Visas and residence permits

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The entry and residence conditions in Portugal depend on whether you are either a EU, EEA and Switzerland national, or a third country national.

Main topics

Descriptions of the most relevant procedures according to nationality.

Supplementary topics

Descriptions of specific procedures.

EU / EEA / Switzerland nationals

Stays of up to three months

Decision diagram for national citizens from UE, EEE and Switzerland
Click to open the document (PDF, 77KB)

Nationals of the European Union, as well as nationals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, don’t need a visa to enter Portugal. They have the right to reside in national territory for a period up to three months without other conditions or formalities beyond holding a valid identity card or passport.

Stays of more than three months
(require Certificate of Registration)

The citizens of the European Union, as well as nationals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, whose stay in national territory lasts more than three months must formalise their right of residence through a Certificado de Registo requested during a period of 30 days after the three months of entry into Portugal in the Câmara Municipal of the residence area (or in the Delegation of SEF of the area of residence).

The Certificate of Registration is valid for five years or for the planned period of residence if this is less than five years.

Necessary documents

  • Valid identity card or passport;
  • Declaration under oath that the applicant fulfils one of the following conditions:
    1. Has a professional activity as worker or self employed in Portuguese territory;
    2. Has sufficient resources for him/herself and his/her family, as well as a health insurance, if mandatory for Portuguese citizens in the Member State from his/her nationality;
    3. If he/she is registered in a public or private officially recognised school, if proven through a declaration or any other mean of evidence the possession of enough financial resources for him/herself and his/her family, as well as a health insurance, if mandatory for Portuguese citizens in the Member State from his/her nationality.

Necessary documents for family members

  • Valid identity card or passport;
  • A document proving the family relationship or quality as partner, if this relation or quality is not evident from the valid identity card or passport;
  • A certificate of registration of the accompanied person;
  • Documental proof that he/she is dependant (only in case of direct descendants over the age of 21 or direct ascendants);
  • In cases laid down in n. 2 of article 3 of Act 37/2006 of 9 August (other family members) a document issued by the proper authority from the country of origin or provenance, certifying that he/she is dependant of the accompanied person, or proving that there are serious health reasons requiring imperatively the personal assistance by the accompanied person.

Permanent residence
(requires Certificate of Permanent Residence)

The citizens of the EU, as well as nationals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and their family members have the right to permanent residence once they have legally resided in the national territory for a consecutive period of five years. They should apply for a Certificate of Permanent Residence.

The right of permanent residence is lost only in the event of an absence of more than two successive years from the host Member State.

Necessary formalities

Submit application form in the SEF office of the area of residence.

This is dependent, exclusively, on the verification of the duration of the residence.

Relevant legislation

Third Country Nationals

Decision diagram for national citizens from Third Country Nationals
Click to open the document (PDF, 106KB)

To enter Portugal foreigners must be holders of a visa which is valid for the intended purpose of stay. This visa must always be requested at a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate.

General Conditions

Short stay visas, temporary stay visas and residence visas are granted only to third-country nationals who meet the following conditions:

  • Have not been subjected to an order to leave the country for which the period of prohibition of reentry into Portuguese territory has not yet expired;
  • Are not the subject of an alert issued by any of the Contracting Parties in the Schengen Information System for the purpose of refusing entry;
  • Are not the subject of an alert issued in SEF’s Integrated Information System for the purpose of refusing entry;
  • Have sufficient means of subsistence for the period of stay;
  • Are holders of a travel document (passport) which is valid for a period of time of at least 3 months greater than the envisaged period of stay;
  • Have travel insurance.

Special visa arrangements for carrying out research

The Portuguese legislation lays down specific rules for foreign nationals of third countries who intend to come to Portugal to carry out research or a teaching activity (has a special of legislation concerning highly qualified foreigners), provided that they have been selected to work in a higher education institution, a research centre or a company duly recognized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, namely through:

  • An actual or promised employment contract; or
  • A contract for services or a written proposal to that effect; or
  • A scientific research scholarship.

When the employer is a company in the private sector, the following should be indicated:

  • The company’s corporate purpose;
  • The functions to be performed by the applicant;
  • The specialized or exceptional technical skills that are required.

Procedures before entering Portugal

Researchers may apply for visas according to the period of time they pretend to stay in Portugal:

Temporary stay visa
The purpose of the temporary stay visa is to allow the entry of its holder in Portuguese territory to purposes of carrying out research in a research centre or to teach in a higher education institution for less than one year. The visa is valid for multiple entries in Portugal and enables its holder to an initial stay of three months. The temporary stay visa is only valid in Portuguese territory.
Residence visa
The purpose of the residency visa is to allow its holder to enter Portuguese territory in order to apply for a residence permit. The residence visa is valid for two entries in Portugal and enables its holder to remain there for an initial period of four months. The residence visa is only valid in Portuguese territory.

