Numerous expats are choosing Europe as their new home, and Portugal is a top choice for many. This is not only because of its welcoming nature but also due to its affordable cost of living, which is among the most reasonable in European countries for both residence and work.

Are you thinking of working and settling in Portugal? Do you want to know more about the required documents for the Portuguese work visa process? In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need about the Portugal work visa, the residence permits you’ll need to work in Portugal, the difference between long and short-term stays, and how to start applying for the Portugal work visa.

Here’s what we’ll cover below:

  • Portugal work visa requirements
  • Types of work residence permits
  • Detailed information on the job seeker visa, and more.

Do I need a visa to work in Portugal?

working visa portugalIf you’re a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you won’t need a Portugal work visa.

However, if you’re staying more than 90 days,  you will need a Residence Certificate (Certificado de Registo) that will be filled out according to the Town Hall that is closest to your residence in Portugal. The cost of this Residence Certificate is around €15.

Non-EU citizens do need a visa to work in Portugal. Once they get accepted into their new job in Portugal and receive a job offer, they’ll be eligible to start the process of getting a Portugal work visa.

When the request for a work visa in Portugal gets approved by the relevant Portuguese authorities, non-EU citizens can obtain a legal residence authorization.

Portugal Work Visa Requirements

Once you get hired, your Portuguese employer should take the first step in the visa process by applying for your work permit by contacting the Portuguese Labor Authorities (Autorização de Trabalho).

Employment contract

When the employment contract gets approved by the authorities, it will be your turn to apply for a Portuguese work visa from the Portuguese Embassy in your country to enter Portugal. Your visa validation will depend on your nationality and employment contract, and you must be in Portugal within this period.

If your work contract is longer than six months, you will have to apply for a temporary residency permit before your visa ends to continue living and working in Portugal legally. You should know that the type of Portuguese residency permit will differ according to the basis of your employment contract.

required documentes Here are the documents you will need to prepare before going to the embassy and applying for the Portuguese work visa, according to AIMA (former Immigration and Border Services – SEF).

  • A valid passport
  • Passport-size pictures, following Schengen Visa picture guidelines
  • Proof of sufficient funds to sustain yourself
  • Your criminal record certificate from your country of residence. If you have lived in another country for over a year, you must also get criminal record certificate from there.
  • A document permitting AIMA to check your Portuguese criminal records
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • Your employment contract
  • If you are already in Portugal: Proof of legal entry into Portuguese territories, such as a visa.
  • If you are applying from a country other than that of your origin: Proof of legal stays, such as a residence permit or a visa.

Note the following:

  • All the documents you’re submitting need to be in English or Portuguese; if not, you will need to have them translated by an authorized translator.
  • Certain documents, such as diplomas or civil documents, may have to be legalized. You can legalize documents through an Apostille Stamp or through the Portuguese Embassy or consulate in your country.

Work residency permit in Portugal

As an employee, you will be legally living and working in Portugal. The standard validation period for your residence permit is one year, and after that, it gets renewed as long as you’re still working in Portugal.

Renewal can be done online through the AIMA website. After five years of residency, you will be able to apply for Portuguese permanent residency and/or Portuguese citizenship and a Portuguese passport. While being a permanent resident provides an array of advantages, as a Portuguese citizen, you will have the rights of an EU citizen, including the ability to live, work, and study in any EU member country.

How to apply for a Portugal work visa?

Golden Residence for Business InvestorsAs stated above, to apply for the Portugal work visa, you will first need to look into finding a job vacancy, securing a job, and signing a work contract. Then you will need to apply for a work visa to be able to enter the country, which is divided into three steps:

  • Step 1: Your Portuguese employer applies for your work permit.
  • Step 2: You apply for a Portugal work visa at the Portuguese Embassy in your country.
  • Step 3: You apply for a Portuguese residence permit.

Now we will break those three steps down to provide you with more detailed information so that you are well-prepared and have all the required paperwork.

Step 1: Work permit application

Once you get the job, accept the job offer, and sign your employment contract, your employer should apply for your Portugal work visa online through the Portuguese Labor Authorities (Autorização de Trabalho) and Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – SEF) on your behalf.

