Entrepreneurs looking to establish or acquire a business in Portugal can apply for a D2 Visa, also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, which offers an array of advantages like a residence permit in Portugal and the liberty to travel across other Schengen countries without requiring a visa.

The Portugal D2 Visa appeals to individuals with ambitions of entrepreneurship who wish to either start a new business in Portugal or expand their current enterprise to the country. Commonly known as the Entrepreneur Visa, the Portugal D2 Visa is for individuals who are not citizens of the European Union or the European Economic Area.

What is a Portugal D2 Visa?

The Portugal D2 Visa is a gateway for entrepreneurs to acquire residency in Portugal. It’s issued to those intending to start a new business or purchase an existing business in the country. In contrast to visas such as the Golden Visa or the D7 Passive Income Visa, the Portugal D2 Visa sets itself apart by not necessitating a substantial investment or a steady passive income. 

Instead, it emphasizes the importance of business investment and the presence of a viable business concept. This visa offers versatility, catering to a wide range of business types, spanning from cozy cafes to expansive real estate agencies.

A minimum investment requirement does not bind the visa holder, but you must have sufficient funds to establish and run your business and sustain your livelihood in Portugal for a year. The visa is valid for four months, during which the entrepreneur must enter Portugal and apply for a residence permit.

The residence permit post-D2 Visa is valid for two years and can subsequently be extended for three years. After five years of residency, applying for Portuguese citizenship or permanent residence is possible.

Read our "Starting a Business in Portugal: An Overview" blog post

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Types of D2 Visa Portugal

Entrepreneur route

The Portugal D2 Visa encompasses two distinct categories to accommodate different types of entrepreneurs. The first category is the entrepreneur route, which is suitable for individuals who intend to establish a new business or expand an existing business in Portugal.

To qualify for this route, certain essential requirements must be met:

  • Obtaining a NIF (Portuguese tax number)
  • Opening a business bank account with a Portuguese bank
  • Establishing a Portuguese limited company (LDA)
  • Employing an accountant well-versed in the Portuguese tax system

Additionally, it is necessary to demonstrate sufficient financial means to initiate and manage the company, which includes fulfilling obligations such as paying annual corporation tax and social security contributions.

Independent service provider route

The second category, known as the independent service provider route, is specifically designed for individuals offering services to local or global clients. This route entails fewer requirements compared to the entrepreneur route.

Here are the key aspects of this alternative:

  • Obtaining a NIF
  • Opening a bank account in Portugal
  • Providing proof of relevant experience or qualifications
  • Demonstrating the existence of a contract with one or more clients

If the services provided are delivered remotely to clients located outside Portugal, it is worth considering alternative visa options such as the D7 “Passive Income” Visa or the Digital Nomad Visa. These options might be more suitable in such cases.

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Who is eligible for the Portugal D2 Visa?

Entrepreneurs may be considered for the Portugal D2 Visa under several conditions, such as:

  • The acquisition of a Portuguese company
  • Having a pre-existing company abroad
  • Intending to open a branch in Portugal or proposing a comprehensive business plan for a new company in Portugal.

The applicant must demonstrate their business’s potential economic and social contributions to Portugal.

Required Documents for Portugal D2 Visa Application

Application for the Portugal D2 Visa requires both business and personal documents.

Required business documents

Business documents include a detailed business plan and, if applicable, company registration documents, contracts, invoices, financial reports, and a bank statement. 

Portuguese officials must be convinced that your business or service operations will yield adequate income to sustain your stay in Portugal. This income could originate from a company incorporated in Portugal or from contracts with clients.

Besides a comprehensive business plan, it is necessary to provide “proof of means of subsistence,” typically signifying sufficient savings for at least a year, comparable to the Portuguese minimum wage.

Now, let’s further explore the necessary documents for your D2 Visa application in Portugal:

Investment declaration

A declaration indicating that you have invested or intend to invest in Portugal is required, detailing the type, worth, and timeframe of the investment. In assessing your visa application, factors such as the economic, social, scientific, technological, or cultural value of your investment will be taken into account. Plus, creating job openings in Portugal will significantly enhance your application.