In addition to the visa application that must be delivered by the interested party to the respective consulate, the employer may follow a complementary procedure to facilitate the celerity of the visa process.

The aforementioned entities may forward a copy of all documents concerning the hiring process to the Secretary-general of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, who then forwards them, or the corresponding information, by electronic means, to the Directorate General of Consular Affairs and to the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Procedures once in Portugal

Once the applicant is in Portuguese territory, the main procedures are as follows (at SEF):

  • Holders of a Temporary Stay Visa may apply for an extension of stay. The extension of stay may be requested for up to one year, with the possibility of extension for another year. An application for extension of stay must be presented before the expiry date of the visa.
  • Holders of a Residence Visa must, within a period of 4 months in national territory, submit a request for a temporary residence permit. The temporary residence permit is valid for a period of one year, as of the date of issuing the respective title and is renewable for successive periods of two years. The applicant of a residence permit may simultaneously apply for family reunion. The renewal of the temporary residence permit must be asked for by the interested parties up to thirty days before expiry of the last residence permit.
Note
Foreign citizens who cumulatively hold a temporary residence permit for at least five years, may apply for a permanent residence permit, in case during the last five years of residence in Portuguese territory they have not been convicted of crimes in penalties that exceed one year in prison sentence, possess subsistence means and have guaranteed lodgings and prove to have sufficient basic command of the Portuguese language.

Relevant legislation

Third country family members

Family members of EU / EEA / Switzerland citizens

The law regards the following as family members:

  • the spouse;
  • the partner with whom the EU citizen lives in a non-marital partnership (de facto union);
  • their direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner;
  • the direct ascendants who are dependants and those of the spouse or partner.

Stays up to three months
(requires either an Exemption or Short Stay Visa)

Family members who are nationals of countries that are exempt from visa requirements don’t need a visa to enter Portugal if they come as accompanying family members and as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days. All citizens of other countries need to apply for a short stay visa which is issued free of charge.

A short stay visa (Schengen visa) can be issued with a period of validity which can be up to one year, but the authorised period of stay in Portugal may not exceed 3 months in a half-year period. The short stay visa may be extended up to 90 days. The holder of a Schengen visa may travel freely throughout the Schengen zone. However, if the stay exceeds 90 days in a half-year period, as of the date of the first entry in an external border, the validity of the visa is limited to Portugal.

You should submit your request (obtainable from the consulate) at a Portuguese Embassy or Consulate, together with the following documents:

  • Valid travel document;
  • Two recent, identical photographs, in colour with white background, and easily identifiable;
  • Document proving the purpose and conditions of the intended stay;
  • Travel medical insurance (covering at least 30 000 Euros for medical assistance, hospital treatment and repatriation for medical reasons, valid for all Schengen countries).

In case of family visits:

  • Documents proving the relationship with the citizen;
  • Evidence that the citizen indicated as reference is a national citizen or legal resident in national territory;
  • Document indicating that you have means of subsistence for the duration of the stay.

Stays of more than three months
(requires Residence Card)

Family members of an EU / EEA / Switzerland citizen who are not nationals of one of these countries and whose staying in national territory lasts for a period longer than three months must apply for a Residence Card for family members of EU / EEA / Switzerland citizens. This card is valid for at least five years from its date of issue (the card is issued at most in three months from the presentation of the request).

You should submit your request in the Delegation of SEF, together with the following documents:

  • Two photographs with white background;
  • Photocopy of the relevant pages of your valid and current passport;
  • Identity document of the citizen of the Union (Certificate of Registration or Identity card);
  • Document proving your relationship with the stated citizen.

Specific documents:

  • Proof of the status of dependant family members (when necessary).
  • Direct relatives in the ascending line (up to 65 years) - IRS (tax declaration) indicating them as dependants.
  • Descendants over the age of 21 - school certificate and other documents of proof.

Permanent residence
(requires Permanent Residence Card)

Family members of EU citizens, as weel as nacionals of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, have the right to permanent residence once they have legally resided in the national territory for a consecutive period of five years. They should apply for a Permanent Residence Card.

Necessary formalities

  • Submit your request6 in SEF’s office of the area of residence.
  • The request of permanent residence card must be presented before the residence card expires.

It depends, exclusively, of the verification of the duration of the residence.

Family members of third country nationals

Portuguese law recognises that any national who holds a valid residence permit is entitled to family reunion with family members living abroad, provided that they have lived with him in another country, or that they are his dependants, or that they are living with him, whether the bonds were formed prior to or subsequent to the entry of the resident into Portugal.

