D3 visa for highly qualified individuals in Portugal WithPortugal
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D3 visa for highly qualified individuals in Portugal
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As you know, the IT sector is in high demand in Portugal, and they are ready to invite specialists from this field from any country worldwide because the shortage of local staff in the Portuguese market has been particularly critical in recent years. If you are such a specialist, then it will be beneficial for you to learn about the D3 resident visa, created just for highly qualified professionals arranging their immigration to Portugal. So, what are the conditions for obtaining a D3 visa and how it differs from a standard D1 work visa? We will talk about all this in our new article on the website With Portugal!


Who can get a D3 visa in Portugal?

Let's briefly define the D3 visa, which is often confused with the D1 work visa.

The D3 residence visa is a type of work permit visa for highly qualified employees desiring to be employed in Portugal. The D1 visa is intended for employees in general, without the need to confirm their qualifications. That is, the main difference between these two types of visas is exactly the fact of having a high qualification, which will need to be documented.

At the same time, highly qualified employees, following Portuguese law, include people performing work with functions that require exceptional technical skills and qualifications.

Despite the rather imprecise definition of the term “highly qualified”, it is traditional to refer to this category people holding senior positions in companies (top managers, directors, etc.) or specialists in intellectual and scientific activity. This broad category includes engineers, professors, information technology specialists, medical professionals, scientists, and specialists in culture, law, jurisprudence, etc.


Of course, most often, when people talk about the D3 visa for highly qualified specialists, they mean precisely the visa for IT employees, who are in great demand in Portugal and whose salaries are the highest in the Portuguese labor market.

Yes, being an IT specialist to immigrate to Portugal, you can get both a standard D1 work visa and a Tech Visa, which we wrote about in detail in this article, but today we want to talk more about the requirements and the process of obtaining a D3 visa for immigration to Portugal.

Requirements for obtaining a D3 residence visa in Portugal

Following Portuguese law, we can include the following to the basic requirements for obtaining a D3 visa:

  • The presence of a job contract (or its written promise) from a Portuguese company for a period of at least 1 year.
  • The salary specified in the contract must be at least 1.5 times bigger than the average annual gross salary in the country or 3 times bigger than the indexed amount of the IAS social support, which is 443.20 euros in 2022. At the same time, the required minimum salary is slightly lower for specific categories of occupations that Portugal needs most urgently (these occupations can be found in groups 1 and 2 in this official document). In this case, it is acceptable to prove an income that is only 1.2 times bigger than the average annual gross salary in the country.
  • As we have already indicated above, a prerequisite for obtaining a D3 visa is proof of your high qualifications. In this case, everything will depend on your profession and on the specific consulate where you will apply, but most often, you will be required to have an education diploma (which must correspond to the position specified in your contract), special profile certificates and other evidence of your high qualifications. What to do if your higher education diploma does not correspond to the position specified in the contract? 

Summarizing the main requirements for obtaining a D3 resident visa, we note one more time that obtaining this class of visa is possible only if a Portuguese company has offered you a job with an appropriate agreement.

The conditions for the minimum salary for obtaining such a visa are quite simple to fulfill because the salary of 1,329.6 euros (IAS x 3) is more than realistic for IT specialists

So if your situation meets all of the above requirements, we suggest you find out what documents you will need to obtain a D3 resident visa in Portugal.

Documents for obtaining a D3 visa in Portugal

We have already written about the conditions for obtaining a D3 visa in Portugal above, and you can always find them on the SEF official website. Be prepared to accumulate and submit various documents to the consulate (the list of which will always depend on the specific situation, so we recommend that you check it directly with the Portuguese consulate of the country you live in).


Most often, you will be requested to provide the following documents:

  • Visa Application
  • 2 color pictures 3x4
  • Passport and its photocopy
  • Certificate of non-conviction with an apostille
  • Permission to check your criminal status (convictions) in Portugal
  • Medical insurance
  • An employment agreement or the promise of an employment contract for at least 1 year with a salary of at least a certain amount, as we have already written above
  • Proof that you are highly qualified. We have already written about ways to confirm your qualifications above. In the case of regulated professions (for example, doctors, lawyers), which are required to be members of professional orders (that is, collegium), you will also additionally need to prove that you are a member of such organizations and have the right to perform functions in Portugal specified in your agreement.

A general list of required documents can always be found on this official website, on the Eportugal website, or directly at the consulate of your host country.

