If you are dreaming of immigrating to Portugal and have already decided to move to this sunny country at the edge of Europe, we recommend starting your planning by choosing a procedure of immigration and an appropriate residency visa. Yes, you have probably already heard many stories on social media about how people arrive in the country without papers, without a work permit, and without a precise plan about their actions in the new country.
At WithPortugal, we recommend applying for legal ways to immigrate to Portugal. And there are many such ways, many of which are described in various articles on our website. However, if you arrive in the country with a Portuguese residence visa, with a precise plan and understanding of how exactly you will look for work, accommodation, and more, there is no doubt that your immigration will go more efficiently and successfully. In our article today, we will give a brief overview of the grounds and relevant residency visas under which you can legally immigrate to Portugal, and all you have to do is choose the option that best suits you.
Types of resident visas in Portugal
In recent years, Portugal is becoming more and more open every year and is in a hurry to accept foreigners who want to live, work, build their business, or rest in retirement in this country. In this regard, we can distinguish the following types of resident visas in Portugal:
- "Golden Visa" for investors in Portugal
- StartUP Visa for creating startups in Portugal
- Tech Visa to attract highly skilled IT professionals
- D1 work visa
- D2 visa for entrepreneurs in Portugal
- D3 visa for highly qualified specialists in Portugal
- D4 and D5 student visas
- D6 visa for family reunification in Portugal
- D7 visa for pensioners, rentiers and people with passive income
All these visas have in common the fact that they are residential. That is, their receipt should be engaged in the Portuguese consulate or embassy in the country of your stay, and then after immigration to Portugal, you can easily exchange any of the above visas for the Portuguese residence permit, and after 5 years, you can apply for citizenship of Portugal.
The WithPortugal website has a particular and very detailed article for each type of residence visa, so to learn about the requirements, required papers, and the process of obtaining a specific type of visa, we recommend you to click on the link of the visa you are interested in from the list above. If you have not yet decided which type of visa is right for you, we invite you to read a brief analysis of each of the above visas.
Brief analysis and comparison of different types of resident visas in Portugal
What it is: It is the right to reside legally in Portugal to carry out investment activities on its territory.
For whom: For investors and entrepreneurs.
The basis for obtaining: Making an investment of sufficient size in the territory of Portugal (more details on the conditions of obtaining, you can find here).
The main advantage of this visa: There is no need to reside permanently in Portugal. The investor and his family will only need to stay in the country for 7 days per year.
The main disadvantage of this visa: A very high investment threshold, which may not be available to every investor. Furthermore, the requirements for investors are getting stricter every year. For example, starting in 2022, the minimum investment in residential real estate of 500,000 euros will be allowed only in the interior regions of Portugal, as well as in the Azores and Madeira. Thus a very attractive opportunity for investors to invest in residential property in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal regions has been taken away from investors. But, we have a pretty attractive offer for those who want to invest in Porto or Lisbon, for example. Even after 2022. Read the details here.
What it is: This is one of the types of visas for entrepreneurs, which considers that entrepreneurs will create a new startup in Portugal or transfer an existing project from another country, and for this, they will be granted a visa (and then residence/permanent residence permit), which is called a "startup visa".
For whom: For entrepreneurs who already have or only intend to start their startup.
The basis for obtaining: To participate in the StartUP Visa project, you must either create a new startup in Portugal or relocate an existing company from another country. Your startup doesn't need to be already established at the time of application. It can be at the idea stage but with a very well-developed business plan and presentation with clear goals in terms of turnover, timeline, and financial results.
The main advantage of this visa: The ease of obtaining this type of visa (as you do not even need to have an existing company at the time of application). And in addition, assistance in establishing and supporting your company by the Portuguese incubator.
The main disadvantage of this visa: Your project has to be approved by the Portuguese incubator, and if approved, you will be in charge of this incubator. This can affect your freedom of action; for some people, it can be a limitation and a significant disadvantage. Other disadvantages may include the condition that your project has the potential to reach a turnover of more than 325,000 euros per year within 5 years from its creation and/or must have an asset value of more than 325,000 euros per year after this period.
What it is: This is a variant of the residency visa, which can be obtained only by those qualified employees who meet specific requirements and have received a work agreement from one of the technology companies certified in Portugal as participants in the Tech Visa program. You can always find a list of such companies here.
For whom: For highly qualified specialists in technological and IT fields.
The basis for obtaining: Having a work agreement or job offer from one of the Portuguese companies certified in the Tech Visa program.
The main advantage of this visa: The process of obtaining this visa is more straightforward than obtaining a D3 visa or a D1 work visa, as immigration authorities place a particular priority on a Tech Visa in the registration process.
The main disadvantage of this visa: For Tech Visa, only a certified company from a limited list can be an employer.
D1 work visa
What it is: This is a type of resident visa in Portugal, which can be obtained by a citizen of any country who has a work agreement (or its promise, in writing) from a company in Portugal.
For whom: For employees who have received a work agreement or its promise in writing from a Portuguese company.
