For international individuals seeking to work and reside in Portugal for durations surpassing 90 days, a Portugal residence permit is the solution. Typically, this permit is granted for the long term, ranging from one year to three years. Eligibility for various types of permits depends on the purpose of your relocation to Portugal and the intended duration of your stay.
A Portugal Residence Permit is an official authorization that allows third-country nationals to work and reside in Portugal.
There are two main types of permits issued by Portugal:
- Residency Visas: Residency visas are short-term permits, typically valid for 3 or 4 months. They are granted by a Portuguese Embassy to facilitate the applicant’s entry into Portugal before they register as a resident. Once an individual enters Portugal with their residency visa, they have a window of four months to register with the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) and obtain their residence permit.
- Residence Permits: Residence permits are temporary permits, generally valid for one year, and can be renewed annually based on the duration of the applicant’s stay in Portugal. If a person resides in Portugal for at least five years, they have the option to switch to a permanent residence permit. Permanent permits are suitable for those wishing to live in Portugal indefinitely, while those with shorter-term plans can continue extending their temporary residence permit as needed.
Types of Portugal Residence Permits:
Portugal offers various types of residence permits to cater to different purposes. Here are the main categories:
- Residence Permit for Work Purposes: If you have secured employment in Portugal, you can apply for a residence permit for work. To be eligible, the job position you applied for should not have been filled by an EU national within the last month. Your employer initiates the work permit application at the Portuguese Labor Authorities, and subsequently, you apply for a visa at the local embassy in your country of residence. Once granted a residency visa, you can travel to Portugal and apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). The initial residence permit is issued for one year, with possibilities for extensions based on your needs and employment contract. There are several types of work permits depending on the nature of the work, such as for skilled workers, highly-skilled workers, self-employment, cultural activities, a “Tech” visa, teaching, and the D7 passive income visa.
- Residence Permit for Study Purposes: Designed for students pursuing educational opportunities in Portugal, this permit allows you to reside in the country for the duration of your study program.
- Residence Permit for Family Reunification: If you have family members who are Portuguese citizens or residents, you can apply for this permit to join them in Portugal.
- Special Residence Permit: This permit is granted for special cases, such as investors, retirees, and other unique circumstances.
Each type of residence permit caters to specific needs and situations, ensuring that individuals can legally reside and engage in activities relevant to their purpose in Portugal.
Portugal Residence Permit for Study Purposes:
The Portugal residence permit for study purposes is specifically designed for international students from outside the EU who have been accepted into an educational institution in Portugal. This permit is initially valid for one year and can be renewed annually throughout the duration of your study program.
Upon completing your studies, if you wish to continue staying in Portugal, you will need to secure employment and transition to a Portugal work visa. This work visa will enable you to legally reside and work in Portugal beyond your study period.
Portugal Residence Permit for Family Reunification:
If you intend to join a close family member who is either a resident or a citizen of Portugal, you must apply for the Portugal residence permit for family reunification. Eligible family members include:
- Spouse or registered partner
- Minor child (biological or adopted)
- An adult child who is dependent on the Portuguese resident
- The direct descendant who is dependent on the resident
The validity of this permit matches the duration of the residence permit held by the Portuguese resident. For partners who have been married for at least 5 years, the permit is initially valid for two years, and it can be renewed every three years thereafter. Holders of this permit have the freedom to work and study in Portugal, and after residing in the country for five years, they can apply for a permanent residence permit.
Special Residence Permit for Portugal:
Portugal offers a special residence permit for specific situations, tailored to the unique circumstances of each applicant. Some of the common types of special situation residence permits include:
- Residence permits for individuals requiring prolonged medical care due to health conditions.
- Residence permit for individuals who have completed military service in the Portuguese Armed Forces.
- Residence permit for minors born in national territory to foreign parents who hold a residence permit.
- Residence permit for children of residence permit holders who have reached the age of majority and have continuously resided in Portugal from the age of 10.
- Residence permit for individuals of age who were born in the national territory and have never left the country or have resided in Portugal since before the age of 10.
Portugal Residence Permit Requirements:
When applying for a Portugal residence permit, you need to prepare the following documents:
- Valid passport.
- Two recent identity pictures meeting Portugal visa photo requirements.
- Application form (for initial residency visa application).
- Valid residence visa (the 3-4 month-long visa required before applying for your permit).
- Evidence of sufficient financial means.
- Proof of accommodation during your stay in Portugal.
