October 30, 2022, amendments to the law Lei 23/2007, also called the "Law on Aliens" in Portugal, came into force. We have already written about a visa for seeking employment in Portugal in this article, which appeared just as a result of these changes. Today we will discuss a new visa for digital nomads and freelancers working remotely.
Who is eligible for this type of visa?
The visa for freelancers working remotely is called «Visto de residência para o exercício de atividade profissional prestada de forma remota para fora do território nacional» and under such a complex name is an essential tool that freelancers and digital nomads have been waiting for so long around the world.
Before, remote workers tried to immigrate to Portugal illegally or tried to obtain D2 or D7 visas, which consulates were unwilling to issue. Now there is a simple and legal tool for getting a short-term visa or long-term residence for freelancers. The changes to the law have come into force, and the Portuguese consulates already issue this visa, so if you are a freelancer and a remote employee, then read this article to the end to understand how the whole process works.
The remote worker visa is proper for you if:
- You work remotely and are not attached to a specific office or location;
- At the same time, you work either for yourself or for a company in any country in the world except Portugal, and you can prove this documentary;
- At the same time, your income from remote work is at least 2,820 euros per month (the amount for 2022), and you can officially confirm this.
These are the conditions (all three simultaneously) that must be met to obtain the coveted freelancer visa in Portugal. At the same time, we note once again that if you work for a Portuguese company, you cannot get this type of visa because it applies to all countries except Portugal.
If you go through all three issues, then let's figure out how to get this type of visa and why it was added to immigration law at all.
Why did Portugal create a visa for freelancers in 2022?
The prerequisites for changing legislation and projects for digital nomads in Portugal were noticed a few years ago when projects, villages and infrastructure for freelancers were created slowly but surely in different cities and islands of Portugal. And we wrote about it in great detail in this article.
In October 2022, when changes to the law on foreigners came into force, it became clear what the Portuguese government was aiming for. Attracting solvent professionals who don't have to look for work in the country is a reliable way to increase local GDP. If you have never been to Portugal and have no idea what salaries are here, then let's say that most residents in the country acquire around 1000 euros on average. The amount of almost 3,000 euros required from remote workers is unthinkable for the majority of the population of Portugal.
In this regard, it is quite profitable to attract such people who are provided with both work and finances, who will rent housing here, make purchases, use medical services, etc.
So if you desire to live in Portugal, and spend the money earned on remote work, then now you have such an opportunity because getting this visa is quite simple, following the step-by-step instructions below.
Conditions for obtaining a visa for remote workers in Portugal
Any foreigner working remotely for himself or any company in the world (except Portugal) can apply for a visa for freelancers and digital nomads.
In this case, it is necessary:
- Possession of a valid passport;
- Filling out the form and providing 2 pictures for visa request;
- Availability of travel medical insurance for the entire stay in the country;
- It is necessary to officially confirm your remote work for a certain company (by providing a work agreement, a certificate of employment, etc.) or to ensure the fact that you have an open activity as an individual entrepreneur;
- You must provide proof of your income for the last 3 months, while the average amount of these incomes cannot be less than 4 minimum salaries in the country. For 2022, the minimum salary in Portugal is 705 euros, so you must prove that you earned at least 2,820 euros per month during the last quarter. In 2023, there will be an increase in the minimum salary to 760 euros, and in that case, you will have to earn at least 3040 euros per month;
- It is necessary to provide a document confirming tax residency (for example, such a document may be an income tax return);
- You must have a return air ticket to your country with a date before the expiration date of the visa;
- You must have a certificate of non-conviction and permit the Portuguese authorities to check your criminal status;
- It is necessary not to have any prohibition on entering the country or the Schengen area.
You can read more about these conditions here.
We will also make some critical clarifications for specialists with various types of employment.
If you are a self-employed professional (for example, you have an individual entrepreneur), then the following papers can be accepted as supporting documents:
- Service agreement;
- A document confirming that you have a valid individual entrepreneur with the corresponding turnover;
- Proposal (in writing) to conclude a contract for the provision of services;
- Documents confirming the provision of services to one or more clients.
If you are an employee working remotely, then the following papers may be accepted as supporting documents:
- Labor agreement;
- The promise of an employment agreement;
- A declaration issued and signed by the employer confirming the employment relationship.
The cost of obtaining this visa will depend on the consulate where you receive it, and there is no exact information on the terms, but most likely, such visas will be issued within 60 days from the date of application, as it is in the case with other types of Portuguese visas such as D.
Is it possible to come with family?
If you are a freelancer or a remote worker and have a family, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about because your relatives can come to Portugal with you by obtaining a reunification visa, similar to any other type D resident visas.
It is worth recalling that currently, after recent changes in legislation, requests for the main visa (in this case, a visa for remote work) and for family reunification can be submitted at the same time, but these nuances should be checked with the Portuguese consulate in your country of residence.
For what period is a new visa for remote work issued?
It is important to note that at the moment, all official websites indicate that the new resident visa for remote workers and digital nomads is issued for both short-term and long-term stays.
Everything will depend on the time you are going to stay in Portugal. For a stay in the country of fewer than 12 months, it is necessary to apply for a temporary residence visa and a stay of more than 12 months - a resident visa. Regardless of the length of stay in the country, the requirements and papers required to obtain a visa are the same.
Usually, residence visas are valid for 120 days, and after arriving in Portugal, you need to make an appointment with the SEF migration service to request a residence permit, which is usually granted for 1 year, with the possibility of subsequent renewal.
It is not yet entirely clear how this will work in the case of visas for digital nomads. Still, since there are no direct indications on the maximum period of stay in the country in the legislation (as it was in the case with a seeking employment visa), it turns out that freelancers and digital nomads can stay in the country for as long as they want. But only if they continue to meet the criteria for obtaining this type of visa and residence permit, which will have to be updated from time to time and prove that they still meet the given conditions.
Well, this is great news for remote workers worldwide, and we will continue to follow updates in this direction of Portuguese immigration law.
2022 is an excellent opportunity for freelancers to move to Portugal
After all, now you have all the legal bases for this in the country. So then, having collected a relatively basic list of documents, you can get a residence visa or a short-stay visa in your country of residence. And after that, you can safely come to Portugal and work here as a digital nomad or freelancer.
If you are planning long-term immigration to Portugal, and buying property in the country, then obtaining a visa for remote workers can be a great option to test life in a new place and see if Portugal is suitable for you for a more extended stay.
We hope that this article will be helpful for freelancers and digital nomads from all over the world. See you in Portugal!