Alternative visas and residence permits in Portugal
11 August 2023
In terms of residence permits, Portugal has become especially well known for its popular Golden Visa programme. However, there are other ways to obtain a residence permit and, subsequently, a Portuguese passport. Here, Antonio Varela from ABV Advogados Law Firm looks at the alternatives.
It is important to begin by noting that all these visas must be requested at the Portuguese consulate in the country of nationality or residence of the applicant. Once the visa has been issued, its holder has the right to enter in Portugal legally, where he/she must carry out the legalization process with the SEF – Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service, a process that involves the presentation of a wide range of documents, the collection of biometric data and culminates in the issuance of a residence permit card. All these residence permits are valid for 2 years, renewable for successive periods of 3 years.
Let's look at the various types of visas that are most relevant. At the end of 2022, the Portuguese government approved legislation that facilitated the process of obtaining visas for those who want to work or provide services in Portugal.
Job Seeker Visa:
The Job Seeker Visa and the Digital Nomad Visa were then created. The Job Seeker Visa allows a person to stay in Portugal for a period of 120 days, extendable for another 60 days, with the aim of obtaining an employment contract. The requirements are provided for by law, not requiring any academic or professional qualifications nor a promise of a labour contract. If, within the 120+60 days, the person finds a job, he/she will obtain a residence permit. If, during that period, the person does not find a work, he/she must return to his/her country of origin.
The holder of a Job Seeker Visa - benefits:
In addition to the right to live and work legally in Portugal, from the following rights: access to the Portuguese national health service (free), the Portuguese public educational service (free), allowed entry and circulation throughout the Schengen Area, demand permanent residence permit after 5 years and, very important, apply to Portuguese nationality also after 5 years. Furthermore, once the residence permit card is issued, the worker has the right to request the reunification of the family members, allowing them to legally reside in Portugal. If the holder of the residence permit is absent from Portugal for 6 consecutive months or 8 interpolated months, within the period of validity of the residence permit, it may be cancelled. However, it does not happen if the person justifies the absence for professional and/ or business and/or humanitarian reasons.
Digital Nomad Visa:
The Digital Nomad Visa, as the name suggests, is a visa created for those individuals who are going to work remotely in Portugal for one or more foreign entities. It should be noted that the applicant may be a dependent worker, a service provider or even a company manager. In the case of this visa, the interested party, in addition to comply with the general requirements provided for by law, must prove, when applying for the visa, the professional link that he/she has with the foreign entity to whom he/she will work or provide services and that the candidate must receive a remuneration of at least €3,040 per month (this amount might be higher if the person is accompanied by the family).
Holders of the Digital Nomad Visas have the same rights as holders of the Job Seeker Visas
Holders of the Digital Nomad Visas have the same rights as mentioned before for holders of the Job Seeker Visas, plus the right to immediate family accompaniment when the visa is issued, that is, the family members of a candidate for the Digital Nomad Visa can accompany the applicant to Portugal, and to also reside in the country, since the beginning of the relocation process; on the other hand, the family members of a Job Seeker Visa holder can only move to Portugal later, namely, only when the Job Seeker Visa holder sees his relocation process completed and the residency permit card issued.
Digital Nomad Visa holders are subjected to the same mandatory minimum periods of residence in Portugal referred to Job Seeker Visa holders, extendable under the same above-mentioned terms. D7 Visa Very popular nowadays is the commonly known “D7 Visa”. It is, without a doubt, the most suitable procedure for all those/person who earn passive income. People who receive retirement pensions, dividends from companies, interest or other income from capital, individuals who receive income from real estate and artists who benefit from royalties can apply for this visa.
The D7 Visa holder can work in Portugal, do business, including setting up companies, or simply not carry out any activity and live off the income. For the visa to be granted, the applicant, in addition to having to comply with the general requirements established by law, must demonstrate his/her financial capacity. Portuguese consulates, as a rule, understand that this ability is sufficiently demonstrated if the interested party earns monthly “passive” income of at least €760 (except if the applicant is accompanied by the family, in which case the required amount is higher, depending on the number of household members) and prove that he/she has deposited around €12,000 in a bank account opened in Portugal. Note that no visa is required to open a bank account in a Portuguese bank, and it is not necessary for the interested party to physically travel to Portugal for this purpose. The procedure can be carried out remotely or through an attorney. "The D7 Visa holder can work in Portugal, do business, including setting up companies, or simply not carry out any activity and live off the income."
Holders of the D7 Visa benefit from the same rights said above for holders of the Digital Nomad Visa, including family accompaniment. Additionally, the same minimum stay periods in Portugal and the same extension conditions as mentioned above apply in this case.
Those who want to run one or more than one business in Portugal, either as an individual service provider or through the incorporation of a company in Portugal, and do not have passive income that would allow them to apply for the D7 Visa, can apply for the “Entrepreneur Visa”, also known as D2 Visa. In this case, however, the candidate must present to the Portuguese consulate, when applying for the visa, a business plan that demonstrates the feasibility of the project that the applicant proposes to develop in Portugal. A special type of D2 Visa is the “Start-up Visa”, especially designed towards innovative activities and to creating qualified employment. This special type of visa is applicable to entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to set up an innovative tech-based company.
They will have quick access to a residence visa that allows them to create or move their start-up enterprise to Portugal. Entrepreneurs can integrate a start-up incubator in Portugal and benefit from all the Start-up Portugal Program incentives and support.
In this specific case, the procedure will be supervised by a public entity called IAPMEI - Agência para a Competitividade e Inovação. Holders of D2 Visas also benefit from the same rights said above for holders of the Digital Nomad Visa and must also remain in Portugal for the minimum times referred to, unless they justify their absence for the reasons already mentioned.
There are many more visas and related residence permits in force in Portugal, such as visas for cultural, artistic or scientific purposes, visas for highly qualified workers and special visas for citizens from Portuguese speaking countries. However, the aim of this text is not to make an exhaustive description of all types of visas, but to rather convey a general idea of the most common and popular alternatives currently available under Portuguese law.
For more information contact Antonio Varela at firstname.lastname@example.org
About ABV Advogados Law Firm:
ABV Advogados is AGA's law firm representative in Portugal.
Traditionally dedicated to providing business law services, the team at ABV work with an extensive client base in Portugal where they assist them with their business operations locally and overseas.
In addition to legal consultancy, the firm is also renowned for its litigation and overseas work, particularly for those clients who choose Portugal as a living or working destination. The firm has also developed a Private Client offering that is focused specially on residence, citizenship, family, inheritance and tax matters.