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D3 Visa Portugal

A D3 visa is a residence visa for highly qualified workers outside the EU/EEA to obtain residency and work in Portugal.

IAS is your reliable guide to obtaining your D3 visa. Call our immigration lawyers on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    An Overview Of D3 Visa

    D3 visa is a residence visa program that allows US professionals to live and work in Portugal. It grants residency and work permits based on engagement in high-skill activity in Portugal for one year.

    As a US D3 residence visa holder, you can renew your permit for up to five years. After five years of temporary residency, you can apply for a Portuguese residence permit.

    D3 visa comes with other opportunities, such as:

    • Fast visa processing time of 30 days.
    • Portuguese residency rights.
    • Family reunification.
    • Free visa Schengen Area mobility.
    • Access to EU Blue Card.
    • Access to Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime.
    • EU citizenship through birth and naturalisation.
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    EU Blue Card

    The EU blue card is a European Union initiative to attract educated foreign nationals, such as US nationals, with professional experience to live and work in the region. Eligible foreign nationals are citizens of non-EU/EEA countries.

    The benefits of the blue card are:

    • Working and salary conditions are the same as nationals.
    • Visa-free travel within the Schengen area.
    • Access to socioeconomic rights.
    • Favourable family reunification provisions.
    • Permanent residence.
    • Freedom of association.

    Each country in the European Union issues its Blue Card, but the residence permit’s rules, requirements, and characteristics are the same for all EU countries.

    The difference between Blue Card and residence permits is that the blue card enables you to move from Portuguese territory to other European Union territories for highly qualified activity.

    You will have to exchange your Portugal EU Blue Card for that of the state. Your family members also get to move with you. However, you can only move after 18 months in the country where the card was issued to you.

    Conditions of employment contract and expected annual salary are necessary for approval.

    Get more clarity and help by speaking to our legal experts. Call us today on: +1 844 290 6312

    Who Can Apply For A D3 Visa?


    D3 visa is open to US nationals with outstanding skills or adequate qualifications to perform a highly qualified activity.

    D3 visa-eligible applicants are in two categories:

    • Subordinate highly qualified professionals: this category is for highly qualified immigrants with work contracts or promised employment contracts from an employer in Portugal.
    • Non-subordinate highly qualified professionals: This category aims to conduct cultural, educational, or highly qualified activities in Portugal.

    What is a Highly Qualified Activity?

    A highly qualified activity is simply a job role or position that demands an exceptional nature of specialised technical skills or adequate qualification. You must be a highly qualified professional to apply for a D3 visa.

    A D3 visa is also called a highly qualified activity visa.

    Highly qualified professionals fall into the two categories below:

    Management Positions

    People in this category have experience and expertise in executing managerial roles such as leading teams, supervising large-scale operations, and making critical business decisions. Examples of qualified professionals in this category are:

    • Legislators.
    • Commercial managers.
    • Senior administrative.
    • Senior executives.
    • Senior public administration officers.
    • Senior directors.
    • Company directors.

    Subject matter experts (SMEs)

    These are qualified professionals with advanced knowledge and expertise in intellectual and scientific activities. They are experts in the research, development, and application of acquired knowledge across many fields. Examples of professionals in this category are:

    • Business and management professionals.
    • Cultural professionals.
    • Engineers.
    • Health professionals.
    • Information Technology specialists.
    • Legal professionals.
    • Scientists.

    Aside from the categories above, you must have an employment contract or a binding work promise with a salary.

    The salary must be 1.5 times higher than the national average gross wage or three times greater than the indexed amount of the IAS social support.

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      What Are Employment Contract Requirements?

      An employment contract must meet specific requirements to be valid for a D3 visa application. It must:

      • Indicate that the applicant has the qualifications and expertise to perform a highly qualified activity.
      • Affirm the expected salary corresponds to 1.5 times the national average gross wage or thrice the social support index in Portugal.
      • Indicate employment contract span – one year or an indefinite period.

      For US nationals, the expected annual salary must be equivalent to 1.2 times the national average annual gross salary or twice the IAS value.

      The following are eligible legal dependents:

      • Spouse or partner.
      • Minor or incapacitated children.
      • Children of full age, dependent on you or your partner, who is single and studying in Portugal.
      • Dependent parents.
      • Minor siblings in the resident’s custody.

