- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Portugal Guide (PDF)
Before expats make their move to the country, it's important to make sure they have the correct paperwork in order and have obtained the correct visa for Portugal, if necessary. As Portugal is an EU-member state, citizens of other EU states can travel to the country with nothing but their passport.
Although EU citizens are entitled to live and work in Portugal without a visa, there are still some documents which will be required to obtain the necessary residence permit. Residency visas are necessary for any stay longer than six months and can also be used as proof of residence for administrative tasks.
Non-EU citizens travelling to Portugal for a short stay or holiday may need to apply for a Schengen visa, which takes approximately 30 days. If non-EU citizens plan on settling down or working in Portugal they will need to take the necessary steps to obtain either a business, work or residency permit before their arrival.
Tourist visas for Portugal
Portugal is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement. Nationals of countries which are also signatory to the agreement don't need to apply for a tourist visa prior to arrival. Citizens of some countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand are also entitled to stay in Portugal for 90 days or less without a visa.
Visitors from other countries will be required to apply for a tourist visa before arriving in Portugal. The processing time for a tourist visa is around 30 days and travellers can apply at the Portuguese embassy or consulate in their home country. However, it is best to apply well ahead of time and it is possible to submit an application more than three months prior to the date of departure.
Schengen visas for Portugal
As Portugal is part of the Schengen territory, once a person is granted this visa they can visit multiple destinations that are signatories to the agreement. Those who plan on travelling to several Schengen countries will find it's best to make their application at the consulate of the country in which they plan to spend the largest amount of time.
It is important to note that under the Schengen Visa it's not permitted for expats or visitors to work or carry out any form of business activity.
Residence permits for Portugal
European Union citizens aren't required to have a residence or work permit for Portugal. However, it is generally advisable that all expats obtain this document as it will often act as a useful proof of residence for obtaining a local driver's licence, opening a bank account or for tax purposes.
Only nationals of EU-member states are allowed to apply for a residence permit from within Portugal. All other expats will be required to apply at a Portuguese consulate in their home country.
Temporary residence visas are granted for one year, initially. This first year is followed by two consecutive two-year terms. After living in Portugal for five years on a residence visa, expats can apply for a permanent residence visa.
The most common visa that expats apply for is the Type 1 visa. This visa is issued to expats who are planning on settling in Portugal permanently for retirement, independent living or to establish an independent business. Applicants will need to show proof that they have private healthcare insurance and sufficient funds to cover the cost of accommodation in Portugal and support themselves.
► Work Permits for Portugal is essential reading for expats planning on working in the country
"There was a lot of paperwork and documentation required. There's also a minimum income level required but it is not excessive." Read more about Bob's expat experience in Portugal.
Are you an expat living in Portugal?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portugal. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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