. programs. This visa has five different categories: Higher education (covering all undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses), Researchers (scientific and academic research), Secondary school students (QNQ level 4–5), Trainees, and Student volunteers. Securing a placement at a university or educational institution in Portugal is typically required.

The legal resident visa or permit will usually last for the duration of the study course, up to five years. Although initially valid for 12 months, it can be extended if the course continues. Long-stay visas are generally renewable, provided the applicant continues to fulfill Portuguese immigration requirements.

For more information on how to live in Portugal as a student, read our comprehensive article: Portugal Student Visa

Applying for a Residence Permit in Portugal

Portugal Residence Permit Requirements

When applying for a Portugal residence permit, you need to prepare several documents, such as:

  • A valid passport
  • Application form
  • Valid residence visa (when applicable)
  • Proof of financial stability
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of health insurance or SNS coverage document, among others.

Portugal residence permit application process

Obtaining a Portuguese residence permit involves a two-step process: Applying for a residency visa and then applying for the actual residence permit.

Currently, the simple issuance of a residence visa by the Portuguese authorities immediately triggers the residence permit process, with an appointment being immediately scheduled with AIMA (Foreigners and Borders Service) in Portugal to be able to complete the application process by submitting documents and collecting biometric data.

portugal residence permitThe requirements may vary depending on your specific circumstances but commonly include:

  • A completed residence permit application form
  • Bank account statements
  • Two recent identical color photographs
  • Passport or other valid travel document
  • Evidence of sufficient financial resources
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of travel insurance
  • AIMA appointment confirmation
  • Make the payment of the application fee

AIMA will examine your application, conduct an interview if necessary, and make a decision typically within 90 business days. If approved, you’ll receive a residence permit card valid for two years, renewable for three years. After five years of legal residency in Portugal, you can apply for permanent residence.

Benefits of the Portugal Residence Permit

Holding a Portuguese residence permit comes with a multitude of advantages that make Portugal an attractive destination for non-EU nationals, including:

  • Visa-free travel: First and foremost, the permit provides unlimited access to all countries within the EEA, EU, and Schengen states. This privilege allows you to freely travel, live, and work in these countries without needing to apply for additional visas.
  • Access to the workforce: The residence permit also grants non-EU nationals the right to work in Portugal. Whether you wish to be employed by a company, start your own business, or work as a freelancer, you have the same employment rights as Portuguese citizens.
  • Education access: It provides access to the Portuguese education system. This includes public schools, universities, and vocational training institutions. In addition, children of permit holders have the same rights to education and schooling as Portuguese nationals.
  • Healthcare: As a resident, you’ll have access to the Portuguese healthcare system, which is renowned for its high quality. Public healthcare in Portugal is free or low-cost for residents, and there are also many excellent private healthcare options available.
  • Family reunification: The residence permit also gives you the option to bring over other family members through the family reunification process. This can include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents.
  • Pathway to Portuguese citizenship: After five years as a legal resident in Portugal, you become eligible to apply for citizenship, provided you meet the requirements. Please note that to become a Portuguese citizen, you’ll need to pass a basic test in Portuguese language and culture.

Why choose Global Citizen Solutions for your Immigration Visa?


  • GCS has offices located across Portugal.
  • Members of the US-Portugal and UK-Portugal Chambers of Commerce in Portugal, and the Investment Migration Council (IMC).
  • Our expert team can help you throughout your journey to secure your Visa. 


  • Our successful track record in applications provides reassurance to applicants. 
  • We have helped clients from more than 35 countries secure residency in Portugal.


  • With a single channel of communication, our approach ensures that you have complete clarity on your application. 
  • Our BeGlobal® Onboarding System allows for a total flow of information.


  • Our pricing is clear and detailed, you will not face any hidden costs.
  • All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Portugal Residency Visa

How do I get a Portuguese residence permit?

To obtain a Portuguese residence permit, the process begins with applying for a suitable visa from your home country that allows you to enter Portugal for the purpose of seeking residence. Depending on your reasons for relocating, this could be a work visa, student visa to study in Portugal, family reunification visa, Golden Visa (for investors), or even the Digital Nomad Visa.

After the issuance of your visa, you will be able to relocate to Portugal with your visa and wait for your appointment to request your residency permit and collect biometric data at one of the Immigration and Borders Service (AIMA, formerly SEF) offices. The documents required will depend on your specific situation, but typically, you need your passport, visa, proof of income, health insurance, criminal record certificate, and accommodation proof.

Note that the first residence permit is usually valid for two years and can be renewed subsequently. In most cases, after five years of legal residency, you can apply for a permanent residence permit in Portugal.

Can US citizens get residency?

Yes, US citizens can obtain residency in Portugal. A Portugal residency visa for US citizens is available through various paths, which include employment, education, or investment. Digital nomads and remote workers can also apply for the Digital Nomad Visa program.

US citizens must first apply for the appropriate visa from the Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate in the US before traveling to Portugal.

What are the Portugal residency visa requirements?

To obtain a Portugal residency visa, you must meet certain requirements, which vary depending on your purpose of stay (e.g., work, study, retirement). However, some common requirements include:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport or other travel document issued by a recognized country
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay for the duration of the application period
  • Proof of accommodation duration of the period you live in Portugal
  • Health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay
  • Police clearance certificate or proof of no criminal record
  • Additional documentation specific to your purpose of stay, such as an employment contract or enrollment letter from a Portuguese educational institution

Once you have met the requirements and submitted your application, the Portuguese government will review your case and determine whether to grant you a residency visa. If your visa is approved, you will be able to travel to Portugal and stay for the duration of the visa.

Additionally, if you are applying for residency by investment through the Portugal Golden Visa, you will have to provide proof that the minimum investment of at least €250,000 has been made into a Portuguese bank account. The eligible investment routes include fund subscriptions, investment or donation in the arts or reconstruction of national heritage, scientific research, creation of ten jobs, and share capital and job creation.

How much is a Portuguese residence permit?

The cost of a Portuguese residence permit varies based on the type of visa you initially apply for, but generally, the application fee ranges from €75 to €90. Temporary permits usually cost around €170, while a long-term residence permit fee is €108.

How do I obtain permanent residency in Portugal?

Permanent residence in Portugal can be obtained after maintaining legal residency in the country for at least five consecutive years. You have to meet several requirements, which one of our immigration lawyers in Portugal can explain to you.

How hard is it to get permanent residency in Portugal?

The difficulty of obtaining permanent residency in Portugal largely depends on your individual circumstances, including your purpose for residing in Portugal, whether you have sufficient means to finance your stay, and ability to fulfil the necessary requirements.

Generally, you would need to legally live in Portugal for five years, demonstrate ties to the country, show basic proficiency in Portuguese, and have sufficient financial means to support yourself in your bank account.

If you maintain your residence permit, meet the minimum stay requirements, and comply with other immigration rules, it’s entirely feasible to gain permanent residency.

Do I need to become a tax resident in Portugal?

Depending on your visa and residency status, you may need to become a Portuguese tax resident. If you reside in Portugal for more than 183 days or six consecutive months in a calendar year or have a permanent residence, you will be considered a Portuguese taxpayer.

Once I have a residence permit, can I apply for citizenship?

After five years of living in Portugal with a temporary residence permit, you can apply for a permanent residence card and/or for Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport. This is referred to as the naturalization route to citizenship.

There are other ways to apply for citizenship and a Portuguese passport. These include citizenship by investment, through marriage, and by descent if you are a direct descendant of Portuguese parents or at least one Portuguese parent. A Guide To Portugal Citizenship: All You Need To Know offers further information.

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