Portugal Visa and Residency
Whether you’re visiting Portugal on vacation or are looking to stay for longer, you’ll need to know what visas are required for the length of your stay. Below is information on entry and residence visas.
A visa is not required for tourist visits to Portugal for a period of up to 90 days for U.S. and Canadian citizens. However, note that your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry into Portugal.
Two important points to bear in mind: First, while 90 days is about three months, it isn’t always exactly, as month lengths vary. Pay attention to the calendar so you are not caught a day or two late on departure. Second, after you’ve stayed part-time in Portugal for up to 90 days and are required to leave the country for 90 days before you return for a second 90-day period, you may not spend that interim in any other Schengen country.
If you wish to stay in Portugal for longer than the tourist limit of 90 days out of every 180 days, then you will need to apply for a residence visa.
There are several types of visas available, including visas for students, the self-employed, and investors. Portugal also offers a so-called Golden Visa for high net-worth individuals. To qualify for a Golden Visa, you must either bring €1.5 million (just over $1.535 million) into Portugal, start a business to create 10 jobs in the country, or buy a property worth at least €500,000 (about $511,000). Property values can be less if it requires extensive rehabilitation or is situated in a low-density area. Applying for a Golden visa does require an attorney.
One of the benefits of the Golden visa is that the holder only needs to remain in Portugal for a short period of time, just seven days the first year and 14 days in the subsequent two-year periods. Some of the required documents include a criminal record check, proof of private health insurance in Portugal, and a bank account. After five years the holder of the Golden visa can apply for citizenship.
Take note that as of January 2022 residential property in Lisbon, Porto, the Silver Coast and the Algarve no longer qualify for the Golden Visa. Investors can still purchase residential property in interior areas of the country.
The most common visa for U.S. and Canadian citizens who wish to live fulltime in Portugal is the Type 1 or D7 visa.
Type 1/D7 visas are issued to persons who intend to resettle permanently in Portugal for:
- Independent living
- To establish an independent business
- To set up investments
- To establish themselves as independent professionals in their field
Among other requirements, non-EU citizens (such as U.S. and Canadian applicants) will need to show proof that they have private health insurance valid in Portugal, as well as sufficient funds to support themselves and proof of accommodations in Portugal. They will also need to give permission for a background check for a criminal record.
For U.S citizens the process begins online at VFS Global.com. and is followed by an in-person interview at one of three Portugal consulates, New York, NY, Washington, D.C. or San Francisco, CA.
Canadians will find the Portuguese embassy in Ottawa and consulate generals in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver to begin the visa process.
Timing is of the utmost importance so be sure to check the VFS website or others for the latest details when planning your move to Portugal.
Conditions for the Type 1/D7 visa require that the holder spend eight months per year in Portugal during the initial visa period and six months thereafter.
Once submitted the application is then forwarded to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) in Portugal for consideration.
All other nationals will follow basically the same program: Apply for a visa at the Portuguese embassy or general consulate closest to you to begin the process of residing in Portugal.
After your application is approved you will enter Portugal with a visa stamp in your passport valid for four-months or until you complete the next step in the process. You will be expected to make an appointment with SEF and meet with an agent who will review your paperwork and issue you a temporary visa.
Note that there are often long wait times—up to a few months—before being called for your interview. However, as long as you have registered for your interview, you can stay in Portugal until this time without worrying about overstaying time limits in the country.
Temporary residence visas are initially granted for two years followed by a three year term. After five years of residence in Portugal, you can apply for a permanent residence visa or citizenship, both require a sufficient level of the language.