For the purpose of family reunion, the law regards the following as family members:

  • the spouse;
  • children who are minors or incapacitated and are dependants of the couple or one of the spouses;
  • minors adopted by the applicant or the spouse;
  • adult children who are dependants of the couple or one of the spouses, if they are single and are studying at an educational institution in Portugal;
  • direct first degree ascendants (parents) of the resident or his spouse, provided they are his dependants;
  • minor siblings under custody of the resident.

Registered partnership

Family reunion is allowed in relation to a non-marital partner whether the partner is inside or outside national territory, provided that the relationship is recognised under the law.

Family reunion may also be granted in respect of children who are minors or incapacitated, including children adopted by the non-marital partner provided that the partner has legal custody.

Family members outside national territory

If the relatives are living outside the national territory, the application must be made by the holder of the right to family reunion (that is, the holder of a valid residence permit in Portugal). The application for entry and residence of family members is made at SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras).

Whenever an application for family reunion with members of the family that are abroad is granted, a residence visa that allows the entry into national territory is immediately issued in the name of the respective family member or members. The granting of the application for family reunion is communicated by SEF to the person concerned and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MNE) so that the residence visa may immediately be issued by the respective consulate after the request has been made by the family members (within 90 days of the communication by SEF).

Note
The applicant of a residence permit may simultaneously apply for family reunion.
Family members in national territory

If the relatives are already in national territory, family reunion may be requested by them or by the holder of the right.

A right to family reunion is acknowledged with the relatives who have legally entered national territory and depend from or live in cohabitation with the holder of a valid residence permit.

A family member who holds a residence visa for family reunion, or who is in national territory after having obtained granting to an application of family reunion, is entitled to a residence permit with similar validity to that of the resident.

A family member of the holder of a permanent residence permit is entitled to a residence permit with a validity of two years.

Additional Topics

Extension of stay
of the Temporary Stay Visa for conducting scientific research, teaching at a higher education institution or carrying out highly skilled work (Art. 71 and 72 of Act 23/2007 of 4 July)

Important notes

  • The temporary stay visa to perform a research or highly qualified activity may only be extended if the applicant holds a work contract, a contract for provision of services or a scientific research grant, and is covered by the National Health Service or by Health Insurance.
  • The extension of stay may be requested for up to one year, with the possibility of extension for another year. An application must be presented before the expiry date of the visa subject to a fine (Art. 193 of Act 23/2007).
  • If the application is not delivered 30 days after the end of the authorized permanence period, the application will not be decided favourably.
  • When applying for an extension of stay, the holder is exempted from delivering any documents which have been previously inserted in the electronic system used by SEF and which are still valid.

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Passport or any other valid travel document;
  • Evidence of subsistence means;
  • Evidence of accommodation;
  • Request for search of Portuguese criminal record by SEF;
  • Two recent, identical photographs, in colour with blank background, and easily identifiable.
Specific documents
  • Work contract or declaration of the employer entity confirming the continuity of the labour relation; or
  • Contract for services or declaration of the beneficiary confirming the continuity of the contract; or
  • Evidence of holding a scientific research scholarship;
  • Health insurance or document certifying that the applicant is covered by the National Health Service;
  • Documents proving the registration with tax authorities and social security. (In order to facilitate title issuing procedures the citizen is exempted to present certificates or other documents to prove the data already included in the Public Service information systems, being SEF to obtain them, namely at the tax authority services, work and social security and annex the to the file.)

Temporary residence permit
for research or highly qualified activities (Article 90 of Law no. 23/2007)

Important notes

  • Without prejudice to the special legal stipulations applicable, the temporary residence permit is valid for a period of one year, as of the date of issuing the respective title and is renewable for successive periods of two years.
  • Nonetheless, the residence title must be renewed whenever a change of the identification elements occurs.

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Two recent, identical photographs, in colour with white background, and easily identifiable;
  • Passport or any other valid travel document;
  • Valid residence visa;
  • Evidence of subsistence means;
  • Evidence of accommodation;
  • Request for search of Portuguese criminal record by SEF;
  • Documents proving the registration with tax authorities and social security (In order to facilitate title issuing procedures the citizen is exempted to present certificates or other documents to prove the data already included in the Public Service information systems, being SEF to obtain them, namely at the tax authority services, work and social security and annex the to the file.)
Specific documents

Document certifying that the applicant has been admitted as a collaborator to carry out research or a teaching activity at a Higher Education Institution, a research centre or a company duly recognized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, namely:

  • An employment contract; or
  • A contract for services; or
  • A scientific research scholarship.

