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Visas and residency permits for Portugal

Here is a brief look at visa and residence permit requirements on entering Portugal.



Portugal is part of the Schengen Area, made up of a group of 25 European countries that have abolished all border controls between them. The countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. With a Schengen visa, you are able to travel freely amongst these countries.

Who requires a visa for Portugal?

In order to enter you may need a visa and a passport, or just an identity card. Nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Andorra, and Liechtenstein will only need their identity cards. For everyone else, a passport must be valid for at least six months after entry into Portugal.

Only EU nationals and citizens of the following countries are able to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days without a visa: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, Vatican City and Venezuela.

On entry, they may check that you have enough finances for the duration of your stay. They may also ask to see a return ticket, or at least proof that you can afford to buy one.

EU nationals are allowed to enter the country for three months with the aim of finding a job or setting up a business. Once hired, EU nationals will have the same rights as Portuguese workers.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you will require a visa, contact the Portuguese embassy in your country.

What documents will you need?

If you do need to apply for a visa, you may need to bring certain documents with you. Usually you will need a valid passport with a blank visa page, an application form, and one coloured passport photo. If you are applying for a tourist visa you may need a copy of your schedule, confirmed reservations, proof of departure and return arrangements, proof of sufficient finances and health insurance.

If you are apply for a business visa, you will probably need a letter from your employer or if you are self-employed, a letter from your solicitor, accountant, bank manger or local chamber of commerce. You may also need references. A student will require proof of enrolment at a Portuguese institution.

If you are waiting for your visa, you should expect to wait around one or two weeks for a tourist visa and two to three months for a student or business visa.

Short term visas will cost between EUR 25 and EUR 200. It will be valid for a stay of up to 30 or 90 days. A student visa will be valid until the study is completed.

Residency Permits (Autorização de Residência)

The Portuguese Immigration Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, SEF) is charged with issuing residence permits. SEF offers information in the English language short and long-term stays in Portugal. Visit the frequently asked questions section here

Authorisation for Residence and Residence Permits

If you move to Portugal or stay longer than six months, you must obtain the residence card (Autorização de Residência).  Those who fit into this category include those who work, the self-employed, students, those intending to live off savings, retired people and family members.

Apply for a residence permit at the regional directorate or the Delegation of the SEF in your area of residence. Click here for a list of regional offices.

Various sources/ Expatica

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Expatica provides daily news, features and practical information on living abroad in English for international communities.

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