The following documents must be submitted in this step:

  1. Employment contract
  2. Company tax statements
  3. Proof of having registered with Social Security (Segurança Social)
  4. Proof that an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen could not have filled the position

Step 2: Portugal work visa application

With the previous step completed, and once the work permit gets approved by the authorities, the second step of the process is where the visa applicant will need to submit their documents to the Portuguese Embassy in their home country to get the work visa.

Once you obtain this work visa, and prove that you have a guaranteed monthly minimum salary, you will be able to legally enter the country and start working in less than six months. During this time, you will need to apply for a residence permit.

Before going to the embassy, make sure of the following:

  1. Prepare all the required documents as mentioned above
  2. Find the location of the nearest embassy
  3. Make an appointment by calling or emailing
  4. Take all the necessary documents with you and ensure you have translated them into English or Portuguese. In some cases, the applicant may have a visa interview.

Step 3: Residence permit application (Portuguese Immigration and Border Service)

You already landed the job, got the work permit, obtained your Portuguese work visa, and even traveled to Portugal safe and sound. Now it’s time to start applying for the Residence Permit if you’re considering staying longer in Portugal.

You will need to register for a Social Security Number (from the Portuguese Social Security Office, although your new employee should have done this for you), a tax number (NIF) (from Finanças), and a residence permit.

Take a Look at our Portugal Golden Visa 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Types of Portugal Work Visas

The type of Portuguese work visa that you will need will depend on your nationality and the length of your employment contract. There are mainly two types of work visas available for non-EU citizens.

Short-term Portuguese work visas

This type of short-term visa is required for temporary contracts that last less than six months for employees and self-employed workers, subject to an evaluation by the labor authority (IEFP). It’s possible to extend this short-term visa up to one year if you are engaged in scientific research, academic teaching, highly qualified professional activities, or certain training and service provisions provided by members of World Trade Organization countries.

If you are visiting Portugal on a short stay for business purposes, you can apply for a Portuguese business visa.

Long-term Portuguese work visas

For non-EU citizens who get a long-term employment contract and will be living and working in Portugal for more than six months, you will need to get a long-term work visa (Type D). Because Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, you will have access across the 27 Schengen Area countries once you obtain the long-term visa. You will have to start the residence permit process upon arrival, as stated before.

The process for a Portuguese work visa may take some time, so you need to be patient because it’s very different from applying for a tourism visa or any other type of visa. You may wait for several months before your Portuguese work visa application is finalized. It can take up to 60 days for AIMA to process the work permit application and two to three months for the Portuguese Embassy to issue an entry visa. However, that doesn’t necessarily happen in all cases, and your visa could be processed quicker depending on your specific circumstances.

You should also know that the Portuguese Embassy may call you anytime and ask for more documents before finalizing your work visa, so always be prepared.

Portugal's Work Visas and Permits

D3 Visa (Highly-skilled Worker Visa)

visa options portugalThe D3 Visa is a residency visa designed for individuals who have advanced education and specialized expertise and aim to secure employment opportunities in Portugal.

Examples of eligible candidates include highly skilled workers such as scientific researchers, medical professionals, professors, and Ph.D. students located in Portugal.

Highly-qualified workers from non-EU countries can also apply for the European Blue Card scheme, which gives you the same benefits as the Portugal work visa and Portuguese residency. You can apply for the EU Blue Card if the following conditions apply to you:

  1. You have high qualifications
  2. You are a paid employee with a employment contract or binding job offer in an EU country for at least one year
  3. You have a gross annual salary of at least one and a half times the country’s national average. Check out the minimum wages and average salaries in Portugal.

EU Blue Cards are valid for between one and four years and allow non-EU nationals to work in EU member states (excluding Denmark and Ireland). A Blue Card holder living in Portugal for 18 months can apply for a residence permit for researchers, medical professionals, or highly-skilled migrants.

D1 Visa

The D1 Visa, commonly referred to as the Subordinate Worker Visa, is intended for individuals who have received a job offer in Portugal. This offer must have been publicly advertised and subjected to interviews but remained unfilled by a Portuguese or EU/EEA national.