D3 visa obtaining process

Obtaining a D3 visa for IT specialists and other highly qualified specialists is quite simple and can be schematically represented as follows.

  • Step 1. Assemblage of all necessary documents for a D3 residence visa
  • Step 2. Personal submission of these documents to the consulate of your country
  • Step 3. The term for consideration of documents usually takes about 60 days. After that, in case of a positive decision, you become the owner of the coveted D3 visa
  • Step 4. Then, upon arrival in Portugal with a D3 visa, you will be able to obtain a residence permit at the SEF office, and after 5 years, you can apply for citizenship. Most often, your D3 residence visa will already have a link with the exact date of submitting documents for residence to SEF, or you will be able to see the appointed date in your personal account on the SEF portal.

At the same time, to apply for a D3 visa, you do not have to visit Portugal, or rent an apartment, to show a rental agreement at the consulate, or show a certain amount of money in the bank account, as is necessary in other classes of resident visas, for example in case of a D1 work visa, which we wrote about at the beginning of our article. A more reduced list of documents for obtaining a D3 visa can only be explained by the great desire of Portugal to attract as many highly qualified specialists as possible, whether they are doctors, engineers, IT specialists, etc.

The process of obtaining a D3 resident visa is considered to be easier than obtaining other types of visas precisely because this category of visas is given higher priority. It is for this reason that if you have a choice, for example, between a D1 visa and a D3 visa, we recommend that you apply for a D3 visa, because, firstly, it is given more priority, and, secondly, with its help, you can get a Blue Card in Portugal if you want to get precisely the EU Blue Card instead of the standard residence with a work permit. Furthermore, with such a visa, it will be easier to justify your transition to preferential RNH tax treatment in Portugal for specialists in highly profitable professions, although having a D3 visa is not a prerequisite for switching to a preferential tax regime.

D3 visa is one of the options for immigration to Portugal for highly qualified specialists

And if you are just such a specialist and have already received or are preparing to receive a work agreement from a Portuguese company, we advise you to take a closer look at this type of resident visa, primarily because of the substantial advantages in obtaining it. At the same time, it doesn’t matter whether you are a doctor, lawyer, researcher, cultural figure, or programmer - just be acquainted that Portugal does its best to attract highly qualified specialists to the country, so you definitely won’t have problems obtaining documents. We hope that this article will help you obtain this type of visa and better plan immigration to Portugal.


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

No, these are 2 different types of visas, which have in common only one thing - they are both intended for highly qualified employees. They have different requirements for qualifications and for the minimum salary of specialists. At the same time, as only a certified company from a limited list can be an employer for Tech Visa, obtaining this visa is more accessible than obtaining a D3 visa. On the other hand, if you are a highly qualified specialist but your employer is not included in the certified list, the D3 resident visa will suit you better.

Of course, if you want to, you can apply for a standard D1 work visa. In this article, we have described in detail the advantages of the D3 visa (it is always given priority, you need to collect fewer documents to obtain it, you can get a Blue Card on its basis, etc.). But the most critical disadvantage of the D1 visa, compared to the D3, is that to obtain it, the inviting company will have to post a vacancy in Portugal and Europe because, following European legislation, the priority in hiring employees is given to EU citizens. So the company will have to post a vacancy, and if no one can be found, you will need to request a particular document from the Portuguese IEFP Employment Center, which you will need to obtain a D1 visa. This is a rather complicated bureaucratic procedure that both you and the company hiring you can avoid if you apply for a D3 visa.

You can always find an up-to-date list of documents here on this page of the SEF portal. The list of documents will not differ much from those documents that you submitted when you requested a visa (except for providing a tax number, social security number, housing contract, and some other points).

This is optional, but it is possible if, for example, you arrange to immigrate to other European countries and if you meet the requirements for a Blue Card. Otherwise, you can request a standard residence for employment.

Yes, sure, but only if your profession is on the list of high value-added professions and you meet certain conditions. We highly recommend using this regime because you can save a lot on taxes. If you do not want to understand the nuances of a preferential tax regime, you can contact an accountant in Portugal for help.

Yes, sure, this type of residence visa, and then the residence permit obtained on its basis, will not limit you in the subsequent change of work in Portugal.

Sure. As the holder of any other type D resident visa in Portugal, you will be able to exercise the right to reunite with your family. This means that your closest relatives, such as a spouse, minor children, etc., will also be able to immigrate to Portugal and live, study and work on its territory after you receive your first residence and exercise the right to reunite with your family.

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