USA and the UK
How to Apply for the Portuguese Residency Permit?
Portugal is now becoming fairly popular as a country worth moving to – for workers and retired persons. The weather is warm and sunny, the country is very secure, the cost of living is lower than most places, real estate is cheap, healthcare is great, and the laid-back lifestyle is just a plus.
On top of it all, Portugal is one of the easiest countries to move into if you are an American. People from many other countries also experience no issues when moving to Portugal.
Portuguese immigration rules are rather simple to follow, but there are several permits for temporary and permanent residence – and if you wish to know more, keep scrolling.
If you want to move to Portugal, it’s good to know that there are several ways to get residency in this country. There are several types of residence permits and visas in Portugal:
- Portuguese Residence Permit for EU/EEA/CH Citizens
- EU Family Reunification Program
- Portugal Golden Visa Program
- Work Visa Program
- HQA Visa Program
- Special Residence Permit Program
- D7 Visa
- D2 Visa
Portuguese Residence Permit for EU/EEA/CH Citizens
Getting a permanent residence permit starts with a temporary residence permit. That being said, there are a couple of ways to become resident permit holders, and it mainly depends on whether you have an EU/EEA/CH passport.
If you are a holder of an EU/EEA or CH passport, then you’re one of the lucky ones, as applying for a Portugal residence permit is straightforward. When you arrive in Portugal and find a place to live, you must go to your local municipal office and take your passport.
Then, you will tell the municipality official that you want to apply for the Portuguese residence permit, show them your EU/EEA/CH passport, and pay a €15 fee. Sometimes, the official might ask for proof of your Portuguese address.
You will then be granted a temporary residence permit, which is good for five years, also called CRUE. The European Union has something called freedom of movement of persons, which allows you to become a resident without any issues.
If you don’t have an EU/EEA/CH passport in your pocket, applying for a Portuguese residence permit can be a bit complicated. Also, note that all UK citizens on a temporary visa before Brexit can stay in Portugal on a Portugal work visa and become permanent residents as usual.
EU Family Reunification Program
If you don’t have your EU/EEA/CH passport, you could apply for residency through your spouse or partner if they have such a passport. If your spouse or partner has one of those, getting a residence permit is fairly simple, too.
First, you will need to move to Portugal with your spouse and find a place to live. Your partner will apply for the Portuguese residence permit using the system we have discussed in the previous section, and they will get a 5-year permit called CRUE.
When your spouse or partner obtains the CRUE permit, you will set up an appointment with SEF – Portuguese Immigration and Borders service. Because your partner has the CRUE permit, you can apply for a residency visa through EU family reunification, despite being one of the non-EU nationals.
The process of family reunification allows spouses and other family members of an EU/EEA/CH citizen to get a residence permit in a European country such as Portugal. Family reunification applies to spouses and children or elderly parents in the care of the EU passport holder.
In case you and your partner are third-country nationals, you can still get a residency visa through other programs under Portuguese law.
Portugal Golden Visa Program
Applying for a residence permit in Portugal through investment is one of the simplest ways to ensure you get your permit quickly. To get the Portugal Golden Visa, you must have at least €500,000 available to invest in Portugal, along with a clean criminal record.
Luckily, there are many qualifying investment options – many people will choose to invest in real estate, venture capital funds, or private equity. Getting the Golden Visa from the Portuguese government is fast, and you don’t have to waste time looking for real estate to invest in.
First, you will transfer the money into the fund and apply for the Golden Visa scheme. Keep in mind that if you invest in an undeveloped area, you can save some money, but those investments involve a lot of work.
Another way you can get residency to live in Portugal is via a capital transfer. If you have a worldwide income of over €1,500,000 and transfer it to a Portuguese bank account, you can get residence this way.
Work Visa Program
You can apply for a Portugal residence permit if you have found employment there. To qualify for the permit, the position you have applied for cannot be filled by an EU citizen within the last month.
When you secure work in Portugal, your employer must start the application at the Portuguese Labor Authorities. After that, you can apply for a residence visa and apply for a permit at the Immigration and Borders Service.
The first permit you get will be a 1-year permit, but it can be extended. You can apply for all kinds of work visas – for skilled or high-skilled workers, self-employment, cultural activities, or teaching.
Special Residence Permit Program
You can also apply to live in Portugal through the special situations residence permits. Each situation is different, and your unique situation may make you eligible for a Portuguese visa.
For example, if you require long-term medical care, you can get a residence permit, live in Portugal, and receive care from the Portuguese healthcare system.
Children born in Portugal to parents with residence permits can also get special permits. Moreover, you’re eligible for a residence permit if you are of legal age but were born in Portugal and never left.
Also, if you completed military service with the Portuguese Armed Forces, you can get a temporary stay visa and apply for a residence permit.
HQA Visa Program
If residential real estate investments aren’t your thing, you might be interested in investing in a research startup at a Portuguese university. This might be a great way to get a residency visa if you wish to start a research project.