      To apply, you will need to visit the SEF station in Portugal. You must provide the following documents:

      • Proof of family relationships, such as birth and marriage certificates.
      • Proof of legal residence of the family member.
      • Proof of a means of subsistence.

      What Are The Documents Required For The D3 Visa Application?

      The documents required D3 visa vary by category. They are:

      Subordinate Highly Qualified Activity

      The following are the necessary documents required to demonstrate eligibility:

      • Valid work contract or written employment promise for one year with the required annual salary rate stated above.
      • Professional certificate that verifies your professional qualifications indicated on your work contract.
      • Proof of means of livelihood, either through an employment contract or statement of responsibility, signed by your employer.
      • Professional certificate that verifies the skill and qualification of work or sector specified in the work contract (for unregulated professions).

      Professorial Activity, Highly Qualified Activity, and Cultural Activity

      The following are specific necessary documents required to demonstrate eligibility:

      • Employment contract, written work promise, or service provider contract.
      • Letter of invitation from a university or professional training institution with a job description of the position you are to occupy (for teachers).
      • Company-certified statement of responsibility.
      • Invitation letter from a company or institute creating a relevant cultural activity (for cultural professionals).
      • Invitation letter from a research centre (for researchers).
      • Proof of means of subsistence through an employment contract or work promise, last income tax return, or statement of responsibility signed by your host entity or employer.

      General Documents

      • Valid Passport (must be valid for three months after the deadline of your intended).
      • International medical insurance that is valid across EU countries.
      • Criminal Records Certificate from home countries.
      • Permission for Portuguese criminal registry consultation on your criminal record by the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF).
      • D3 visa application form (completed and signed).
      • Proof of adequate accommodation in the form of a rental contract, hotel reservation, or letter of invitation from a citizen legally residing in Portugal.
      • Two recent passport photos (coloured and plain background).
      • Children’s birth certificates.
      • Marriage certificates.
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        How To Apply For D3 Visa As A US Citizen

        Here are the procedures for the D3 application:

        • Get a valid employment contract or work promise contract from employers in Portugal. It must have a validity period of one year and a annual salary rate under the stipulated law.
        • Obtain health insurance valid across the Schengen Area and capable of covering all medical needs and expenses throughout your stay in Portugal.
        • Get a legal residence with a rental contract of 12 months span.
        • Gather all the documents for proving high professional qualifications and processing applications.
        • Fill out your D3 visa application form. Make sure to provide accurate answers. Submit the application form and the required documents to your country’s Portuguese embassy or consulate.
        • Book an appointment with a Visa Application Centre nearest you for an interview and biometrics ( if required).
        • Obtain your D3 Visa. Getting a D3 visa depends on the decision of Portuguese immigration authorities after screening your application form and documents. The D3 visa permits you to enter Portugal and is valid for four months only.

        How To Get A Portuguese Residence Permit

        After obtaining your D3 visa, you can enter Portugal to begin the second phase of your application, which are:

        • Book an appointment with the Portugal Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) for a residence permit via telephone or online.
        • Visit the SEF station on your scheduled date and time. Go along with all your documents. You only need to carry the same documents you used for the D3 visa application.

        Depending on your situation and eligibility, you may be issued a residence permit for Highly Qualified Professionals or an EU Blue card. They are both valid for one year before renewal.

        The renewal comes with two years validity. You can apply for permanent residence after five years, thus getting Portuguese citizenship.

        How Much Does A D3 Visa Cost?

        The applied fee for D3 visa processing is €90. The money is non-refundable even if the application is denied. Thus, before applying, ensure to understand all the requirements and take due diligence to have your documents ready and in order.

        Is There A Visa Waiver For Highly Qualified Activity Visa?

        Only citizens from visa-exempt countries can enjoy the benefits of a visa waiver. A visa waiver enables applicants to enter Portugal without going through the application process.

        However, you must go through the second application phase – the Portuguese Residence Permit application at SEF in Portugal. You must meet all eligibility conditions and have all required documents, as highly qualified activity visa requires that a professional proves adequate qualification for work contracts.

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          How Can IAS Help?

          Obtaining a D3 visa or highly qualified activity visa and residence permit can be tasking. It is advisable to get professional assistance.

          IAS has a broad spectrum of immigration services to help with your immigration needs. We are a team of specialist UK immigration lawyers ready to help you with your immigration issues.

          Call our immigration lawyers on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

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