Solid business plan

A meticulously crafted and comprehensive business plan is required, which will be rigorously evaluated based on its social, economic, and cultural implications. This plan must show how your business will prosper and aid Portugal’s economic growth.

Financial ability

Proof of having the financial capability to support and maintain your company throughout your planned stay in the country is essential. Demonstrating the financial viability of your business and its capability to prosper during your stay in Portugal is crucial.

Share capital

The share capital is the minimum initial investment needed to ensure the business operates smoothly, even during periods when it may not be turning a profit. In Portugal, small businesses usually have an average share capital of €5,000, a benchmark worth considering when applying.

Company establishment

Evidence of having set up a company within Portuguese jurisdiction, or of having adequate financial resources in Portugal, as well as documents indicating your ability to establish a company in the country, are required.

Service contract

For independent service providers, a written contract or proposal outlining their service provision must be included in their application.

Required personal documents

You may be asked to submit the necessary documents, including an application form, a valid passport, a bank statement demonstrating sufficient funds to live in Portugal, proof of accommodation, a certificate of clean criminal record, valid travel insurance, and two color photographs (3×5 cm).

Personal financial requirements

You need to provide proof of sufficient financial resources to support yourself and your dependents for a year such as bank statements, separate from your business earnings. The primary applicant should have at least the equivalent of the minimum annual salary, currently set at €9,120.

An additional 50 percent of this sum (€4,560.00) is required for a spouse, and an extra 30 percent (€2,736) is needed for each dependent child. Consequently, a couple with one child should have around €16,416 annually to meet the Portugal D2 Visa’s financial prerequisites.

Criminal background check from former countries of residence

A clear criminal record certificate from every country you have lived in for more than a year is typically required. This document should be no more than three months old when applying. Although many people believe otherwise, having a criminal record does not automatically exclude you from visa eligibility requirements—it depends on the nature and severity of the crime.

Designation of a tax representative

Non-EU citizens are required to appoint a tax representative in Portugal as part of the D2 Visa application process.

Proof of accommodation in Portugal

Proof of secure accommodation in Portugal must be provided. This can take the form of a rental contract, property ownership documents, or a letter of invitation from a friend or relative who is a legal resident of Portugal.

Travel insurance cover for at least six months

You should have at least six months of travel insurance coverage, which covers the initial four-month Portugal D2 Visa and the waiting period for registering as a resident with SEF (the Portuguese immigration authorities). Once you receive your temporary residence permit, you’ll be eligible for Portuguese state healthcare.

Empower yourself with our comprehensive guide, ‘Healthcare in Portugal – A Complete Guide for Expats.’ Packed with critical information, it demystifies the healthcare landscape in Portugal for expats. This indispensable resource is your key to confidently navigating the Portuguese healthcare system. Equip yourself with this knowledge powerhouse by downloading your copy here.

Passport and photographs

To apply for the Portugal D2 Visa, you must have a valid passport that remains valid for at least six months beyond the visa’s expiration date, which is initially valid for four months. Two recent passport-sized color photos are also needed for the application.

NIF and Portuguese bank account

Obtaining a Tax Identification Number (NIF) and opening a bank account in Portugal are essential steps in the D2 Visa application process.

To apply for a D2 Visa, you need to secure a Tax Identification Number (Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF) from the Portuguese tax authorities. 

Read the Global Citizen Solutions Guide to Buying Property in Portugal

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Applying for a Portugal D2 Visa

The process of acquiring a Portugal D2 Visa, also known as the Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa, typically takes about two to three months if you already possess a business plan or a company in Portugal. Following the acquisition of the visa, the applicant can then apply for a residence permit.

To apply for a D2 Visa Portugal, consider the following steps:

  • Obtain a Portuguese Taxpayer Identification Number (NIF)
  • Open a bank account in Portugal and deposit funds into it
  • Arrange for long-term accommodation in the country by either buying or leasing a property for a suggested minimum of one year, even if the agreement includes a provision for early termination
  • File the application online via the E-Visa Portal. This can be done either through the Portuguese Consulate or Embassy in your home country or directly in Portugal if you are already there.