The HQA, or Highly Qualified Activity Visa, was introduced a couple of years ago for investors that want to research a particular topic in Portugal. To obtain a residency visa this way, you must have at least €175,000 available for the investment program.
The HQA Visa allows you to set up your business in the country and invest in a high-value research project with a selected university. The greatest part about the HQA Visa is that it’s processed quickly – you will be able to obtain your Portugal residence permit in less than a month.
Also, it costs much less than the Golden Visa, and in case you are rejected, the investment will be repaid in full.
D7 Visa is a residency visa issued by the Portuguese government for people with passive income or those working remotely. For them, getting a residency visa is fairly simple.
In this case, the regular source of passive income applies to dividends, rental income, royalties, or pensions. Their income can make remote workers eligible for the D7 visa, but the Portuguese embassy in certain countries might not allow it.
To apply for the D7 visa, the applicant must show evidence of passive income, which must not be lower than the set minimum wage in Portugal, which is about €700 monthly. Note that if you have dependents, such as a spouse or children, you will need 50% more for the spouse and 30% more for each child under 18.
Another key note is that the cost of living is constantly rising, and the minimum wage won’t be enough to live well. We advise you to have at least €1,000+ for yourself, 50% for your dependent spouse, and 30% for children.
On top of that, to apply for the visa or permit, you will need proof of savings which you can use for support in case you lose the passive income deposited in Portuguese banks, which can cover a year’s minimum salary. If your passive income and savings look good, you increase your odds of being approved for the D7 visa.
If you aren’t interested in getting a Portugal residence permit through investments and aren’t a holder of passive income, you might be interested in starting a business in Portugal. If you want to move and are looking for work, being your boss can get you a residence permit.
This program is called the D2 visa, and to be eligible for it, you must be able to start a new business or open or run an existing business in the country. This visa is also known as the Entrepreneur Visa, and to be approved, you must have a viable business or a great business idea.
There are no restrictions regarding the type of business you want to run. To apply for the visa, you must have evidence showing sufficient financial means to set up a company, and you will have to pay the corporate tax annually, just like all other tax residents.
A D2 visa isn’t easy to get, but you will likely be approved with a strong business plan. The government wants to see that you, as a Portuguese tax resident, can support yourself with your business if you enter Portugal.
After five years of having a temporary residence permit, you are eligible for a permanent residence permit. If you wish to know more, keep reading.
How to Apply for Permanent Residency in Portugal?
Non-EU citizens can apply for permanent Portugal residence once the 5-year temporary residence permit expires. Becoming a permanent Portuguese resident means you don’t have to renew your residency visa, and you can apply for it after five years.
If any foreigner enters Portugal on any visa, including purchasing real estate, they are eligible for a permanent residence permit. For valid reasons, temporary absences are considered if they last less than six months per year or up to 12 months.
When you get the permanent residence permit, it is valid for ten years, and you will have to renew it and get all the required documents for it. If you acquire permanent Portugal residence, you will never have to apply for temporary stay visas again, and you will be treated the same as a citizen, with some exceptions.
The main exception is that you cannot vote in the elections or run for office. The permanent residence also does not mean you get EU citizenship, although you can apply for citizenship if you like.
To apply for Portugal permanent residency, you must take an exam in Portuguese and pass it. Luckily, you will only need to pass the A2 level, which isn’t too high.
How to Apply for Portuguese Citizenship?
Once you have secured a visa in Portugal, you can make your legal residency permanent or apply for citizenship. Getting citizenship means:
- You no longer need to apply for a visa
- Visa-free access to the rest of the Schengen zone
- Visa-free travel to many world countries.
To apply for citizenship, you must:
- Enter the country of Portugal
- Have a valid residence permit for 5 years
If you become a Portuguese citizen, you can live anywhere in the EU/EEA/CH zone with visa-free travel, vote, and run for office. Also, with citizenship, you will never have to apply for permanent residence again, but you will need to renew your passport occasionally.
How can IAS help?
Moving to another country can be difficult, but luckily, getting a visa in Portugal is not. The Immigration and Border Services made the requirements transparent if you wish to apply for a residence visa and what makes you eligible to become a permanent resident.
No matter what you are searching for – a temporary residence permit, a Portuguese golden visa, or Portuguese citizenship, this guide will help you out. On top of that, at the Immigration Advice Service, our experts can help you out with anything regarding immigration law.
We at Immigration Advice Service specialize in immigration law, and our goal is to get our applicants easily through the process of moving to Portugal. Our experts have helped over 5,000 applicants to get the permit of their choice.
If foreign investors or workers want to move to Portugal and need residency visas, our experts are excited to help. If you ever need help becoming a Portuguese citizen, just let us help you and guide you to your desired result.
Call our immigration experts at +1 844 290 6312 for quick help. We can help you online, in person, or via the phone!
Last modified on June 17th, 2023 at 8:08 am
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