Studying in Portugal is not only the way to get a European education but also one of the easiest ways to immigrate to this beautiful country on the edge of Europe. Immigration as an employee can be complicated because, without a European diploma and knowledge of the Portuguese language, it will be pretty challenging to find a decent job. By doing the same at a Portuguese university, you will not only learn Portuguese or get a new profession, but you will also be able to come and stay in the country legally, building your new life correctly and thoughtfully. Yes, someone may argue that as an adult, you don't want to go back to university and sit on the student bench for several years. Still, you can get a student visa in Portugal, even in Portuguese language courses, if you meet all the necessary conditions. What exactly do you need to get a student visa in Portugal, and what are the main differences between D4 and D5 visas? We will discuss all that in detail in our new article on the WithPortugal website.
Student visas D4 and D5: the main differences
Student visas D4 and D5 are visas that allow citizens of other countries to study in Portugal at universities or in professional courses at other educational institutions (both private and public). In the modern world, learning in another country is becoming a common practice, so it is logical that Portugal, like other countries of the world, is trying to ease visa issues for international students.
At the same time, there are two main types of student visas in Portugal:
D4 is a resident visa for study, student exchange, professional internship, or volunteer work. This visa is for students of higher education (undergraduate and graduate), interns, or volunteers whose projects or studies must last more than one year. A study period (internship, etc.) of more than one year is a mandatory and essential condition for obtaining this visa. Very often, immigrants from the CIS countries find short-term language courses in Portugal for several months, so we especially want to note that with such studies for several months, you won't be able to get a resident visa, and even more so a residence permit in Portugal. It is the D4 visa that we will consider in more detail within the framework of this article.
D5 is a residence visa created for the mobility and transfer of higher education students. This type of visa is requested by students who want to continue an already-started study program in another country (most often in a European one) here in Portugal. This includes student exchange programs, double degrees, short-term internships, etc. As this type of visa is most often requested by students who are already studying in another European country, then in this article, we won't focus too much on this visa. However, in article 63 and in 91 article of Portuguese immigration law, you can find more information regarding international students' transfer within the EU.
Even though this article is devoted exclusively to resident visas, let's also not forget that there are still short-stay visas (which don't give the right to request a residence permit), so if you plan to study in Portugal from 3 to 12 months, then it is necessary to ask precisely this type of visa, which is called "Visto de Estada Temporary".
At the same time, it is essential to remember that only a few universities in Portugal have courses in English, and even then, only in some specialties. So if you want to immigrate to Portugal specifically to study at the university, we recommend that you start learning Portuguese in advance to enter any university and any faculty without any problems.
Documents for obtaining a student visa D4
Be prepared to collect and submit various documents to the Consulate (the list will always depend on the specific situation, so we recommend you check it directly with the Portuguese Consulate of the country where you live).
Most often, the Consulate of your country will ask you to provide the following documents:
- Visa Application
- Two color pictures 3x4
- Passport and its photocopy
- Certificate of non-conviction with an apostille
- Permission to check your criminal status (convictions) in Portugal
- Travel health insurance
- A document from the university confirming your enrollment in a Portuguese educational institution
- A cover letter from the student stating their goals (we recommend that you prepare such a letter to have more guarantees for obtaining a visa)
- Proof of livelihoods, such as proof of grants, bank account balance, or a letter of support signed by a family member or sponsor. At the same time, students receiving scholarships and third-country nationals who speak Portuguese (as an official language) are exempt from proof of the sufficiency of means of subsistence.
- Proof of residence, such as a declaration of residence in a university dormitory, a lease agreement, etc.
- Proof of payment for tuition (not always, but sometimes such a document may also be required)
As you can see, the documents for obtaining a student visa in Portugal are pretty standard. The central part of the records package will be certificates of your enrollment in a Portuguese educational institution. Documents required for obtaining a D4 student visa are always better to check directly with the Consulate of your host country. A general list of required documents can always be found on this official website at the Portuguese Consulate in your country. At the same time, the list of documents and the process of obtaining a D5 student visa will be similar to the D4 visa.
D4 visa obtaining process
The process of obtaining a D4 student visa for higher education or professional courses in Portugal is quite simple and can be represented as follows.
- Step 1. Search for a university or other professional educational institution in Portugal, admission to it, payment for tuition, and receipt of relevant documents confirming your enrollment in a university
- Step 2. Collection of all necessary documents for a residence visa D4 (or D5) in the country of your location (that is, you won't need to come to Portugal to complete the documents)
- Step 3. Personal submission of these documents at the Consulate of your country
- Step 4. The term for consideration of documents usually takes about 30 days. Then, in case of a favorable decision, you become the owner of the coveted Portuguese student visa, the validity of which is usually four months.
- Step 5. Then, upon arrival in Portugal with a D4 visa, you will be able to obtain a residence permit at the SEF office, and after five years, you can apply for citizenship. Most often, your D4 residence visa will already have a link with the exact date of submission of documents for residence to SEF, or you will be able to see the appointed date in your account on the SEF portal. At the same time, when you apply for a residence permit at the SEF migration service already in Portugal, you may need additional documents, a complete list of which you can find here.
Important! Few people know that students who study in Portugal and have a residence permit for study have the right to live in the country for one more year with a residence permit to look for work or create a company in Portugal after completing their studies. This is a significant point and the advantage of studying in Portugal because it is not always possible for a university graduate to find a job immediately after graduation. Thus, you will have one more year during which you can safely and legally live in the country and look for work. This is a significant advantage of obtaining a Portuguese D4 student visa.
Immigration to Portugal through training is the best investment in your future.
After all, in addition to studying in a European country with an excellent climate, high quality of life, and low cost of education, you will get the right to live legally and then look for work in Portugal. You will not only be able to integrate harmoniously into Portuguese society by learning the language and making local contacts, but you will also avoid the difficulties and pitfalls encountered on the way by illegal immigrants or people trying to obtain other types of resident visas. In the end, they are refused by the Consulate because they don't meet the stringent requirements for such access. Getting a student visa D4 or D5 in Portugal is quite simple; you need to choose the university or professional courses you like, enter there, pay for the education and collect the necessary documents. After immigration to Portugal, many people are faced with the fact that it is still required to continue studying: at least learn Portuguese, but as a maximum to confirm your education or acquire a new profession in Portugal. So maybe you should not put off the issue of your education in a new country on the back burner and start your immigration by entering a Portuguese university.