The Portugal D2 Visa application process occurs in two separate phases. In the first phase, most of your documents, including your business plan, are submitted to the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. Upon approval of your application, you will be asked to attend an interview. If successful, a four-month Portugal D2 Visa will be granted, enabling you to travel to Portugal and enter Portugal to apply for residency.

The second phase transpires in Portugal with the immigration authorities, SEF. You will be sent an SEF appointment date with your visa. If all available appointment slots exceed your visa’s validity, your legal status in Portugal remains unaffected past the four-month visa term as long as an appointment has been scheduled. 

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How much does it cost to get a Portugal D2 Visa?

While there’s no predefined amount for business investment, entrepreneurs must demonstrate their financial capability to operate the intended business. In addition to this, proof of adequate funds to sustain yourself in Portugal for a year, equal to at least €10,640, and proof of rented or owned accommodation in Portugal are necessary.

Other costs include government fees, health insurance, and legal services.

Costs of obtaining a Portugal D2 Visa

Business investment (Undefined)
Living expenses €10,640
Housing (Undetermined, dependent upon location and type of property)
Consular fee €90
Residence permit card fee €155.50
Health insurance €400 + 
Professional visa and tax advice (Undetermined) 

Benefits of a Portugal D2 Visa

Acquiring the D2 Visa offers numerous benefits such as residency in a developed and safe European nation, the opportunity to establish a business in Portugal, a residency permit for non-EU/EEA citizens, visa-free travel across the Schengen countries, and the possibility of applying for citizenship after five years of residency.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs

The D2 Visa authorizes you to set up a business or function as an independent professional in Portugal, opening doors for your entrepreneurial ambitions.

Travel privileges in the Schengen Area

The D2 Visa permits unrestricted entry and movement within the Schengen Area, which includes 26 European nations, without the need for another visa. This privilege provides you with the same travel freedoms as European Union citizens, facilitating easy networking and the development of business relations across Europe and the Schengen Area.

Family reunification

The D2 Visa also provides for family reunification in Portugal. This means your family members, including your spouse, children, parents, or dependent siblings, can join you and reside in the country.

Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime

As a holder of the D2 Visa, you become eligible to apply for the Non-Habitual Resident tax benefits of Portugal.

This tax regime is open to individuals who have the right to reside in Portugal (citizens of the EU/EEA/Switzerland or holders of residence permits) and have not been tax residents in Portugal in the past five years. This regime allows foreign nationals preferential tax treatment on income tax, rental income, pension income, etc. Once you establish tax residency in Portugal, you can benefit from these tax incentives for non-Portuguese sourced income and won’t have to pay taxes at ordinary rates. 

Non-habitual residents must maintain residency for up to 183 days a year in Portugal, or show proof of accommodation (either a rental contract or purchased property) inhabited as if it is their primary residency.

See: NHR Portugal Tax Regime.

Route to permanent residency and citizenship

After five years of legal permanent residency in Portugal, you may be eligible to acquire permanent citizenship under the country’s residency program. It’s worth noting that citizenship usually involves passing a basic test in the Portuguese language and culture.

Residential rights and service access

With Portuguese residency, you and your family members gain access to the public healthcare system, and your children can register in the public education system, providing essential services for your family’s well-being.

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Portugal D2 Visa vs. the D7 and Golden Visas: What option to choose?

A comparison of the D2 Visa, D7 Visa, Startup Visa and Golden Visa in Portugal

Each visa serves a different purpose depending on an individual’s intentions and capabilities. The choice largely depends on an individual’s financial situation, business ideas, and immigration goals.

For example, the D7 Visa is suitable for those who have a steady passive income source and wish to live in Portugal without necessarily starting a business. 

The Startup Visa is ideal for individuals or teams with a disruptive business idea that intends to scale their innovative startup from Portugal. The Golden Visa, on the other hand, requires a substantial investment but provides a swift path to residency, making it appealing to high-net-worth individuals.  