This visa grants holders a temporary residency permit for an initial period of two years, with the option to renew for an additional three years. Upon obtaining the temporary residency permit, individuals can pursue family reunification. After a span of five years, they become eligible to apply for permanent residency and, subsequently, citizenship, entitling them to enjoy all the privileges associated with EU citizenship.

Seasonal Worker Visa

The Seasonal Work Visa in Portugal provides the opportunity to obtain either a temporary stay visa or a residence permit, allowing a stay of up to 90 days, with the option to extend the temporary stay visa. This extension possibility is especially advantageous for stays lasting less than a year, capped at a maximum of nine months in total.

It’s important to be aware that the visa is exclusively applicable to specific sectors of employment approved by the Portuguese government, which include:

  • Agriculture, stock farming, game, forestry, and fishery
  • Accommodation, catering, and related fields
  • Food, beverage, and tobacco industries
  • Wholesale and retail trade
  • Construction
  • Inland transport

Individuals interested in this visa should inquire about their eligibility by contacting the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate. Furthermore, it is essential to note that applications for the Seasonal Work Visa must be submitted from within Portugal.

Independent Work Visa (Self-Employment Visa)

The Independent Work Visa, commonly referred to as the Digital Nomad Visa (D8 Visa), is crafted for self-employed individuals aspiring to establish a business or engage in freelance work in Portugal. This visa category caters to entrepreneurs, artists, and other creatives who seek to pursue their endeavors while residing in Portugal.

It grants holders the right to work in Portugal for a duration of up to one year, with the option to renew for an additional year. To qualify for this visa, applicants must present a business plan and demonstrate sufficient financial resources to sustain themselves during the establishment of their business in Portugal.

It’s important to note that under this visa, individuals are prohibited from working for a company based in Portugal, and their income should originate from sources outside of Portugal.

Portugal Tech Visa

The Portugal Tech Visa stands as a distinctive visa category aimed at drawing in highly skilled technology professionals to Portugal. Noteworthy advantages of this visa include expedited processing, a streamlined application procedure, and the privilege of working in Portugal for a duration of up to two years.

This work permit is open to individuals with expertise in the tech industry, encompassing roles like software developers, data scientists, and IT specialists. The creation of this visa category aligns with Portugal’s strategic goal to position itself as a prominent hub for technology and innovation.

Job Seeker Visa Portugal

The Portugal Job Seeker Visa allows you to live in the country while searching for a job. The job seeker visa is granted for 120 days, and allows a single entry into Portugal. There is a 60 day extension period before the visa expires.

If you’re entering Portugal on the job seeker visa, make sure that you have enough money set aside to support yourself for the period of time that you won’t be employed.

To apply for the job seeker visa, you’ll need the visa application form, two photographs, your passport, your proof of status in a country other than Portugal, valid travel insurance, a criminal record certificate, an appointment with AIMA, and a return flight.

You’ll also have to provide proof that you can support yourself, with financial proof of three times the national minimum salary, or a financial resources equivalent.

You’ll also need to submit a declaration of interest to the Portuguese Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), the Portuguese public employment service. You must do this before submitting your job seeker visa application.

Students working in Portugal

Non-EU students will need a Portuguese student permit to be able to work in Portugal while studying. They can also conduct research work in Portugal, teach, or partake in highly qualified or professional training activities if they meet the necessary criteria.

Portugal work visa fees

Administration feeThere is more than one fee you have to pay when applying for a Portuguese work visa.

  • Cost of the entry visa issued by the Portuguese Embassy – €90 (may be subject to change from country to country)
  • To submit the application for a Portugal residence permit at AIMA – €83
  • To receive the residence permit from AIMA – €72

We advise you to check the exact fees on the website of the Portuguese Embassy in your country. And also, make sure to check if they accept money in cash or if you can pay with a credit card to avoid surprises on the submission day.

Does a Portuguese work visa lead to permanent residency?

Depending on the type of visa and length of stay, a Portuguese Work Visa can lead to permanent residency in Portugal. After five years of living in Portugal and maintaining a temporary residence permit, the visa-holder can apply for a permanent residence permit or to become a Portuguese citizen.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Portugal Work Visa

How do I get a work visa for Portugal?