Renewal of temporary residence permit
(Article 78 of Act 23/2007)

Important notes

  • The renewal of temporary residence permit must be requested by the interested parties up to thirty days before expiration of the current residence permit.
  • The residence permit is valid for a period of one year as of the issue date of the respective title and is renewable for successive periods of two years.
  • The receipt issued against delivery of application for renewal of the residence permit is valid as residence title for a period of 60 days.
  • Nevertheless, it is mandatory to renew the residence title whenever an alteration of the identification elements occurs.

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Valid or expired (up to six months) Residence Title;
  • Two recent, identical photographs, in colour with white background, and easily identifiable, if necessary;
  • Passport or any other valid travelling document;
  • Evidence of subsistence means (those benefiting from a fellowship are exempted)
  • Evidence of accommodation;
  • Request for search of criminal record by SEF;
  • Documents proving the registration with tax authorities and social security. (In order to facilitate title issuing procedures, the citizen is exempted to present certificates or other documents to certify data already present in the Public Service information systems, allowing SEF to obtain them, namely from the tax authority services, work and social security, and append them to the records.)
Specific documents
  • Work contract or declaration of the employer entity confirming the continuity of the labour relation; or
  • Contract of services or declaration of the beneficiary confirming the continuity of the contract; or
  • Evidence of holding a scientific research fellowship.

Application for Family Reunion

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Certified evidence of the claimed family relationship;
  • Certified copies of the identification documents of the applicant’s relatives;
  • Evidence of accommodation;
  • Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence to provide for the family;
  • Relative’s consent to a criminal record check by SEF, in cases where the relative has resided within national territory for more than one year over the last five years;
  • Criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in the relative’s home country and from any country where he resided for more than one year.
Specific documents
  • Proof of incapacity in cases involving dependant incapacitated adult children;
  • Certified copy of the Court decision which decreed the adoption, as well as a certified copy of the acknowledgement of the decision by the national authority, where applicable;
  • Certified copy of the full birth certificate, evidence of economic dependence and copy of the confirmation of enrolment at an educational institution in Portugal, in cases involving dependant adult children;
  • Evidence of economic dependence, in cases involving first degree ascendants;
  • Certified copy of the custody decision, as well as a certified copy of the acknowledgement of the decision by the national authority, where applicable, for cases involving minor siblings;
  • Written authority of the non-resident parent, certified by a Portuguese consulate, or a copy of the decision granting custody over the minor or the incapacitated child to the resident or his spouse, where applicable;
  • Evidence of the non-marital partnership (such as existence of a child, previous periods of cohabitation or the registration of the partnership).

Application for Family Reunion
with family members who have legally entered national territory (Article 98 n.º2 of Act n.º23/2007)

Important notes

  • The validity of the residence permit is identical to the resident’s.
  • A family member of the holder of a permanent residence permit is entitled to a residence permit with a validity of two years.

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Certified evidence of the claimed family relationship;
  • Passport or other valid travel document;
  • Evidence of sufficient means of subsistence;
  • Evidence of accommodation;
  • Consent to a criminal record check by SEF;
  • Criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in the applicant’s home country and from any country where he resided for more than one year.
Specific documents
  • Proof of incapacity in cases involving dependant incapacitated adult children;
  • Certified copy of the Court decision which decreed the adoption, as well as a certified copy of the acknowledgement of the decision by the national authority, where applicable;
  • Certified copy of the full birth certificate, evidence of economic dependence and copy of the confirmation of enrolment at an educational institution in Portugal, in cases involving dependant adult children;
  • Evidence of economic dependence, in cases involving first degree ascendants;
  • Certified copy of the custody decision, as well as a certified copy of the acknowledgement of the decision by the national authority, where applicable, for cases involving minor siblings;
  • Written authority of the non-resident parent, certified by a Portuguese consulate, or a copy of the decision granting custody over the minor or the incapacitated child to the resident or his spouse, where applicable;
  • Evidence of the non-marital partnership (such as existence of a common child, previous periods of cohabitation or the registration of the partnership).

Application for Family Reunion
with family members in national territory who hold a residence visa for family reunion

Important notes

  • The validity of the residence permit is identical to the resident’s.
  • A family member of the holder of a permanent residence permit is entitled to a residence permit with a validity of two years.

You should submit your request to the Directorate of SEF or the Regional Office in your area of residence, together with the following documents:

Common documents
  • Valid travel document, containing the residence visa for family reunion.
  • The holder is exempted from delivering any other common or specific documents which have been previously included in the electronic system used by SEF and which are still valid.

Further Useful Information

Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras
http://www.sef.pt/

Latest update: 16 January 2012 12:13


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