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 lived 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 should look into getting 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 million (just over $1.36 million) into Portugal, create 10 jobs in the country, or buy a property worth at least €500,000 (about $618,000).
Conditions include remaining in Europe for a minimum period of seven days the first year and 14 days in the subsequent two-year periods, as well as providing a criminal record certificate from your country of origin or residence for more than one year. You’ll also need proof of health insurance. Issued initially for a period of one year, this visa can be renewed every two years afterward. You may apply for Portuguese citizenship after six years.
However, the most common visa for U.S. and Canadian citizens looking to live in Portugal is the Type 1 visa.
Type 1 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 healthcare insurance valid in Europe, as well as sufficient funds to support themselves and cover the cost of accommodation in Portugal. They will also need to give permission for a background check for a criminal record.
Completed applications with all required documentation must be submitted to the nearest Portuguese Consulate for processing. The application is then forwarded to the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras in Portugal for consideration.
Application should be made at least one month prior to the expected date of departure at a Portuguese embassy or general consulate in one of these locations: Washington, D. C.; San Francisco, Calif.; New York, N.Y.; or Boston or New Bedford in Massachusetts. Canadians will find the Portuguese embassy in Ottawa and consulate generals in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
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.
You will be expected to go to Portugal to register for an interview with Immigration once your documentation has been received. 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. Your temporary residence visa will be granted after you have had your interview.
Temporary residence visas are initially granted for one year, followed by two consecutive two-year terms. After five years’ residence in Portugal, you can apply for a permanent residence visa.