- Health insurance or evidence of coverage by the National Health Service.
- Family certificate (if applicable).
- Criminal certificate.
- Parental consent (if applicable).
- Employment contract.
- Acceptance letter from the university (for student visa).
- Paid tuition fees (for student visa).
Note: Ensure that your documents are translated into either English or Portuguese if they are not already, and some documents may require legalization. It is advisable to check with the embassy before you apply.
How to Apply for a Portuguese Residence Permit?
Applying for a Portuguese residence permit involves the following steps:
- Apply for the Residency Visa: Firstly, you need to obtain a residency visa, which allows you to enter Portugal with the purpose of obtaining a residency permit. The residency visa is valid for four months and permits double entry. The processing time for a residency visa is around 60 days.
- Submit your visa application at a Portugal embassy/consulate in your home country. Make an appointment with the embassy either through email or in person.
- Gather all the required documents and the visa application form before submitting your application. You may also be asked to attend an interview at the embassy.
- If applying for a residence permit based on work or family reunification, your employer or family member must submit an initial application at SEF (Immigration and Borders Service) or the Portuguese Labor Authorities on your behalf.
- Apply for the Residence Permit: After obtaining the residency visa, you can enter Portugal and proceed to apply for your residence permit. Visit SEF to apply for the residence permit and also register for a social security number at a registration office.
- It’s essential to complete these steps within the four-month validity of your residency visa.
Benefits of the Portugal Residence Permit:
Holding a Portugal residence permit offers several advantages:
- Visa-free access to the EEA/EU and Schengen Area.
- Access to the job market.
- Full access to educational opportunities.
- Eligibility for the Portuguese healthcare system.
- Entitlement to unemployment benefits (in case of job loss).
- Possibility to sponsor family members.
- Option to apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Validity of the Residence Permit for Portugal:
- The initial residence permit is typically valid for one year, with yearly renewals. After the first year, it can be extended to a two-year permit.
- After holding temporary residence permits for five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.
- For study purposes, the residence permit is valid for the duration of your study program, but it requires yearly extensions. After completing your studies, the permit is no longer valid, and you cannot switch to permanent residency with a student permit.
Portugal Residence Permit for UK Citizens (After Brexit):
British nationals residing in Portugal after Brexit will be granted rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. This agreement, signed between the UK and the EU, addresses various regulations and policies concerning trade and the freedom of movement for UK nationals in the EEA/EU.
Holders of a Resident Permit During the Transition Period:
The Withdrawal Agreement safeguards the right of UK nationals to retain their Portugal residency status even after Brexit. New residence permits have been issued to UK nationals, replacing their previous Registration Certificates from town halls and certificates of Permanent Residence from SEF. These new permits were validated before December 31, 2020, confirming the holder’s status as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
British nationals with a previous residence permit had to apply online through SEF’s website to exchange their previous permits.
Applying for a Residence Permit After the Transition Period:
UK nationals who did not possess a previous permit but wish to apply for Portugal residency after January 1, 2021 (the end of the transition period) must follow the standard application process at SEF.
Individuals living in the UK but working in Portugal, known as “cross-border” workers, can continue working in Portugal as their rights as cross-border workers are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
However, as a cross-border worker, you must contact the competent authorities via email to request a certificate confirming your cross-border worker status and freedom to travel between countries.
Cost of a Portuguese Residence Permit:
The cost for a Portugal residence permit is €84. Additionally, you will be required to pay a renewal fee, which varies based on the type of residence permit you hold.
Residence Permit to Portuguese Citizenship:
You have the option to apply for Portuguese citizenship after residing in Portugal for an extended period. Once you have lived with a temporary residence permit for five years, you become eligible to apply for a permanent permit, and one or two years later, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship.
Residency by Investment in Portugal:
Residency by investment, also known as the “Portugal Golden Visa,” offers a pathway to obtaining residency by investing a specific amount of money in Portugal, usually in real estate. The required investment amount varies based on the type of investment you choose. For instance, if you intend to invest in real estate, you must invest at least €500,000.
Once you meet the criteria for the Golden Visa, you will be granted a residence permit, initially valid for one year, with the possibility of renewal after two years. After living in Portugal for a total of five years, you become eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship. The requirements for obtaining residency through the Golden Visa program are less stringent compared to the regular application process for a residence permit or citizenship.
How Can Reliance Immigration Services Assist You?
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Our comprehensive Immigration services include:
- Free consultation and counseling
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