The Portugal D2 Visa, D7 Visa, and Golden Visa program all allow for a temporary residence permit of two years which can be renewed.

See: The D7 vs Golden Visa Portugal.

Take a look at our Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide by local experts

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How to get Portugal Citizenship or Permanent Residency After the D2 Visa

Once you’ve resided legally in Portugal for five years on a Portugal D2 Visa, you are eligible to apply for citizenship or permanent residency.

Permanent residence requirements

In order to apply for a permanent residence permit, you will need to fulfill several key criteria:

  • Residency requirement: You must have lived in Portugal for at least five years. This period doesn’t have to be continuous, but it should not have any gaps longer than six consecutive months or different periods that total a year throughout the five years.
  • Financial stability: You must provide proof that you have stable and regular resources sufficient to maintain yourself (and any dependents). 
  • Accommodation: You need to demonstrate that you have a place to live in Portugal. This could be proof of property ownership or a rental agreement.
  • Clean criminal record: You must not have been convicted of any crime in Portugal that carries a prison sentence of more than one year.
  • Social Security: You need to be registered with the Portuguese Social Security and demonstrate regular contributions over the period of your residence.
  • Health Insurance: Although you will have access to the national healthcare service as a legal resident, you must possess valid health insurance until you become a permanent resident.
  • Integration into Portuguese society: This could include factors like language proficiency, community involvement, or other evidence of your commitment to living and integrating into Portuguese society.

After gathering the necessary documents that attest to the above conditions, you will need to book an appointment with the Portuguese immigration authorities (SEF) to submit your application.

Portuguese citizenship requirements

One of the crucial requirements to become a Portuguese citizen is to prove proficiency in the Portuguese language and an understanding of the Portuguese constitution. 

Portuguese language proficiency

Applicants for Portuguese citizenship must demonstrate a minimum proficiency in the Portuguese language, equivalent to level A2 or higher. 

Understanding of the Portuguese Constitution

Applicants are required to demonstrate a basic understanding of the rights and duties of citizens as outlined in the Portuguese constitution. 

The Portuguese citizenship application is a significant process and may also require additional documents such as proof of legal residence, evidence of sufficient means of subsistence, and clean criminal records, among others.

It’s always recommended to seek advice from legal experts or consult with the Portuguese immigration authorities (SEF) to understand all the requirements and procedures accurately.

Final Notes and Checklist for Obtaining a Portugal D2 Visa

Before you begin the process, ensure you have a viable business idea or an existing company, enough financial resources to sustain your life in Portugal for a year, and proper accommodation. You also need to prepare the required documentation for the visa application and ensure all the details in your business plan are accurate and clear.

Consider legal immigration advice for a seamless process, and always stay informed about the latest updates in immigration laws and procedures.

Why work with us to get your Portugal D2 Visa?

  • Our multi-skilled team, with 50+ years of experience in immigration, law, and investment, offers top-notch guidance for Portugal D2 Visa acquisition.
  • Our real estate arm, Goldcrest Real Estate, provides comprehensive assistance in property acquisition, from viewings to negotiations. We have a strong track record in immigration, offering reassurance of our competency.
  • We provide hassle-free onboarding services, including pre-arrival bank account setup and NIF acquisition, and our unique BeGlobal Onboarding System® offers real-time visa application updates.

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Book a one-on-one consultation with a D2 Visa specialist

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Frequently Asked Questions about the D2 Visa Portugal 2023

What is a D2 Visa in Portugal?

The Portugal D2 Visa, also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, is designed for non-European Union individuals who intend to invest in Portugal, either by setting up a business, operating as a freelancer, or conducting independent professional activities.

The Portugal D2 Visa aims to attract foreign investment and stimulate the Portuguese economy.

You can set up an already existing business.

The Portugal D2 Visa allows opportunities for family reunification, low-income tax, a temporary residence permit, and the opportunity to acquire a Portuguese passport after five years.