The basis for obtaining: The fact of employment as an employee by a Portuguese company.
The main advantage of this visa is: You do not need to be a highly qualified specialist. That is, in this case, there are no restrictions on your specialization or professional level.
The main disadvantage of this visa: To obtain it, the inviting company will have to publish a vacancy in Portugal and Europe, as the European legislation prioritizes hiring EU citizens. So the company will have to post a job vacancy, and if no one can be found, you will need to request a particular document from the Portuguese Employment Center IEFP, which you will need to obtain a visa D1. This is quite a complicated bureaucratic procedure, and some companies are not prepared to ask for such a declaration, so they do not hire non-EU nationals.
What it is: This visa is for entrepreneurs who intend to invest in the Portuguese economy by managing a company in the country.
For whom: For entrepreneurs and investors.
The basis for obtaining: Carrying out entrepreneurial activities in the territory of Portugal. You can already be the owner of a company in Portugal (for example, if you bought a stake in an existing company or bought it outright). Or you can only intend to create a company in Portugal with a detailed business plan that can prove the viability of your idea and show how the company can operate in the Portuguese market, or you can own a company in another country and intend to extend a branch of an existing company in Portugal.
The main advantage of this visa: There is no limit on the investment size. That is, even with medium or small investments, you can apply for this visa because the primary evaluation criterion will be how well your business will function for the benefit of the Portuguese economy.
The main disadvantage of this visa: You need to live in Portugal for most of the year.
What it is: This is a type of work permit visa for highly qualified employees desiring to be employed in Portugal.
For whom: For employees with high qualification levels.
The basis for obtaining: Having a work agreement (or a written promise thereof) from a Portuguese company for at least 1 year. And the salary stated in the contract must be at least 1.5 times the national average annual gross salary or 3 times the IAS indexed social support amount.
The main advantage of this visa: It is always given priority, fewer documents need to be collected to obtain it, it can be used to get a Blue Card, etc. In addition, to obtain it, the inviting company does not have to publish a vacancy in Portugal and Europe (as in the case of the D1 visa).
The main disadvantage of this visa: The need to confirm your high qualifications and achieve a certain salary level, which must be specified in the employment contract.
D4 and D5 student visas
What it is: These are visas that allow citizens of other countries to study in Portugal at universities or in professional classes in other educational institutions (both private and public). There are 2 main types of student visas in Portugal:
D4 is a resident visa for studies, student exchanges, professional internships, or volunteer work. This visa is intended for higher education students (undergraduate and graduate), interns, or volunteers, whose projects or studies must last more than 1 year. The period of study (internship, etc.) of more than 1 year is mandatory and essential for obtaining this type of visa.
D5 is a resident visa created for the mobility and transfer of higher education students. This type of visa is requested by students who want to continue an educational program started in another country in Portugal (most often in a European country). This includes student exchange programs, double diplomas, short-term internships, etc.
For whom: For students of universities, technical colleges, vocational schools, volunteers, and students undergoing internships.
The basis for obtaining: Training and enrollment in an educational institution in Portugal, internships, or volunteer work.
The main advantage of this visa: The ease of obtaining this type of visa.
The main disadvantage of this visa: These visas can be obtained when studying at an educational institution in Portugal, and to obtain a D4 visa, the period of such studies must be more than a year.
What it is: This is a Portuguese residency visa that allows the direct family members of a resident in Portugal also to live, work and study in Portugal.
For whom: For the direct family members of residents of Portugal.
The basis for obtaining: Every person holding a residence permit in Portugal can legally exercise the right to bring family into the country.
The main advantage of this visa: The right to obtain such a visa for direct relatives of a resident of Portugal is 100% guaranteed. In this case, relatives who will reunite with you in Portugal will be free to work and study in the country, with a visa D6 or a corresponding residence permit on hand.
The main disadvantage of this visa: This visa can be obtained by relatives only when you already have a residence permit card. In addition, the right to family reunification does not apply to all but only to certain relatives (a complete list can be found here).
What it is: This is a resident visa that allows people who have a passive source of income in their country of origin to live in Portugal.
For whom: For rentiers, retirees, and people with passive income. Important note: recently, in some countries of the world, this type of visa began to be issued to freelancers and digital nomads for whom this income is active, not passive. We commented about this in great detail in this article.
The basis for obtaining: The availability of passive income in a certain amount for the person who will apply for a visa (not less than 705 euros per person).
The main advantage of this visa: Obtaining this type of visa is straightforward and transparent because the country has no reason to complicate immigration for solvent people who have a permanent source of passive income.
The main disadvantage of this visa: The income from employment or entrepreneurial activity and savings can not serve as a basis for obtaining a D7 visa.
Diversity of types of resident visas is an advantage of immigration to Portugal
After all, among the many types of backgrounds and corresponding visas, you can choose exactly the option that suits you. As you can see from our brief analysis within this article, even for the same situation, there is more than 1 legalization option and several types of resident visas at once. Therefore, we hope that with our article's help, you can easily choose the Portuguese residency visa option that is suitable for legalization in your case.