Firstly, you need to land a job in Portugal to begin the process of obtaining a Portuguese work visa and go through the hiring and interviewing process. Once you are accepted, and your work contract is signed, your employer can start applying for a work permit on your behalf to the Portuguese Labor Authorities.

When your work permit is approved, now you can apply for a Portugal work visa at the Portuguese Embassy in your country. You may also find the opportunity for seasonal work in Portugal.

Is Portugal issuing work visas?

Yes. There are two types of Portugal work visas, short-term and long-term work visas, depending on your nationality and the type of your work contract.

Is it easy to get a job in Portugal?

Finding a job, in general, is always tricky and requires time and patience. The following links may help you find a job in Portugal. 

What is the duration of a work visa in Portugal?

When you apply for a Portuguese work visa, you will receive a temporary residence permit that allows you to live and work in Portugal for one to two years. After one to two years, you can renew this temporary stay visa permit at AIMA (former SEF) before it expires, as long as you still have a job offer from your employer. After five years as a legal resident in Portugal, you can apply for permanent residency.

Does a work visa lead to permanent residency in Portugal?

Yes. After living and working in Portugal for five years with your temporary visa, you will be eligible for a permanent residency permit, provided you meet all the requirements from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service.

Does a work visa lead to Portuguese citizenship?

When you obtain your Portuguese work visa, and once you enter the country, you will be able to apply for a temporary resident permit. After five years of your stay in Portugal, you can obtain a permanent resident permit. Alongside securing a permanent residence permit, you can start the process of applying for Portuguese citizenship. 

Can I work in Portugal as an international student?

Yes, international students are allowed to work in Portugal. The permitted hours of work depend on your nationality:

  • If you have EU/EEA/Swiss nationality: You can work without any restrictions on a time limit.
  • If you do not have EU/EEA/Swiss nationality: You can only work for up to 20 hours/week (part-time) during the semester. During semester breaks or holidays, you may work full-time.

Can I work in Portugal if I have a family visa?

Yes, if you are joining a family member who lives in Portugal, then you are allowed to work and study in the country. You may have to seek authorization for work, however, so you should contact SEF.

Can you work in Portugal if you are from the UK?

Yes, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service allows UK citizens to work in Portugal. You will need to make sure that you can legally reside in Portugal as a UK citizen. Good options to consider include the D7 Visa, Digital Nomad Visa, and the Portugal Golden Visa.

Is there a Portugal self employment visa?

If you are a self-employed worker and are looking to live in Portugal for less than a year, you will need to secure a valid temporary stay visa. For longer periods, you will need to obtain a residence visa. Note that this does not automatically grant you the right of residence, and you will need to apply for a residence permit once in Portugal.

Can I get a work permit for Portugal from India?

Yes, Indian citizens can get a work visa and, consequently, a residence permit, to live and work in Portugal. 

Can an Indian work in Portugal?

Provided you have a valid legal residence permit and/or a Portuguese work visa, Indian citizens can live and work in Portuguese territory with the proper residency visas. 

Do I need to have valid travel insurance to work in Portugal?

Valid travel insurance is not a necessary requirement for a visa, unlike proof of health insurance. However, it is always a good idea to have one covering necessary medical expenses, including urgent medical assistance and possible repatriation.

How can I get work permit in Portugal?

To obtain a work permit in Portugal, you typically need a valid job offer from a Portuguese employer. Once you have a job offer, your employer will initiate the work permit application process.

Can Americans work in Portugal?

Yes, Americans can work in Portugal. However, they need a valid work permit to do so legally. This usually involves obtaining a job offer from a Portuguese employer who will assist with the work permit application process.

Is Portugal open for job seeker visa?

Yes, the Portugal job seeker visa allows individuals to stay for 120 days initially, with the possibility of an extension for an additional 60 days.

Is it easy for Americans to work in Portugal?

Americans seeking employment in Portugal will find a diverse and promising job market, particularly in the rapidly expanding tech sector.

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